Nearly every publisher expects an author to do some of her own marketing. I’ve tried everything from blog tours and online ads to Google Adwords campaigns and printed flyers. I have lost time and money with my advertising experiments.
How is an author supposed to market when writing time itself is in short supply? Should we divide our week into marketing days and writing days? Or is it better to spend an hour here and there marketing and devote the rest of our time to writing our next manuscript?
I asked our seasoned authors how they do it. Their answers follow their bios, which I encourage you to read, because I want you to see why you should take their advice to heart. They’ve been around the block, so to speak.
Collette Cameron is an Amazon bestselling (3 times Amazon Kindle top 100) and award-winning author of Regency and Scottish romance. If that’s not enough to convince you she knows what she’s doing, how about this? She won the 2013 Sneak Peek Contest, was a 2014 RONE Nominee, a double RONE Finalist in 2015, Aspen Gold Finalist 2015, and 2015 Wisconsin RWA Write Touch Reader’s Choice Winner. At this time, she has nine books under her belt with contracts for four more. She self-published a series, has four group projects already published and two more coming out in early 2016.
Tema Merback ‘s first book was a National Jewish Book Award Finalist entitled “In the Face of Evil,” the story of her mother’s survival of the Holocaust. It took her four years to write, but it was worth it, as it continues to be one of the highest rated books on Amazon and Goodreads. With her hot romance and suspense, she went the self-publishing route. She also writes under a nom de plume, Belle Ami.
Tina Susedik writes romantic mysteries, children’s books, and history books using her real name and erotic romance as Anita Kidesu. Her novel, “Riding for Love” was a finalist in the 2014 BTS awards. She has eleven books and two short stories in print, with two more on the horizon.
Catherine Castle writes sweet and inspirational romance. She has published one novel under the pen name of Catherine Castle and three as a coauthor with her husband. Her books consistently win awards, including the 2014 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner for Inspirational Romance, and a RONE in 2014 for inspirational romance. She was a finalist in the 2014 EPIC awards for an action/adventure romance and was a 2014 Carolyn Readers Choice Award finalist.
Ryan Jo Summers writes romance she calls “a mishmash of inspirational, time travel, shape shifting, paranormal, mystery, any and all combinations of the above.” She has three novels out now and another three coming in 2016. She blogs at https://www.summersrye.wordpress.com
Stacy Hoff writes contemporary romance. She has two anthology stories and three full-length novels to her credit, along with a 2015 “Rising Star” nomination from BTS emag’s Red Carpet Awards.
Jessica Jefferson is a bestselling author of historical romance. Her fifth novel is about to hit the market.
Samanthya Wyatt is a Golden Rose finalist. She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and has four books out at this time.
Petie McCarty is the author of five books, with the sixth coming in December. She writes contemporary paranormal romance for Desert Breeze and Soul Mate Publishing.
How much time do you spend writing vs. marketing each day?
Collette: I spend about two hours a day between marketing, promotion, social media, and taking care of emails and the like related to those things. I try to get in a minimum of four hours of writing, but that doesn’t always happen.
I also have a pile I put non-urgent items, and once I finish a book, I take a couple of days to wade through all of it.
Tema: Too much. Enough said. I should be writing right now.
Tina: That’s hard to quantify. Some days it seems as if all I’m doing is blogging, re-blogging, promoting myself, helping to promote other authors. This last one is important to your own marketing. We are not in competition with each other. I want to help other authors succeed, and in the process, maybe they’ll help me. (But that’s not why I do it.)
Catherine: I have no idea. I’ve never charted it. Probably because I don’t want to know how much I’m avoiding the writing chair.
Ryan Jo: Varies. Not nearly enough writing it seems. On average, it’s probably 60% marketing, even doing things like this and blogging and planning, and promoting and all the various things involved in getting my name/ brand out there somehow, someway. Which leaves 40% or less actually writing something with words on paper.
Samanthya: More marketing than writing. I’m upside down. I try to put in two hours at least two or three times a week. But I have a lot of interruptions and when I really want to just write, I’ll set aside a few hours and ignore the rest of the world.
Petie: Every week is different. If I have a new release, a book tour, or a book blitz, my marketing effort will soar to 100% of my time. If it’s a normal work week, the writing will be about 75% and the remaining 25% will be devoted to marketing, author loop/reader emails, and research. Unless of course, I didn’t turn my computer off during the 75% writing time, and then the social media troll crawls out from under his bridge.
How do you manage your time?
Up Next Week: The Changing Publishing Industry