One of the hardest things an author faces is marketing their own work. No matter what publishing platform you choose to release your work through, eventually you will find yourself in the position of having to promote it. Unfortunately, this is also one of the least discussed topics between peers as well. Adding to the confusion of what direction to go in, is the mixed reviews that are available. Put quite simply, what works for one author does not always work for another.

There are far too many marketing tools available to authors to mention each and everyone in this article alone. They range in price from free to well into the hundreds. Some offer a money back guarantees, some have certain standards your book has to meet, some are genre specific, but almost all will require the author to put in some time and do a little work as well to achieve the maximum benefit.

Before getting started on any marketing plan, every author should have in place an adequate social media following. Make sure you have set up a Facebook fan page and a Twitter account at the minimum. Other forms of social media that are recommended are Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, Tumblr, and Instagram. The majority of the book marketing services available online involve sending out messages via these platforms to their large followings.

There are a few things every writer should look at before jumping into a marketing plan head first. It may be exciting, but keeping a calm head and be prepared will benefit your bottom line in the long run.

Whatever form of promotion chosen, the first thing a potential reader notices is your book cover. If it doesn’t interest them, then nothing else matters. Odds are they will simply move on to the next recommended read. Take a good long look at your design and decide if your money is better spent making a new cover before marketing the old one.

After you are satisfied with your cover, work on creating a few different one paragraph write-ups about both yourself and your book. If you use more than one service, you don’t want everything to be the same. Change things up to keep it interesting.

Prepare at least ten different tweets about your book. Research popular hashtags and use them to give the maximum exposure possible. Try to make interesting statements about your book rather than telling people to simply buy it. Make use of your book’s tagline or comments left by reviewers. Be creative. End each tweet with a link that leads to a buy now page. This is important. The majority of people do not want to be led from link to link. Make it as easy as possible for them to make the purchase.

Warning: When looking at a social media following, for instance on Twitter, it should be taken into consideration that not all followers are necessarily interested in buying books. These numbers include other authors who are or have promoted their books with that particular service, some companies who are only interested in increasing their own followers and most likely some accounts that are automated. What does that mean for you? That portion of followers will never read and, in some case never see, your message. If it looks too good to be true, do a bit more research before parting with your money.

If your marketing budget is small or next to none, don’t worry there are cost-effective solutions that can help you promote your work to the point where it is providing the funds to cover the larger more expensive services. Start slow and work your way up.

Over the next few weeks, I will be exploring the world of marketing with you. While I cannot tell you which platforms will work for you, I can provide you with a list of different services, and in some cases, my personal experiences with them, to help you make a choice you feel is best suited to you and your book(s).

Thank you for reading. Join me next week for the next article on Marketing.