Resolutions Every Author Should Have for the New Year!

Structured and manageable goals are important to those of us who consider ourselves works in progress. Well, it’s that time of year when we all start thinking about those goals — in this case, New Year’s resolutions. They’re especially necessary to moving a book from an unknown publication to a chart-topper. It’s a big project!

But, whether you’re just starting to figure out marketing or already a best-selling author, there are simple things you can resolve to do in 2019 that will make you an even better at selling … or simply a better you. Here are resolutions for published authors or anyone bent on self-improvement.

  1. Set goals. “Wait, I thought a resolution was a goal!” Well, yes, it is, in a sense. Ideally, your New Year’s resolution is the culmination of your goals throughout the year. It’s important — and ultimately more productive — to make goal-setting a habit, not just a tradition we do once a year and promptly forget. So set lots of small, attainable goals rather than one insurmountable to-do you never actually do. For example, if your resolution is to sell 2,000 copies, break it down into smaller goals. Resolve to promote one giveaway in January, schedule a book-signing in February, then a book fair in March and so on for the entire year. Or, set a goal to schedule 20 book-signings next year and average 10 sales per event. Way less intimidating, right?
  2. Facilitate goals. If you’ve resolved to sell big in the new year without so much as a marketing calendar in the house, you’ve not facilitated your goals or your year’s resolution. Remove barriers to progress and instate conditions that help you achieve. Buy an entry-level PC for getting on social media to promote or gather a list of bookstores you can call to set up events. Then, resolve to reach out until you get the bookings you need to fulfill your resolution.
  3. Make marketing a priority. Once you’ve divided your marketing resolutions into smaller goals, it’s much easier to give them top priority. Knock out those little to-do’s first thing in the morning!
  4. Read, read, read. Top-notch authors are always top-notch readers. Get to know your genre not just by practicing it but by being an avid consumer of it. That way, you’ll get to know your audience and what appeals to them.
  5. Master the basics of social media. No matter what your stripe, there’s are many others with similar interests on social media. Facebook “friend” other authors and readers, and learn from them. Follow publishers. Rub elbows with book clubs. You’ll find kindred spirits in the virtual world who can enlighten you with real wisdom. Use that wisdom to refine how you communicate with potential readers.
  6. Try something new. Make 2019 the year you branch out. Start a blog. Meet new people with similar interests. These new experiences will all enrich and inform so many other aspects of your life. At the very least, you’ll be a more social and well-rounded person. Hey, you might even discover a whole new audience for your book!
  7. Just do you. Yes, you should be reading a lot, meeting people and making connections that pay off in sales. Ultimately, you’ll assimilate all these influences into a voice that is uniquely yours, and you’ll find your true audience. Don’t fight it — feed it.
  8. Consider “cheating” a little. Many of us are afraid to ask for help. It feels lazy, like we’re cutting corners. Let us put your mind at ease: It’s not cheating to ask for help reaching your marketing goals! In fact, it’s pretty smart, if you ask us. And, if you’ve tried new things, delved into social media and checked off other goals, you likely have crossed paths with new people who may be able to help you get past the hump. Reach out to friends and family to help you get the word out or purchase inexpensive marketing service options to help you reach the goals you set on the road to your resolution. (Even full-time professionals parse out their duties from time to time.)

Whatever your resolution, the important thing is to keep moving, to take whatever steps necessary to move you toward fulfilling the great things you planned for your life.

Need help moving toward your New Year’s resolution? Consider hiring a Personal Marketing Assistant for 5 hours of expertise and a Custom Marketing Plan. You can log into your Publishing Center to see what book marketing options are available to you or chat with us using the live chat option on our website (www.outskirtspress.com).

 

What Does it Take to Market a Memoir, Biography, or Autobiography?

Memoirs are a tricky thing to write, much less market, and their cousins the autobiography and the biography are equally so. When an author draws from real life and the history of a moment in time, it can seem daunting to do the deep research, trap the sands of time on the page, publish a finished book … and then also have to market that book! And given the fact that your book is deeply invested in, the facts, there is a widespread reluctance on the part of memoir, biography, and autobiography authors to pump up the drama in the heightened emotion of the kind of sales copy you’ll find tied to works of both literary and genre fiction. That said, there are some reliable and useful ways to market your work of non-fiction drawn from real life that ought to prove helpful as you set out to start marketing your latest book.

