Often, writers who follow my Daily Journal email to ask me about marketing. As in, “What’s more important? Social media or ads? Which social media? Amazon (or Google or Facebook) ads? My own website and a mailing list?”
Okay, having your own website and a mailing list of folks who want to know about your next book is important. And some of the other things above maybe are helpful too.
But the number one thing I tell them is WRITE THE NEXT BOOK.
Of course, they look at me as if I had just grown an extra head.
“No,” they say. “I asked about m-a-r-k-e-t-i-n-g.” They pronounce it s-l-o-w-l-y in the hope that it will translate into whatever strange language they apparently think I’m speaking.
But it’s true. The best thing you can do for discoverability is get your name out there, preferably on really good, genre-appropriate covers with really great blurbs. But you have to get your name out there a LOT.
And that means writing a lot.
It’s no accident that I wrote the 11-volume Wes Crowley saga in 11 volumes instead of in one massive book. Each novel stands alone and is complete in its own right, but sure, yeah, the story is more cohesive if you read them in order. Even though Book 4 was actually the first novel I ever wrote.
Books 1 – 3 came later, after Books 4-6. Then came 7 – 11.
But the point is, when that saga was finished I had 11 books out there in the Wes Crowley series instead of only one.
And I was writing other novels (mystery, SF, and action-adventure) in between. By the time I finished Book 11 of the Wes Crowley series (July 2019), I had 42 other novels and 8 novellas out. Plus I had roughly 200 short stories out, along with their attendant collections (about 30 of them). I finished another novel on December 1, 2019, and as I write this (mid-December), I’m over 36,000 words into the next one.
So soon I’ll have around 83 major titles out (45 novels, 8 novellas, and 30 short story collections) plus another 200 or so individual short stories. That’s 283 fiction publications. Plus 15 or so nonfiction publications. Plus several poetry collections. Plus all the posts on this blog and my Daily Journal. All with the name Harvey Stanbrough on them.
And my readership is growing. And growing. And growing.
Because my name was (is) all over the place. Go ahead, google Harvey Stanbrough. Today I have well over 300 titles “out there,” and over 50 of them are novels or novellas.
My novels present in 4 series (action-adventure, detective/PI/noir, crime, and western) and half a boatload of stand-alone books. And I have my own publishing company.
And I’ve done that in five years.
(As an aside, if I were tied to a traditional publishing company, in the past five years I would have been allowed to write FIVE novels. Think about that. Plus the traditional publisher would own all rights.)
I became a professional writer in April 2014. I started my first novel in October of 2014. And by “professional” I mean a person who shows up regularly to do his or her job.
So that’s the other side of marketing: If you want to put a lot of titles out there with your name on them, you have to show up and do the work.
If there’s a secret formula to my success, it’s this:
- I follow Heinlein’s Rules (they aren’t just for SF),
- When I fall off Heinlein’s Rules, I climb back on, and
- I write into the dark, allowing my characters to tell their own story. (After all, they, not I, are living it.)
According to my readers, that’s exactly the right formula.
In writing as in any other professional venture, if you want to sell a product, you have to first have a product to sell. And the more product you make available, the easier it is for buyers (readers) to find you and your work.
I hope this helps.
‘Til next time, happy writing!