Book Marketing Series 3 (out of 3): Implement

Over the last two days, we’ve discussed book marketing phases that all published authors (self-published or otherwise) would be wise to heed. Phase 1 involves planning, and includes 5 questions, which are:

1. What are your goals with this book?
2. What is your competition?
3. How will you and your book stand-out?
4. What is your “platform?”
5. What are your strengths and weakness?

Phase 2 involves answering those questions, assembling resources available to address them, and identifying holes that require professional 3rd party help.

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Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

That brings us to the 3rd phase: Implementation.

This is where the rubber meets the road, both literally and along the digital highway. It is important to realize that marketing a book is a two-lane street, as in, it’s a physical and virtual one. Not surprisingly, authors tend to gravitate to one side of the road or the other (and no, it doesn’t matter whether they live in the US or the UK). It depends upon the “type” (no pun intended) of person they are!

Very generally speaking, extroverted authors tend to like physical in-person marketing venues better. Think book signings, author events, in-studio interviews, book launch parties, physical book tours, bookstore appearances, book expos (BEA, Frankfurt, London, et al), library readings, etc.

On the other side of the road, introverted authors prefer digital and virtual marketing tactics. Think book video trailers on YouTube, virtual book tours throughout the blogosphere, Facebook Groups, Goodreads Communities, lots of Amazon book reviews, lots of book award contests, Zoom book parties/readings/launches, affiliate & joint venture marketing, etc.

As you can see, regardless of what side of the road you prefer to drive on, you have the right-of-way.  But you need to drive down both sides if you want your book to succeed!  Half of it is going to be easy and fun for you (and you can hire another “driver” for the challenging parts of the drive that you are not comfortable with). Simply put, all you have to do is start your engines and realize that publishing a book isn’t the finish line—it’s the starting line! Marketing a book is like driving on the autobahn. Sure, there may be some bumps in the road, a few twists and turns along the way, but nothing blows your hair back quite like the feeling of knowing that there are people out there reading the words that came from your mind.  Now, that’s a goal every writer can relate to, and strategically marketing your book as early as possible is the best way to feel the roar of that particular engine.  Hint: It is NEVER too late to start marketing a book you have published.  Even if you published your book 5-10 years ago, if no one has heard of it, EVERYTHING you do will seem new to everyone else.  Don’t let the year of your book prevent you from revving its engine.

So, put your pedal to the metal (book award medals, that is) and tackle these three ways to market your book before, during, and after publishing it.  The only thing you’ll be found guilty of is a passion for writing, reading, and life.  What a way to live, and live-on, in infamy!

 

 

Book Marketing Series 2 (out of 3): Assemble

Yesterday, we discussed one of the first phases of book marketing on this blog: Planning. After all, for many writers, the idea of publishing a book they’ve written is exciting but rarely does the idea of marketing their book hold the same appeal. Many think it will just fly off the shelves on it’s own.

That is rarely the case. So yesterday, today, and tomorrow, we are discussing three different phases of successful book marketing.

Let’s continue with PHASE TWO: ASSEMBLING.

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Photo by Juhasz Imre on Pexels.com

Yesterday’s post discussed planning, and introduced 5 important questions, which, as a reminder, are:

  1. What are your goals with this book?
  2. What is your competition?
  3. How will you and your book stand-out?
  4. What is your “platform?”
  5. What are your strengths and weakness?

Once you have your answers to those five questions, you can begin to assemble information, resources, and “advantages” that already lay at your fingertips. You can also begin to identify “holes” in your plan that need to be filled in, either through time/effort on your part, or by 3rd-party assistance that you will need to budget for.

1. If your goal is to leave your legacy, what will you need to reach that goal? What materials need to be in the book to satisfy that goal? Pictures? Personal stories from loved ones? What does marketing to friends and family look like? Social media will probably be involved, so what is your comfort level with it? If your goal is to make gobs of money, how realistically does your book fit with that goal? What does marketing and promoting a bestseller look like? Do you have the time and resources to do that, or will you need book marketing assistance from someone who does that for a living?

2. How much do you know about your competition? Investigate your core competitors as thoroughly as possible. Check out their Amazon listing. “Stalk” them on social media. Learn as much as you can about how they market their book and themselves as writers. Read books that are in competition with yours.

3. What resources or accolades do you have to help yourself stand-out from the competition? For example, do you need to receive some book reviews and/or book awards to stand-out? If so, now you know where to start your marketing efforts, and you can even begin those efforts before the book is published. For example, once you have your proof copy from your publisher, you can email some ARCs (advanced review copies) to reviewers. Who knows? You might even get a blurb worth adding to your cover in advance of initial publication. Do you have a “hook” that identifies your USP (unique selling position)?

4. How are you going to establish your platform once you have envisioned it in your mind? Will your promotion efforts focus largely on the local stage, or be more focused nationally, globally, or universally?

5. What marketing strenghths and weakness do you have? Are you an accomplished copy editor, or would a professional set of eyes help you avoid post-publication embarrassment? Are you a Facebook fanatic, proficient with Pinterest, and twitterpated with Twitter? Those strengths are going to be invaluable when it comes time to market your book. On the other hand, if you don’t know YouTube from MySpace, you’re going to need marketing assistance. Find experts and solicit their help.

