Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Successful Authors Are Persistence Hunters

The deer had run for miles, until it finally collapsed into an exhausted, shuddering heap. The hunters were far away now, and it was out of danger. It had fled time and time again, but now it was sure. They were gone. They had to be gone. It slept, but when it woke they had returned. The strange, dark shapes smelling of death and saltpeter. It could have run again, but it was so tired. It managed to stand, but before it had taken three steps, the guns rang out, and it fell down dead.

If you're familiar with persistence hunting (following a much faster animal at a slower pace until you wear it down to the point it can no longer fight or flee, thus becoming easy prey), then you know that humans must look like something out of an 80s slasher movie to the rest of the animal kingdom. No matter how far or how fast you run, no matter how you try to hide, when you open your eyes we're always there. It's like we just came out of thin air, and eventually you just lay down and wait for it all to be over.

Hey... did I tell you I wrote a book?
When it comes to being an author, this kind of hunting model is what you need to embrace. Because you probably won't bring down huge sales in a single burst of brilliance. But if you keep a steady promotional pace, you will find that you're walking down a lot of the competition that started out at a dead run.

What Does Persistence Promotion Look Like?

Persistence promotion (a term I have just now made up, in case anyone's curious) is all about endurance, and the long game. The goal is for you to regularly mention yourself and your work in as many venues as you can, without either making your audience feel inundated, or getting annoying with your promotional efforts.

Hey guys, did I tell you about my book?
For example, when you first release a new book, you've got about two weeks to a month to crow about it. After that, people start to tune out. I'm starting to reach that point with my sword and sorcery novel Crier's Knife. There was a surge of people who were interested when it first came out earlier this month, but now I need a new spin.

How do you get a new spin? Well there are a lot of different things you can do.

- Tie Your Book Into a Current Event: Whether it's a holiday season, or national fantasy month, or something similar, mention your book in the context of something that's going on right now.

- Reach Out to Reviewers: There are a lot of reviewers out there. Some of them have blogs, some have podcasts, and some have YouTube channels, but most importantly they all have some kind of audience. Contact reviewers using a database like The Indie Book Reviewer's List, and watch as the press trickles in. Try to send at least one message a day, because at the end of the month at least one out of the thirty or so reviewers will give you a shot. Even better, you can share people's reviews of your book, and use that as fresh content to put on your blog, your social media pages, etc. Keep the cycle going.

- Include Links In Other Content: You know how this is a blog entry all about marketing? Well, by using my novel as an example, I slid it in front of everyone reading this. Not only that, but if you look up at the top of this page, you'll see a link straight to My Amazon Author Page. Anyone who comes to this blog gets that put in front of them, too. You can include your buy link in your email signature, put it in your blog closing, and make sure you mention your books when you're on a panel at a convention, or giving an interview. Cross-promote, and you'll get a lot more action.

The most important thing for you to do, though, is to never let your promotion die. Make sure that you do at least one thing a day to try to promote your work. Whether it's mentioning your book in a blog entry, tossing off a quick tweet about it, leaving a comment on a forum that mentions your book, or even sending an email to a reviewer.

Just do one thing a day. It becomes habit forming, and once you've made a habit it's that much easier to maintain.

Set A Reasonable Pace

Promotion is not just hard, it's exhausting. Particularly if you try to do it all at once. But if you just pace yourself, and block a little bit of time every day for it, you'll be surprised at how much ground you can make up. Especially once other people start picking up what you're laying down, and doing at least some of the promotion for you by spreading the word about that book you wrote, and getting everyone hyped for your next release.

That's all for this week's Business of Writing post. Hopefully it helped some folks out there! For more of my work head over to my Vocal archive, or go to My Amazon Author Page where you'll find books like Crier's Knife, or my steampunk noir collection New Avalon: Love and Loss in The City of Steam.

If you'd like to help support my work, then consider Buying Me A Ko-Fi as a one-time tip, or heading over to The Literary Mercenary's Patreon page to become a regular supporter. Every little bit helps!

1 comment:

  1. Look for a book spotlight on Crier's Knife (and Neal) on on Monday, Dec 3.