Fresh off of releasing her debut novel, Let it Reign, Cathrine has done her homework in the world of book marketing and it has paid off, big time! I’m excited to have Cathrine featured on the blog to share some of her pearls of wisdom she had gathered when plan her marketing strategy for her debut.
Book Marketing like a Bad-Ass
By Cathrine Swift
When selecting a topic for this guest article, I almost felt like there wasn’t a lot I could say on author marketing and strategies for a book release. But the more I thought about it, I realized I did a ton of research on marketing a book and that I was kind of kicking butt at it.
As it stands, my book has sold over 100 copies in just 7 weeks. In case you don’t know, that’s pretty cool because most books, especially self-published books (especially debut novels) won’t sell over 150 copies in their lifespan. I’m not saying this to brag, but to let you know that even though the methods I’m going to share with you in this post might look mad, they work. At least, they worked for me. Aside from time, you have nothing to lose!
Every piece of marketing I’ve done for Let it Reign has been FREE.
I haven’t spent a dime on promotion yet. I will, when I can. But as it stands right now, I’m not in that kind of financial position. So, I have to work with what I have. And I think that’s an important mindset to grasp when figuring out how you’re going to market your book.
I won’t pretend I know everything, but at the very least, I hope I can inspire you.
So, let’s jump right into it and I’ll answer the number one question I get asked often when it comes to this whole marketing/self-promotion thing.
What was your strategy?
Answer: NO REGRETS.
Quick disclaimer; I am NOT an extrovert.
I live and breathe anxiety, both the regular and social kind. I don’t do well in crowds, I’m rubbish at public speaking, and the idea of having the spotlight on me in any way terrifies me. BUT, I knew the world needed my story, and I knew that if I was going to be successful, it was me that had to put in the work. Even if I’d chosen the traditional route over indie publishing, the marketing still would have rested on my shoulders.
I believe that if I’m going to do something I had better come out of the gate guns blazing.
Do you know that Ariana Grande song, 7 Rings?
“I want it, I got it, I want it, I got it.”
That was my motto, only I changed it to: “I want it, I asked for it.”
I cannot tell you how many emails I sent out in the final months while prepping for Let it Reign’s release. I emailed newspapers, radio stations, TV news stations, political candidates, local and national (and even international) organizations. Anyone who I believed might be interested in reading or hearing about my story. Anyone with a platform who believed in the same things my book was trying to shout from the rooftops.
You see, Let it Reign is the story of a queer medieval queen who joins forces with her community and closest friends to take down the evil king she was forced to marry. There are messages woven throughout the pages about equality, empowerment, inner strength, grief, love, inclusion and cooperation.
My idea was that if someone was going to say no to me, that was okay. They could tell me no all they wanted if my story wasn’t the right fit for them. However, I wasn’t going to be the one to say no to myself. And that if the idea of asking or applying for something scared me, that was all the more reason for me to do it.
- I wanted to be on the radio, and guess what? I did it! I’ve actually been on the radio TWICE! (At the time of writing this post.)
- I’ve had a reporter come to my first book signing because I invited him.
- I wanted to be on TV and in magazines so I emailed both the head offices and the individuals involved in the companies. Yes, it’s freaking crazy, but there is no rule saying you can’t do this.
- I applied to speak at a panel all by my damned self. And I hate public speaking. But I wanted to do it. So, I applied. Still waiting to hear back about that.
- I wanted to have my physical books in a store. So, I emailed both indie bookstores in my city. They both said yes. Still working on the chain book stores.
- I reached out to strong, empowering women in the community who’s content I truly adored. So far, one featured me on her platform and the other asked for an interview.
- I emailed the local mayor and asked if he would be willing to support and endorse me. He said yes. His platform reaches approximately 10,000 people. That’s faces I couldn’t necessarily reach otherwise.
- I wanted my book to be on Bookstagram and BookTok so I got involved in both communities. And let me tell you, there is nothing cooler than when one of your social media friends or fans tags you in a post where they are holding your book! It’s surreal.
Basically, I didn’t sit around and wait to be ‘discovered.’ I stood up and said, “Hey, I’m here. I’m hoping to change the world. Will you listen to my story?”
Now, that’s not to say I got a bunch of response emails or that reporters were suddenly banging down my door. I would say I averaged about one positive response or endorsement for every. . . thirty emails I sent out.
It was A LOT of work. But anything worth doing is a lot of work. I mean, writing a book isn’t exactly something we do overnight. It takes time. And if you believe in a story enough to dedicate your heart, mind, and soul to it, then I personally believe you should give at least half that level of passion to its release.
My number one piece of advice?
Send the email. Make the phone call. Apply for anything and everything you can. Get involved in the bookish communities, both local and online.
Who knows what will come of it? Maybe nothing, OR maybe you’ll get a yes!
I’ve absolutely gotten far more no’s than yes’s, but even some “no’s” came with a “but check this organization out” or “contact these folks instead”.
Dream big and think small, all at the same time. Email Oprah AND your local newspaper/ radio stations. Think of what organizations who believe in the same things you’ve written about might help you promote. Reach out to everyone and anyone you can think of.
And don’t look back when your email goes unanswered or your call isn’t returned. That opportunity is just not meant for you at this moment.
Like I write whenever I sign my books. . . always forward.
More About Cathrine
Cathrine Swift is an indie author and Youtuber with a passion for intentional living and steamy fanfiction. Recognizing how authors have changed her life, she hopes to utilize her growing talent to do the same. To change the world, for at least one person. She’s dedicated her adult life to learning, practicing her craft and uncovering her true voice through heartbreak, hardship and human interaction. Cathrine lives in Alberta, Canada with her husband and wild toddler.
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