1. Identify your readers and where they “live.” We bring up this point often, as it applies to marketing for so many different genres in so many different ways. When it comes to memoir, biography, and autobiography, we’re talking about a very specific subset of readers. Readers of these branches of non-fiction are not always hugely prolific readers, in that they may not read widely on many topics, but they are incredibly deep readers and will often read more than one book on the same topic, to ensure they have a thorough picture of a time, place, or life. As a result, they’re not necessarily shopping for their books or their ebooks in the same place as everyone else; they’ll be just as likely to turn up online in history forums dedicated to particular time periods or particular military campaigns or particular Napoleonic-era war ships. Don’t be afraid to get hyper-specific in your marketing: identify key bloggers and other authors writing about the same subject, place, or time as you are and reach out to them. History buffs hosting influential profiles on Instagram, YouTube, and podcasts are another great resource to identify and consult about doing a social media or blog tour!

2. Get in touch with your local history buffs. Do not underestimate your own community’s potential hunger and thirst for non-fiction in the memoir, biography, and autobiography subgenres! Memoirs by small-town retired war vets routinely pack out libraries hosting readings and signings, and travelogues and tell-alls too. People are excited to expand their world and taste of other lives, and they haunt libraries, museums, and local businesses looking to connect with those stories. When you start to market your book, make sure you include a book reading or signing at your local public library as one of your first and most highly publicized events, and reach out to local organizations such as the VFW, Elks, Rotary, and Kiwanis clubs as well as your local museums, universities, and archives for partnerships. All of these organizations take an interest in preserving history and in expanding the career prospects of young entrepreneurs. What better way to inspire the next generation than with a book about a well-lived life?

3. Bring it home. That is … don’t be afraid to make this book, and the marketing of this book, personal. After all, the average reader picks up a memoir, biography, or autobiography in the first place because they’re fascinated with the outline of a life–and because that reader wants to fill in some of the blanks! Don’t shy away from making the most of your personal experiences or the personal experiences of the historical figure around which you’re centering the book in your marketing campaign, and make sure to touch upon the perspectives and worldview that have informed your writing; just as you want your book to ring true on fact-checkable details, you also want all of your marketing copy to ring true to your personal voice. Even if you didn’t draw from your own life for the content of your book, there’s room in the margins for your story. Think of Rebecca Skloot, author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks–Skloot herself is present in the text as narrator, and the author doesn’t shy away from including her very hands-on research process as a part of the braided story of the book. That braiding continued in her marketing of the book after its release. You can always share significant places, things, or aspects of your story, and engage your readers with all kinds of digital media (blog posts, pictures, videos, and social media posts) during the marketing process. So, start thinking of what makes your story unique, and think of how you can use that to draw readers in — outside the pages of your book.

No matter what steps you intend take to market your memoir, biography, or autobiography, we’re with you on your journey–and eager to help you travel that path as smoothly and effectively as possible! And if you’re still not sure where to get started in marketing your book, it may be time to lean on an expert. There’s never a better time than now to inquire about the wonderful lineup of marketing options available to you through Outskirts Press; simply visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com, where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

To see our staff picks of amazing memoirs, biographies, or autobiographies from many of our authors, visit our Pinterest page by clicking here.

 

Why the Holidays Should Be on Your Marketing Radar Now

For many of us, the red-and-green bling and piped-in Christmas music at the local big box store — usually before the kids’ Halloween candy is even inspected — is the first tip-off that the giving season is around the bend. It always seems ridiculously early to think about the holidays … but is it really?

If you’re a self-publishing author with plans to market a book, it’s certainly not. In fact, it should be on your mind now, even as summer is at full sizzle. Let’s work backward on the calendar to illustrate why.

By Black Friday, the official kick-off for holiday shopping, most print news and magazine organizations have already planned and sold out advertising space in their regular editions, gift guides and other special holiday publications. If you want to reserve ad space on time, you’ll need to think one to three months ahead; this means you should have your holiday marketing ducks in a row even before those trick-or-treaters come knocking.

That brings us back to October. By some estimates, one-third of shoppers are already buying gifts in the fall, taking advantage of Labor Day sales when the fervor is less aggressive. This can be a golden time to grab the spotlight with a print ad or polished social media banners with less competition than you’re likely to encounter in December.

To prepare, you should create marketing pieces or work with a copywriter and/or graphic designer in September to have your materials ready in plenty of time for a Labor Day push. Consider it a dry run — a chance to gather valuable data you can use to refine your approach to Christmas. (Then get started on Christmas, asap!)

