From Steven Neil, the author of THE MEREST LOSS
A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.
Marketing and selling your novel
I was told only recently, by a very well-established traditionally published author, that the idea that mainstream authors have a big marketing advantage over smaller publisher authors or independent authors is something of a myth. She assured me that once the launch party is arranged and a couple of weeks of advertising and promotion have elapsed, she is still left pretty much to her own devices. I believe her.
Sadly your fantastic novel, which all your friends and family really love, and which has several 5* reviews on Amazon, is not going to sell itself. You are going to have to put some work in! Here are a few thoughts about how you might go about marketing your novel.
Remember that marketing is the process of predisposing the buying public to buy your novel. Unless you are going to set up your own stall up, selling is what the retailers do and I would rather leave them to get on with it.
There has been a great deal of fuss about GDPR but I can’t see any problem with keeping a marketing list of people (friends and family) who you mail out (with permission) with updates. I’ve refined my list to make sure no-one is likely to complain about receiving an email from me and I always put a note saying I’m happy to remove names if they no longer want to hear from me. I mail out about four times a year with news (reviews, blogs, awards) and without directly asking for reviews I always mention how important they are! Invariably sales and reviews increase after a mailing.
Much as I fought against what I saw as an invasion of privacy, I have reluctantly accepted that I have to be on social media if I want to sell books. I am only registered on Facebook and Twitter. There are many others but I don’t want to spend my life on social media. Facebook seemed to be a good vehicle for getting the message out about my novel but I had an unhappy experience with the link between Facebook and Amazon. Early on, two people, who I had never met, bought my book, liked my book, put 5* reviews on Amazon and sent me Friend requests on Facebook. I was, naturally, rather flattered and accepted them. Next day the reviews had vanished. The reason: Amazon won’t accept reviews from Facebook Friends. I can see their point of view in a way but the consequence is that I unfriended all my Facebook Friends and rarely post any more. A shame. Twitter, by contrast, doesn’t have the same issue, is very user-friendly, is easy to grow followers and produces lots of retweets and likes from like minded people. I have no doubt that my Twitter presence has generated sales. If you only use one social media platform I would say make it Twitter.
Independent booksellers are, in my experience, more than willing to support local authors and have no issue with independently published authors, provided the production is to a good standard. OK, you are unlikely to generate volume sales but you can grow your following and you will earn a great deal more per copy sold than you will through Amazon. I am now supplying eight independent booksellers direct (with more to come as a I gradually extend out from my local area) and apart from their discount and the production cost, the rest is profit to me. I can also establish a relationship and a rapport with other people who share my enthusiasm for books. After all, the marketing process should be fun, not a chore.
Book clubs and events
Book clubs are great institutions. I love speaking to book clubs and reading groups. You are engaging with people who enjoy books and if they like your book they are highly likely to review and recommend. Not everyone likes to speak in public but it is not so difficult and the more you do it the better and more confident you will become. If you want to widen your scope, consider speaking at literary festivals in your local area. I’ve attended a few this year and I can say, with certainty, that they all generated sales.
Listeners get to hear the person and the voice. If you speak articulately and with enthusiasm it will sell your novel better than anything apart from direct contact. Both my recent radio appearances produced small but noticeable spikes in Amazon sales for The Merest Loss.
Good luck with your marketing.
© Steven Neil
THE MEREST LOSS is available in paperback and eBook in the UK, US, France, Canada and Australia.
Follow Steven Neil on https://twitter.com/stevenneil12 for information on how to purchase the paperback through an independent bookseller in the UK.
The Merest Loss by Steven Neil
‘A story of love and political intrigue, set against the backdrop of the English hunting shires and the streets of Victorian London and post-revolutionary Paris.
When Harriet Howard becomes Louis Napoleon’s mistress and financial backer and appears at his side in Paris in 1848, it is as if she has emerged from nowhere. How did the English daughter of a Norfolk boot-maker meet the future Emperor? Who is the mysterious Nicholas Sly and what is his hold over Harriet?
Can Harriet meet her obligations and return to her former life and the man she left behind? What is her involvement with British Government secret services? Can Harriet’s friend, jockey Tom Olliver, help her son Martin solve his own mystery: the identity of his father?’
Historical Fiction and Victorian Historical Romance
Steven has a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics, a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing from the Open University and an MA in Creative Writing from Oxford Brookes University. He has been a bookmaker’s clerk, bloodstock agent, racehorse breeder and management consultant amongst other professions in his varied career. He is married and lives in rural Northamptonshire, England. The Merest Loss is his debut novel.
IAN author page