The Basics of Book Marketing

What You Need to Know Before You Launch Your First Book

Photo Credit: Judit Peter
  1. You have the idea for the book. You find ways to test the idea to see if there is a market for it. You use the feedback you receive to shape the book to readers desires, and then produce the book which they have essentially requested. (This option is most recommended)

Book Marketing as We See it Today

Book marketing is a big topic these days, so to make it more approachable, let’s break it down into areas we can look at individually.

Why Do Books Sell?

There is absolutely no way of denying a good quality physical book. Quality products pay back marketing efforts 10 fold because once other people learn about and interact with a product, they are much more likely to buy it and recommend it to others.

  • It solves a problem that many people have. or that are going through
  • The story is compelling and/or entertaining
  • The author is a celebrity
  • The book is already selling and people start telling others about the book

Marketing vs. Selling

First, it is important to understand the difference between marketing and selling — two aspects which are often confused by new independent authors.

  1. Speak to those people in the language/terminology they’re used to using on this subject.
  2. Elaborate on how your approach to this subject might benefit them. Communicate how they will be informed, entertained, or educated by your perspective and/or expertise of the subject.
  3. Finally, demonstrate the results by showing how these ideas have changed your own approach to the subject, or how they have affected others (testimonials and case studies).

Why You Need a Marketing Plan

To some authors, this part sounds like going in for dental surgery. And to others it’s the reason they wrote their book in the first place.

Setting Book Marketing Goals

As with most things in life, if you have no idea where you’re going, you’ll be unlikely to know when — or whether — you’ve arrived. That’s why setting goals are so important.

  • Readership, where sales are less important than spreading your message
  • Establishing authority in your field
  • Creating a revenue stream, such as blogging
  • Persuading others to take action on a social or environmental issue

Measuring Results

In each of the types of goals I’ve listed above, there’s a way to track your results. For instance:

  • For readership, you can send readers to a website or blog for additional information or interaction and use the analytics provided by the site to measure traffic.
  • For authority, look at whether other people start to quote you and mention your ideas, how often your blog or Twitter posts are forwarded by others, and whether you start to get inquiries from people who want to partner with you to use your new authority for mutual advantage.
  • For revenue goals, keep track of the profit from your book. You may have acquired expenses in getting your book to market, and by tracking this, you’ll know exactly when your book is bringing in significant return on your investment. Plus, you can also track the revenue and income you are making from your blog’s monetizing efforts.
  • For persuasive goals, you can track membership numbers or levels of engagement with your ideas as expressed by blog comments, Twitter re-tweets, and the number of subscribers who sign up to join your mailing list and receive more information from you.

Other Book Marketing Options

As you progress with your book marketing activities, you can start to explore even more ways to make your book marketing efforts more effective. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Target Market Demographics: Understanding the dynamics of the audience you’re trying to reach can help create offers or marketing campaigns aimed at one segment or another of the total target market of your book.
  • Tie-ins as Marketing Leverage: Many nonfiction books have potential tie-ins to companies or products. Think in terms of affiliate or sponsorship relationships.

How to Create Your Long-Term Book Marketing Plan

Being a successful independent self-published author means creating a long-term game plan. Many marketing efforts take months or years to come to fruition, and as you mature as an independent self-published author, you’ll start to think of other books you could write and produce or publish to further engage your current readership.

  • Create and Nurture Relationships: It’s one thing to make a list of top leaders and influencers you would like to connect with, it’s a whole other thing when you decide to make the time to actually interact with other experts in your field, or engage in a blogging outreach, or actually nurture a relationship with book reviewers.
  • Build Your Brand: Your brand is how other people view and relate to you. Building your expertise, authority, and influence in your specific niche is a classic long-term strategy.
  • Gather and Continue to Entertain or Inform Your Audience: As you continue to publish and market your books your audience will continue to grow over time, providing a larger and larger platform for all of your future books.

CEO | Content Marketing Strategist | Business Coach | Marketing Consultant |Freelance Writer | Author | Entrepreneur |

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