We all want to be better at book marketing and we all want to sell more books. The problem is, it often feels like book marketing strategies are changing all the time and how is an eager author supposed to keep up with that? The reason for this article is to not only share some insight into marketing in the new year, but give you tips for long-term success, not just will work in January.
The book marketing ideas I’m sharing in this article, are geared to success the whole year through, and I hope you’ll use all (or as many of these) as you can!
And if you’re really serious about taking things up a level, I’d love to chat collaboration, contact me and let’s be sure you understand what kinds of options you have.
Here we go:
Spend less time on social media: Yes, you read that right. I said less.
The reason I say less is because I’m betting that not all of your book marketing time on social media is productive and this means you probably aren’t doing all the right things, or maybe you’re just doing too much of something that isn’t leveraging any visibility.
This is a great time to assess your various platforms and see where you really want and need to be. Once you’ve done that, be sure the effort you’re putting in is really making sense. If none of your posts are getting likes, shares, or comments, then maybe it’s time to reassess what you’re posting and where. Book marketing is about communication and if your posts aren’t driving that, there’s something wrong. Here’s a piece I wrote on how to be smarter about incorporating social media into your book marketing plan.
The point also is that social media can be a black hole of ineffectiveness. If you aren’t careful you’ll lose a lot of valuable book marketing time just trying to “make stuff work.” You’re maybe posting content that isn’t quite as engaging as it needs to be, or maybe you aren’t posting consistently enough. Yes, I said spend less time – but this also means dividing your time as wisely as you can. So instead of pushing out content that isn’t getting noticed, and spreading this across five or so platforms, why not focus on one platform and really make that one work. Less is more.
If you’re unsure which platform that is, or you haven’t fully committed to using social media to promote your books yet, take this quick and helpful social media quiz I designed!
Write more books
In order to be successful in publishing (and book marketing!) you need to have more than one book. And your books don’t all have to be full length tomes but they do need to be published works. You can do shorter books (eBooks work great for this), novellas, workbooks, journals, and even white papers work if they’re long enough. How long is long enough? Fifty pages at a minimum and the content needs to be good, entertaining or helpful. Why do you need more books? Because more books are actually, and surprisingly, easier to sell than just one.
When you market one book (this is especially true for books in a series), you drive attention to all the books in your library, not just one – and this helps you sell more books. It’s sort of like having multiple storefronts, same theory, only with books. And if you plan your investment right, you don’t have to spend a ton of each book. Editing yes, excellent cover yes, but none of this has to cost you a fortune. Though remember, publishing is a business and as such, you should plan to make an investment before you see a return on this investment. Having multiple books will help you reach that book sales and book marketing goal much quicker.
Price your books to sell
I saw this a lot in 2017 where authors (or publishers) were pricing books too high, this is especially true for eBooks. Never, ever price your books in such a way that they are no longer competitive with their markets. If you want to sell more books, price them so the audience will buy, here’s some free tips.
Make sure your cover matches your genre
This is a surprisingly big deal. But I saw it a lot in 2017 where covers weren’t quite what the genre demanded. Yes you want something uniquely yours, I get that. But genres generally demand a certain “look” and we know this because a thriller cover and a cover for a holiday romance are vastly different. The same is true for a text-book vs. a self-help book. Be aware that you need to “match” your genre, otherwise your book will seem like an odd-ball book. And readers do judge a book by its cover, so having something that mirrors others in the genre is not only helpful, it’s a must if you want to sell more books.
Be consistently promoting
We have a new promotional calendar out that lists, month by month, what you can be doing to promote your book. You should never, ever be sitting around thinking: “What should I do now?” Always have a book marketing strategy in the hopper. Sometimes people “take a break’ from book marketing to sort of see what happens with the book when they do. This is always a bad idea.
Here’s what happens when you stop marketing your book: nothing.
Book marketing is a conversation and once that conversation stops, so does the visibility of your book. And when I say “always be promoting” I don’t mean that you have to do big, fancy blog tours every month. Maybe it’s an eBook promotion, or reader outreach or a fun contest on social media, Whatever it is, be consistently out there.
I urge you to download my free monthly book marketing planner as a way to keep yourself on track for regular book promotions.
Connect with your readers
Now, more than ever, you need to be connecting with your reader. Connect with them, share insights with them, treat them like they are part of your exclusive tribe because they are and if they aren’t, they should be. Start a newsletter list if you don’t have one and do consistent outreach to let your reader know they are always in the forefront of your mind! We covered a post not too long ago about thinking about yourself as a small business that should sound familiar.
