Almost every blog, workshop, and website on the subject of self-publishing advocates for creating a book marketing plan even before your book has been printed.
You will already have read about several marketing methods, from virtual book tours to book signings to book fair partnerships to glossy mailings featuring your book. Have you followed that advice?
Sometimes, even when we answer “yes” to this question, our sales numbers may not reflect the hard work and the (usually) good advice we receive. You might even be following to the letter every piece of advice you’ve been given. So, how could this be? And more importantly, how do wefix the problem?
The simple truth is that your book’s marketing plan may have a fatal flaw, and this flaw may be costing you sales. And truthfully, this is a common problem among self-publishing authors, which means that you’re not alone and that we’ve figured out a couple of surefire ways to troubleshoot the issues.
Instead of looking at your book marketing plan as an “enemy” which is actively working against you, ponder these three questions. Your answers might just help reshape your marketing plan to be more insightful, more effective, and more successful at moving your book off the bookstore shelves.
Have you clearly defined your target market? When you wrote your first book, you just knew that everyone would love it. It would make you the talk of the town (or maybe even the talk of the nation or globe). It would be the “it” book everyone would want to read. But . . . that’s a rather lofty goal. Many might even say that it’s an impossible goal, in that even the most successful authors (like Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Jan Karon) aren’t able to reach everyone with their books. And that’s fine; they have developed loyal followings among readers who are committed to them and their books. That’s where their success lies, and even if you’re not a blockbuster breakout success on the scale of a Stephen King, one can learn from that core truth: loyal followings sell books. How, then, do you seek them out? First, ignore all the white noise, and dispense with the idea that your book is for everyone. There isn’t a book on earth that’s for everyone. So, who is your book for? Who is your intended audience? Start locking in the details, from demographic information like age and occupation to the qualities people look for in books. Define your target audience with care and with specificity. If you can’t name some specific characteristics, you can’t market to them.
Have you figured out what differentiates your book from the other books available to your target market? Can you tell us why your book is both different from and better than any other book on the market in its genre? Is there a lesson taught in your book? Are your characters easier to relate to? There has to be a reason why readers want to buy your spy thriller instead of the latest from John le Carré. As daunting as it is to consider as a competitor THE AUTHOR who leads the pack in terms of sales in your genre, doing so will help you figure out your book’s strengths. You aren’t just churning out another Vince Flynn action book; you’re publishing a book with its own strengths of plot and character. Find out what makes your book special and use that as your unique value proposition . . . in marketing as well as every other context.
Have you updated your book marketing plan lately? The book marketing industry, like any other, evolves with blinding speed. If you don’t keep your plan up to date, it can quickly become irrelevant, and your book sales will flag. Therefore, we recommend that authors review and update their book marketing plan at least once a year and make sure to get eyes other than their own on their plan. Having that external insight is vital to ensuring that every detail of your marketing plan serves a purpose!
Have your book sales been lagging, and you can’t figure out why? Perhaps it’s time to consult with one of our Book Marketing Specialists. Right now, Outskirts Press is offering an instant 10% savings off the regular price when you claim 5 hours of 1-on-1 marketing assistance with one of our book marketing specialists. Enter promo code bmssavings at checkout to instantly receive 10% off.
As a self-published author, do you know how to develop a book marketing plan or even what should be included in it?
Do you have the time and know-how to snag and schedule book signings? Are you confused about when, where and how to implement these and other elements of your book marketing plan?
A professional book marketing specialist can assist you with all these tasks, and more!
What, exactly, can a book marketing specialist do for you?
Develop a marketing plan. A book marketing plan is as vital to the marketing of a book as an outline is to the writing of it. And a marketing plan must be continuously tweaked to stay aligned with your goals. When you hire a book marketing specialist, you will receive a customized marketing plan with recommended actions and valuable information you can use TODAY to sell more books.
Arrange book signings. Book signings are special moments for any author, and for book fans. Your book marketing specialist will help you schedule these events and coordinate all the important details.
Develop your author platform. Your online presence says a lot about you as a person, and it can say a lot about you as an author. Having an internet presence that is tailored specifically to your needs will help you fine-tune your image, get the word out about your book(s) to a large, targeted audience and give readers valuable ways to find you and buy your book. Your author platform includes a website, social networking accounts and more. A book marketing specialist can ensure that you make the most of this valuable marketing medium!
