No series on author marketing would be complete without a discussion of the most effective marketing tactic ever.
Ironically, the best and most effective form of marketing an author can do … is not traditional “marketing” at all.
The best, most effective, and most important form of author marketing is: BE A HAPPY, FRIENDLY PERSON WHO PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS.
At the end of the day, the goal of marketing is telling people about your books, and making them want to buy. There are many ways to let readers know that your books exist, but if you aren’t a pleasant person, people won’t want to support you.
In a sense, the first rule of author marketing is a corollary of Wheaton’s Law. An author who’s interesting, happy, responsive, and fun to know is someone whose books you want to read. An author who’s pushy, entitled, and cranky? Not so much.
Happy authors don’t have to be pollyannas, or force themselves into a specific mold. However, successful authors (like successful people generally) tend to have a positive, fun loving approach to life and work.
Again: I’m not saying you have to be happy 100% of the time. The key is behaving in a way that attracts people instead of repelling them.
Here are some tips for the kind of positive outlook that helps an author build a platform (and an audience) better than any advertising:
1. Talk about things you love, and let your love for the topic show. Don’t turn your appearances into a sterilized, overly stiff presentation of expertise. Let your geek flag fly. People are drawn to passion and joy, and when an author talks from the heart, it’s attractive to readers on many levels.
2. Know when to engage the Internet, and when to keep to yourself. If you’re having a cranky day, you might want to skip the twitter and Facebook feeds – or better still, post a simple congratulation for another author’s recent success. Putting the focus on others will help you forget your own issues–or, at minimum, will keep you from airing them in public.
3. Give freely, help others, and give value to others whenever you can. Giving to others, and helping others, may not initially seem like “marketing your books” but you’ll be surprised at the benefits kindness brings. When people choose which books to buy, they often remember an author’s kindness–& that makes a difference at the register too. Don’t be kind to people only to make them buy your books…but be aware that a lack of kindness will hurt your sales, for sure.
4. Remember that every other author, and every reader, bookseller, & editor, is just as important as you are. It’s easy to fall into “special snowflake syndrome,” especially when you have a new release or when your books are selling well. Don’t walk that road. No person is more important, or more special, than any other…and as an author, it behooves you to remember it. The more you appreciate your readers, other authors, and other people generally, the happier you will be — and the more attractive you and your books will be to others, too.
The short-form takeaway lesson today is: Be the author YOU’d be a fan of, if the situations were reversed.
Have you ever met, or had an experience with, an author whose attitude made you want to buy (or not want to buy) their books? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!