I am pleased to have author, Francois Keyser here as my guest. He chose to leave the corporate world and become an author and entrepreneur. He is the author of "The Junglies" series of books. His books are a true delight for anyone to read, not just children.
Thank you to Karen Ingalls for giving me this wonderful opportunity to write a guest blog.
I was recently asked by someone for some advice on how to make their book writing hobby a full time career.
I can offer this advice and I hope it will be of help to you.
NEVER give up your day job until your writing generates sufficient income for you.
The world is hooked on Amazon and I have nothing against them. However, I think many authors look at Amazon as the God of the published world. Yet, there are so many books on Amazon that publishing your book is like adding a drop of water to the ocean. Publishing is the easiest thing to do in the entire publishing process. The hardest thing to do is marketing your book. And its the most important.
By all means though, go ahead and publish your books on as many platforms as you can. The platforms are sales and distribution channels for you. Try to use channels such as Ingram Spark which distributes to Amazon and many other channels. The bigger the distribution, the less work you have to publish on multiple channels. Many people will have different perspectives about this and you will need to make your own choice ultimately.
So how do you market your book? You should decide who your market is before you start writing. Many of us don't. If you know what your market is then you know where to market it and it's easier to do so.
Social media is necessary but many people have said it doesn't sell books. I tend to agree. I have hardly ever sold books through social media. I just tend to get likes which doesn't put food on the table. Not being ungrateful. Just realistic. It does however create awareness and is therefore very necessary. But you should target your social media to your market. Connect with people in your book's market. It takes time too. Time you could be spending writing. But unless you can find a social media manager who can mange your social media for you fairly inexpensively you have to do it yourself.
I believe you need to be as creative as you can be regarding your book. As authors most of us do not have unlimited budgets for marketing so we need to be careful with how we spend the budget we have.
I promote my children’s books by telling stories from my books (sometimes using puppets) at schools and children’s events. It costs very little to get to the school and sometimes I get paid as well! My wife and I also have an arts and crafts business and we run workshops for children. Sometimes I am able to sell books at those workshops.
Make merchandise using your book or book cover. Make bookmarks you can give away, a puzzle, notebook, fridge magnet, business card holder, key ring, shirts, mugs, caps, tote bags, back packs, stickers and anything else you can think of. Why you ask? Because these items advertise or shout your book out every time someone uses them. It’s always in their face and repetition is so great at getting people to pay attention or reminding them. This goes further than social media. You can then package these items with your book and sell them as a package or at a book launch or give them away with competitions.
Find opportunities to be in the public eye. Contact libraries and ask them if you can do a book signing and reading from your book. Make personal contact with people. Build up followers. Collect e-mail addresses which you can add to an e-mail database that you e-mail regularly with updates about your books. You can also find related topics which you can speak about at your local library. People will get to know you and get to know you are an author.
Keep submitting your books to traditional publishers if you want to. There is of course the point at which you have to decide if you want to wait for a publishing deal, if ever, or get on with it and publish your books yourself.
Connect with other authors and write guest blogs for them. Publish guest blogs from other authors on your site as well. You always keep content fresh and interesting.
Offer creative writing workshops regarding your genre to people. Become an expert on your genre and people will connect with you because of it. This will create more word of mouth about you and your books.
There are many author groups on LinkedIn and elsewhere which offer valuable information. Connect with them as far as possible.
And don’t forget reviews. Do what you have to do to get reviews. This is critical for sales. I may give it one line of attention here but this is almost sacred regarding sales in my opinion.
So when do I write I hear you asking? You have to make the time to write. Consistently.
Good resources for writing are:
Francois has also recently launched his business BookGeniez which offers marketing tools for authors and other publishing related services.
Francois's arts and crafts business, Kreative Keo, manufactures, sells and runs arts and crafts workshops for children encouraging learning and inspiring creativity and reducing time spent on gadgets.