When authors become published the one factor that is often overlooked is book marketing, or more definitively book marketing services that work. It is critically important that no matter the method of publishing – self-publishing, traditional publishing, or hybrid publishing like ours with Assisted Independent Publishing – authors are given the right support and guidance in book marketing.
In traditional publishing it is the publishers that lead the marketing process. This is often one of the most appealing elements of being published with a traditional publisher. Most authors don’t want to, nor have the knowledge to, market their book so to have others do it for them is a huge benefit.
From the publishers perspective it is an absolute must as it has been an investment they have made into bringing that book to life, not the author. They have a focused goal to sell thousands of books to ensure there is a return on their investment and a profit. Usually that has happened through gathering media activity, traditional advertising and ensuring the book is stocked within all major bookstores. However, it also comes with a catch.
If your book does not fall into the .01% range of legitimate best-seller status, at some point the publishers need to move on and focus on another upcoming release or a title that has grabbed that status or gathering more momentum than your book. This is logical and makes sense as they are running a business and their business is book sales. But where does that leave you – the author? And what about self or independent authors? Where do they start?
Over the years I have looked at several options regarding book marketing services for authors and have discovered a myriad of book marketing services that work and some that are just pointless. To be effective in your book marketing efforts, there needs to be an examination made into you, your book and its purpose.
Book Marketing Services That Work – The ‘WHY’
Every book has a purpose. A purpose for the reader and for you as the author. Discovering that purpose and being able to build a marketing strategy around it is critically important to the success of your book. When seeking out book marketing services that work for you and your mission, it is important to look for this when engaging an external company to assist you.
With so many books on the market, a blanket marketing approach just isn’t enough anymore. What I mean by this is if you have paid an organisation $50 to tweet your book to 50,000 people, don’t expect sales. Why? Because that same organisation tweeted another book an hour prior and another before that and another before that. Also, everyone is doing it. Just go to Fiverr.com and have a look at how many people promise to tweet your book out to this many people. Just because it gets tweeted does not mean sales. It is quite possible that their followers don’t even read your genre.
That is why when you are seeking book marketing services that work that you discuss the purpose behind your book – the ‘why’. If this is established, and if the organisation understands marketing correctly, they should be able to tailor a service or option that is targeted towards those who align with your books ‘why’.
Book Marketing Services That Work
When you ask an author what their goal is with their book, it usually is a broken record repeating over and over. ‘To be a best seller’ is the most common one. Whilst that is a great aspiration to have, it is not effective goal setting.
Again, when engaging an external company or organisation in book marketing, look for that question to be asked of you… ‘What are your goals?’ Without this, no book marketing service that works can effectively achieve any tangible results. Your goals need to be ascertained and asked of you of anyone to competently aim for them – including yourself.
Stepping your goals is an excellent idea. Start with the low-hanging fruit and work your way up the ladder of success towards that best-seller status. All good things take time and usually have measures of you achieving success along the journey – what are those measures for you?
Without targets to reach, how can any successful marketing strategy be analyzed? What worked? What didn’t? Why didn’t it? What can be changed? These answers only come from setting realistic targets that can later be assessed and discussed. A good marketer will look at the results of a particular strategy and if the target was achieved, likely repeat the strategy later. If not, they will look at how close to the target they got and assess what needs to be changed to reach it next time.
So often when authors engage a marketing service or company, they do not set the company targets. If they do, the company likely does not engage with them as they can’t quantify actually how successful their service is. This is a major red flag and you should most definitely not engage them in any paid service.
It is important that you hold yourself accountable to the success of your book. By doing that, you can hold others accountable – especially if you have financially invested in a product or service to lift awareness and, hopefully, sales of your book.
To engage in a book marketing service that works, there needs to be clearly defined strategies put into place, a process in managing them, and accountability to the strategies so they can be assessed and improved. As mentioned earlier, a blanket approach in marketing just won’t be effective. Every book and every author is unique and different so it is logical to assume that the marketing strategies also need to be unique and tailored to suit you, your book and your audience.
When developing and effective marketing strategy, it is recommended to do so in stages. First, prior to the book is even printed (pre-sale), second at launch stage and finally, post-launch – what activity needs to be engaged to keep your book relevant?
Strategy is the cornerstone to all good marketing. Without it, you are driving blind with no knowledge on where you are aiming to go and how you are going to get there. When you commit to writing and publishing, you also commit to marketing. Therefore, developing a strategy is important to ensure you have your headlights on and the GPS is working.
Finally, there is no magic solution to becoming a legitimate best-seller or selling hundreds of thousands of books. Book marketing services that work are a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared to work hard, back your decisions, think outside the box, accept that not every approach will work, ignore naysayers and then when you start to achieve those goals and targets, give something back to help the next author coming up.
To find a book marketing service that works means to find people and companies that align with your values, that ask the right questions, are honest in their offerings and are supportive throughout the journey. That’s what it takes to create book marketing success and once you achieve it, it really does feel like you have climbed a mountain – it took time, blood, sweat and tears – but it was worth it.