Find more marketing tips, Buy My Book! 50 Plus Marketing Strategies to Sell Your Book. Available at the Starving Writer Bookstore. Click HERE to go to the store.
Determine your audience and prepare a marketing plan before you begin writing your book. These activities will help you focus your writing, thereby making your book better. If you think your audience is everyone, think again. The closer you can identify your potential buyers (gender, age range, preferences) the more successful your marketing efforts will be because you will know where to find them.
Authors often ask me which website domain names I recommend. If you want to cover all your bases, secure your book title, your name, and your publishing company name. Then select one main website and have the other domain names redirect to it.
Make your book a gift. You know the unique angle of your book. Who would love to get it as a gift or buy it for that matter?
Social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are helping authors gain a following. Most accounts are free, so sign up if you haven’t already and start connecting with your audience. Your posts should be a combination of personal sharing and professional information; however, if you wouldn’t say it in front of a room filled with people, do not post it on your social media site.
Don’t invest your entire marketing budget in one activity (trade show, e-newsletter, website, etc.), maintain a good mix to maximize sales. It is important to market your product in different ways.
Consider starting the title of your book with your subject matter if you are writing nonfiction. For instance, Free Fall is clever but Skydiving Tips for Success will be found by more people searching for that subject matter. Add a descriptive subtitle to expand on the title, if appropriate.
Have you received public recognition for your writing, a book award, or other accolade? Don’t be shy, let your network (friends, family, and social media connections) know. It gives people an excuse to promote you and publicity leads to more book sales.
Do you have too many great artwork choices for your book cover? Ask your target market (you’ve started collecting email addresses, right?), which one they’d pick and why. You might say, “I’d like your opinion about my upcoming book [title here] to be published in next few months [state date if you know it]. I need to choose between cover #1 and #2, and I’d appreciate your opinion about which cover you like best.”
How do you answer, “What’s your book about?” Matt Hudson, Literary Agent at William Morris Endeavor, said this at the Willamette Writers Conference, “Distill your book into something immediately gripping.” He recommended condensing your book into one page. Review that page and refine the best paragraph. From that paragraph, take the best sentence and start your pitch with it.
Not-so-local newspapers - Contact your current local newspaper to let them know it’s coming out. Unless you’re still living in the same place you were born you’re local some where else to. Contact the newspapers in all the ears you’ve ever lived in.
Always carry a copy of your book with you, and hold it so people can see it. Whenever you need to do something that requires a free hand, put the book down so it can be plainly seen. If you catch anyone looking at it, invite them to pick it up, and give them your marketing speech.
Have bookmarks or postcards available with the books information and how to purchases it.
In your e-newsletter delivery, use a relevant subject line to increase the open rate and ensure the from line identifies you or your company. If you haven’t started an e-newsletter, you’re missing out on an easy, effective way to market
Waiting rooms Find places where people wait around, doctors, dentists, hairdressers, garages, restaurants, hotels, train and bus stations... anywhere with a waiting room. See if they'll put a copy of your book there for their customers to read while they wait. Put a label on the cover to say it's on sale at the reception desk, and get them to display it there too if you can. Give them a percentage of each sale.
Brand yourself – when you have a website, blog or even your Facebook page you want to brand yourself. Remember you’re a business and the more people who know you on the internet the more visitors to your site. Brand yourself with a name, logo or even a specific color. You want to catch your reader’s eye so they remember you in the future.
Write articles or short stories - and give them away. Choose a topic or incident from your book and turn it into an article or short story, then see if you can get a magazine to publish it. It doesn't matter if they can't pay you, as long as they agree to print some details about your book alongside it.
Attend Book and Writers Fairs – When you attend these fairs you can speak with other writers, editors, publishers and others in the publishing industry. These fairs are a great way to network.
Send out a Press Lease – The goal of a press release is to reveal the essence of your book or project in a way that shows the media immediately why you will make a great interview or article.
Websites and newsletters need good material, but don't have the resources to pay for it. Each one might have just a few hundred readers, but if several of them use your stories and articles that adds up to a lot of potential buyers.
Editors of neighborhood news are eager for content. Write an article related to your book and in the final paragraph mention your book and how to order it, including your website. Remember it doesn’t have to be your neighborhood.
Exchange articles and stories for advertising space. It pays to be flexible here. Offer to delay your ad until they have space they can't fill. Have some ads already designed and ready to publish in a variety of sizes - their advertising department should be able to help you with these. When space becomes available at short notice, you'll be able to slot your ad straight in.
Comment on blogs that relate to your topic. This will drive traffic to your blog or website where you are promoting your services, writing and yourself. If you don’t have a blog I suggest you consider starting one.
Use direct marketing. That just means get your self in front of your potential clients or readers. Use fliers and brochures for your local market.
Get other people to help. They could use your book as a fund-raiser for an organization or group they belong to - they sell your book and you donate a percentage of the proceeds to their cause. Use your imagination or combine some other marketing tips you find here.
Word of Mouth is priceless. Don’t be shy in asking clients/readers to toot your horn.
Make cold calls. Is there a business that can use your writing services? Or is there a business that you just really want to work with? Be ready with a good starter introduction and be ready to tell them exactly why they need your services.
The rule of seven. Most buyers need to hear about your book seven times before they'll buy it. Instead of one big advertisement insert several small ones so your message is seen more often.
Use your business cards. You should carry your cards with you everywhere you go. You never know when you are going to meet someone who needs your writing services. Always be prepared.
To avoid frequent changes to your acknowledgment page keep a running list while you’re writing your book so you don’t forget anyone. When someone helps you at any point in the process, add his or her name to your “acknowledgments” list. That way, at the end of the project, you’ll have a complete list and can easily write your gratitude including everyone in the first pass.