Occasionally I get a question from a fellow author with a problem and I answer it here.
My novel is still in its first draft. It´s long, I still have to finish it, and I write a LOT every day, but there´s still a lot of time before it will be published. Many months, probably. Do you think it’s right to start talking about it on my website? What if I don´t know its title yet?
PS: I´d love to read your novel. Is it possible to get it in paperback?
Yes, you can start engaging readers now, so there is an interested fan base when the book comes out. A few months before the book comes out, up to maybe as much as six months, is about the right window for advance marketing.
If you market too early, you may peak fan interest before the book is ready. Start too late, and of course you don’t get enough buzz generated.
Plus, telling readers about the story as it moves along is fun. You can hint at a romantic scene you just finished, or a dramatic twist – tease them a little! That’s what movie previews do, right? And TV commercials? They hint at what’s coming up. The reason a strip tease is sexier than just seeing a naked lady walk out onstage is the anticipation it builds. A menu with pictures making the food look good will get your mouth is watering.
Titles are tough.
What few words can possibly sum up your epic tome? That’s a lot of pressure. Make a working title and consider asking your blog followers if it is a good one; give them a synopsis so they can see if the title “fits” – or maybe they can suggest one. (That’s actually something we could do as a blog post/writing challenge: Name The Story. Let me know and we’ll do it. It’ll be fun. Readers can make up names and vote for the best one).
Then, when you are ready, if you change the name, you can tell your readers. If I were to change the name of Poggibonsi to “Love, Italian Style” and I TOLD everyone, they’d easily switch over. It would give me another excuse to talk about the book, too, generating additional buzz.
There are a lot of ways to market badly, so I’ll only say this: be honest about your enthusiasm, but try not to be obnoxious and tell fans “Buy my book!” ten times a day on every social media outlet you use. However, be sure to let them know it’s coming, and then that it’s here, and that you want them to buy it. When you get good reviews, boast about it. Enthusiasm is contagious. People like it, and it’ll sell books. Just don’t go overboard. 10% or fewer of your posts should be a BUY MY BOOK post or tweet.
And be sure to thank your fans for being such great followers, for buying your book, and for writing reviews. People like being thanked.
That was a really great question. Thanks for asking it!
See? Didn’t that feel good?
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.