In the two months leading up to Labor Day, focus on a marketing calendar and budget. Spend August saving your coins, determining your marketing budget, researching where best to allocate your money and drafting a marketing calendar specifically for the holidays.

So, now that you know how short time really is, start planning! You’ll be way ahead of the competition — and, dare we say, far less stressed — by the time your happy holidays roll around.

Want to expedite your marketing plan and marketing calendar? Consider purchasing time with an Outskirts Press
Personal Marketing Assistant for help preparing your holiday promotions.

Six Ways to Market Your Self-Help Book This September!

For many readers, Fall marks the perfect time to kick back, slow down, and pick up a new book or two to savor, whether while celebrating the return of pumpkin spice lattes or taking long strolls among the color-changing leaves … or adhering to the same work schedule as always. Book sales in niche genres, including self-help, spike in the Fall, and for good reason! Whether readers are looking for a change of pace or to prepare themselves for the new year lurking just over the horizon, self-help books are the best possible way to launch into pumpkin spice season. They can be, however, difficult books to market. While massive numbers of self-help books are sold each year, those numbers are not, by and large, coming from standard bookstore sales and standard marketing campaigns.

So how do you market your self-help book effectively? Here are six ways to get underway!

1. Identify your ideal reader. This is a critical step for marketing any kind of book, it’s true, but particularly important when it comes to self-help books as this is considered a niche market. If you don’t know who your readers are, you’ll definitely struggle to market your book to them. Once you’ve established who they are, however, and the kind of habits and values they share, you’ll be able to determine if, for example, they’re likely to need visibility-boosting aids like e-book versions and so forth.

2. Consider creating an e-book version. E-books may have been around a while, but current market trends indicate that they’re going nowhere but up in terms of popularity, even as sales for traditional print rise along with them. With their easily resizable fonts and other tweakable view functions, e-books are critical to readers with limited mobility or impaired vision. If you want to render your lifestyle accessible to oft-neglected readerships, you can’t overlook the importance of e-book editions for the Kindle, iPad, and other tablet and smartphone devices!

3. Consider creating an audiobook version. This is a rapidly growing sector of self-publishing that is still in many ways just getting off the ground, but for all its newness it should not be discounted. Just as e-book versions for the Kindle, iPad, and other kinds of tablets render books more accessible for those of limited mobility or impaired vision, an audiobook version makes your book more accessible to those who would love to learn but whose ability to read a traditional visual format is limited.

4. Identify where your ideal readers live, physically. And where they shop, where they eat, and where they slow down. Are they coffee shop aficionados? Are they likely to shop at whole-foods grocery stores? Are they purveyors of Italian restaurants? If your self-help book relates to financial planning, perhaps you can build relationships with local accounting firms to keep bookmarks featuring your book on the counter. Or if your self-help book relates to nutrition, perhaps the local gyms or health-food stores would do the same. Self-help books each have very specific audiences. The most effective marketing strategies all involve targeted in-person advertising, so it’s best to try and find those places your ideal readers would frequent and market there.

5. Identify where your ideal readers live, digitally. Just as every marketing strategy involves in-person advertising, it must also include effective digital marketing. Some of the same rules apply: self-help books appeal to specific kinds of readers, and those readers probably visit very specific websites, whether forums or blogs or Instagram accounts or shopping sites. It’s always worth approaching the owners of these website, or blogs, and asking if they’d be interested in partnering with you in spreading the word about your book. The worst they can say is no, but chances are, if you put together an effective press release and marketing package, someone influential will say yes. And then you have your foot in the door!

6. Be your own best advocate. All of these tips and tricks we’ve shared today are bound together by the one shared concept of self-advocacy. New ways and means of marketing your book will crop up regularly, as the world changes and the Internet evolves and the ways in which people consume their literature also evolves. The key ingredient of every marketing strategy is you, and cultivating a willingness to go out and observe, identify, and make use of these new ways and means of marketing is crucial to your ongoing success. In this way, marketing your self-help book is just like marketing any other kind of self-published book; this is where the streams cross.

Still not sure where to start in marketing your book this Fall? It may be time to lean on an expert! If you’re looking to market your self-help book, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com, where you’ll find countless additional recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

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

5 Ways Authors Can Finish Strong in 2018

It’s hard to believe there are less than five full months left in the year. But for authors trying to sell books, the good news is that those months include the holidays, when die-hard bookworms are gifting and gobbling up books of all kinds.

