Romance Your Readers With Four Quick Marketing Tricks

While romance novels are slowly gaining traction as a legitimate and delightful genre unto themselves, shedding the unearned stigma of their early “pulp” and mass-market years, there’s still a void to be filled. Very likely, if you spend much time surfing the internet, you’ll discover that there’s not a whole lot of quality advice out there on how to better market your romance novel apart from the standard, general, non-genre-specific advice given to all self-published authors. But this is, as the Washington Post calls it, a “uniquely successful genre” in that it is one of the top performers in sales, across the board — and sales don’t look to be slowing down anytime soon. There’s an audience out there, and they need to hear about your book!

Here are four quick tips that will help you romance new readers!

ONE: Tap into the untold power of Goodreads and Amazon. Goodreads is a reader-centric social media platform which privileges the kind of digital discovery tools so valuable to reaching dedicated readers, and readers of romance novels are incredibly dedicated. Have you ever known a reader in the genre to only ever buy just one book? While Amazon uses algorithms to optimize which customers are exposed to which recommended books, Goodreads relies upon readers to recommend books to each other using their reviews, shelves, giveaways, and group conversations. Both Amazon and Goodreads (which has, in fact, been purchased by Amazon but remained a separate entity) are powerhouses of the book world, and creating an author account and taking charge of your book’s sales page can reap untold rewards. Join a couple of group forums for romance readers (we particularly like the sound of the “Tall, Dark & Deadly” group, as well as the “Scandalicious Reader Vault”). Host a giveaway or two. Re-post your blog updates to your Goodreads author page. Offer to exchange reviews with other romance authors. Respond to readers’ questions in the Q&A section. There is literally no downside to getting on Goodreads and optimizing your Amazon page!

TWO: Make use of groups on Facebook. Yes! Facebook does have more to offer than just its author pages! The greatest untapped resource of Facebook is its group function, and I’m not talking about scheduling an event or posting on someone else’s home page, although those are also great ways to reach out. No: you can actually create your own group if there isn’t one which already suits your needs (do a quick search for “romance writers” or “romance readers” and see what comes up!) simply by clicking “Groups” from your home page, then “Add Group,” then “Create New Group.” Facebook will walk you through naming your group, adding members, choosing privacy settings, adding images and icons, and completing your “about” section. Make sure to include the hyperlink to your book sales page, and commit to commenting or otherwise engaging with your chosen group on a regular basis, and you’ll be sure to see a spike in interest.

THREE: Think hard about merchandising. Romance books are rife with symbolic artifacts: those objects which remind your characters of each other, and which serve as metaphors or vehicles for their attraction. We’re talking about that gold bangle on your leading lady’s wrist, or that fountain pen in your champion’s breast pocket. We’re talking about that bookmark your ingénue tucks into her copy of Leaves of Grass while strolling through the New England countryside in search of adventure, or that teacup which shatters in chapter thirteen. Think of how you can riff off of those artifacts, whether by ordering customized pens, sunglasses, or keychains with your website address on them, or by hosting a giveaway in which you give swag as well as your book as an incentive to enter. Think about more flexible means of advertising, too, whether by mailing a postcard featuring your book’s cover or printing bookmarks with the same, or by ordering posters to put up in the windows of local businesses. Merchandising can mean a lot of things, but it always means your book is always in your future readers’ minds!

FOUR: Put a pin in it. That’s right, I’m talking about Pinterest, everybody’s go-to home for recipes and home decorating tips. But you know what? Pinterest is also a fantastic place to market your book, as it is already being used by readers of romance to post their favorite book covers, movie posters, and digitally decorated quotes (in image form). You can create boards of your own, and specify them at will. You might have one where you store your “research” or “inspiration,” and another where you routinely post quotes from your own book. You might even go all-out and start a board where you pin recipes inspired by your book or that are prepared for or by your various characters throughout your romance novel, and a board where you post outfits or “fancastings” of your characters. Think about your ideal reader, and what will engage them best. What sort of home might they live in? What sort of recipes would they regularly look for? Build your brand from the ground up, in image form.

If you’re still not sure how to start marketing your romance novel, log into your Publishing Center to view all of the marketing services that Outskirts Press offers. As an Outskirts Press published author, you can also access your Free Book Marketing Resource Center where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs!

