As the new year starts today, book marketing is already changing, but I think it’s changing in a good way. Book sales and book exposure is going to become challenging for some, but for many of you who are already in this battle, it’s going to become apparent that certain strategies, like the importance of direct reader outreach, is paramount.
Book marketing in 2018 won’t change drastically, but it will require you to become more strategic, which is always good. Let’s see by the end of 2018 how many of these predictions actually came true!
While longer books will never go away, shorter, focused content or short stories will pave the way for big new sales numbers in 2018. So what’s the average length of a short book or novella? Twenty-seven thousands words (give or take) or fifty pages. Book strategists insist that the reason these books take off is because, in the case of fiction, readers sometimes just like that quick story, with an uncomplicated plot and a quick reward at the end. In the case of non-fiction it’s generally very focused content.
Here’s what you can do: if you have books published that could be broken up into two books, or published a few chapters at a time, you may want to consider that. For example, let’s say you have a book about online marketing. You could separate that book out by social media, websites, etc. creating a series of smaller books out of the existing one. If you’re new to this, and don’t have a book that can be made into a mini, then consider writing one! This is a great and easy trend to benefit from. Because the more books you have out there, the better your book sales could be!
Bigger, better, content marketing
We know that we need to put content out there in the form of blog posts but it’s often tough to think of ideas. Because of this, I find that bloggers are creating blogs just to post stuff. This is a mistake. You’re better off posting less and much better content, then posting daily and having the content be only so-so. With all the information out there, you’d better be ready to put your best content foot forward in terms of blogging.
Here’s what you can do: Get some ideas from your Google Analytics (website stats) and find out what search terms people are using to find you. That may spark some great ideas. Alternatively, you can use the Google AdWords keyword took to help spark ideas, too!
With escapism at an all-time high, genre fiction and “escapism” reads are at an all-time high, too. I predict that genre fiction will continue to grow and expand even more in the new year.
Here’s what you can do: Well if you’ve got a genre fiction book, or several of them – push them out there like crazy. If you haven’t written fiction but want to, maybe now is the time!
No breakout bestsellers
We saw this in 2017 and this trend will continue in 2018. There were no big bestsellers. Now this didn’t mean that there weren’t any big, successful books, there were. But with indie publishing running so much of the industry now, the playing field is really evened out and a lot of the big mojo that used to hit the bestseller lists is being seen in fiction – which often doesn’t report to these lists, or authors are selling lots of copies of all of their books, as opposed to one, singular title.
Here’s what you can do: Really keep on pushing your books, because now, more than ever, is a great time to be indie!
Gone are the days with automated emails. Well, maybe not “gone” per se, but certainly consumers are clamoring for something that feels more personal and makes them feel like they matter. I think 2018 is really going to push this even more. Personal touches, personal outreach, transparency, and easy access are all going to be at the forefront of consumer connection!
Here’s what you can do: Have you started your mailing list or built your super fan list? If not, now is the time. Get busy and get personal, your fans will love it!
Publishers being forced to innovate
More and more, the indie author market is giving traditional publishers a run for their money and the big New York houses are going to have to innovate even more than they have in the past. This could mean working smarter with authors, bringing books to market quicker than they do now (often it takes a publisher 18 months to publish a book), and creating exciting partnerships with indie authors.
Here’s what you can do: Pay attention to these changes, because at some point – if you’ve ever wanted to get in front of a traditional publisher, 2018 may be a great year to do it!
Amazon publishing gets even more aggressive
Amazon wants to dominate, we know this for a fact, but I think in 2018 they’re going to make even bigger strides towards this. We’ve already seen this with the new Goodreads giveaways they’re launching – for which Goodreads is now charging. In 2017 Amazon ads took off, and I believe they’ll be rolling out many new, exciting features as the new year rolls on. We’ve also seen this in the strides Amazon has made to turn Kindle Direct Publishing into not only an eBook publisher, but a print book publisher as well. As the new year unfolds, Amazon is going to keep in the forefront with changes and their own publishing imprints will become more aggressive about finding new authors – and in most cases they’re finding their authors right there on Amazon.com!
Here’s what you can do: Be aware and alert to changes at Amazon, stay up on the trades so you know what Amazon is launching and how it can benefit you.
I see authors networking more in the new year, gaining more access to each other and really creating more unity when it comes to book promotion. There is strength in numbers and I think you’re going to see this more and more in things like collaborative publishing project, collaborative promotions and other things that require a group of authors. Consider this, too: if you’re collaborating with a group of authors in a similar genre, you’re not just promoting your book to your group, but you’re reaching their readers as well!
