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.

 

 

Self-Published Author Ingrid A. Bough Teaches Us All a Lesson in Book Marketing

As they say on a popular HBO series, winter is coming. In fact, winter has come! So, is anyone else interested in taking a cruise to the Virgin Islands? If so, you may be lucky enough to run into successful Outskirts Press author Ingrid A. Bough as she promotes and sells her book, Violet Loves the Letter “V”: Virgin Islands Pride.

Fresh off her appearance at the National Book Festival at the end of August, Ms. Bough will be doing a book signing at the popular UnderCover Books & Gifts bookstore/giftshop on the island of St. Croix in 2 days (November 14th). Readers and residents of St. Thomas won’t be left out. Her delightful illustrated children’s book (available in paperback or hardback) can be found at the Owl and the Seahorse bookstore.

And as you can see from the synopsis of her book (below), there’s a reason Ingrid is targeting the Virgin Islands with her book promotion efforts.

Virgin Islands Adventure in V Words. Violet Discovers Her Virgin Islands Pride

In a story set in a tropical island paradise, we meet Violet who is named after the violet flower. She loves her name and discovers the colors violet and purple have long been associated with royalty and majesty. Violet tries to identify as many V words on her beautiful island and while creating a story using as many V words as she can, discovers her island territories are rich in history and culture.

Violet learns to appreciate her beloved islands even more as she learns that the United States Virgin Islands, once known as the Dansk Vestindien (Danish West indies) have been influenced by faraway places like Africa, Denmark, Spain, France, England, Vieques, Puerto Rico, the British Virgin Islands and many more.

So many V words, what is a girl to do? Throughout the day, Violet’s imagination takes her on an island roller coaster of twists and turns and she gains a sense of pride in herself and her homeland: Virgin Islands Pride. Violet takes pride that she is from such a unique place surrounded by the blue waters of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

What is the book marketing lesson to be learned here? “Go where the story takes you,” to quote another maxim. In other words, if you’ve written a book about the Virgin Islands, sell your book in the Virgin Islands. If you’ve written a book about Paris… Texas, then, by all means, sell your book in Paris, Texas.  T-shirts, shot glasses, and spoons aren’t the only memorabilia tourists buy. They also buy books when on vacation to commemorate their travels. This is especially true for children’s books! Bookstores, gift shops, and certainly stores in the airport, are always interested in books specifically about the location they’re located in.

Congratulations on your success, Ingrid! And thank you for offering us a fun way to bring up an important marketing tactic for self-publishing authors everywhere. Happy (and safe) travels to everyone during this upcoming holiday season.

To learn more about the book, or to order it, please visit the author’s webpages at outskirtspress.com/violetlovestheletterv  or  www.noirillion.com .

 

Self-Publishing + Crowdfunding = Everybody Wins!

There is no doubt that self-publishing your book with a self-publishing company that charges fees in exchange for quality, service, and customization will result in a better book, statistically speaking, than publishing with a DYI online platform. So why do so many authors gravitate toward the latter?  Cost.

But imagine if there was a way to self-publish your book with a high quality self-publisher without spending a dime of your own money…

Enter crowdfunding. Wikipedia describes crowdfunding as: “the practice of funding a project or venture by raising small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet… In 2015, over US$34 billion was raised worldwide by crowdfunding….This modern crowdfunding model is generally based on three types of actors: the project initiator who proposes the idea or project to be funded [that would be you, the author], individuals or groups who support the idea [friends, family, and even strangers who like your idea], and a moderating organization (the “platform”)[Kickstarter, for example] that brings the parties together to launch the idea.”

round silver and gold coins
Photo by David McBee on Pexels.com

As of this writing,  exploring the “publishing” subcategory on Kickstarter reveals over 47,000 active projects seeking funding.  And that’s the rub. While it’s easy to post a new project on Kickstarter, it remains somewhat challenging to secure the necessary funding. In fact, according to a recent article in Publishers Weekly, publishing projects currently experience a 37% success rate on average.  “Success” is defined as a project that meets its minimum necessary monetary investment in order to move forward.  And when your book  is competing against 47,000 other projects in the publishing subcategory, it is easy to understand why authors may find it challenging to secure the necessary funding.