Follow-up on marketing leads. When life gets busy, it’s nice to hand off the little details to someone else–like following up with potentially valuable marketing leads. Your book marketing specialist will chase down these leads for you and make sure you get ’em while they’re HOT!
Marketing a book is not a cookie-cutter science. The successful path depends upon the book, the author, and his/her goals. That’s why it is imperative to meet with your book marketing specialist first, typically via an initial telephone consultation. Once you make sure you and your marketing specialist are on the same page (pun intended), you can work together more efficiently, and effectively.
If you haven’t yet secured the services of a professional book marketing specialist to help you with the marketing of your self-published book, perhaps 2022 is the year to do it.
One of the best ways to promote an audiobook is, not surprisingly, by sharing audio from it. Fortunately, when you publish your audiobook with Outskirts Press, we create a five-minute retail sample for you. Then, while we upload it to sales partners like Amazon, Audible, and iTunes on your behalf, we also give you your audio clips so you can share them whenever and wherever you like.
Having your sample on Amazon and iTunes will carry most of your marketing weight, but there are other outlets you can pursue. Among them: YouTube, Facebook, SoundCloud, and TikTok—and here’s a bit about getting each one to work for you and your book.
The best way to use your audio sample clip on YouTube is to incorporate it in a book video. If you already have a book video and some essential editing software, you’re 90% done. And if your book video doesn’t have any sound, you’re 95% done. If it does have sound, use your editing software to separate the audio track from the video track and then lay your audiobook track down onto the video instead. Rarely will the length of the audiobook track and the video match, so you’ll need to be creative to bring them in sync. Once you’re happy with your new audiobook video, upload it to your YouTube channel and other various video platforms.
If you do not have a book video, the easiest solution is to get one by clicking here. Or you can create a “video” by simply using a still image of your book as a static image for the video length of your audiobook sample. Alternatively, and preferably, you could use your smartphone and a small tripod and record yourself reading your book. Now, that’s an audiobook sample that any YouTuber can enjoy!
In either case, don’t forget to take full advantage of the description field when uploading your video by making sure to include links to your author webpage and your product sales page on Amazon. Then people can buy your audiobook (or your hard copy alternatives if they prefer).
The easiest way to promote your audiobook on Facebook is to use the same video you created for YouTube. Then upload it to your Facebook page! But, again, don’t forget to include the necessary purchase links, so your friends, family, and followers can easily find your audiobook and purchase it.
SoundCloud, which indie musicians know well, is also a hot place for indie authors. Create an account and upload your audiobook retail sample. You can also upload an accompanying image—try the cover of your book. Then complete the rest of the upload form, including the book’s title, the author’s name, and the narrator’s name. Like YouTube and Facebook, use the “Description” field to include links to your author webpage and Amazon product sales page.
More than one billion people use TikTok, watching and posting short videos. These people include authors and readers, and it may be time you check this newest and fast-growing resource. Using the skills you’ve been developing to blend your audio clip with images and videos, and taking inspiration from other authors, start playing on TikTok.
Are YOU ready to publish YOUR masterpiece? If so, click here to experience full-service, custom self-publishing the way it should be . . . at Outskirts Press. We are here to serve you.
There are thousands of books published every day in the United States and that number is on the rise. How can you make sure your book stands out on the shelves? A good marketing strategy and plan can help you identify and reach your target market, differentiate from your competition, and drive sales. But where do start? An Outskirts Press Book Marketing Specialist can help!
Right now, you can receive an instant 10% savings off the regular price of $349 when you reserve 5 hours of 1-on-1 marketing assistance with a Book Marketing Specialist who can:
Develop your personal marketing plan
Arrange book signings for you
Develop your social media platform
And much more!
What are you waiting for? Maximize your book’s sales potential by hiring a Book Marketing Specialist today. Simply enter promo code bmstenpct at check-out for your instant 10% savings today.
Authors often ask, “what’s the advantage of self-publishing over publishing through a traditional publishing house?” There are many! First, when you self- publish, you will always have complete creative power over your work. You also keep 100% of your own profits. It’s true that independent authors bear the responsibility for their own book promotion, but this is largely the case with traditional publishing as publishers spend less and less time and resources supporting their authors.
