Many writers will tell you book marketing is unexciting. Time-consuming. Expensive.
This seems unfair. The writing and publishing process might be difficult, but it should be satisfying and rewarding. You should see the fruits of your labour, right?
How to Market a Book
A question on many writers tounges, how to market a book?
The real problem writers face is that most of the book marketing approaches suggested by so-called ‘gurus’ are nothing more than short term tactics. And writers follow this advice. They pay for advertisements, often spending hundreds, sometimes thousands, and yes, there’s sometimes a bump in book sales, but for how long? A month or two? What happens when you stop pumping cash into adverts? You are right back where you started. No sales and masses of frustration.
But there’s a very good reason for this.
Adverts work by interrupting people that are going about their Internet lives and distract them towards your book. Some will buy but most will just be annoyed. This may sometimes work by brute force, but is this really the best way to build a readership?
If you want a long-term solution, you need to do something more substantial.
Something that will be sustainable and long term.
Luckily, there is a more sustainable approach on how to market a book online.
Luckily, there is a more sustainable approach on how to market a book online.
In this article, you will discover how marketing a book online to provide this long-term sustainability in book sales. You’ll learn that you need consistency and a clear connection between all of your author platforms. You’ll also be taught how to gain social media followers and direct them to your website, eventually onto your mailing list and then to the golden pot at the end of the rainbow, Amazon.
Author Platform: Social Media
To build a genuine connection with readers on Twitter requires you to approach your followers in the correct manner and with the correct mindset.
No matter what anyone tells you, always be yourself. Promote messages you generally believe in. Readers can smell lies from a mile away. Not only this but if you are genuine you will be consistent. And being consistent is essential.
Although it is not this simple.
You need to know your readers. I don’t mean what age they are and where they are likely to do their weekly shop. I mean their mindset, what they believe, what they fear.
One mistake many writers make is that they believe they must portray themselves on social media in a way that will match their readership.
This is a mistake.
The ONLY way to successfully create an author platform on social media, over the long term, is as yourself. However, if you are able to present yourself in an honest, clear, and consistent manner, then you will start to attract readers that match your views.
This is a critical concept.
There is already a large group of potential readers out there that think like you and LOVE the books you want to write.
They already exist.
You just have to find them or, more accurately, attract them to your author platforms.
How do you do this? Treat it as though you were a detective. Analyze them, think like them.
One trick i can give you on how to market a book; find similar writers and influencers to yourself, then follow readers from their social media. This way you have access to a pool of pre-selected potential readers. You can also search for hashtags, topics. Use polls to do your own research. Search the web for database reports. There are numerous options out there. Just find what fits you. Book Marketing is all about using your instinct and thinking outside the box. Use your author platform to provide excellent knowledge or support to your surrounding community.
Remember, the first stage of building a sustainable long-term readership is to create a persistent, honest, clear, and consistent message, which will, in turn, attract potential readers. Once you gain a readership marketing a book online will become easier due to your growing support.
Author Platform: Website
So you have started to develop a social media presence, it’s time to think about the next step. This is to direct potential readers to your website. The second author platform.
However, you face one big problem.
Let’s say you are using Twitter to build a following. There’s a good chance your potential reader is looking at Twitter on their phone, happily scrolling away. The issue you face is that if they are on Twitter, they don’t want to leave the platform.
To make them leave the app, you need to present a very convincing argument. The best way to do this is to offer quality content that they are not getting elsewhere. Something that is so amazing they have no choice but to click away.
The nature of this content will depend on you, your book, and your readers. It might be a blog post, or perhaps exclusive information on your book or even a video interview. It might even be a free download of a short story, or even a full-length novel.
The key is that you are overcoming the inertia of leaving the app by offering something of so much value that they can’t help but click.
Perhaps that’s why you are reading this post. It might be that you saw the link on social media and were so intrigued that you clicked the link and ended up here. If I did my job correctly, then I am providing so much value that I have made it worth your while.
OK, so you have your potential reader on your website, how to market a book to them?
Author Platform: Mailing List
When your readers reach this author platform it’s time to focus your effort on the ultimate goal of selling your book.
One great way to sell is through personalized emails.
When it comes to marketing a book online you need to make sure that everything is in place on your website.
The first thing you need is to gain trust. There are lots of ways to do this and hopefully, you will have already developed some level of trust from social media. One thing that it is essential is that your website looks professional.
Tips to make your Website Look Professional:
- Make sure your color scheme is appropriate.
- Make sure that your fonts look right.
- Makes sure the site is responsive (does it look ok when you look at it on a mobile phone).
