I Don’t Have Anything Yet: Marketing for Unpublished Authors

You’re not yet published. You don’t have a website, or a blog, or an Amazon.com Author Central page. You work. You go to school. You’re broke. You have no idea if or when you’ll ever get that book finished. But you’re trying. Theoretically, you’re stuck.

No, really, you’re not.

Go to WordPress or Blogspot or any place you can set up a free piece of the internet that will be yours. Grab the link that will be yours before someone else does. Need an example? http://authorksbrooks.blogspot.com is mine. Lynne Cantwell tells us how it was super easy to get her own custom URL on Blogger here (you know, like http://authorksbrooks.com instead of the one I put above). Put up a short and professional biography with a photo of yourself.  Post random thoughts, if you want. Post book reviews you’ve written, if you want. Post something every once in a while just to make sure they don’t deactivate your blog for lack of use. There, see? You no longer “have nothing.”

Now, each Saturday, enter the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. Each week, the winner is featured in a spotlight post. If you win, post a link to your entry on your blog. If you don’t win, that’s okay – post the story you wrote on your blog. Enter to be a part of other anthologies. Once you’re published in an anthology – then guess what? You’ll be able to set up your Amazon Author Central page and claim that book to it.

This article will explain and show you how to get started with Amazon.com Author Central (you have to have at least one book published for that), Facebook Author Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, and GoodReads. It’s called Setting Up Your Empire. You don’t have to be published to get started with these. GoodReads also won’t let you set up an author page unless you have something published (so set up your reader profile if you’d like) – but if you’re part of an anthology, then you’re in. So it behooves you to try to get into an anthology in more ways than one. In this article here, our own Lin Robinson will beat you about the head until you’re convinced to participate.

I’d also recommend grabbing your own space on whatever other platforms you may foresee using – like a YouTube channel, Pinterest, LibraryThing, and wherever else you think you might like to participate. This way, if you reserve your “space” on these places now, you maybe have a better shot of getting the handle you need. Try to keep your handle consistent across all the platforms and you’ll be building your brand without even trying.  And, you’ll develop a following before you actually try to sell them anything. That’s the best way to do it.

A lot of people talk about “pre-release” marketing. I’m not an advocate of that. I don’t personally like to pigeon-hole myself into living up to deadlines that may not end up being achievable and then I’d look like a big loser to everyone. What if, heaven forbid, you have a death in the family? What if you get sick? What if you decide that you want to do a major re-write? To me, it’s fine to have a deadline in my head, but I don’t tell the world.  I’m also very protective of what I’m working on. That’s another personal preference. I don’t advertise my story lines or publish sample chapters before the book is available for sale. But that’s just me. I know a lot of successful authors who do just the opposite including book cover reveals, pre-release book video trailer teasers, and more. If you’re already set up on the platforms I’ve listed above, then you can just start sliding this new information into your routine instead of trying to get everything up AND running while you’re trying to get your name out there.

Authorship isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon. Our Jim Devitt wrote about exactly that in this post. I could give you a bunch of overused similes and metaphors like writing is like farming and sowing seeds and watching them grow and that takes time before they bloom yadda yadda yadda. Cliche, but true.

So, even if you don’t have a book published yet, take some baby steps and start building your empire. Remember, Rome wasn’t built overnight. Start laying your foundation now. Baby steps. (Okay, so I went with the overused metaphors anyway. So sue me.)

Author: K.S. Brooks

K.S. Brooks is an award-winning novelist, photographer, and photo-journalist, author of over 30 titles, and executive director and administrator of Indies Unlimited. Brooks is currently a photo-journalist and chief copy editor for two NE Washington newspapers.  She teaches self-publishing and writing topics for the Community Colleges of Spokane, and served on the Indie Author Day advisory board. For more about K.S. Brooks, visit her website and her Amazon author page.

32 thoughts on “I Don’t Have Anything Yet: Marketing for Unpublished Authors”

  1. Do little elves come at night and upload that remarkable brain of yours? Wow, how did you get to know all of this stuff? I’m thankful you did, because I’m one of your students.

  2. Fantastic advice, Kat, as always. Totally agree with the “building your empire” before you begin, I certainly wish I’d done that a couple of years ago.

  3. Fantastic advice. I’m going to get that blog set up right now. It’s something I’ve been sort of thinking about doing but I always come back to “I have no idea what to blog about!”

    1. You have to market yourself in order to market your book so tell people what you’re passionate about. The ones who comment back will be the ones you have something in common with. They’ll become your friends rather than your consumers but… friends tend to help each other and that relationship is worth every bit of effort you put into it.

    2. Great! Glad to hear it, Ben. 🙂 First off, you can include your flash fiction entries with a link to the photo here on this site. If you enter every week, that’s an automatic blog post for you. 🙂

  4. I’m confused. Where does getting an army of murderous robotic automatons come into this? I’ve got that part all ready to go, but this book thing is throwing me big time.

    1. Is an automaton like an automated ottoman? It’d be really handy to have something to put my feet on that could also serve me beverages. Great idea, Rich!

  5. Kat, this is so very helpful!! I’m going to read those previous articles again in a new light. At this point, it seems quite overwhelming but step by step, bit by bit, I shall get there. I have the blog, now onwards to an author page!

  6. Ref: Authorship isn’t a sprint, it’s a marathon.

    Couldn’t have said it better. Because if it’s just a sprint, then it’s over all too soon. This writing thing is for the long haul 🙂

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