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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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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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.

Ingram Book Wholesaler’s “Integrity Service Alert” Goes Into Effect Today

Today, April 27, 2020 marks the day Ingram (the largest book wholesaler) begins to remove books from distribution that do  “harm to buyers and affects the reputations of” publishers, libraries, and retailers.

That’s a pretty broad and generic statement, so what does it actually mean? In the most general sense, it most likely means if you published through a full-service self-publishing company, your book is safe since most of them vet manuscripts in advance of acceptance (with the help of an actual human being).  For instance, when asked, an Ingram representative specifically informed Outskirts Press that Ingram had not identified any Outskirts Press books that would be removed.

On the other hand, for authors who submit manuscripts to automated online publishing platforms where the whole thing is done by lunch, you may have a greater concern since there was no human vetting process. “Automated publishing” accepts just about anything because their product isn’t your book, it’s you.

And that’s the problem. Automated, “free” online publishing platforms are making it possible for nefarious or unscrupulous individuals or companies to profit from publishing what Ingram identifies as content that “lacks integrity.” To that end, Ingram is positioning itself to be a “quality gatekeeper”, a role that has been sorely missing in the publishing industry since the advent of automated online publishing platforms.  In other words, books that were published neither to educate nor entertain, but to make a “fast buck” through an automated publishing platform are most at risk of being removed starting today.

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Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

First Amendment pundits may be inclined to cry “foul” and wave their free speech cards, but Ingram’s use of “harm to buyers and affects the reputation of…” is not a subjective matter of opinion or free speech, but an empirical definition of value and quality. This is an important distinction that few humans have trouble making, but one that even fewer computers can make.  For instance, no human would accept 200 blank pages titled “Scrapbook” as a legitimate manuscript, but a computer would consider 200 blank pages to be perfect. After all, there would be no mistakes, no copyright violations, an no libelous content!

To support that point, Ingram’s notification, which was sent to all the publishers for whom they distribute books worldwide, listed some examples of content lacking integrity, starting with number one:

1. Content containing 90-100% blank pages like notepads, scratchpads, journals, or similar type content.

2. Summaries, workbooks, abbreviations, insights, or similar type content without permission from the original author. For example: A Summary of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

3. Content that mirrors/mimics popular titles, including without limiting, similar covers, cover design, title, author names, or similar type content.

4. Content that is misleading or likely to cause confusion by the buyer, including without limiting,inaccurate descriptions and cover art. For example: A book with a cover design that does not match the interior content; a cover that appears to be for a product other than a physical book.

5. Content listed at prices not reflective of its market value. For example: a blank journal listed at $99.99.

6. Content scanned from original versions where all or parts contain illegible content to the detriment of the buyer.

7. Content created using automated means or mass-produced processes.

These are all examples of books commonly accepted through automated online publishing platforms, but are rarely accepted by full-service self-publishing companies with a human vetting process, which is in place for precisely this reason – to protect writers and readers.

Therefore, the question legitimate authors who use automated publishing platforms may want to ask themselves is this:  Is that the company I want to keep?

 

 

Review Blurbs for Self-Publishing Authors

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).

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How many blurbs or excerpts can you extract from this review for the purposes of marketing? Let’s see…

“…adrenaline-fueled thriller…”
“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.

 

Self-Publishing Author Success Story: Maureen Scanlon

author (5)Outskirts Press takes great pride in celebrating the accomplishments of our successful authors, and today we celebrate all the media and marketing success author Maureen Scanlon has enjoyed since publishing her book, My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am last March.

Maureen Scanlon is the founder and CEO of Maureen Scanlon Life Coaching. She is an author, relationship expert, motivational speaker, positive change integrator, and spiritual coach who has successfully helped many people, from experienced professionals to young adults, make positive changes to overcome past experiences and negative thinking. When Maureen is not working to change the world, you can find her at home relaxing in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband, Dennis, and her furry babies, Jade and Brodie. She is also the mother of three adult children and grandmother to three grandchildren whom she adores.

TV appearances:

Radio, podcasts:

Magazines and Features:

About the Book:

cover (39)My Dog is More Enlightened Than I Am

Most of us go through our daily routines oblivious to the beauty of life and others around us—oblivious of the impact we have on the world. So it’s only natural that we consider patterning ourselves after our pets! These beautiful furry creatures are fully connected to their highest selves while giving unconditional love to those who cherish and care for them. By taking our lead from the animals in our lives, we learn how to live our best and fullest lives as well.

My Dog Is More Enlightened Than I Am examines the ways we all struggle and experience difficulties in our journey. You will learn to understand the lessons and meaning behind each past moment you have endured thus far and how to change your mindset and focus on the change you can make. You will come to admire the ways our animals live a life of purpose and how to be more like them.

This heartfelt, enlightening guide also offers tips on relaxation, spontaneity, developing an appreciation for our differences, caretaking, and nurturing relationships. Readers will feel a renewed sense of well-being and knowledge of how to embrace the journey like the pure souls of our furry companions.

Congratulations, Maureen! You’re an inspiration.! And so is your book!

Are you ready to publish your masterpiece with the A+ rated and #1-rated self-publishing company according to the Better Business Bureau and Top Consumer Reviews, respectively?

Start Publishing Today