Are you the type of author who only focuses on promoting your new releases? The debut of a new book or a short story can be pretty exciting, but the key to successful marketing is to ensure that you’re not just focusing on the new and the shiny.
I’ve talked to several authors (and artists) who want to ignore what came before. Here’s some common objections I’ve encountered and my typical responses:
- “No one cares about my backlist.”If your readers don’t know a book exists, then how can they read it? By sharing with them what you’ve worked on before, you remind them you have other titles out there. Remember, market saturation is important when it comes to highlighting the depth and breadth of your writing.
“My work is so much better now. Why would anyone want to read that crap?”
Did you feel that way when you published your first novel? What about all the readers who enjoyed it? Would you refund their money? If your answer is “No,” then don’t be so hard on yourself. If it wasn’t a good story to begin with, you wouldn’t have written and published it.
“It doesn’t make any sense to promote what I’ve already done.”
Why does every book you mention have to be a professional campaign? Why not simply share what you’ve learned with your readers and talk about your experiences since those early days? A side effect to talking about your previously published work, is that you are expressing you are not a “new” author, either. To some readers (and pros) that makes a difference.
“I don’t want to distract my readers by telling them they should buy my past stuff.”
By mentioning your backlist, you’re breaking up the monotony of your push for your new release once the fever has died down. Not every reader will want to read the story that has just come out. Not to mention, there is such a thing as being too pushy. When it comes to buying books, the power is in the hands of your reader — not you.
“I’ve already talked about these books, so it’s not a big deal if I don’t mention it again.”
Do you remember every book your favorite author talked about and when they did it? Can you recall what day or month you talked about your previously-published books? Do you think your readers will? Chances are, your tried-and-true fans have already forgotten your discussion. New readers have never encountered your work before, so to them — like your backlist — your articles would be something new to read.
I feel it’s short-sighted to ignore your previously-published work. Mentioning what you’ve done before deepens your promotional efforts and gives you something fresh to talk about when you don’t have any new releases to promote. If you know you don’t have anything coming out on a semi-regular schedule, then try to talk about something you’ve worked on before — at least once a month. Maybe you have a sale or an auction. Maybe you talk about reactions from your readers. Maybe you sponsor a give-a-way or a signed edition of your early work. Maybe you simply take a trip down memory lane. (For an example of what I’ve written, see: The Queen of Crows: a One Year Retrospective at www.mlvwrites.com.
By promoting your existing titles, you add depth to your marketing efforts because you’re adding new products to the mix. Don’t be afraid to talk about your previously published work in a way that’s new to those readers, either. After all, if you complain or talk down about what you’ve already done, then that will reflect in your sales and the way your readers/fellow authors treat you. If you’re that unhappy with your backlist, then what will that say about how you’ll treat your current releases a year from now?
What do you think? Do you talk about what you’ve already written? Why or why not?