To see our staff picks of amazing romance books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

3 Ways to Improve Your Marketing Plan in 2018

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 a number of 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. You might even be following every piece of advice you’ve received to the letter. So, how could this be? And more importantly, how do we fix 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 both 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 of the bookstore shelves.

  1. 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 that 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 of 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? What is your intended audience? Start locking in the details, from demographic details like age and occupation to the qualities they look for in books. Define your target audience with care, and with specificity. If you can’t name some specific characteristics, you won’t be able to market to them.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 plans up to date, your plan can easily become irrelevant and your book sales will flag. We recommend that authors review and update their book marketing plan at least once per year, and that they make sure to get other eyes on their plan than their own as well. Having that external insight is vital and important to making sure that every detail of your marketing plan serves a purpose!

Have your book sales been flagging and you can’t figure out why? Visit your Author Center account online at www.outskirtspress.com to explore more marketing options and resources, including the chance to book 5 hours with one of our award-winning Personal Marketing Assistants!

How to Market Your Health & Fitness Book

Have you published a work of non-fiction lately that dealt with health, wellness, fitness, or a lifestyle regimen designed to reshape the body? If you have, you’ll already know how difficult it can be to find and build the perfect marketing strategy to sell your book. The good news is, there are ways and means of doing so, and we’re here to share a few of them with you today! So settle in, warm up your mental muscles, and get ready for our top three tips for marketing your wonderful book!

Tip One: Boost your social media presence!
It’s the future, right? And the future is here, and it demands a fully-fleshed-out social media presence to launch both your personal brand and your book, regardless of its theme or content. Sound basic? It sure is! But there are plenty of ways to leverage your social media preference to the specific end of selling your health or fitness-related book. Consider where your book’s audience lives and works out, and where your readers are most likely to discover new health-related content. Do they use Twitter? Perhaps, but they’re less likely to use twitter than Instagram, where all of those delicious-looking smoothie pictures live, or Pinterest, where those delicious-looking smoothie recipes live. The same goes for pictures of you or your workout buddies, health compatriots, and fellow-travelers; those social media platforms which are image-driven are the most effective tools out there for selling future readers not only on your book but on the lifestyle it represents. Write down a quick schedule (smoothie pictures on Mondays, workout pictures on Wednesdays, game day pictures on Fridays, or whatever works best for you!) and stick to it.

Tip Two: Build your team.
Look, big publishing houses don’t have a patent on teamwork, and as an author concerned with health and wellness, you have just as much of the team-building mindset as anyone! Find a way to engage your customers, past and present and future, in spreading the word about your book by taking your lead from teams in the athletic and health communities … teams like the brand ambassadors for Nike and Adidas, for example: can you get your friends to wear book-branded tee shirts around town? And what about local business owners? If you can get your book into the local gym or health food store, and bring the staff on board as brand ambassadors for your book, that’s a fantastic start! And don’t forget about teams like the loose collections of people who participate in those “like and share” incentives on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and elsewhere. Word of mouth works in both digital and offline spheres!

Tip Three: Integrate, integrate, integrate.
No matter what specific steps you take to market your book, you should make sure they appear to your future readers as smaller parts of a larger, unified whole. Integrated marketing is centered upon crafting unified and seamless content across all of your platforms for communication, including any social media profiles, emails, blog posts, flyers, handouts, and other marketing materials you generate. Your public relations work and your marketing, your sales promotions and giveaways, advertising and store placement, as well as your social media presence, should all work together to build one aesthetic, and communicate one message. That message is your book!

Put these three tips together, and you’ll have a marketing plan with a firm foundation that simply can’t be beat, on the field or off the beaten track! But if you’re still not sure where to start, it may be time to lean on an expert. If you’re looking to market your health and wellness book, there’s never a better time than now to inquire.

Interested in learning more? Log into your Publishing Center and click on the Marketing Solutions menu for more book marketing ideas and services.

