Marketing Q&A with M.P. Tonnesen
Looking to improve your marketing and publicity efforts? Check out our Book Publicity Tips series where we ask real authors to share their experiences, thoughts, and advice to assist both new and established authors.
How do you use social media in your book’s marketing efforts?
As a self-published author you have to use all the channels available to you – preferably for free. Social media is a quick and easy way to reach your target audience around the world. Being based on a small island, social media is my primary way of communicating to potential readers everywhere from Atlanta to Australia. I started posting in the run-up to my book launch to create interest by letting my future readers follow the final steps of the publishing process. Now I post media coverage, review quotes, and seasonal photos of my book. Once a month I run a Facebook ad to selected groups and geographies.
From past experiences, what is the best way to react to a negative review?
Fortunately, I have only had one bad review so far (touch wood!), but because it was posted in the first week after publishing and on Amazon for the world to see, it initially hit me quite hard. On top of that, the reviewer focused on me as an author, portraying me as prejudiced against the local Manx people! I was prepared for not everyone to like my writing or my story – writing is art, and art is subjective. But to misinterpret the messages of my novel so gravely and in full public was very frustrating. It took me a few days to process the content and motives of the anonymous review, before I decided how to approach it in the best way. I encouraged my many other readers to post a review on Amazon too – the positive sum of which would hopefully eventually drown out the one negative review. Furthermore, I wrote a post on social media about cultural stereotypes to put the reviewer’s comments into context and set the record straight.
Do you recommend using friends and family when marketing your book?
Most definitely! Why wouldn’t you make use of the best ambassadors you can get? As a debut author and especially a self-published one, your credentials and PR efforts need all the boosting you can get your hands on. If you aunt’s neighbour works at the local newspaper, fantastic! If your colleague’s sister owns a bookshop, call her! Nothing ventured, nothing gained is my motto. Worst case, you’ll get a “no.” You will survive that, I promise.
If you are a self-published author, what is the #1 tip you could give to a writer looking to go the self-publishing route?
Persevere! Self-publishing is not the easy road to fame and fortune. It takes a lot of hard work and stamina. If you are completely new to the world of publishing like me, it’s a steep learning curve too. Editing, formatting, copyrights, printing, pricing, marketing, sales – you have to manage it all yourself when you choose this path. But the satisfaction when you succeed is even bigger for it. And get a professional editor! You might not agree with all their feedback, but I can almost guarantee your manuscript will improve by having a trained second pair of eyes read through it.
Why is it beneficial to have a professionally designed book cover?
When you self-publish you have to assess which tasks you are able to do yourself and which ones to leave to the professionals. Getting a professionally designed book cover is definitely worth it! With so many books out there, particularly in the virtual space, you have to make yours stand out from the crowd. With people scrolling pages, making their buying decisions based on tiny thumbnails within seconds, your book cover becomes crucial in capturing a potential reader’s attention. I was lucky to meet the artist Bruno Cavellec when I had just started writing “The Cosmopolitan Islander.” Back then I was unsure if my scribbles would materialise into a full-blown novel, but even so he offered to do my book cover once my manuscript was ready. Three years later our joint creativity resulted in the beautiful cover which I am proud to display whenever I get the chance.
Michelle P. Tonnesen is a writer and business woman living on the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea. She writes business and lifestyle articles for magazines, as well as advises companies on organisational change. She is originally from Denmark, but grew up in a multicultural family and has lived in Brussels, the Middle East, and London. Her debut novel, “The Cosmopolitan Islander,” is inspired by her local and cosmopolitan journeys and is available on Amazon worldwide.
Do you utilize friends and family when marketing your book?