Do more video
Video is quickly becoming a great way to get in front of your audience and it’s certainly a great book marketing tool. Whether it’s a book trailer, a personal video you make thanking your readers, Facebook Live events, or whatever you feel compelled to do, be sure to include video as one of your marketing tools for 2018.
Here’s a quick and simple introduction to the whys and hows of creating video content for your book promotion, with explanations for why it’s so critical for competing in today’s market.
You’ve thought about it, maybe you’ve even taken one of my classes or bought my book and thought: Maybe I’ll try this someday. Someday is now. You need to make sure that you’re seeking absolutely everything you can out of Amazon because it’s going to matter so much in the new year and the sooner you start, the sooner you can start reaping the benefits of this. Book marketing starts and often ends with Amazon, so maximize it in the new year, you’ll be glad you did! If you don’t know how to do this on your own, we have a great Amazon Optimization program that can help you get better searchability.
Get that eBook
The idea here is to own as much of the Amazon real estate as you can. Even if your book doesn’t have an eBook market per se (like children’s or maybe a coffee table book), you should still have one. Another reason for doing this, aside from the real estate part of it is the book marketing promotions you can do using your eBook that aren’t available to you with only a print book. Such as eBook promotions, etc.
Get that print book
Many authors go straight to eBook and don’t bother with the print book, but this isn’t a wise decision because again, it’s the real estate factor. You want to own as much of it as you can. Also, a print book will help you gain more visibility internationally as well.
Audio is another great way to get your book out there, and this doesn’t have to be an audio book per se, you could use the tools available to you at Sparemin to create a fun, audio excerpt read by you! And you can use this on social media too.
Focus on incremental successes
This is a big deal and it will be an even bigger deal as more books hit the virtual shelves in 2018. In order to gain momentum for your book, you must focus on and celebrate the smaller successes. This will add up and lead to bigger ones. Big, splashy media doesn’t always just “appear” – more often than not it’s preceded by smaller, often off-the-radar-screen successes. Good book marketing happens one step at a time.
Build your fan base
If you don’t have a fan base, or haven’t started building one, or don’t have a newsletter – the time to start is NOW. With so many books being published you can’t rely on getting blogger attention every time – or getting as much attention as you saw a few years ago. If you haven’t started building your tribe, now is the time to do it. And here’s why a newsletter is still a critical part of your author marketing in today’s publishing climate.
Be clear on your genre
I mention this because in the new year it’s going to be insanely important to pick a genre and cater to it. By “cater” to it I mean making sure your cover aligns with the genre, that your book speaks to that genre, and that you actually pick the right genre for your book. A lot of authors I speak to aren’t clear on their genre. You shouldn’t even be considering publishing unless you know, without question, what genre you’re in. Book sales only happen when your book is in a clearly defined market. Don’t make the reader try to guess what your book is about or where it belongs!
Part of getting a clear picture of your genre also involves getting a really good understanding of your reader and what makes them tick, and more importantly, what makes them buy the books they choose. Here’s a great piece I wrote on reader profiles with tips you can’t afford to miss.
Redo old covers
Now is a potentially a good time to redo, refresh, or maybe even re-release older books. Covers do age and, in some cases, become really outdated. Read these critical book cover requirements for more sales. And as an added bonus, a refresh of covers helps your Amazon algorithm, too!
Be aware of your brand
One thing that often confuses authors is the term “brand” and that’s why it’s worth mentioning here. Your brand is who you are. So, let’s use Coke an example. When you think of Coke you think of soda, right? But what if Coke started producing cheese, you’d find that confusing, wouldn’t you?
The same is true of an author brand. Maybe you want to publish across different genres and that’s fantastic. Keep in mind that if you do this, straight out of the gate, it can confuse your new reader. As well, covers are important to a brand, what’s the “look” you are going for? Are all your books themed a certain way, do they need to be? Keep in mind that the more consistent the “look” of all the work you do, the less you will confuse your reader. This includes your website and social media.
Support other authors
When was the last time you reached out to other authors in your genre? If you haven’t, you should. Get a network going and start to share ideas, tips and also share each other’s stuff. Get out there and network with similar genre authors because it is great business sense. You’ll want to make sure that you all stick together as markets become more competitive and new marketing ideas emerge. Here are 5 networking tips that will help you get more exposure with readers in your genre.
I saw this a lot in 2017. I predict you’re going to see even more of it in the new year. Authors collaborating on book projects, or marketing ideas. So whether that’s offering a big, bundled promotion, doing a contest, or whatever. Collaboration is a great way to not just drive considerably more attention to whatever it is you are promoting. Working together will also get the benefit of each other’s audiences, too!
I know for a fact that many new book marketing strategies will show up in the new year. Keep these 18-book marketing go-to tips handy. It should help you keep a clear eye on your success in the new year!