Making a habit of marketing your books is important for all authors and publishers. Some habits are good, leading to long-term success. Others are not so good and can keep you from reaching your goals.
Many authors write a book based on a subject they like, or perhaps on a unique experience they have had. As a book marketing consultant, a question I frequently hear is, “My book is finished, now what do I do?” Successful book marketing lies in giving prospective readers what they want to read. Figuring that out depends on four pillars: target market, customer needs, integrated marketing, and profitability.
You may be ready to start building your marketing plan for your debut book—but where do you start? Some authors avoid planning in general because they don't know how to do it. There are two different ways for first-time authors to create their future marketing plans. One solution is discovery-driven planning in which much is still assumed, but the plan evolves over time through trial and error. A second technique views planning as narrative, conducted as you would when writing a novel.
Two concepts determine your success in answering questions during a television or radio performance: preparation and flexibility. In most cases, you will not know the questions you will be asked during the interview. But if you understand your topic and know beforehand what you want to get across to the audience, you will be able to perform more successfully.
Book publicity is one of the least expensive and perhaps most productive of the promotional strategies used to generate exposure for books. And a press release is a commonly used tool to stimulate publicity. However, too many publishers' press releases go unheeded because of one major mistake—they write their press releases about their books.
You could sell more of your books if you'd answer two questions honestly. First, how often do people think about your book? Second, how often do people think about their own problems? You will probably agree that people think more about how they can solve their own problems, learn something, improve themselves, or be entertained than they do about your book. However, if you can show them how reading your book helps them achieve these things, you are likely to increase your book sales and revenue, so let's cover how to target your book's audience.
Direct mail has been given a bad reputation because of overuse and poorly designed mailing pieces. People tend to perceive direct mail as junk mail. However, when you have a finite, identifiable group of people who are potential customers for your books, direct mail may be an efficient book marketing tool you can use to reach them.
Have you heard of Abraham Maslow’s Need Hierarchy? It describes a pyramid of needs through which people move as they are motivated to fulfill unmet needs. The foundation is made up of the very basic needs (security, food, etc.) and people advance ultimately to self-actualization. Believe it or not, the same concept applies to book buying from business-to-business (B2B).
Goals are the foundation of a solid book publishing plan. They provide a target at which to aim and the standard against which you can gauge your progress. Author goals divide your vision statement into manageable steps and provide a path to its realization. And written goals provide a means for looking back to see how far you've come.
Are your book sales at the point where you expected them to be when you published your book? Are you doing the same things you always did to try to sell them? Have you heard the maxim, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got”? If your sales are below forecast, maybe it's time to try something different.