Hastings & St. Leonards on-line community newspaper

brett-zeck-600pixHaving a go at marketing a self-published book part 1 (and literary events from 12 Nov 2019)

Marketing! The very word sends shivers through me and I don’t think I’m alone. I have looked with increasing desperation at ways to avoid this, but the time has come. In this post Angela J. Phillip sets off down the dreaded road in search of help.

“No,” I said, “I’m not going to self-publish because you have to do your own marketing.” It’s true. You do have to do your own marketing. If you want to sell your books to more than your family and five friends and unless you are rich enough to pay someone else to do it, there is no alternative. I am told that even if you get a contract with a traditional publisher, you are still expected to do a lot of the marketing yourself.

I’ve read a lot about it. I’ve read blog posts and articles littered with terms like ‘social media presence’, ‘author branding’, ‘landing pages’, ‘Amazon key words’ and similar words that fill me with dread. I turn away because I’m no good at it. But I do want readers for my books so either I give up or I have another try (for some of the tasks on the marketing list, it will not be my first attempt). If it’s true that success breeds success, then it’s also true that failure leads to more failure and with each failed attempt, the next one gets harder. But in case you’re just starting, let’s try together and at least starting from the bottom means we shall go up rather than down.

What I’m going to do is take things one step at a time. For each marketing post, I shall focus on one technique, pass on information on how to do it and explain how I’m getting on with putting it into practice. This is the first one.

william-iven-220pixHow and why to create an author page on Facebook

The first advice I received when I said I’d written a novel was that I should get a social media presence – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, the big three. So I tried. On Twitter, I have got 18 followers. When I tweet, I usually get one like – and that’s my husband – sometimes, I get two likes! On Instagram, I discovered that I needed to do it from my phone and I prefer working on my laptop, so I have not got much further there, and on Facebook, I did create an author page, but it’s not doing very well.

So why am I still trying? It’s because the best way to sell anything is to talk about it to friends. Word of mouth is king. If your friend tries some new soup from Aldi and likes it, you might try it. If your friend raves on about a new book they’ve just read, you’re likely to read it. Facebook is not the same as word of mouth, but it is sort of the same. It’s a virtual place where you tell people what you’re doing and what you like – and it’s where you read about what they’re doing and what they like. You can comment on each other’s messages and other people can join in. And crucially, it’s a place where you usually ‘talk’ to more people than you meet face to face. Apparently, Facebook has 2.23 billion active users!

elio-santos-220pixThe Benefits of creating an Author Page on Facebook listed by the article I read from are the following:

1. Easy way to get all your fans in one place
– My comment on this – ha ha. Would be nice if I had any fans. Still, you never know.
2. Direct line of communication between you and readers
– This is true, so I’ll have to hope that people comment as much as possible. So far, I get likes but not many comments. The comments I do get are usually to do with things that are not about writing or books. More usually about everyday things like having bought a pair of trousers with skulls on (but I’m beginning to think that comments like that are more interesting – and after all, novels are full of characters who wear trousers with skulls on).
3. Easy to link to articles and books
– Yes, this is true. If I review a book, I can provide a link so that people can buy it etc. I can link to my blogposts, too, so that’s a pleasure because it means that I can put my ramblings in more than one place.
4. You can use it to find new readers through advertisements
– I’ve never done this so can’t comment on whether it’s a good idea or not. Will report back later if I try it or you could post your comments to tell us what your experience is. I seem to remember reading somewhere that it was expensive.

How to create an author page – this is described step by step in the article:
Facebook Author Page –

carlos-muza-220pixUses of the author page

1. Grow your email subscribers
The article explains how you can use the page to get people to sign up to your ‘landing page’ so that you can email your subscribers about new books.
A landing page is a page where readers can get information about you and/or buy your books. You can create one in your website, if you have one, or you can create an author page on Amazon (more about this in a later post).
– I am not sure about creating email lists although most of the advice on the web says that you should do this. If you do create a list and email people, then it is essential that they should be able to easily unsubscribe (once again, more about this in a later post).
2. Share updates about what you’re doing
– Strangely, this has been, for me, the most important piece of advice in the whole article. Up until now, I have used my author page on Facebook more or less exclusively to pass on information about writing or books, but these get little interest. I suppose it’s because it’s more like a notice board with a series of announcements rather than a sharing of personal information. I never post about sitting in a pub or watching my bird friends on the veranda. But I should do, and in future, I will try. I shall start talking to my friends instead of hiding away.
3. Use Facebook Live
– Apparently, you can broadcast live but I’ve never done this. Will report in a later post if I ever manage it.
4. Share other authors’ stuff
– Totally agree about this advice. I’ve saved the best till last. I try to do this in these posts for HOT and enjoy it. I love reading what other people have written, going to book launches and listening to poetry. Hastings is a fabulous place full of writers and I am very glad to be here and to meet so many of you.

Comments – Do you have experience with any of the above? Any comments either here on on the Facebook page will be very welcome. Or you can email me with comments or suggestions (see email at end of post).


Bookshops & Events

Bookbuster 39 Queens Rd, Hastings
Thursday 21 November 6 – 8 pm (and sometimes later) £2 entry Sheer Poetry: An open mic poetry night
Go to Bookbuster’s Facebook page and see more.

Printed Matter Bookshop 185 Queens Rd, Hastings TN34 1RG
‘Corbynism from Below’ talk by author Mark Perryman
15 November, 7.30 pm . The event is at St Mary in the Castle, downstairs in the Cafe/Bar area. They have a wide range of vegan-friendly food and drinks, and the venue is fully-accessible.
Jan 2020: Book launch of Paul Anderson’s Suedeheads & film screening of Horace Ove’s ‘Reggae 1970’ at The Electric Palace Cinema, Old Town.
Please see Facebook page for details of other events.

by Colin Bateman

by Colin Bateman

The Bookkeeper Bookshop 1a Kings Rd, St Leonards
Book launch – Beyond the waves by Colin Bateman
Sunday 24 November 7 pm at the Bookkeeper Bookshop

Come and look at the Bookkeeper Bookshop Facebook page to see more.

The Hare & Hawthorn Bookshop
51 George St, Hastings Old Town
Come and browse – for more information see the Hare & Hawthorn Facebook page.

Don’t forget it’s National Novel Writing Month. You can sign up with this link – it’s free and has all kinds of useful resources for writers. Nanowrimo

I was just reading some posts from my friends on Facebook. There were a couple of poems which I always find cheering – even if they are about the most terrible things. Perhaps I should reinstate the poetry section in this post. The best quote was shared by Susan Evans, the Brighton performance poet (she’s got a new book out and I’ll be writing about that soon):

“Poetry is not a fancy way of
giving you information; it’s an
incantation. It is actually a magic
spell. It changes things;
it changes you.”
Philip Pullman in The New Yorker

Well, folks, that’s it for this week. I hope you’ve all had a good week and that your projects are going well.

For an update on my writing life, please see: Another Day.

For a selection of other posts on my writing journey, please see

Comments and suggestions are always welcome and you can email me at

Thanks for reading and happy writing.

Angela J. Phillip

images thanks to & Amazon book covers




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Posted 09:00 Tuesday, Nov 12, 2019 In: Hastings Bookchat

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