How painfully ironic is it that the one thing all authors must do, is also the thing they hate the most? Self-promo is crucial to growing your audience and carving out your niche in the literary field. It’s easy to get bogged down in all the particulars of SEO and other technical functions, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
One of my many side-hustles is editing content for a marketing agency, during which I’ve learned a lot about ways to promote yourself without sounding like a broken record. The center of your approach should be what you can offer your potential customer. In the marketing world, it’s actually surprising how despite differences in industries, spreading the word about who you are and what you do often comes with similar struggles.
Sure – depending on your target demographic, you might find yourself more focused on one platform over another. But aside from that, it’s really all the same. Read on for some tips on how to breathe life into your writing business. Whether you’re an author, a freelancer, or both (like me), I’m confident something here will help you out.
Highlight what you can offer your audience.
I wanted to start by expanding on this very important point that I learned both in marketing classes, as well as from my boss. You need to give people a reason to care about what you do – and the only way to do that is to anticipate their needs. Think about who your audience is, and the kinds of problems or interests they might have in their lives. Then, curate your abilities and content to fit that. When I’m selling books at a convention, I always draw people in by first asking what kinds of books they typically read. This then gives me the opportunity to tease out the elements of my books that I know they’ll like. Then, I hand them a copy to read the synopsis for themselves (psychologically, people rarely turn away from things you hand them). This results in a sale probably 60-70% of the time. Not too shabby, huh?
Spice up something routine for your self-promo.
Don’t reinvent the wheel here – I just mean, you can absolutely set up some fun opportunities to feature your work. Join a massive giveaway, or a blog feature. Joining groups on Facebook is a great way to meet other professionals with platforms that they can share with you. Of course, don’t expect freebies – offer them something in return for their podcast feature, and you might just find yourself in a brand new friendship. And that’s what pays dividends later! For more help networking, read this article.
At the end of the day, self-promo is mostly just about being real. Bare your soul to the world. Let your readers and audience into your internal dialogue. Post a selfie or two. The key to self-promo is also reminding people that you’re a human behind your computer screen. They want to support someone they know and feel emotionally invested in, so self-promo is also just about letting them into your life. Share your Spotify Wrapped playlist and talk about how you use music in your writing. For more about that, read this recent article about writing playlists. Or maybe you’re struggling to manage your time and want to share what your schedule has been like lately. Or maybe your go-to Starbucks order is what essentially keeps you awake all day, and you want to share that. Really just have fun with this – and your audience will too.
If you take all these tips into consideration, it’ll only be a matter of time before your audience – and your profit – grows.