But there is hope.  The Publishers Weekly article (which you should take the time to read in its entirety here) mentions several tactics a proactive author can take to increase his/her chances for success. One is to set your investment needs relatively low. Many of the 47,000+ projects have investment requirements in the tens of thousands of dollars, while self-publishing packages with Outskirts Press, for instance, begin at just $849. Which project has a higher chance to succeed in securing its necessary funding? The one costing $10,000 or the one costing $1000?

Another tactic is to publish a children’s book, which experiences a 57% success rate on Kickstarter (that’s right, better than 50-50)!  Yet, another is to market your Kickstarter campaign just as aggressively as you plan on marketing your book. Tell your friends and family before, during, and after the project posts on Kickstarter.  Market and promote your project heavily during its entire run.  Communicate with backers during and after, and especially during your actual publication process. Keep them informed of your progress as your book nears publication.  They’ve just invested money in your book — they’ll be excited to read it. Which is to say, you already have a built in audience demanding your book. To say that puts you a leg (or two) up when the marketing phase kicks in would be an understatement.  Kickstarter itself has lots of great ideas about promoting a Kickstarter campaign here.

Once you’ve secured your Kickstarter money, it’s time to self-publish your book.  Outskirts Press can help you. Here’s to your great success!

 

 

 

Another Award-Winning Self-Publishing Author From Outskirts Press

Outstanding-Fiction-2019-sCongratulations to George Yuhasz for his extraordinary wins at the Independent Author Book of the Year Awards, where his Outskirts Press book Imagine That was a finalist in the Children’s Juvenile Fiction Category and a winner in the Outstanding Children’s Fiction Illustrated Category.  (Just take a look at his book to see why!)

George Yuhasz is a passionate advocate for the preservation and protection of our natural world. A proud father and grandfather, lifelong learner, and world traveler, he especially delights in sharing with children his knowledge and enthusiasm for appreciating the joy and wonder of connecting with nature. George lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and is currently working on another children’s book and a suspense novel.

 Book Details for Imagine That: The Magic of the Mysterious Lights

On a night when the sky is full of stars, sometimes there appears light that cannot be explained, even by the smartest astronomers…

Evelyn is a little girl who lives with her parents and brother in a house with a big backyard. On nights when the sky is filled with brightly shining stars, she loves to go outside before bed to see the Milky Way and the Big Dipper and dream about the planets.

But Evelyn has a secret: She is able to see flashes of light streaking across the night sky that no one else can see. And she’ll soon learn that her secret is actually a wonderful gift!

What an accomplishment, George!

Visit the Outskirts Press bookstore to save up to 50% when you order this award-winning full-color children’s book today.

Ready to publish your own award-winning full-color book? Browse our packages here to choose the right publishing package for you.

Self-Publishing Author Spotlight on T.D. Arkenberg

At Outskirts Press we take great pride in celebrating the work of our successful self-publishing authors, and we do so in many ways, including through our Self-Publishing Author Spotlight blog series. Today we shine the spotlight on T.D. Arkenberg, the 2018 Outskirts Press Best Book of the Year Winner for his memoir, Two Towers.

Two Towers is the fourth book and first memoir from award-winning author T.D. Arkenberg. Independent Publisher Book Awards, Next Generation Indie Book Awards, National Indie Excellence Awards, and Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society have recognized his work. T.D. studied at The University of Chicago, London Business School, and Northwestern University. He lives with his spouse, Jim, and their cat outside Chicago. Visit www.TDArkenberg.com. Keep reading below to learn more about all the books he has published (so far) with Outskirts Press.

