Zanna MacKenzie offers her insight into what she has learnt on her publishing journey.
It’s just over a year since I became a published author. At the start of 2013 I was blissfully unaware of what lay ahead of me. I thought, great, my publishers will launch my book, it will sell and I’ll start earning some wonderful royalties. Right? Wrong. My first book, The Love Programme, came out in Feb 2013 closely followed, from a different publisher, by my second book in March 2013.
Did the books sell? Yes. But not in the way I’d imagined. Why, you ask? Well, there are a couple of possible answers to that question. Maybe people didn’t like the look of the book covers or the sound of the book’s plots. Some people don’t like books with a magical element to them. Some people aren’t keen on romances set in the wild Highlands of Scotland. We each have our preferred reading genres and sub genres. Fair enough. But the main reason the books didn’t leap off the cyber shelf was this – I didn’t market or promote them!
I had no idea about marketing whatsoever. I didn’t think I needed to know. You’re probably thinking ‘how foolish can she be?’ And, I guess, you’d be right. During the past twelve months I have navigated an extremely steep learning curve when it comes to promoting books.
I’ve listened to what other authors had to say via social media; many of them have even been generous enough to share their thoughts on what worked for them and what didn’t marketing-wise, which was invaluable and for that I’d like to say to them a huge THANK YOU!
I have read books on marketing novels. I have attended online seminars about marketing novels. I have explored the merits of book blog tours and the best way to undertake them. I discovered and networked with lots of wonderful ladies who run book review and news websites and blogs. I was a social media virgin and knew zip about Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter, Pinterest etc. I have had to learn – and fast.
The promotion campaign for my third book, which was launched in February this year, began back in the previous December, contacting book bloggers and reviewers, sending out advance copies of the book for review purposes, organising a blog tour and much more.
Both of my publishers are small independents and don’t have the marketing power of the big name publishers but I have author friends who are published by those big names and they too still have to do all the same promo for their books. Being a marketer is now a big part of being an author. It can be scary and, especially if you’re shy like myself, it takes you way outside your comfort zone. At the same time I enjoy learning about new things and it’s been a fascinating and hugely enjoyable experience – and I’ve met some wonderful people who get just as excited about books, in all their forms, as I do!
Do I know everything there is to know about promoting books? Far from it. I still have plenty to learn and lots to get to grips with.
Do I wish I’d undergone a crash course on marketing and promotion before my first book came out back in 2013? Yes, most definitely. If I’d only known…
At the end of each day though, no matter what, I’m still totally thrilled and excited to be a published author.
Faith owns The Coffee Pot in the outdoor adventure sports mecca of Derbyshire’s Peak District. She hasn’t had a man in her life for a while, as she’s been too busy serving cakes to weary rock climbers and mountain bikers to find time for the complications of a relationship with the male of the species. At least, that’s what she tells herself. The truth is that since she got her heart broken she’s had problems trusting men. When she meets Zane, one of the new owners at the Carrdale Extreme Sports Centre, Faith finds herself enjoying his company even though part of her can’t help wondering why he’s so reluctant to talk about himself. Then the past comes back to haunt her in the shape of Zane’s business partner Matt, who just happens to be the guy who broke Faith’s heart all those years ago. With Matt out to cause trouble and Zane keeping secrets Faith’s life is about to get very complicated indeed…
Zanna Mackenzie lives in the UK on the Derbyshire/Leicestershire border with her husband, four dogs, a vegetable patch that’s home to far too many weeds and an ever expanding library of books waiting to be read. Being a freelance writer and editor of business publications is her ‘day job’ but, at every opportunity, she can be found scribbling down notes on scenes for whatever novel she’s working on. She loves it when the characters in her novels take on minds of their own and start deviating from the original plot! If You Only Knew is Zanna’s third novel; her previous books The Love Programme and How Do You Spell Love? were published in 2013.
Find out more about Zanna on her blog http://www.zannamackenzie.blogspot.co.uk, on Twitter via @ZannaMacKenzie or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/zanna.mackenzie