To help make it easier and more affordable to self-publish the book of your dreams, Outskirts Press is offering 15% off two of our most popular publishing packages. Start publishing today and you can instantly save 15% on the Ultimate Black/White or Full-Color Publishing Package. That makes the best deal in publishing even better because these packages already include…
Free Amazon Kindle Edition
Free author’s copies
Free author galley revisions
Free image insertions
Free marketing support
Free author webpages
And much more!
Enter promo code fifteenpctuf at check out to get started and save 15%!
“Everyone I communicated with were friendly, professional, and very helpful. The entire publishing process was quick and easy. I look forward to working with the team again.” – Jack Darrell Crowder, author ofAbby’s Secret: The Story of a Young Girl’s Courage and Determination During the American Revolution
Positive book reviews are great for any book, and they are particularly helpful for self-published books, where the quality from book to book can be so disparate that readers often rely upon online reviews from either 3rd party readers or established reviewers to help them make their purchasing decision.
Enter Kirkus, Foreword, and Blue Ink, three established magazines that cater to book buyers, wholesalers, libraries, and readers as the sources for unbiased book reviews. All three offer guaranteed book reviews, if you know how to get them. And as we’re about to demonstrate, getting a positive book review from a source like this can provide an author with an arsenal of promotional power.
See Exhibit One, below, the Blue Ink review of Brad Anderson’s When Is Sylvia Wallace? (Outskirts Press, 448 pages).
How many blurbs or excerpts can you extract from this review for the purposes of marketing? Let’s see…
“The pacing is relentless…”
“…a highly appealing fusion of time-travel adventure and post-apocalyptic thriller…”
“…impossible to put down.”
Can’t you see any one of those excerpts featured predominantly above the title? Or all of them on the author’s webpage and used in all promotional material (blurbs like that are particularly effective on posters). We can! What’s more, once you’ve received a review like this, with blurbs like that, you can parlay them for the remainder of your career to further enrich your author biography on future book covers, your author webpages, and your online social media author profiles — all of which helps you promote your “author platform” and all your future books, too.
Speaking of books, Brad Anderson is the author of 9 books (so far) with Outskirts Press, including the award-winning Guardians Trilogy. Brad Anderson lives and works in San Antonio, Texas. He spends most of his longer vacations hiking and camping in America’s National Parks, including Guadalupe Mountains National Park. Anderson is the author of Ribbon Falls, After the Falls, and The Janus Project, among others. Visit him at https://outskirtspress.com/guardians.
Congratulations on a great review, Brad, and on an amazing writing career. We’re with you.
To join us, and Brad, on your own writing, publishing, and award-winning adventure, visit OutskirtsPress.com today.
As more and more books are purchased online, the “experience” of flipping through the pages prior to buying has become a thing of the past. But there’s just no substitute for taking a glance inside the book when considering a book purchase.
Introducing “Barnes & Noble Read Instantly,” the new book marketing service from Outskirts Press that allows your potential customers the ability to literally “flip through” the digital pages of your book on the Barnes & Noble website.
Browsers become buyers and that is why the new Barnes & Noble Read Instantly marketing option is so powerful, offering the online equivalent to browsing a bookstore. Books that participate feature a “Read Instantly” icon superimposed over their Barnes & Noble paperback, hardback, and/or NOOK cover image, which identifies those books as Read Instantly-Capable.
Are you ready to boost your Barnes & Noble book sales. Buy now.
When you self-publish with Outskirts Press, you get so much more than the bare minimum. That’s because we want more for you than to get you published — we want you thrive!
Nothing demonstrates this commitment to assisting self-publishing authors like our Book Marketing Resource Center. This virtual bookshelf is stocked with a variety of eBooks, each addressing a specific aspect of book marketing — and this library is FREE for all authors who publish with Outskirts Press. Our flip books are designed to equip you with the know-how to launch, promote and sell your book in greater numbers than you thought possible.
Now, with the season of giving just around the corner, there’s never been a better time to check out our Book Marketing Resource Center; after all, more than half of all books sold are sold during the season. The flip book titled 9 Ways to Maximize Holiday Book Sales, provides a roadmap and timeline for promoting your book to make the most of Christmas gift-giving. It offers tips on making your book stand out with holiday shoppers, creating visual impact, and recognizing and capitalizing on selling opportunities.
