by Emily Pedder
Last month short courses took part in a panel event on marketing your book online as part of 2014’s Inside Out Festival. Novel Studio Course Director Emily Pedder chaired a lively panel discussion to a sell out crowd.
The panel experts included Polly Courtney, author of six novels and a regular commentator on TV and radio. Polly is famous for walking out on Harper Collins in protest at the chick lit branding assigned to her books and has been successfully self-publishing ever since.
Also on the panel were Chris McCrudden, Head of Technology and New Media at Midas PR and author of the Guardian book Digital and Social Media for Authors; and City’s very own Novel Studio alumna Justine Solomons, founder of Byte the Book, CCO at Autharium and Publisher in Residence at Kingston University.
Tips for authors trying to market their book online included the following:
- Make sure your cover design, title and blurb all reflect your book’s genre.
- Target your readers: find out what readers of your particular kind of book listen to, like, follow online and start communicating with that audience.
- Develop your author brand – talk about the issues you cover in your book, or whatever it is that makes you unique, and make it newsworthy so that journalists have an angle to write about.
- Don’t write a press release about your book. The book’s publication is the least interesting thing about your book: find a particular peg to hang it on.
- Use social media to be a reflection of yourself and your book.
- Build your platform BEFORE you publish.
- Set up your own website.
- Curate yourself – readers don’t need to know everything about you, just the bits that are relevant to your author profile.
- Write a blog. Keep it current. Follow up quickly and courteously on comments.
- Keep a database of contacts. Add to it whenever you meet someone new. Follow up within 24 hours.
- Hand out business cards: professionalize yourself as a writer.
- Use marketing in its truest and most resonant form, i.e. sharing something you’re passionate about with other people who are passionate about the same thing
Afterwards several members of the audience expressed their gratitude for the event, while one tweeted ‘brilliantly useful panel discussion’. For more events like these don’t forget to follow our updates on twitter.