By Anita Paul Henderson, The Author’s Midwife
Writing your book is the hard part, right? Well, if you’ve completed your manuscript, had it published, and started down the road of sales and marketing, you know the previous statement is absolutely not true. Marketing is the hard part, as any experienced author/writer will tell you. Trouble is, most writers don’t have a clue how to market their book. You’re a writer, after all, not a marketing specialist.
Marketing, however, is THE most important aspect of book publishing, and the one that receives the least thought and attention from the writer—the one who will ultimately do the marketing. Yes, you, as the writer/author, will also be the name, face, brand, and executor of the marketing plan for your book. But how do you do that when you don’t know the difference between a press release and a speaker sheet? Not only that, who pays for all of this marketing stuff? Remember, you (or your publisher) have limited marketing time and limited marketing dollars, so you’d better use both wisely.
Marketing—essentially EVERYTHING you do to get the word out about your book—is a big animal, and you have to tackle it one bite at a time. So think strategically and know the ultimate result you’d like to have with your book. To get started, consider these points:
Know your target audience. Trust me, your target audience or ideal reader is not EVERYONE. Narrow it down to the one person who would get the most from your book or who would enjoy it most. Think of your book as a service to others. Which person or person type would be best served by the content of your book? Describe him/her as thoroughly as possible.
Seek and find. Knowing your target audience helps you determine where to find him/her. Determine what blogs, podcasts, magazines, radio shows, venues, activities, social media sites, etc. your target audience most enjoys. Visit and engage within these outlets in the form of visits, posts, comments, likes, shares, etc., then determine if your limited marketing dollars would be well spent there based on the response you receive from the audience.
Identify your big wow. What is the ultimate result you want to accomplish with your book? Make it measurable. Is it number of book sales, dollars earned, clients booked, speaking gig invites, media exposure, awards won, or something else? There are no wrong answers here. Just know what you want, assign a number and timeframe to it, and go for it.
Get some help. There are few things worse than watching someone struggle to do something when getting help would make it so much easier. Marketing is one of those things. Why struggle to build a website, apply for awards competitions, submit news pitches, post regularly on social media, schedule book signings, and more when there are experts who can do these tasks much faster and with a greater level of professionalism than you can? Hiring professional marketing help is probably the best investment you can make in your book project.
There are thousands of ways to market your book. In fact, in my book, How to Market Your Book Free, my co-author and I include 101 no-cost ways to do so. But really, you only need to execute a handful of marketing strategies that make sense for you, your target audience, your team, and your budget. As you develop strategies for your book marketing, consider the following:
• Appearances/book signings/speaking
• Blogging (guest or host)
• Family, friends, fans
• Podcasts (guest or host)
• Public relations, media interviews
• Radio shows (guest or host)
• Retail stores (think outside the bookstore)
• Social media
These are only a few strategies to consider. Choose the one(s) that work best for you, then develop a plan to get results.
Anita R. Paul Henderson is known as The Author’s Midwife. Through her Write Your Life program she coaches professionals and entrepreneurs to develop engaging book content, publish it, and market it for success. She is co-author of five books, including How to Market Your Book Free and Publishing as a Marketing Strategy. She is also co-creator of Write Books That Sell Now, a digital program to help authors write, publish, and market their self-published books. She can be reached at www.WriteYourLife.net.