A book marketing company can definitely help you take your brand and your platform to the next level; I specifically stress how much I can help authors with their exposure.
But if you want to sell more books, you need to be prepared to make the most of the investment.
This shouldn’t be too shocking.
You buy a house or a car and you get insurance. When planning a vacation you make sure you’re not sitting in the hotel all day.
So why would you hire a book marketing company and just sit back and hope they can single-handedly make all your dreams come true?
A good book marketing company will be very straightforward with you about what they can and can’t guarantee, and what their goals are for every strategy they present to you.
Ask questions, don’t assume anything.
And for your investment to really pay off, if you want to sell more books, below are some tips for ways to help things along!
Keep in mind that collaboration is a good thing. With 4,500+ books published every day, you really shouldn’t stress about duplicating efforts.
For example, if you end up hiring a book marketing company to help you with social media for your next book release, you don’t want to completely step away if you can help it.
Few authors can afford to hire a book marketing company to really do everything. We’re talking thousands of dollars a month. So these tips are definitely not for that less than 1%.
Here are the things you can be doing before hiring a book marketing company, during your campaign with them, and for the long term, to make the investment in their additional support and expertise really shine:
Have a solid website
A website shows you take your work seriously, and it gives your fans and the media somewhere to connect with you. It also supports your brand. So while it may not be a requirement for your first release, it pretty much is if you plan to be a professional author and sell more books long term.
Engage with your fans
Book success isn’t a one-way street. It’s not as simple as just throwing your book info out to the universe. You need to respect who buys the books and writes the reviews. Make yourself available to fans. And then really connect with them.
Respect the power of social
I hear it all the time, “I hate social media.” Well, now that you got that out of your system, it’s time to get on social media.
That doesn’t mean you have to sign up for every site out there. Some are better than others depending on who your target market is, their gender, age, interests, etc.
You’re better off focusing on one good one than forcing yourself to just flounder on all of them.
Keep asking for reviews
I’ll be honest, it’s very distressing when authors reach out to me and their book has no reviews. Even if it only came out a month ago, someone should have read it and reviewed it in that amount of time.
You know people, I hope, so get the word out. Ask friends and colleagues to forward a well-worded email to their friends and colleagues – at minimum.
No book should have zero reviews if the author actually planned on writing it for people to read.
Pitch your professional network
If you’ve written non-fiction, I hope you have some professional connection to your topic, and an impressive one. Really smart, successful people write books on nearly every topic you can imagine – so you have some serious competition.
What makes you different? Your network. Get reviews and blurbs from other people on a professional level, ask them to share your book. Leverage anything you have.
Your work is not over once a review is posted. Use the comment option on Amazon to thank individuals for taking the time to write a review. Doing so can help turn them into a long-term fan that will come back and buy your next book – because you made it personal.
Giveaways are fun, they’re easy, and they inspire action. You can also do them whenever you want and on your own terms. So if you’re not doing giveaways at least a few times a year, take the plunge. (And know that lots of successful fiction authors do them monthly!)
Send a regular newsletter
Regular doesn’t necessarily mean often. Maybe once a month is all you can do. Or even once a quarter. The point is you’re building your mailing list, and a mailing list is like gold – these are people who are most likely to be return buyers.
Just remember to highlight something special or exciting in each newsletter. Announce an upcoming release, event, free download, cover reveal, giveaway winners, etc. You get the picture.
People get a lot of email, don’t waste their time, make it good.
Be open to events
Bookstores are becoming fewer and fewer, which means traditional author events are getting more competitive. So consider some non-traditional venues for your event. Not sure where to start? Are you a regular anywhere? Maybe a local coffee shop, brewery, or craft store? Maybe you have a friend that owns a small business. Consider where you might already have an “in” and start there.
Once you have even one successful event under your belt you can use that to expand your opportunities and sell more books on a local level.
Get involved locally
Communities are supportive of local businesses and vendors, and most host events that give individuals a chance to meet others in their communities. With spring and summer just around the corner look into your local markets, craft fairs, and library events. Depending on what your focus is, you may want to consider getting involved in Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis.
After the lack of reviews scare, the second biggest challenge I see as a book marketing company, is trying to promote an author who has no plans for a next book.
Let me shatter some dreams right now – one book won’t let you retire. Or make you famous. Hell, it won’t even pay off your car.
Now that we have that out of the way, start thinking about your next book and get writing!
Yes, you can hire a book marketing company without ticking off all these strategies, or any of them for that matter, because the reality is you have to start somewhere and yes, I really can help almost anyone, somehow.
But let this be a lesson in expectations!
You can’t show up to a party with a half empty bottle of wine, cold leftovers and expect everyone to be excited to see you.
That’s the publishing industry version of soliciting the help of a book marketing company when your book is over a year old, with minimal to no reviews, and no online presence to speak of or author brand established to show you’ve put in the effort.
I can only speak for my book marketing company, but I’ll of course offer you what I can, along with any tips and recommendations for opportunities still available to you, but you may not be wowed.
The good news? Each new release is a fresh chance to do things right!
So if this piece got you a little discouraged for right now, keep it bookmarked and work on anything you can in prep for your next release – which can be the big break you’ve been waiting for!