What that means for you is that opportunities still abound to boost book sales and make 2018 a banner year. If you plan accordingly, your most successful months of selling lay ahead.

For instance, did you know the Reader Views Literary Awards are in December? And is October’s Frankfurt Book Fair on your radar? Put them on your marketing calendar (or get an Author’s Marketing Calendar from Outskirts Press and have important dates like these available to you in an instant).

A well-crafted marketing calendar is priceless. It gives you solid promotion deadlines to meet, keeps important events and benchmarks in one place, and inspires you keep moving toward your marketing goals. Here are five things you can track on your marketing calendar to finish strong in 2018:

  1. Literary contest deadlines. It’s not just important to know when a contest is being held; it s vital to keep track of submission deadlines, too. That way, you can plan ahead to complete submission requirements on time.
  2. Book review opportunities. There may or may not be a firm deadline for a book review. You’ll want to track the ones that do have submission timelines and plan for open-ended reviews in between.
  3. High-profile book expo dates. There are scores of local, regional, national and international book fairs where you can display your book. It helps to research which ones are appropriate for your book genre, what level of exposure to expect and when you need to complete registration.
  4. Smart and doable book marketing prompts. Think about some of the little things you can do in between big events to boost your visibility, such as creating a Pinterest page for your book or acknowledging holidays on social media.
  5. Include resources you can access for more information and assistance. Save links and helpful articles directly to your calendar for future reference. This not only serves as a prompt but keeps you from digging around for the information you need to complete a task.

Needless to say, your marketing plan has a lot of work to do! If you’re not sure how to draft a marketing plan and put it into action, Outskirts Press can help. Or, hire a Personal Marketing Assistant with expertise in promoting all genres of books! As our way of saying thanks, we’ll throw in a FREE 2018 Marketing Calendar when you purchase this or ANY marketing option! Just enter promo code FreeCal2018 at checkout and your calendar will be added to your Author Toolkit within 48 hours.

Now, let’s make 2018 epic!

Four Tricks to Make Your Cookbook Marketing Plan Sizzle

Cookbooks are unique in the publishing world. They’re not quite coffee-table books, even though they rely on visual impact in much the same way, and they’re definitely not like novels, biographies, travelogues, or any of the other genres of book out there, even though they certainly contain elements of all of the above: narrative, history, globetrotting, and personal context abound in cookbooks. As Walt Whitman might say, cookbooks contain multitudes, and this makes marketing them a unique challenge.

Have you written and published a cookbook recently? Here are four tricks to boost your sales of your beautiful, oh-so-personal treasure of a cookbook.

1. Give, give, give.

This one ought to come easy, as cookbooks are already a gift unto the universe, and the act of writing one can often feel like offering up a part of yourself and your personal history for others to make use of. A fantastic way to entice users to purchase your cookbook early on in your marketing strategy is through giveaway promotions. Offering up a discount on your other books or products, especially if they relate to the cookbook’s central theme, is always a good plan. If this is your first book, you may not have other items to discount, but that’s okay! Goodreads and Amazon giveaways are a great way to raise the profile of your book and put its cover before the eyes of new readers, and you can offer a time-restricted discount on the cookbook itself, say for the first week it’s for sale, or around a holiday. Offering a week-long discount is a great way to get people to make the decision to purchase your book. Even though you leave some money on the table in the short term, the boost to your Amazon Sales Rank will allow you to make more in the long run.

2. The giving doesn’t have to stop there.

Alternatively, if you don’t want to cut into your profits from the cookbook, you can offer a unique PDF file with select special recipes not in the cookbook for people who order your cookbook during a certain period. This “bonus” file is often a great way to introduce your next cookbook idea, too; so if you’ve already published a book of entrees, the “bonus” file is a great place to premiere a dessert recipe or two as you start putting together a book of desserts!

In addition to your giveaways and discounts, don’t forget about the other opportunities for giving your readers more of what they want as a way to whet their appetites! Leading up to your book launch is the perfect time to start posting a steady stream of free content from, around, or relating to your cookbook on your blog, author website, and social media platforms. This not only builds anticipation for your book’s release but also adds to your newsletter distribution list, follower counts, and other outreach connections and provides great examples of what your book will be covering. If your book is already out, don’t worry! These strategies still apply after the fact, although the language you use to frame them may change to reflect the context. Instead of building anticipation, your goals and your language can feature select excerpts and reviews from fans. After all, word of mouth is the most effective marketing strategy of all!