The Book Marketing Resource Center from Outskirts Press is brimming with all kinds of information you can put to use now to increase sales through the holiday season and beyond. Each is downloadable and optimally organized for easy reference, so if you’re an Outskirts Press published author, you can log into your Author Publishing Center to check out as many books as you’d like, whenever you’d like. Following is just a sample of the additional FREE flip books available in the Book Marketing Resource Center:
Five Ways to Get Amazon Book Reviews
How to Create a Press Kit
How to Relaunch Your Book
Ten Rules for Hosting a Book Launch Party
Navigating the Social Media Jungle
Remember, these valuable resources are FREE! It’s just another way Outskirts Press is providing exceptional service to our cherished authors.
If you haven’t published with Outskirts Press yet, you can get started with a personal publishing consultant by clicking the link below. What are you waiting for?
A well-planned book launch party can get your book marketing efforts started off on the right foot by attracting the media and capturing new readers. Whether you are planning on hosting a book launch party at your own house or a more public place (recommended), these 10 rules are ones every author should follow:
1. Set Realistic and Measurable Goals
While a book launch party can, and should, include celebration, it is important to realize that it is also a marketing event; and its main purpose is to sell books. Therefore, think of it as a business venture as well as a party. Track every cost so you can determine the ROI (return on investment). For instance, will you use custom printed postcards or note cards featuring your book as invitations or using Evite.com? Will you host the party at your home, at a free venue like a bookstore, library, etc., or will you rent a professional party space for the event. Will you be engaging the services of an event planner, or handling all the details yourself? Event planners are an added expense, but they may possess the experience necessary to drive attendance. Be sure to set goals in terms of attendance (readers and media) and book sales (and book reviews). By determine your strategy and your budget in advance, you can analyze the results and make improvements for your next book event.
2. Pick an Appropriate Theme
Your event must appeal to your target readers to increase the chances of them attending – and of having positive word-of-mouth afterward. For instance, if you’ve written a mystery, host a “murder mystery party.” By picking a theme that relates to your book, and making that theme a clear component of the invitation, you ensure that everyone who attends is a prime candidate to buy your book at the end of the evening when you pull out your signing pen.
3. Call Upon Your Guests
Follow-up on every RSVP with a personal “thank you” that promises them a good time, a goodie bag (see below), and a great discount on a signed copy of your book. Also ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in attending the book launch event of the season (hyperbole is okay when it’s tongue-in-cheek). Make sure your guests know that they are welcome to invite/bring others to the event. If your guests start to use their social media reach to promote your event, your guest list can quickly climb, which means more book sales and more book reviews.
4. Market to the Media
Appealing to the media requires having a unique and compelling angle. Fortunately, if you did a good job connecting with your readers, you probably already have a unique and compelling angle right at your feet. Now just write a press release about it:
Local Mystery Author Launches Highly-Anticipated New Novel with a Murder Mystery Party and YOU are invited!
Not a bad headline for a press release, right? Once you have your press release written, send it to your local newspapers, television, and radio stations. The more local the media, the more interested they will be. Are you going to attract Good Morning America to your book launch? Probably not (see Rule #1). But will the local news channel feature you in a segment? Perhaps, especially if you’ve accumulated an impressively large guest list. When the segment airs, record it and post it to your social media. Share it with your attendees. They’ll all brag about being at an event that got on the news. What does that mean for you? More book sales!
5. Get Social Online
Before and after your event, be sure to use the power of social media to spread the word. Prior to the event, use your social media platform to drive awareness, answers questions, promote the event, and solicit attendees. Afterwards, share lots of pictures of the fun time had by all (along with a link to your book, of course). Even if people aren’t able to attend in person, they’ll love to see the pictures and they still may buy the book (which is, after all, the whole point!).
6. Get Social Offline
Even though many writers are introverts by nature, your book launch party is not the time to be shy. So step out of your comfort zone and embrace the gregarious published author inside you. Strike up conversations with every single person in attendance. Be generous with your time and your smile. Rather than going for the “hard sell” take lots of pictures with everyone instead, using THEIR phones as well as yours. If they have pictures on their phones, they are more likely to post those pictures on their social media platforms after the event, along with links to you and/or your book. Those online postings last a lot longer than your event ever will.