Stay tuned for part three tomorrow as we continue to discuss book marketing…

Book Marketing Series 1 (out of 3): Plan

For many authors, the idea of writing and publishing a book is an exciting prospect but rarely does the idea of marketing a book hold the same appeal. Well, it’s time to get excited! Over the next three days, Self-Publishing News is going to discuss three different phases of successful book marketing that you can explore before, during, or after your publication is complete.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Let’s begin with PHASE ONE: PLANNING.

Regardless of where you are in the publication process, it’s not a bad idea to make a plan, and then to revisit and (if necessary) fine-tune it multiple times throughout the process. In fact, it is not a bad idea to have a planning session with yourself while (or before, even!) writing the book. Yes, writing a book is exciting, fulfilling, and life-affirming (and sometimes life-changing), but doing it well (i.e., successfully) also requires viewing it like a business. And what do all successful business begin with? A business plan.

Begin by asking yourself the following questions before, during, and/or after the writing/publishing/marketing process:

a) What do you want to accomplish by writing and publishing your book? Are you writing an autobiography to leave your legacy for your children and your family? Or are you writing an autobiography to make gobs and gobs of money? Depending upon your goals, your marketing efforts (and your expectations) will be drastically different. Clearly identify all your goals as early into the process as you can.

b) What is your competition? Every business plan includes a section about the competition. If you are writing a non-fiction book, research how saturated your niche is. If you are writing a fiction book, become familiar with other authors in that genre, how successful they are, and what THEY do to market their books.

c) How will you and your book stand-out? Once you identify your competition, you can identify your own USP (unique selling proposition). In other words, why would a potential reader choose your book over your competition?  Does your background offer an exclusive level of insight? Is your book going to be less expensive, more award-winning, more entertaining, humorous, or educational?

d) What is your “platform?” Companies often call this concept their “brand,” which is an accurate term when discussing authors, too. Nike is a brand. Stephen King is a brand. Gucci is a brand. Tony Robbins is a brand. What do all these businesses/authors/speakers have in common? They have identified their unique platform, and everything they do builds upon that platform. What is your platform? How will you build upon it?

e) What are your strengths and weakness? Focus your energy and effort into your strengths and plan on seeking professional help where your weaknesses may hinder you. Nike, Stephen, Gucci, and Tony all have professional help in the areas where they are “weak.” You don’t think they got to where they are by themselves, do you? Everyone needs and deserves professional help.

Stay tuned for part two tomorrow where we continue to discuss book marketing…

 

Free Shipping (and a Social-Distancing Book Marketing Guide) for Outskirts Press Authors

Book marketing may have changed, but it doesn’t have to stop. These are tragic times to be certain, but as everything from home-based Saturday Night Live sketches to Taylor Swift donations demonstrate, the human spirit prevails, and with it comes one undeniable fact: Human beings survive, adapt, evolve, and excel. They seek human connections, and they live to bring peace, joy, education, and entertainment to one another. Books have been doing exactly that for centuries.

And throughout May, published Outskirts Press authors can add one more item to their home-shopping/home delivery list : author’s copies and free shipping!*

*That’s right, with every 50+ book order in the same format, not only can you enjoy free shipping within the continental United States, but you will also receive our definitive guide to book marketing during the coronavirus pandemic:  10 Social Distancing Book Promotion Ideas

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Free shipping on 50 (or more) copies and 10 ways to market them! The more you order, the more you save on author’s copies (discounts begin at just 100) AND free shipping! Click here to order your author’s copies now and get a head-start on virtual book marketing this summer. No promotion code is necessary.

Never Judge a Webpage By Its… Formatting?

Among many of the core benefits of self-publishing with Outskirts Press is the free Author Webpage that is provided to the author for each book. These RWD-compliant (look it up!) and social-media-connected marketing marvels help published authors promote and sell their books regardless of whether you’re on your mobile, your tablet, or your desktop.
Under the Manage Sales Tools section of your Publishing Center, you can even edit and format the following specific sections of your Author Webpage after publication, as frequently as you want:

  • Synopsis/Summary
  • Sample Text/Content
  • Author Biography

But here’s the exciting news!

Up until now, doing “cool” formatting in those sections required knowledge of HTML (what’s that??). Today Outskirts Press is happy to announce the free Formatting & Editor upgrade in your Publishing Center under Manage Sales Tools > Author Webpages.

Now anyone and everyone can…

  • Italicize
  • Bold
  • Bullet point
  • Color
  • Center
  • and Insert Images (like all your book award seals, perhaps?)

So what are you waiting for? Personalize your Author Webpage today at https://outskirtspress.com/author

What’s that, you say? You haven’t yet published with, or switched to, Outskirts Press, the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively? Make 2020 the year you publish a high-quality, award-worthy book!

