By the time I was ready to publish my first novel, I knew I needed to start thinking about marketing too.
But I was scared.
I felt like a young child daring to reveal her precious art to the whole world. I was small and they were huge. And their response mattered a lot.
How was I going to get the courage to move forward with my marketing when I felt petrified?
In my mind, I knew that marketing was important. I knew I needed to take steps.
But in my heart that had poured so much into my story, and in my body, that was the doer, I was frozen.
What was I to do?
The only way people would know about my first novel was if I shared it with them. That’s what marketing is: sharing your message with people who don’t already know about it, preferably to people who would be curious and potential readers.
For help, I turned to a few wise friends and teachers and learned a few things that may help you.
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Marketing Steps I Took
Firstly, I realized that my work is precious to me and close to my heart and deserves as much care and attention in marketing as I put into the writing.
I didn’t have to send my book out into the woods to face the big bad wolves; I could send it off with a support posse, plenty of food, and a sense of safety. And to start my marketing, I didn’t have to go out into a huge wood, just venture a little bit away from home, maybe across a field.
I know, I’m speaking in metaphor. Specifics would help.
Instead of thinking I had to contact hundreds of book bloggers to see if they’d like to review my book, I started with one blogger a week. By the end of 3 months, my book had appeared on about 20 blogs and received 10 reviews.
I started small, organized it so I could integrate book marketing into my daily life, like the way I’d done for writing, and made progress. That felt good.
Practicing Marketing Presence
Even today, I get overwhelmed by marketing my fiction and don’t know where to start.
The first thing I do is reassure myself that this is normal, that overwhelm is my first step in my creative process.
I sit with the overwhelm, assuring myself of my commitment to getting the word out about my books — no longer just that first book, but now two series encompassed in eight books, and soon a third series – four more books!
I remind myself that the marketing of my books can look all kinds of ways, and that I can absolutely do what’s manageable and fun.
With that pep talk, I relax a little and ask myself: “What would I like to do next to market my books?”
I have a lot to choose from, but I know I can’t do it all, at least not all at once.
I listen to my heart; I let my mind weigh in (I can’t stop her!), and watch the internal conversation — the back and forth.
My heart knows where my passion lies and that is where I focus. I’m excited (and nervous!) to share about my new science fiction mystery series I’ve worked so hard on over the last four years.
Now my doer pipes in. She so knows what to do.
Taking Marketing Action
First, we’ll brainstorm with the List of 20 tools, listing as fast as I can, in a happy frenzy, all the ideas I can think of to market the trilogy. Crazy ideas, expensive ideas, dumb ideas. All are welcome.
Second, we take a rest or a walk. Something to step away from it all and let the other parts of me, many of them unconscious, filter through the ideas, while the mind chatters on about cost, timing, why I can or can’t do the things on this list. I let that happen for an hour or a day until the time is right to figure out what to do next.
The next step can look lots of different ways, but what occurs to me now is to get clear on my goal, motivation, challenges, and strengths in getting the word out about my science fiction mystery.
So that’s my third step.
After that, I’ll make a doable plan and take action.
What does heart-centered book marketing look like to you? How can you let your mind and heart reveal their desires and talk to each other?
When we are aligned, powerful things happen. You created a wonderful story that way. And now you can market that way too!
Looking for writing inspiration? Check out her free book, 10 Ways to Generate Ideas While Stuck Inside.
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Founder of Barany School of Fiction, Beth Barany is an award-winning novelist writing magical tales of romance, adventure, and mystery. She is also an international trainer and workshop leader. Most recently, she taught her “Plan Your Novel” course (now a book!) in Saudi Arabia at Ithra.
Beth loves encouraging writers to share their stories with the world, for together we can vision our future. She specializes in helping writers experience clarity, so they can write, revise, and proudly publish their novels to the delight of their readers.
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