I speak with many authors, and over the years, I have come to learn that the majority of authors feel that their responsibility ends with writing their book. They somehow want to finish writing, hand it over to some agent or publisher, and then watch the royalty checks magically start flooding their mailbox!
The truth of the matter, is the author needs to be responsible for the majority of all marketing of the book. Think of your book as a product, and you are the inventor. How many inventors create something, just to turn it over and hope for the best?
So, what CAN you do to help with the marketing of your book? Well, first, be sure to click the link in this post to download the free checklist that will help keep you on track. Next, create your marketing plan. Finally, implement that plan! Sounds simple enough, right? It really is! It will take some time, especially if you’re starting from scratch – but what I’m going to explain will all be things you can do that have zero out-of-pocket cost. I’ll briefly mention some options that require investment, but they are not at all necessary!
Now that you have your checklist, let’s move on to a marketing plan. The checklist will help you identify most elements of your marketing plan. You can always add to it as you go. Set goals as part of your plan. How many books do you plan to sell in a specific period of time? How many events do you plan to do in a specific time? What is your target location? (10 mile radius, 100 mile radius?) What kind of events (book signings, niche market, speaking?)? Make sure your goals are S.M.A.R.T.! Strategic, Measureable, Attainable, Realistic and Trackable!
What can you do to market your book? I’m glad you asked! Some of this will be elementary to some of you, and some may be new. Either way, it’s very easy to look over aspects and ideas when they’re not right in front of you!
Social Media. No matter what ANYONE says, you NEED social media! Anyone who says otherwise simply isn’t seeing the results they desire, and are looking for something to blame. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Goodreads, WordPress, a website…. You need it all! This doesn’t mean you spend hours each day updating everything. But, you do want to get on there regularly to stay in front of your readers, build your audience and keep everyone engaged and excited to see what you have coming next! These accounts need to be specific to you as an author, or to your book. They should absolutely be separate from your personal accounts!
Book signings. Your publisher/agent has probably said they will schedule signings for you. And, they probably will. A few, anyway. But, how well do they know your area? Do they know that ABC street is bustling with local traffic every Wednesday, but that you wouldn’t send your worse enemy to XYZ street in the bright of day? Do they know all of the local events that are happening, where you know the chairperson and could get in with a booth? Face it – you know your area better than anyone! Don’t have the time or skills to negotiate a signing? Find the locations and get someone else to get the signing scheduled for you. This could be your spouse, friend, or someone you hire to do such a thing.
Niche Market Events. These are basically the same as a book signing, only you are truly targeting your specific audience. You will typically have a booth space, or a table specifically for you, where you can meet/greet/speak to your audience. Look at your local community calendars to see what may fit. If nothing local, then check out the nearest large city to see what they have going on!
Speaking Engagements. This is SO powerful and can be worked a couple different ways. First, if you are terrified of public speaking, I get it! I sweat like crazy and my heart races each time I speak. However, it always goes much better than I fear. If you still find yourself crawling under the table at the mere thought of public speaking, then please do yourself a favor and find a local Toastmasters club and conquer that fear! Speaking Engagements give you the spotlight and a platform to sell your knowledge and/or your book. You can speak about your topic, or what it was that led you to becoming and author and teach others how to do it, too. People LOVE to hear success stories! If you have a valuable topic that is covered in your book, you can speak on that. I tell my clients that there are 2 main ways to sell your book at a speaking engagement. First, they can purchase your book and with the purchase, gain a ticket to the speaking event. Second, they purchase a ticket to the speaking event, and your book is available to them at no cost. Of course, on the second option, you would include the cost of the book in the price of the ticket so that you don’t lose out here. These also work well for benefit purposes – if you are to donate a portion of the proceeds. There are SO many ways to make this lucrative!
Interviews. Whether on TV, Radio, Newspaper or Magazine, find a way to be interviewed. Like with speaking engagements, it can be about your book, a topic you cover, or about yourself if you have an interesting story. Start local! Local media love to cover local talent and are typically looking for material to fill up all of their spots. You should not have to pay for this. It’s not a commercial or an ad. And don’t expect to BE paid, either. While it’s not an ad or commercial, it is indeed free advertising for you and your book!
BLOG! Please, please, please…..if you are not already blogging, you need to start! WordPress.com is a very simply blogging site and is free. If you’re more tech savvy, WordPress.org would be the way to go. Give people a reason to check in with your regularly. As you post your blog posts each week, share that link! Where, you ask? Why…. To all those fantastic social media sites you have set up! This grows your following exponentially.
More than anything, be present. Don’t just sit at home, watching the mailbox or your bank account, crossing your fingers that your books magically start selling. Don’t count on the publisher or agent to put all their time and effort into getting you on the next Best Seller’s list. This is YOUR book. YOUR baby. YOUR dream. OWN IT! Use outside resources, yes….but own the fact that the success of your work lies heavily on your own shoulders.
You’ve done the hard part. Not get out there and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
P.S. I had mentioned I would touch on some “cost” options for marketing as well. This would mainly be paid ads. Facebook Ads can be HUGE! You set your daily ad spend and promote your book. You can do this by boosting posts within your Facebook page, or by placing actual ads out on Facebook and targeting your specific market. You can drive traffic to your website to purchase the book…where by default they will see any other books you have as well.
Please take time to comment below of the marketing methods YOU have had the most success with! We can all stand to learn a little more, and new ideas never hurt anyone!