To get the most of your upgraded Author Webpage, read this handy marketing tip sheet: 10 Best Practices For Your Responsive Author Webpage

 

5 Top Tactics for Successful Book Marketing

We talk a lot about book publishing on this blog. We cover promotions, discounts, new publishing options. Sometimes marketing takes a backseat because, let’s face it, every book and every author is slightly different. It’s challenging to arrive upon hard and fast rules that will work for everyone (although 5 hours with a personal marketing assistant is pretty close, because of the personal nature of the marketing plan and 1-on-1 follow-up).

But given our nearly two decades of experience helping writers become published authors at Outskirts Press, we have been able to identify five top marketing tactics that can help authors find the success they are looking for. Here they are…

  1. Social Media – We know, we know. We mention this a lot. And you’re either already interested in social media marketing, or you aren’t.  And by interested, we mean, you find yourself engaging in social media in your free time.  If you naturally gravitate away from social media, you won’t have success marketing your book this way because, even though it is mostly free, it is also time consuming. And the only way time consuming things are profitable or “successful” is if you’re having fun doing it anyway. Fortunately, the term “social media” has become so broad nowadays that you have a pretty good chance finding something you like. You might find success on one platform but not another.  Lots of people spend lots of their free time on Facebook when they can’t imagine anything more annnoying than Twitter.  You’re usually either a Pinterest fan or a SnapChat fan. So instead of trying to cover all the social media platforms simultaneously, engage onlywith  the platform(s) that you want to be on when you’re not promoting your book.  Your fans or followers or friends will start to get to know the writer behind the book and before you know it, casually promoting your book from time to time won’t strike them as quite so gratuitous.
  2. Blogs – In some circles, blogging can fall into the more broad catch-all term of “social media” but blogging is a special kind of artform, and therefore a different opportunity, especially for writers.  Since blogging already features the medium you are promoting (the written word), blogging is a natural promotional platform for many authors.  Writers typically love to write, and most people are by defition of the “instant-gratification” variety.  Well, blogs are the perfect combination of those elements.  You can be writing at 9am and be “published” on your blog at 10am. And the more followers or subscribers you have, the more (and more immediate) the feedback is that will you receive. This, in turn, often fuels bloggers/writers to submit content to their blogs even more frequently, which, in turn, feeds the voracious appetites of their growing subscriber lists.  Talk about a virtuous circle!
  3.  Email – If you read any “cutting edge” marketing articles, or find yourself speaking with a marketing expert under 30, you might think email marketing is dead.  Statistics show, however, that nothing can be further from the truth. For one, if your potential customer doesn’t use their email account anymore, they also aren’t going to read your book. If their attention span is only capable of 140 characters at a time, what chance do you have to attract them to your 700-page book? Those aren’t your buyers, so don’t try to pursue them.  But your buyers probably WOULD be attracted to a newsletter or free ebook or whitepaper that you offer from your website or social media account in exchange for their email address.  Just remember to always include an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom, always give them valuable content, and always treat their time with respect.  Building an email subscriber list takes time and is not a get-rich-quick scheme, but once you have one comprised of loyal and appreciative recipients, you’ll rarely feel disappointed by the results of sending them some valuable (and, yes, promotional) information.
  4. Online Reviews – If you’re a writer, you’re probably also a reader. So take a moment to write a book review on Amazon after finishing reading that latest page-turner. You can sign your review with your name, and add that you’re the author of such-and-such.  Amazon gets so much traffic, often writing a valuable, thoughtful review for a very highly-ranked and popular book will lead to a noticeable uptick in the traffic to your book (just make sure your sales page turns browsers into buyers). You can also systematically (and respectfully) target the top 100 Amazon reviewers and offer to send them a free review copy. They get inundated with offers, so don’t press it or become belligerent; but if they like your query, and think they’ll like your book, they’ll almost certainly request a copy, read it and write a review for it. This is an actionable way to gather more online reviews for your book and you want as many reviews as you can get.  Think about it. If you’re thinking about taking a new book to the beach, are you going to try the one with 100 reviews, or 2?
  5. Publish Another Book – Sure, coming from the A+ Rated and #1-Rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectfully, this tactic sounds a bit self-serving (remember that valuable and promotional tactic mentioned above?), but in addition to sounding self-serving it is also true. Our authors who publish a series of books have a built-in audience for every book after the first one. And when they take advantage of other opportunities (like mentioning their previous books and reviews and blurbs in the pages of their new ones), it’s like getting free advertising to a very select, very desirable market. This is leverage. It simply does not take three times as long to market 3 books as it takes to market one.  And the more leverage you have, the faster and more successful your book marketing is going to be.

 

 

Enjoy Free Shipping and Receive a Free Holiday Book Marketing Guide

We’re 50 days from the start of the holiday season, so there is no better time than right now to stock up on copies of your own books before the printers and shipping companies become swamped with holiday orders.

Throughout September, Outskirts Press authors can enjoy free shipping within the continental United States when ordering 50 or more copies. And with every 50+ book order in the same format, not only can you enjoy FREE SHIPPING, but you will also receive our definitive Holiday Book Marketing Guide:  50 Secret Tips to Market Your Book During the Holiday Shopping Season. 

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Free shipping on 50 copies! 50 ways to market them! And all within 50 days until the busiest book-buying time of the entire year!  Click here to order your copies now and get a head-start on the holidays.