By Cathy Rayburn-Trobaugh
If you are marketing yourself as a writer, and you should, no doubt you have gotten emails offering a number of options to help you sell your books. While many of these are legitimate, they may or may not be effective. Before you part with your money, consider a few things:
• What exactly is being offered for what price? Make sure you know exactly what you are getting and weigh it against the cost. In most cases, they will give you an introductory package with add-ons later. Ask questions and make sure you know the final cost.
• Is it right for your genre? If you are primarily a science fiction writer then a marketing kit that deals with a non-fiction market won’t be of much help.
• Is the creator of the package reputable and experienced? Do some basic searches to begin with. I like to pair up the person or company’s name with the words “review,” “scam” or “fraud.” Beware though—just because there is one bad review doesn’t make the program a scam; look for patterns. Also, if the creator of the program claims awards and an educational background, look into the legitimacy of the institutions and the claims.
• Can you get the same information free? It is entirely possible that the same information can be gleaned from blogs and websites; however, this doesn’t necessarily make it not worth the money. It depends how much your own time is worth.
There are many low-cost or free marketing programs you can take part in too.
• Library of Congress Blog: http://blogs.loc.gov/loc/
• Small Business Administration’s Marketing 101: http://www.sba.gov/content/marketing-101
• The Freelancer’s Union: https://www.freelancersunion.org
• Wiley Publishing Author’s Guide: http://authorguide.wiley.com/
• Writer’s Digest: http://www.writersdigest.com/
• Writer’s Market: http://www.writersmarket.com
While many of you wonder why we don’t take advantage of some of these options, the answer is that sometimes we do, but WBP is very judicious about how we spend our marketing dollars. In most cases, we are aware of what is out there, but not a lot will be beneficial to us as a business. The same is true of you as authors. It’s easy to spend a lot of money quickly without necessarily getting the best results. Do your homework and consider carefully.
*These two are related and are valuable resources; however, they are very aggressive about selling add-ons. Be aware that it is very easy to get caught up in the patter, but spend wisely.