Hot Marketing Tips for Writers (Part 1)

Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan (Photo credit: EmaStudios)

No matter how great a writer you are, or how many decades of endless toil you’ve poured into perfecting your techniques, you still need to promote yourself in this digital age.

In the first of an ongoing series, Hot Marketing Tips for Writers will look at promotional techniques for writers.

Well, we’re living in an age where image is everything. Push a button and a screen flickers into life, whether it’s your TV, mobile phone or laptop, and those images will burn themselves into  your mind.

As a writer, you produce your work, edit and refine it, but it doesn’t end there. You need to manipulate your image. Here’s how:

  1. The killer book cover: Make it striking and relevant to your material, with the title and author‘s name visible in thumbnail size (for internet viewing). There are many great book cover designers available on the web. Get surfing! Look at other book covers, those by the best sellers. What is a winning formula?
  2. A signature logo: Some authors use an emblem or avatar to show who they are. It adds a professional touch.
  3. An author photo: In the past, one of the perks of being an author was the anonymity that went with it. Not any more! The digital age has brought writers and their readers closer to each other, and a photo aids that engagement. There’s the classic head and shoulders shot, the quirky/arty sideways half-shot, or the bizarre/bowl of fruit super-quirky snap. Or you could just default to your signature logo. Whichever you choose, you’ll need to use your photo in the all of the arenas and forums you inhabit such as Facebook, twitter etc.
  4. Dress sense: It might seem unimportant, but these days with live appearances and readings an expected part of a writer’s repertoire, it needs serious consideration. Is a plain old t-shirt and jeans enough? Probably not. Then again, a bow tie and velvet waistcoat may be pushing it too far towards the theatrical. But something is needed, so it’s worth thinking about this.
  5. Hair: You need to make the most of what you’ve got. For men, a full-length beard always impresses, gives a scholarly look whilst maintaining an air of madness, and so is recommended. For the ladies, facial hair is not recommended.
  6. Blog/website: Whichever one of these you choose, and you probably need one to showcase your work and to engage with readers/fans, don’t skimp on the design. Put your own stamp on it with photos and images, and spend some time constructing an interesting author bio for it.
  7. Eccentricities: If asked to appear publicly, insist on something interesting as part of your terms and conditions. I’m not recommending asking for 12 white kittens, 6 scantily clad models and a champagne fountain, diva style, but asking for a specific brand of Earl Grey tea and a bone china tea set could be enough, for example.
  8. Unusual hobbies: Collecting Nazi regalia or dining on roadkill would be a bit suspect to admit to, so it’s best not to mention them if you are an enthusiast. But, if you have a passion for building scale models of steam trains, or play the harp then they are perfectly acceptable hobbies to mention.

Well, those are just a few ideas, and I hope it’s given you something to chew on. And the next installment of Hot Marketing Tips for Writers will be heading your way soon.

Desert Island Books: with thriller writer Lorne Oliver

Serial killer

Serial killer (Photo credit: jing.dong)

Lorne Oliver is an author originally from Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada.  After getting a degree in Culinary, he and his family moved to Prince Edward Island (PEI) to further his chef career.  Opportunities then brought him to Saskatchewan.  Having started writing at the age of 10 he has always wanted to see his name in print and have people read his stories.  He always thought it would be in the genre of literary romance, but when the opportunity came to interview several members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in PEI and add some realism to a story he always wanted to write that showed how a serial killer became the evil he was destined to, without having the bad guy as the hero, he went for it.

Lorne is now marooned on a desert island without any hope of rescue in the foreseeable future.  He’s been washed ashore with little in the way of possessions, but thankfully with a pile of books for company.  Here are his views on the books he’s brought with him…

1. Which book would you read when sitting next to a campfire, to keep your spirits up? Stephen King’s The Stand.  It would let me think that things could always get worse and that there is always hope.  Plus it’s a really big book and I could be on the island for a while.

2. You’re going fishing. Which character from which book would you go with, and why? Gordie Lachance from The Body by Stephen King.  I imagine it to be like in the movie when they are sitting around the campfire and he tells a story.

3. You’d need a phrase or quotation from a book to adopt as a motto. Which one? “If you really wanted to mess me up, you should have got to me earlier” from High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

4. If a ship was to appear on the horizon, what would you do when you got aboard – in a literary sense? Grab the first book I could find and go sit on the first toilet I see.

5. The tide comes in and one of your books floats away. Which one would you least mind losing? Anything by Gordon Korman.  I know he’s Canadian, but his success just bugs me.

6. If you could choose any writer to be your Man Friday, who would that be? John Grisham. Whenever I get off this island I’m suing somebody so I will need a lawyer.

7. You’ve landed on the island with a single bottle of the drink of your choice. Once you’ve drunk it, what would your message be? An ice cold bottle of Pepsi, I don’t drink.  And the note would be, “how are my sales?”

‘Red Island’ Blog

‘Red Island’ on Goodreads

 Twitter:  @ChefLorneOliver

‘Red Island’ on Amazon

‘Red Island’ on Smashwords

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If you’re an author or writer and would like to be featured on Desert Island Books, then get in touch via the To Contact Me page.

Droplets of Verse: ‘Ampersand Jam’

Ampersand jam
Spreads over pages
Tumbles into textbooks

Like figures of eight
In v-neck sweaters
It sticks to emails and spam

With elegant grace
It adorns magazines
Stealing the shine

Emoticons float closer
And stick in the middle
Of ampersand jam

It glues with a science
With curves and charisma
Punctilious & proud

Nederlands: Overgenomen van :en:Image:Ampersan...

Nederlands: Overgenomen van :en:Image:Ampersand.jpg (Photo credit: Wikipedia)