7. Get Really Social Offline
The more fun your guests have, the better your sales will be at the end of the night (since everyone will still be there) and the better your word-of-mouth will be after the event (which means the better your sales will be afterward, too). So get ready to live it up on the night of your party! Create lots of photo opportunities and encourage all your guests to take as many pictures as they can, not just of you or your book, but of the venue and/or decorations. Did your murder mystery guests don costumes (did you encourage them to by adding a costume contest to the proceedings)? Have them take posed pictures. Would your romance novel lovers mind posing next to a life-size cardboard cutout of a male hunk? Probably not. By connecting with your readers, creating a theme, and having fun, you’ll create an atmosphere that encourages reader engagement, and that will translate to more book sales at the end of the night — in other words, a perfect book launch party!
8. Joint Ventures are Your Secret Weapon
A “joint venture” is a collaboration between two people or companies with mutually-beneficial goals and results. Any good party has goodie bags, right? But rather than giving away copies of your book (you’re trying to sell copies, after all), partner with local businesses who are seeking marketing opportunities of their own. Would your romance novel lovers enjoy the local bakery’s cookies (along with a coupon) inside their goodie bag? Of course! Would your action aficionados like a coupon for a free tub of popcorn with the purchase of tickets to the latest James Bond movie playing at the local Cineplex? Absolutely! Joint Venture partnerships like this are relatively easy in this day and age of social media, and you may be surprised how many of them will advertise YOUR event on their social media platforms, too.
9. Prepare to Sell Books
When you’re in the middle of a fun party, the last thing you’ll want to be burdened with is handling book orders. But of course, taking book orders is the whole point of throwing a book launch party. What a dilemma! Fortunately, with advance planning, you can make sure this important step goes just as flawlessly as the party itself. Consider the logistics in advance in terms of cash, check, or charge. If you plan on charging sales tax, determine a discount to offer on your book that rounds the final cost to an even number (preferably in a cash-friendly denomination like $10, $15, or $20). You can promote the discount and you don’t have to worry about counting pennies for change. If you plan on taking credit cards at the event, is your smart phone hooked up with a way to do that, either with Square or PayPal, for example? It’s easy to hand-out business cards with your Amazon link printed on it, but the reality is that people attending a book launch party will expect to be able to buy a signed copy of the book that night, and you want them to! Who knows whether they’ll buy it the next day?
10. Call Upon Your Guests Again
If your attendees are old friends (or new friends who had a great time), they’ll be happy to help you spread the word about your book – but they might not know how. So tell them. Be sure your venue has a number of placards or signs with instructions for posting reviews on Amazon, sharing pictures on Instagram, or commenting on the event on Facebook. Be sure to follow-up personally with every attendee via email after the event with links to write a review, post a picture, or share a selfie.
Now that you have a mailing list, you can also notify them when your next book event takes place. And it’s sure to be even better than your first one. Throwing your first book launch party is always the most difficult. But perhaps these rules will make it easier (and more successful).
If you’re a self-publishing author who is finding it difficult to “get your book out there,” reserving 5 hours with a Personal Marketing Assistant may make all the difference. We can help you even if you didn’t publish with Outskirts Press, the #1-rated self-publishing company according to Top Consumer Reviews.
Kenwyn K. Smith is self-publishing a book with Outskirts Press, and he wants your help deciding on a book cover.
Humanity now recognizes we are partway through a transformational epoch that may be even more impactful than the Renaissance. A central feature of this reformation is discovering that all of life is predicated on abundance. Never before has the world been so wealthy. Yet mostly we still feel it is a struggle to survive, largely because our economic system is based on real or artificially created scarcities. The world order has been founded on the economics of scarcity, which is an insufficiently robust architectural edifice given present geopolitical complexities. It needs to be augmented by a financial infrastructure centered on abundance.
About the Author
Kenwyn Smith, professor of organizational behavior at the University of Pennsylvania, is a scholar-practitioner. His work has ranged from schools to prisons, businesses to health care institutions, state-run enterprises to entrepreneurship, pharmaceuticals in Belgium to HIV/AIDS communities in America, from restoring under-resourced black South African townships to supporting livelihood-development in rural India.
Please take a look at two possible covers below and then vote on the choice you recommend.
Click on the thumbnail below to enlarge each cover.