Traditionally published authors everywhere tend to experience the same disappointment when working with their publisher: lack of marketing and publicity support.
Sometimes this is more perceived than real. Publishers tend to do a poor job of letting authors know about all the things they do to market and promote books, especially within industry channels that the author might not see visible evidence of.
But whatever your experience—and however you decide to publish—it’s unwise to depend on a publisher, publicist, or any third party to build your career, or be responsible for growing your readership. Publishers will be focused on the short-term, or on their immediate return on investment. You, the author, have to take care of the long-term career building. While you may delegate tasks or hire help, only an author can truly take ownership of their career and carry out the vision for it. It will also largely fall on your shoulders to execute marketing activities that don’t have immediate payoff but are important for future success and sales.
You might think this article is going to solely focus on book marketing mistakes, but more specifically I’m going to dig into author branding – because the wrong branding will get you in front of the wrong readers – and it’s really hard to recover once you go down the wrong path.
Because if that happens, guess what? You won’t sell any books.
When you’re in a grocery store, or any shop that offers a variety of different products, you’ve probably noticed that similar or related products are always grouped together.
If you enter Home Depot in need of a wrench and ask a friendly worker where they’re located, you’d be confused and probably frustrated if, after following his directions, you found yourself surrounded by paint brushes.
The same principle is true for books.
There are hundreds of things to do, with hundreds of steps to take, when marketing a book. I have identified seven key approaches you should take when marketing your brand and promoting your book. Here you go:
by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
I’ve always struggled a little with audiobook promotion, never really sure what I was supposed to be doing with the free codes I was getting from ACX, the platform and distributor I use. The fact that I had so many free codes always made me feel a bit guilty that I wasn’t using them to find new audiobook readers. I did use them for newsletter giveaways and felt good about that since it was a special perk for my subscribers.
One of my narrators contacted me in June and said she’d heard from another author about her success with the site Free Audiobook Codes. Free, that is, for the readers who get them. For authors, known as “advertisers” on the site, it’s not free, but it’s reasonable. $12 a title or, for folks with a large catalog, $55 for 5 titles. You can upload multiple sets of codes per title. There are more price tiers on their FAQ.
We know most of you probably have a real love-hate relationship with social media and we get asked this a lot, about whether to have a fan page, a personal profile, or a group.
But wait! We covered so much more in our podcast episode on this topic so be sure to download and listen to the show for all the details, recommendations and considerations!
How do writers go about taking a concept and converting it into a money-making product? Essentially, how do creative talents monetize their mind?
The formula for success comes down to three parts:
So when you have an idea pop into your head, what do you do with it?
Whether you are affiliated with the Democrats or Republicans – or declare yourself an independent – you may have caught some or all of the political conventions put on by the two major parties at the end of August. Authors can learn some marketing lessons from watching how each party staged a show and sought to convince voters (customers) to vote (buy) for their brand.
This year’s conventions were not like any other. They were not the huge spectacles they had become. No huge crowds packing arenas to cheerlead the party line. No surprises or suspense. It was just a zoomfest of taped, prepared, or staged speeches strung together. It was the ultimate infomercial.
Consider this: in 2019, 3.9 billion people used email, and by 2023 this figure will grow to 4.3 billion (Oberlo 2020).
And while we all complain about getting too much email, according to Statista, 49% of consumers said they would like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands on a weekly basis.
In fact, according to a study the Data and Marketing Association did in 2019, for every $1 you invest in email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42.
Convinced it’s time to ramp up your email game for book marketing and promotion?
I have never spent $35 so my family of four could enjoy ice cream cones, but that is what it would have cost if I played the role of lazy and ignorant tourist at an ice cream parlor in Woodstock, New York. My family and I walked out, in protest, after scanning the prices on the wall. We know many people have and will pay those prices, which just goes to show you that there are many entrepreneurial opportunities for authors looking to sell their books.
Where do opportunities for authors to sell or market their books come from?
Let me first tell you where they don’t come from:
None of that gets you anywhere but where you are. It may be natural to experience any or all of the above, but the quicker you stifle negative thinking or useless actions, the faster you will grow and succeed.
Ok, sure, I stated the obvious. I know anyone can tell you not to shit yourself, but it needs to be said. Stress run amok serves no one. It is not a strategy to worry and become incapacitated by wandering thoughts. There is no reason to make actionless worrying a habit.
Here is what you should do: Develop an opportunistic mindset. Instead of waiting for opportunities to be served to you, which rarely happens, you need to create your own opportunities and seize them at all costs.
Opportunity comes when: