Tuesday, 21 February 2017
The M Word: How to market your books in the digital age


By Anna Tse

In their 90-minute presentation, Shannon Young and Kathy Dunn, two experienced sci-fi and fantasy writers, shared with us their personal experiences with e-publishing and the strategies for promoting self-published works.

First, Shannon explained that she divided the marketing effort of her ebooks into three: 80 per cent is done before the book is launched on researching target readers through checking the ranking by sales of books on Kindle and making sure the cover is in keeping with the bookˇ¦s genre; 15 per cent is spent on using visibility strategies to broaden her readership; and the remaining 5 per cent devoted to "intricacies". She also stressed the importance of writing a series instead of single books: readers who have read the previous book in a series will want to read the next.

Kathy, who has a daytime job besides her writing, introduced a wide variety of websites and software which she finds useful when marketing her work. This ranges from the most popular social media such as Facebook and Instagram to lesser-known but powerful sites such as Canva, graphic software for designing promotional material, and Hootsuite, for managing the posts on social media.

In the Q&A session, Shannon and Kathy gave suggestions to the audience on both mechanical problems, such as how to manage publishing on Amazon, and more fundamental ones, such as what to do if your "real" identity does not allow you to write the books you want to, or how to balance the time between writing the book itself and managing the publicity on social media.