To see our staff picks of amazing health & fitness books from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

7 Reasons for Self-Published Authors to Give Thanks This Year

As Thanksgiving draws near, it’s time to take stock of everything there is to be grateful for. Family, friends, love, laughter … and the rich life of a self-published author! There’s never been a better time to be an independent author. Here are just a few reasons we’re thankful to be self-publishing in these exciting times:

  1. eBooks. Just having the ability to offer books in an easy-to-order format has opened up a massive sales channel for independent authors. As readers move from hardcopy to electronic books, the ability for anyone to get their book in front of these customers is priceless exposure — and offering an ebook is easy.
  2. Social media. When knocking on doors, making phone calls, buying ads and getting media coverage aren’t on your busy holiday calendar, reaching out to large audiences is still achievable, thanks to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and more. Author pages can be set up quickly, so you can let others know about your book from the comfort of your home.
  3. Author selling page. An author website can be created for free on many drag-and-drop website building platforms. If you only need a selling page, Outskirts Press provides an author webpage to every author who publishes with us. You can easily provide this link to prospective readers so they can purchase your book.
  4. Blogging platforms. The advantage of being an author is that you can put your writing skills to great use in your marketing. A personal or professional blog is a great way to raise your profile online, interact with readers and make valuable connections with others in the publishing industry.
  5. Power of the press. Book announcements have come a long way in recent years. In an instant, a press release distribution service can get your book announcement to thousands of relevant news organizations worldwide. Plus, with the internet as a valuable research tool, an author can very quickly gather specific publications and broadcast media to target with personal contact.
  6. Goodreads. Self-published authors can easily make use of many selling tools on the Goodreads platform to foster relationships with readers, promote their books and sell more copies.
  7. Support when you need it. Traditional publishing houses typically provide a marketing push upon a book’s release but withdraw support as time goes on — especially if a book falls short of lofty sales goals. This doesn’t mean the window for success has closed; it only means the publisher no longer supports the author. When you’re in charge — and, as a self-published author, you are in charge — you have the power to tweak your marketing approach until you find the one that works. It’s never too late to market your way to success!

Clearly, the book marketing game has changed in positive ways … We live in exciting times, indeed. We’re thankful to part of the modern self-publishing renaissance — and thankful for authors like you who are paving the way!

Want to give your self-published book a boost during the holiday book-buying spike? Let Outskirts Press help you market now for a successful season of selling!

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One Secret to Boosting Your Presence on Amazon (and 8 Steps to Take Next)

It’s a challenge for any self-publishing author to get noticed and stay relevant in the Amazon Bookstore. When sales are flagging, how do you get the ball rolling again? Sometimes the secret to getting something done is to do it yourself …

That’s right — if not many readers are buying your book, buy it yourself! Several times a year, purchase several copies of your own book from Amazon; five books each quarter is a good guideline to follow. This approach serves two purposes: It gives you a temporary boost in sales ranking to boost your profile; and it provides you with author copies you can use to promote your book in other ways. While it costs more up front to purchase from Amazon than to purchase discounted hardcopies from Outskirts Press, this approach could pay off in increased sales.

Now, for the next step. Here are eight smart ways to put those Amazon books to great use in your overall marketing approach:

  1. Sell them as signed author copies. Since signed copies are more valuable to readers, you can even recoup most or all of the difference in your cost by selling them at a higher price.
  2. Send them to friends and family on holidays and special occasions. It’s a gift for them and for you! *
  3. Donate copies of your book to libraries, schools, hospitals, retirement homes and veterans’ organizations, for example.
  4. Get signed copies placed in local boutiques and mom-and-pop bookstores. The fact that they’re signed may provide these stores with added incentive to carry your book.
  5. Send copies to local and regional news media along with a press release and/or your book sell sheet, and ask for a review, interview or news coverage. *
  6. Host a contest on social media for free copies of your signed book. Ask your followers to like and share your contest details for extra chances to win.
  7. Provide copies to bloggers who blog about topics addressed in your book. Ask them if they’d be interested in plugging your book on their blog or allowing you to place an add on their site. Or, offer to make their life easier by writing guest blogs. *
  8. And, of course, keep author copies on hand for any spontaneous selling opportunities. Put copies in a durable box in your car trunk, in your desk at work, and leave some with trustworthy advocates who are willing to sell on your behalf. *Works with either hardcopies or e-books.

See? Not only will buying your book on Amazon give you a ranking bump, but it’ll equip you to do other things that raise your profile among readers! Did we miss anything? Share your ideas about how to put author copies to great use, as well as how you improved your own ranking on Amazon.

Want even more help selling? Explore other marketing options at Outskirts Press and get started on the road to effective book promotion!

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