We Love Memoirs Day is on August 31 so I wanted to show some love to our memoir authors and discuss some really important things that need to be considered when writing and marketing a memoir.
Is your story marketable?
Sounds pretty basic, but that’s why it’s so important.
Marketing a memoir means you have to have a unique selling point.
At the end of the day your story may be fascinating once people start reading, but getting them to the point where the book is actually in their hands, is where the real struggle lies.
So like any other product out there, marketing a memoir means you have to have a clear idea about what features and stand out attributes you plan to highlight.
One way to get a better idea of make makes you stand out in the market is by doing a reader profile. Because standing out in the market means understanding who your market is in the first place!
And don’t get me started on broad concepts like, “My book appeals to women between 25 and 65.” No. That doesn’t count and you’re being lazy.
Marketing a memoir is personal.
Download my free reader profile brainstorm and get some real specifics on who your potential buyers are, and from there you can choose unique selling points that speak to them on a very personal level – personal enough to make them want to spend their money.
Is your book the brand or are you the brand?
This is another important decision that has to be made before you can start marketing a memoir effectively.
A very basic guideline would say that if you have created a platform for yourself, if you have a website, and a blog, or you’re busy on social media, or you do coaching or you’ve tied your book into self-help to some degree and your goal is to help people who are like you or can relate to your story – then you are the brand.
If your story is just exception, or unusual, or particularly dramatic, or tied into an important event in the past or present and you’re merely offering a unique perspective on an already well-known issue or topic – then your book is the brand.
Marketing a memoir means understanding who the star of the show is, and there’s no right or wrong answer here, but how you approach your marketing and how you spend your time promoting your book (or yourself) should take this into account.
Do you know who your superfans are?
Superfans are readers who connect with you on another level.
Keeping these readers in mind is another really smart strategy when marketing a memoir and planning your marketing efforts.
Let me explain.
There are a lot of people who love a good memoir, sometimes people are just drawn to the genre in general, they might also like reality TV or PBS, we’re making demographic generalizations here, okay? These people will be buying your book. That’s great.
But then there are people who can really relate to your story, your experiences and possibly your struggles. These are potential superfans. These are the people you’ll touch on a different level – and these are the people who are most likely to recommend your book to others.
Did you know that 95% of books are bought based on personal recommendations? (Digital Book World 2017) That’s real right there. Personal recommendations are the holy grail when it comes to long-term success as an author and marketing a memoir is no different.
I encourage you to read more about the importance of superfans and how to make them a part of your brand by drawing them in with tailored marketing efforts.
What’s in it for them?
This may sound harsh, but when you’re marketing a memoir you also have to consider what you really have to offer aside from a good story.
Yes, a good story is important, it should also be exceptionally edited with a cover that just makes people want to cry, out of joy, sadness, we’ll take either.
So those are the basics, but what else do you have to offer?
Marketing a memoir means getting out there!
So you’ll want to decide what you can pull from your experiences and how that can be broken up into smaller snapshots that would also interest people.
Like any other book, marketing a memoir means pitching media, definitely bloggers, but perhaps you have a topic or relevance to something really newsworthy and you can go bigger, maybe freelancers or regional magazines, maybe even national magazines!
But in order to do any of that you need to figure out what’s in it for them.
What do you have to offer? Can you teach people something? Are you particularly humorous? Can you get people to relate to your experiences in a way that makes them feel better after reading a guest article you’ve provided?
Media, at any level, wants their job to be easy, they want to say yes to a slam dunk author who will make them look good and entertain their followers and readers.
Showing up to the pitching game with an arsenal of exciting ideas for interview topics or guest articles will get you that yes.
Do you know who came before you?
This is another piece of the puzzle when it comes to marketing a memoir.
Yes, your perspective is unique, but it doesn’t happen very often where our experiences are totally unique and no one has come before us in our struggles or triumphs.
So another great way to really add some power to your message is by aligning yourself with other, more known individuals who can relate to your story.
Figure out who’s at the cool kids lunch table for your topic and reach out to them in a very professional and appreciative way.
Ask if they’d be will to chat with you or accept a copy of your book.
A review from them would be amazing for your website and Amazon page, but perhaps an interview with them or just some love on their social media is what’s in the cards and that’s amazing too.
Marketing a memoir means branching out and getting your name out there, and by cooperating with others that have gone before you and have it figured out, is an amazing opportunity you don’t want to pass up.
So how do you know who to talk to?
Do your research. Do some Google searches, find who shows up for your keywords and your topic, then check those people out on social media.
I caution you against only going after people who have been interviewed by Oprah though.
Sure, give it a shot. But don’t discount people you’ve never heard of. Glass houses and all…but in all seriousness, they may have really dedicated social media followings and maybe they’re doing wonderful things to help others that have had experiences like them – these are the people you want in your corner.
At the end of the day marketing a memoir, if you’re an unknown individual, is a tough job. But if you put in the prep work, do your research, and stay consistent and smart with your marketing efforts, you’ll start getting repaid for being brave enough to put your story out there for the world.
What have your biggest successes been with marketing memoirs? Please share in the comments!