- Make sure you have an about page.
- Make sure you have a contact page.
- Make sure your navigation is clear and easy to use.
This is just the start, take a look at this link to get some more ideas.
Assuming you have trust, the final step is to give something away in exchange for an email.
One mistake writers make is they assume that a potential reader giving you their email is a trivial interaction, it is not. It is a sale. The reader is deciding if the thing you are giving away is WORTH the price of the email.
When you give your email to a website you are giving them permission to email you in the future. You are not giving them permission to spam you, but you are giving them some level of permission.
This means the interaction is not free, it is a sale.
Therefore, like any other sales, both sides need to be happy. You need to be giving something away that is worth the price of the email. When marketing a book only the potential reader can decide if the value is high enough.
Writers often assume that just throwing up a form to ‘collect’ emails for a ‘newsletter’ is enough. It’s not. The reader knows nothing about your newsletter. How often will they be getting it? What will it contain? Will you be trying to sell them something else after two emails? It’s like trying to buy a car without a test drive.
You need to give the reader a reason to give them your email, just assuming they will be interested in your book is not reason enough.
So, what do you give away?
The answer is that it depends on you and your readers. However, one thing to remember is that you are trying to create a mailing list of potential readers. That means you need to give away something that readers of your book will love.
There’s another way to think about this, you are also trying to give away something that will put off everyone except your potential reader. It’s no good giving away a free writing workshop if your target market is fantasy readers NOT writers.
One very common approach and one that works well is to giveaway either a short story, a free chapter from your book, or a free eBook. Many, many writers have built their careers on using free eBooks to develop a mailing list.
Once you have emails you are not far away from direct sales. You have gained the reader’s interest through every step to this point. However, the skill is in how you approach the sale. Sending one, needy sales email could evaporate all the trust you’ve earned.
I recommend a simple approach to closing a sale. Send five emails over the course of two weeks. Space them apart by a few days.
Start by welcoming them to your group, society, community, call it whatever matches you. Next, explain the process you took to make the book, tell them about the hardship of writing, and also your inspirations, ask them a question, get a response. Do this over three emails. You are trying to build trust and connection. This is building on all the hard work you put in over social media and your website.
Finally, you send the big one. The whopper. Write an email asking them to buy your book. Be direct. Say why you think they will love your book. Be honest. Perhaps copy in a couple of reviews. Put in a link to your Amazon page. Remember to tell them you’d love to hear their feedback. People love to be heard. Be creative and thoughtful.
Author Platform: Amazon
If potential readers are on your amazon page, then you are 90% of the way but the sale is still not complete.
It is essential that your final author platform, Amazon, is meeting your potential reader’s expectations.
There are hundreds of really good articles about how to create your Amazon landing page and you should read as many of these as possible. One thing worth particular attention during your research is the blurb for your book. However, in regard to closing the sale, there are three key areas that need urgent attention.
Title and Book Cover
Your cover and title should match the reader’s expectations. These are the first indicators to the reader that they might like your book.
Readers will come to your blog knowing what they want to read, your book’s title and cover should match these expectations. If you have been developing a clever social media message, targeted content on your blog, and well-written emails, then ONLY readers that like your book will be pushed to the Amazon page.
The genre you write will have certain cover images and title formats that are common to the genre. You need to match these formats. Don’t try to be clever. This is not a time to stand out from the crowd. Your book should look very much like other books in your genre, but different enough to be distinct.
Amazon doesn’t use genres, they use categories. Your book MUST be placed in a category that meets the reader’s expectations. This is just one more way to reinforce to the reader that your book is right for them.
As a general rule, try to do two things. The first is to place your book in a broad category, which still remains in the book’s genre. The second is to place it in a smaller sub-genre, in which you have a chance of rising up the charts and gaining that bestseller status.
The harsh reality is that you need reviews, and as many as possible, as quickly as possible. Having no reviews makes selling your book very hard indeed. You are asking people to take a gamble on your book with no clear indication that it is worth their time.
If you are yet to gather reviews for your book, then hold off pushing potential readers to your Amazon page. Yes, this is a chicken and egg, since you need sales for reviews, but it is better to save your nurtured potential readers until your Amazon page is the best it can be.
You get one shot at sending them to your page, don’t waste it.
There is a lot of information in this article, but one thing that you must hold in your mind is the idea of consistency. Consistency between your author platforms.
This is the main thing to take away.
You must be presenting a clear, consistent, honest, and cohesive message on all platforms; all of your platforms must match. When marketing a book online a reader must be able to move from your Twitter to your blog and see the same types of images and colors.
This will build trust and long-term sales.