It’s a real pleasure to welcome Heidi Perks to my blog today.
Marketing your book without the big budget
I am a marketeer. In fact I spent fifteen years in marketing before turning my hand to writing four years ago, so the thought of marketing my own book didn’t bother me one bit. In fact I thought I would love it. To an extent I have but I quickly realised that when you’re effectively marketing ‘yourself’ it’s a whole lot harder than marketing a product.
For a start marketing yourself and your own book is a very personal thing to do. You’re basically putting yourself out there and telling everyone you know (and plenty you don’t) to buy your book, the words you have spent years pulling together, everything you have poured your heart into. You battle with all the what if’s (or at least I did): What if no one buys it? What if none of my friends like it? How can I say ‘you absolutely have to read my book – you’ll love it’ when they might not? But somehow I had to get over this because if I wasn’t fully bought into the package I was selling then how I could I expect anyone else to be?
A few months back my stock answer to ‘Are you a stay at home mum or do you work?’ was always ‘I don’t work – well actually I am doing some writing at the moment.’ This would always lead on the next question – ‘What are you writing?’ and I soon realised that many people were incredibly interested in what I was doing. The more I told the story the easier it became to portray the enthusiasm and love for my writing that until that point had been a very private thing.
So my first point is that when you’re marketing yourself you need to be confident. You might not always feel it – I certainly don’t – especially when things don’t go to plan. But what inspires us more than someone who really believes in what they are talking about?
By the time I was ready to put my book out there I was happy with it and knew that I’d made it as good as I hoped and so I had to take a deep breath and tell myself (and other people) that yes, I had actually done something great – I had written a whole book whilst bringing up two small children and I was proud of it.
So, you’re now confident (or at the very least pretending to be.) What next? There are many clever authors out there who are marketing themselves brilliantly and I certainly don’t profess to be one of them. However, there are a few key things I have learnt that I can share with you from my personal experience.
1. Carefully choose which publisher you’d like to work with. I was lucky enough to be taken on by Red Door and love working with them. Personal relationships should never be underestimated and with Red Door they have great people who know a lot about the industry and who have helped me promote my book a lot.
2. Get reviews. There are plenty of ways to do this, some you can pay for, others you don’t. Personally I recommend approaching the wonderful people who are book bloggers. I cannot recommend them enough, and found them all (bar none) to be highly professional, friendly and a pleasure to talk to. Three months prior to my release date I wrote a long list of book bloggers I wanted to approach – those who liked the kind of book I had written, were open to requests and whose reviews I enjoyed. I had a hugely positive experience and when the reviews started coming in I was delighted and also given another surge of needed confidence. Getting reviews in the lead up to or on release day are crucial.
3. Approach local magazines, newspapers and books stores. People love a local interest story and you’d be surprised how many want to help either by writing an article or having you in for a book signing.
4. Hold a book launch. You can do this in many ways – I opted to host an evening in a local restaurant and invited family and friends. You can do it cheaply or throw money at it; invite local press; local authors or keep it personal – but my aim (as well as celebratory) was to spread the word about my book, sell it to friends and ask them to help by giving me an honest review.
5. Be present on social media. I chose Twitter and Facebook as my main routes to communicate but they are all powerful tools to interact with readers, other authors and bloggers. I have also seen authors successfully promote themselves via Instagram but I chose not to use this for fear of spending all my time on social media.
6. Follow other authors who promote themselves well and see what they do. There are always new ideas and ways of doing things or reaching people so learn from them. I’ve taken a lot from the authors who make sure they reply to every single person who messages them or who are gracious enough to ‘like’ even the most awful of reviews and it’s easy to pick up hints about reaching readers from people who have been in the business for a while!
This is the first step of my publishing journey but I’m glad I invested the time to spread the word about my book prior to and around launch, and if anyone wants to share their experiences I’d love to hear from you.
About the Book:
I donʼt know where you are…
I donʼt know what Iʼve done…
Teenager Abigail Ryder is devastated when she gets home from school to find her family gone.
Nothing makes sense. Things are missing from the house and her stepsistersʼ room is completely empty. But the police think sheʼs trouble, and when grandmother Eleanor tells her to forget them all and move on, thereʼs no choice other than face the future – alone.
Fourteen years on, Abi and Adam are a happy couple on the verge of parenthood. But when the past comes back to haunt Abi, the only way forward is to go back and uncover the truth – and reveal the dreadful secrets a mother has been hiding all these years.
About the Author:
Heidi Perks was born in 1973. She lives by the sea in Bournemouth with her husband and two children.
Heidi graduated from Bournemouth University in 1997 with a BA (Hons) in Retail Management, and then enjoyed a career in Marketing before leaving in 2012 to focus on both bringing up her family and writing.
Heidi successfully applied for a place on the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative online Novel Writing Course and after that dedicated her time to completing her first novel, Beneath The Surface.
She has a huge interest in what makes people tick and loves to write about family relationships, especially where some of the characters are slightly dysfunctional.
Heidi is now writing her second novel.
You can buy Beneath the Surface here.
You can find Heidi’s website here.