Here’s what you can do: start networking with other authors. Find Yahoo groups or Facebook groups you can join and get to know other folks in your market, go to events, conferences and network. Great things can happen when we all work together!
More and more audio books are taking off – but if you don’t have the budget to create an audio book, maybe just an audio excerpt? Sparemin is doing something so cool these days, and I think you’re going to see more and more of this type of audio, used in this way.
Here’s what you can do: Ready to put together your audio book? 2018 is a great time. If not, have a look at that Sparemin link and consider that as an alternative to a long, audio book!
We saw this in 2017 but in 2018 video is going to become even more important to every author’s book marketing goals. Whether it’s a quick Facebook live video, a video welcome to your page, a channel on YouTube or whatever, video is where it’s at.
Here’s what you can do: Do more video! Experiment with a Facebook Live chat and invite your fans. Or if a live event isn’t your thing, then capture a video on your phone and share it on Facebook, Instagram or wherever.
Being selectively social
The time has come that we realize that when it comes to social media: it’s not about being everywhere, but everywhere that matters. Be selectively social. Don’t be on every platform if your primary audience is on Instagram, or Facebook or YouTube. Authors are discovering that social media, when it comes to book marketing, can be a big black hole that doesn’t always leverage a lot – certainly it’s hard to equate it to book sales! So I see authors backing off of a lot of sites and instead, becoming much more selectively social!
Here’s what you can do: Meet your consumers where they are and leave the rest!
Fans become paramount
Fans and super fans are going to be the way that savvy authors market their books. They won’t bypass the traditional ways of marketing, via bloggers, reviews, and social media. But fans will become paramount in giving a book the strong leg up it needs.
Here’s what you can do: Build your fan base, start now. Put a letter in the back of your book with a thank you note and your contact information and make sure it’s in every-single-one-of-your-books.
People want to care about the stuff they buy and who they are buying from. This is going to become even bigger in 2018 so that fan connection I’ve been mentioning will become mandatory in order to succeed.
Here’s what you can do: Engaging with fans on an emotional level is sharing snippets of your life (keeping privacy issues in mind) as well as sharing in your fans’ lives as well. Sharing in their successes as well as their hardships. This sounds like a lot of work, I know, but consider how much effort you’ve put into things that were largely a waste of your time? Now take some of that effort and put it into this!
Celebrating strong female characters
Whether it’s in children’s books, romance novels, or non-fiction there’s going to be a big surge in strong female-led books or strong female characters. If this is something you’ve been interested in doing, now might be the time to jump on this emerging trend.
Here’s what you can do: if you haven’t thought about writing a female focused book, or something with a strong female lead, now is the time!
Small is the new big
Influencer marketing has always been a big thing, but what’s change is the size of the influencer and the power that smaller influencers have these days. When I say that small is the new big, I mean exactly that: small is powerful. As the new year unfolds, we’re going to see more power given to the little guy, the micro-influencer with a strong tribe of followers and these are the folks you’ll want to
Here’s what you can do: start examining your market to see who has a key audience that’s not overly big, but super engaged. Check out bloggers, social media people, and others in your network!
More international marketing
As authors we often overlook international markets, but as Amazon works to move into more countries, so should we. Many countries such as Belgium, England, Germany, and even France will buy non-translated books so if translating your books isn’t in the budget in 2018, I’d still recommend looking into markets there.
Here’s what you can do: An easy way to start is by updating all of your international Author Central pages and we have a blog post on this here.
Don’t get me wrong, eBooks aren’t going away. But I think we’re going to see more print book sales in 2018 because people are realizing that they’re spending way too much time in front of screens.
Here’s what you can do: If you are missing out on print editions of your books (meaning that you publish eBook only) now might be a good time to create more print editions.
Higher quality books
There are a lot of shortcuts out there to getting a book done. Between editing “programs” and self-designing covers, the choices are endless. But now with more competition than ever, if you’re going to succeed in publishing you need to bring you’re A-game. Meaning you need to be prepared to invest in your book in important ways: great editing, a great cover, and a great story. There are no shortcuts in 2018 and beyond, your book needs to reflect high quality professionalism. No more hand-drawn covers, or shoddy editing. The market simply won’t tolerate this anymore.
Here’s what you can do: Bring your A-game and if have books that are out that aren’t so great, or could use a face-lift, now’s a good time to get started on that!
Still stumped on how to actually turn these predictions and suggestions into reality? Contact me today for a personalized assessment on what you can do with your book marketing in 2018.