It’s no secret that when it comes to book marketing that most authors sigh and likely roll their eyes. Let’s face it, the majority of authors are introverts and tend not to gravitate to the proposition of selling and marketing their book with ease. Countless times I have been asked if I can market my author’s books for them. Each time I have said that while I support their vision, it is not my dream, in an attempt to hold themselves personally accountable to their creative process. That’s why there needs to be a shift; a shift in mindset to adopt marketing into their creative journey. Believe it or not, once you find the right mindset in book marketing, it becomes much easier and in fact, can be fun.
You are not selling – you are influencing
Book marketing is not about hitting the streets and hocking off your book like you are a door to door salesperson. Nor is it about flooding people’s emails and social feeds with hard-selling telling people to buy your book. It is a combination of things that all complement each other and is primarily aimed at those who would have an interest in your topic.
My very own book ‘Inspire Your Fire; Creative Innovation Through Authorship’ is not targeted towards those with no interest in writing. If you have written a book about building a successful restaurant, naturally you wouldn’t target those working in the oil industry.
In this new age of book marketing, it is essential that we are motivated to make new connections with individuals, groups, even businesses that have a connection to your genre. The key to selling is authenticity. Now more than ever, buyers want to know the seller; the creator; the developer. It is part of our DNA to connect and build relationships. In this space, to effectively do this we need to build the ‘know’, ‘like’, and ‘trust’ factors and do so with subtlety and respect. Not aggressively, inconsistently, or blindly.
Also, something worth considering is that we effectively all sell each and every day. When we communicate to achieve a goal – we are selling. With the right mindset in book marketing, it will be much easier to actually carry this process out and achieve results.
It’s the 2020’s – ALL authors need to market regardless of the way you published
The days of writing in a cabin in the woods, handing the manuscript to your publisher, and then heading back to the cabin while they publish and market are over. In today’s times publishers must have their authors attend events, signings, media activity, and more. Along with that, if a title published with a traditional publisher fails to crack the market in the first 6-8 weeks of release, they move on to the next upcoming release – they have to as they are running a business. So what happens to your book? Unless you pick up the marketing more prominently…nothing.
If you have chosen to self-publish then be aware that it is highly unlikely that any self-publishing company will be involved in the marketing of your book. Outside of a few handouts and some blanket approach with social media, they tend not to get involved. With hybrid models, you are more likely to get marketing assistance however you need to own the fact that the actual promotion will be led by you, the author.
In saying that, there are external providers like publicity agencies and marketing companies that will offer their services, at a cost and for a limited time. If the budget allows for it, this can often be a good way to generate buzz. However, to create longevity it is essential that you keep the ball rolling..
In my career, I have worked with over 5000 authors. It has been a wonderful experience the majority of the time and one thing I have learned without a doubt is that for an author to have a successful book or career, they need to own their journey. They are the ones that came up with the idea for the book. They are the ones that showed the passion and commitment to write it. There is no reason that passion and commitment aren’t then transferred to the promotional process.
Use Writing In Your Marketing
Regularly, we encourage our authors to continue writing within the marketing process. Whether it is blogs, short stories, mini-eBooks, crowd pullers, or more, it is critical to keep those creative juices flowing. Along with putting the writings on your website and social media, you can also include them in newsletters, post into places like Reddit and Wattpad to further enhance your awareness as an author.
When writing, look at it from your target audience’s viewpoint. As a non-fiction author, you may be establishing your expert status on your topis. What would get your head-turning as an avid follower of this topic? What would make you read a blog or newsletter in this genre?
I have high-level qualifications in writing, workflow management, and film and television but would you believe that I have never done one single piece of formal training in publishing? Well, it’s true. In my 20-year career, I have learned from those around me, those who have been in the industry much longer than I, those who have held high positions for long periods with mainstream publishing houses. I can’t even count the number of times I have been told that I am a very good salesperson, even to the point I gained promotions in my career due to this belief. But I have never had any formal sales training ever. I have become a leader in my space due to learning the skills and processes within this industry over that time. I adopted a mindset very early on that if I want success then I need to create it and it starts from putting my all into what I was doing.
For years I have said in one-on-one mentoring, seminars and workshops, presentations, and online that if you are not doing what you love for a job then start working towards doing what you do love. It isn’t about quitting your job today however it is about taking one step towards your dream today. Then another tomorrow and another the next day until you are prepared and ready to fully immerse yourself in your passion. Once you commit to your own dream then you open your mind up to learning new skills and understanding new areas of development that will further enhance your chances of success. If your dream is to make a career as an author and you don’t know how to do it, then it is logical to assume you will need to learn how to do it.
Within this process of lifetime learning and book marketing you will try new things to lift the awareness of you and your book and guess what? Sometimes it won’t work. Sometimes your results will be dismal. We are human. We make mistakes. It is in our nature. The key has always been what we will learn from them to grow within ourselves and gain a better result next time.
Sometimes in book marketing, we initiate a certain strategy and the results are not quick enough. For example, you may do a magazine interview and following the magazine release, you sit with bated breath waiting for the hundreds of sales to come through your website. A week passes and you have 10 sales and a sad face, However, that magazine could be sitting in a doctor’s waiting room a year later and over a period of another week, 10 other people read the interview and are motivated to buy. Be patient with your marketing and understand it is a marathon, not a 100metre dash. Naturally, you can utilise and pay for more targeted processes to promote that can track results and efforts like Facebook, Amazon, and BookBub Ads.
Book Marketing Needs a Budget
Whether you decide to take on a mentor, publicist, VA, or invest in ads, blog tours, or more – understand that this will cost. I feel strongly that while some things can be managed yourself, long term book marketing is not something you can do effectively on your own. Even as an assisted independent publishing house we invest in marketing, every business does in some form.
Whether you’re preparing for pre-sale, the actual launch, or the ongoing marketing at the post-launch stage, you need to accept that there will be a need to invest in your marketing efforts.
If your goal is to become that career author than it is important you devise a business model that is realistic and like any business, it requires start-up capital to get off the ground. How much that is depends on you and I advise not to be too flamboyant with your spending just ensure you have allocated a budget to engage in exercises that will put your book in front of your audience.
Marketing is an investment of time, energy, resources, and money. Like any investment, you expect a return on that investment. It is good businesses to work out what that looks like. For example, if you invest in an eBook promotion to get your title in front of a mailing list of potential buyers and it will cost you $100 to do so then work out how many books you would need to sell to make that back. Your eBook could be selling for $6.99 which would mean you would need 15 eBook sales to have the exercise cost you nothing but time.
The Mindset behind Book Marketing Success
I have often heard from authors that they feel that if their book is sitting on a bookshelf in a bookstore that this is success. Reality is that that book is likely there on consignment at a 45% discount and if it doesn’t sell, it will likely be sent back and you could be wearing postage costs. If the book is damaged on return, you can’t really re-sell it. This is not what I would call success.
It is important that you as an author dig deeper into what book marketing success means to you. If you are unsure then it is worth exploring a potential mentor or coach that specialises in book marketing that can help define your goals with you. As I said, this is not going to be something that you can do on your own and if you feel that you do not have the knowledge or skills early in the process, look for answers to that problem immediately. No marketing will ever be successful unless you have clearly defined and realistic goals in place.
Book marketing is not a set science. Every book and every author is different and that is a good thing. It means you are unique, your ideas, concepts, and stories are unique. This also means your marketing can be unique. Think outside the box when looking at your promotional process and ensure that you have a healthy outlook into the mindset of book marketing. After all, it is your dream.
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