Marketing. The word itself has come to sound so inauthentic—and therein lies the problem. When you speak to most authors, marketing is generally the topic that elicits an “ugh!” response. Even for those rare few who aren’t put off by the word, the prospect of marketing a book sounds daunting. This is especially true for YA authors who want to reach teen readers. Now, there are countless posts about how to choose from the ever-increasing number of social media platforms and how to optimize each one. Because those posts have already been written, I’ll add only one tip I’ve found to be true: Try out several platforms (especially that one that scares you most!), then focus on the ones you genuinely like so your posts are sincere instead of forced.
Moving on from that, I’d like to discuss something I haven’t heard many people talk about—avoiding saturation. The thing is, as soon you have a book coming out, you’ll start looking at what other authors are doing and emulating their choices. You’ll do the same types of giveaways, post on the same websites and blogs, and apply for the same events. Of course, you should do those things—they’re a great way to connect with the lit community. And that’s where the excitement for your book starts! But the problem is, every other hardworking author is doing that, too, so your book is one of many.
Take events for instance. At many big literary events, nearly all the speakers are industry folks (many are other authors). While you should absolutely try to market your book at these events (and if you’re lucky, your publisher will pitch you for those coveted speaker spots), they should not be the only thing you do or even your primary focus. Events like that can teach you a lot and are A TON OF FUN when you have a book coming out, but chances are, your book will not stand out much among the hundreds of other shiny books (especially if you’re a debut). So, you need to devote some time to thinking about…your book.
What is unique about your book and the types of readers it attracts? Are there events or blogs or sites where teens who will love your book in particular hang out? These places will not be as saturated with other authors marketing other books, so you have a better chance of being heard—and not just by industry folks, but by readers. For instance, my book is about mermaids, so I’ve spent a lot of time finding sites, online communities, and events for mermaid lovers (and that research is fun because I’m a mermaid lover, too!). While my publisher is helping me reach a broader audience, I can work on reaching a more specific (and less saturated) one. To me, this seems like a very logical division of labor because my publisher knows the industry much better than I do, and I understand my ideal readers on a deep level, so we’re each focusing on our own area of expertise. While mermaid-focused events may not attract the thousands of people that the LA Times Festival of Books will, each one of the several hundred attendees has a much higher likelihood of loving my book—and I’ll be one of the only authors there. And while every author wants a picture in Publisher’s Weekly, I’m the only author so far to do a photo shoot in support of ocean conservation with Project Mermaids (which gives me the opportunity to not only help raise awareness and funds for a cause I’m privileged to support but will also involve my photos being shared with their 245,000 mermaid fan followers on Instagram, most of whom are teens). I may have it easier than most since mermaids are so specific, but I’d wager the strategy still works no matter what your type of book if you think about unique ways to find your ideal reader. Of course, I’m new at this, so I can only go off of what’s working for me so far, but I will say that, over the past few months, it’s led me to have some of the most fun and insanely amazing experiences of my life because there’s no better feeling than connecting to a reader.
You know your book and you’re the one who can come up with these types of ideas because you know the people who will fall in love with it. They’re just like you. The best part about it is, when the people you’re directing your marketing at are people you can relate to, you won’t need to worry about sounding inauthentic because you’ll be talking to your people.
Tobie Easton was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, where she’s grown from a little girl who dreamed about magic to a twenty-something who writes about it. A summa cum laude graduate of the University of Southern California, Tobie hosts book clubs for tweens and teens. She and her very kissable husband enjoy traveling the globe and fostering packs of rescue puppies. Learn more about Tobie and her upcoming books at www.TobieEaston.com. Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |Goodreads
Emerge (Mer Chronicles #1)
by Tobie Easton
Publication Date: April 19, 2016
Lia Nautilus may be a Mermaid, but she’s never lived in the ocean. Ever since the infamous Little Mermaid unleashed a curse that stripped Mer of their immortality, war has ravaged the Seven Seas.
So Lia has grown up in a secret community of land-dwelling Mer hidden among Malibu’s seaside mansions. Her biggest problems are surviving P.E. and keeping her feelings for Clay Ericson in check. Sure, he’s gorgeous in that cocky, leather jacket sort of way and makes her feel like there’s a school of fish swimming in her stomach, but getting involved with a human could put Lia's entire community at risk. So it’s for the best that he’s dating that new girl, right?
That is, until Lia finds out she isn't the only one at school keeping a potentially deadly secret. And this new girl? Her eyes are dead set on Clay, who doesn't realize the danger he's in. If Lia hopes to save him, she’ll have to get closer to Clay than ever. Lia’s parents would totally flip if they found out she was falling for a human boy, but the more time she spends with Clay, the harder it is for Lia to deny her feelings.After making a horrible mistake, Lia will risk everything to stop Clay from falling in love with the wrong girl.
Any marketing advice to offer up on promoting books? We are all ears...