3. Partner up.

Working with other cookbook authors is a highly effective way to drive traffic to your own author website, book sales listings, and social media platforms. Food bloggers, after all, more or less rule the Internet, especially on visually-driven platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. You can offer these bloggers and social media stars free copies of your cookbook or the aforementioned “bonus” sample files to give to their readers and as an enticement to partner up for interviews, video spots, and “guest chef” adventures, and you can offer to feature them on your blog or website in return. These partnerships produce material that operates much like a high-powered review would for a more traditional book, and potential customers really appreciate seeing someone they admire and respect confirming their taste and judgment in cookbooks. Better still, if you’re able to organize a blog or social media tour and coordinate all of these articles and video blogs and so forth to come out at the same time, you can create lots of momentum leading up to your launch or an upcoming sale.

4. Don’t be shy.

Selling cookbooks can be difficult. Everyone already has an established sense of what they like when it comes to food, and they very rarely take risks and branch out … unless they hear a good story. Narratives are what capture the cook’s imagination every bit as much as they are what capture the imaginations of readers of novels and biographies and so forth. There’s a reason why Julia Childs became a superstar, and it wasn’t just because she knew her way around the kitchen: she wove stories into her food, and wasn’t shy about what she loved. Successful food bloggers today are the same way!

It’s so easy to be shy about selling a cookbook. After all, you’re trying to sell your own personal story as well as your favorite recipes! But in the end, it’s the story which will grab peoples’ attention–the story, plus some beautiful photographs or illustrations, and competent recipes. But mostly the story. If you want to sell your cookbook, you need to be up front about how much you love what you do, and how much you love your cookbook, and how this cookbook of yours is a part of your life. Your wonderful, magnificent, flavorful life!

Still not sure where to start in marketing your cookbook? It may be time to lean on an expert! If you’re looking to market your cookbook, there’s never a better time than now to inquire. Visit us online at www.outskirtspress.com, where you’ll find countless further recommendations to suit your marketing needs.

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

Summer Series – Marketing Your Book on Amazon – Part 3

Welcome to Part Three of a three-part summer series focusing on successfully and efficiently marketing your book on Amazon. In Part One we discussed writing reviews for other products and books and explained why it is an important part of book marketing. Last time in Part Two we discussed three different techniques for soliciting reviews for your book and how to do it properly. Part Three will introduce you to three fun and interactive steps you can take right now to improve how Amazon’s search algorithm identifies your book.

Part Three: Using Reviews to Create “Activity” Around Your Book on Amazon

There are two obvious components to using reviews to generate book sales on Amazon — writing reviews and getting reviews. But there are also lesser-known elements of online reviews, and those are what we will discuss today. You see, Amazon rewards “activity” around your book by pushing it higher in its search results, because online activity signifies interest, and Amazon displays search results based upon what it “thinks” people are most likely to buy. So by including these steps in your ongoing “Review Process”, you tell Amazon’s program (algorithm) to “weigh” your book heavier than other books or products where these other steps are not being taken.

Step 1 – Indicate that positive reviews for your book are helpful. Each Amazon review includes a question that says “Was this review helpful to you? Yes or No.” As you receive new reviews, indicate that the positive reviews are helpful.

Step 2 – Every time you ask someone to write an online review for your book, also ask that they indicate other positive reviews as helpful. Clicking that little “Yes” button is fast and even kind of fun!

Step 3 – Comment on every review you receive for your book. If you receive a positive review, thank the reviewer for reading your book and for taking the time to write a review. It will encourage OTHER people to buy, read, and review your book. Bonus: If you’ve written another book, different from the book being reviewed, sign-off your comment with “your name, author of the new book, such-and-such.”

If you receive a negative review, ask yourself if you can address the negativity in a positive, non-confrontational or defensive manner. If you can’t, then simply ignore the review (being defensive or argumentative here will do more harm than good). If you can diplomatically and politely address the negative review, do so in a positive, and brief, manner.

If your book is receiving more negative reviews than positive ones, take note! Those comments may not feel like it at the time, but they’re worth their weight in gold. Save all of the feedback you receive and start working on a NEWLY-REVISED edition of your book. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as using the “Insert Product Link” (discussed in Part One) to point a negative reviewer to your newly revised book that incorporates their criticism. Why? Because nine times out of ten, they’re going to buy the book again just to see if you listened to them. Cha-ching!