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[Column] Marketing for authors

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Pereira’s novella ‘Don’t Steal From The Devil’ appeared in the Top 100 Amazon UK horror section within a week of its release. Cover design by Wesley Smuts.

By Sergio Pereira

Being able to write a good story, or novel, isn’t nearly enough to garner attention or accolades nowadays, because you will also require the ability to effectively market your work. Whether you’re a published or self-published author, you’ll need to learn how to promote. Fortunately, there are many, many ways of successfully doing so, and I’ll share a few tips, which I’ve found to work, below.

Social media

In today’s era, social media is a huge part of every marketing plan – yet, it shouldn’t be the only plan. I’ve seen far too many people fall into the trap of focusing solely on social media to promote their work, only to realise that they’ve saturated their market when it’s already too late.

Use your accounts to share news and updates about your work, run competitions, and interact with readers (and potential readers) – but always remember that there’s a whole other world out there, too. Also, please don’t spam; everyone hates that.

Preparing a press release

A press release is an official statement with all of the relevant information about your work. This should include: all of the important links, selling points, contact details, descriptions, artwork, and quotes.

Whether you type out a press release by yourself, or hire a publicist to do it, it’s crucial to include the document in every single media contact enquiry. How else will the media know anything about you or your work?

Getting the right audience

Before you even consider contacting the media, make a list of all outlets that you wish to contact and double-check it. There’s no point asking a blog that specialises in romance novels to review your horror story, for example; that’s just the wrong demographic.

Furthermore, instead of sending out bulk emails, take the time to research each outlet, what they specialise in, and send out a personalised message – you’ll probably find that your chances of receiving a reply improve more.

Contacting the media

Nowadays, most contact is initiated via email, so it’s important for your mails to be courteous, professional, and to the point. Clearly state your pitch and contact details, and wait for a response.

If you haven’t received a response after a couple of weeks, consider following it up. However, be prepared to be ignored again (often in the media, if someone isn’t interested in something, they generally don’t reply; yes, it can be rude, but it’s unfortunately the way it is).

Most of all, keep in mind that no one owes you a thing. If someone says no, kindly thank them for their time and move on. Never beg; it comes off as desperation.

Advertising and giveaways

All marketing plans should have a budget (whether big or small). In order to secure more prime positioning and coverage, you’ll need to tap into this reservoir for advertising and giveaways. If you’re going to be cheap, then don’t expect miracles. Be prepared to spend money in order to make money.

Finally, there is one other important factor to consider: by putting your work out there, you must prepare for rejection and criticism. Not everyone will love what you do, and you need to handle their opinion with dignity and class, because everyone has the right to their opinion. Lose your nerve and you’ll also lose all that you’ve worked to achieve.

Sergio Pereira is the author of Don’t Steal from the Devil, a horror novella that charted in the top 100 horror charts of Amazon UK and Amazon Canada. Follow him on Twitter @sergiowrites


  1. Fantastic read! I’ve added your RSS feeds to my Google account.

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