TWO TOWERS – In his poignant memoir, Two Towers, T.D. Arkenberg navigates readers through a personal perfect storm. A resurgence of his father’s long-dormant cancer and chaos at his job in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks serve as the backdrop for a private struggle with a secret hidden for thirty-seven years. The story opens on Christmas Eve, 2001. Alone, he stands in his empty childhood home. Two months earlier, his father succumbed to cancer after a lengthy struggle. Five weeks after that painful loss, his mother’s unexpected death shattered his world. The double-barreled blast toppled his towers of strength and unconditional love at a time he was barely treading water. Only weeks before his parents’ deaths, his professional life descended into turmoil. Nineteen hijackers commandeered four commercial jets, unleashing unspeakable terror on US soil. Two towers collapsed into piles of twisted steel, a dusty grave for thousands of innocent souls. Two of the planes belonged to his employer. Eighteen colleagues were killed and thousands of others were soon without jobs. His leadership would never be more severely tested. Friends don’t know how he survives. Neither does he, especially with the added burden of a dark secret. As his world starts to crumble, fate offers a lifeline. Jim, a facilitator of a men’s coming-out group guides him through the process of accepting his sexuality. With towers collapsing around him, Jim might be able to save him from becoming another casualty. Two Towers stands as testament to duty and the power of love. Visit the Two Towers Author Webpage for more details or to order.

A BELGIAN ASSORTMENT – Travel to Belgium, One Tale at a Time

A Belgian Assortment transports readers to contemporary Belgium, a vibrant and multifaceted nation in the heart of Europe. The country plays host to legions of expatriates. Award-winning author T.D. Arkenberg draws on his own experience as an expat in Brussels to craft this collection of twelve vivid and enticing short stories. The characters who populate the stories are as unique and as diverse as the inhabitants of Belgium. Among these is Sabine, an idealistic Flemish woman. Relocating to Brussels to teach young immigrants, she soon finds her broad-minded ideals compromised. An unexpected lover revives her wounded spirit, but can the couple escape the bias and terror that grip the city? Brothers Hasan and Kadar, transplants from Lebanon, struggle to assimilate. A dark secret threatens to isolate them even further, this time from each other. American Jack Ramsey, free of the fetters of his Catholic upbringing, lives openly as a gay man in Brussels. But a visit from his mother could push him back into the closet. Marion is a shop clerk who finds refuge from her lonely, drab life in the carnival atmosphere of Chatelain, one of Brussels’ afternoon markets. A chance encounter offers her a lifeline, but will she grab it? Then there’s Marguerite, a charming octogenarian whose quest to recreate the lavish dinner where she first met her late husband inspires an unexpected detour. These are just a few of the colorful and complex characters who await readers in the pages of A Belgian Assortment. 

NONE SHALL SLEEP – Opera is Life!

And life is opera. None Shall Sleep parts the curtain to reveal lives drawn together by one woman’s dream to sing. Isabella Fabrini, a discouraged Argentine-bred consultant living in London, has little to show for her forty years but a sputtering career, a string of unsatisfying relationships, and layers of cynicism. Her bold plan to reinvent herself as an opera singer has unintended consequences even before the reluctant diva sings her first note. “Every Italian town worth its weight in pasta has an opera house,” Isa says as she plans her debut. San Benedetto is no exception. The faded spa town of Isa’s birth, with its nineteenth-century theater, provides the setting for concert weekend, when anything can happen. Those gathered to hear Isa sing are as colorful as characters created by Puccini or Verdi. Their mirth and mayhem rival any opera libretto. There’s Telma Rossi. The fiery temptress stole Isa’s fiancé but wants more—a chance to steal the spotlight and maybe crush Isa again. Luca Caruso, a dashing restaurateur who fell in love with Isa at the start of her musical journey but harbors a painful secret, which sabotages their relationship. Can concert weekend liberate him from his tragic past? None Shall Sleep is a story of hope, perseverance, friendship, and love that will captivate anyone who’s ever dared to dream big. The novel was a 2014 semifinalist in the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom competition.

JELL-O AND JACKIE O – Jet Set Dreams

Greek Isles, Capri, the Riviera, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Andy Warhol, Twiggy; people and places that conjure up the chic world of the jet set. To Tad Aldenburg, a child who discovers Jackie Kennedy on the cover of LIFE magazine, beautiful people provide escape from a world of canned soup, bickering parents, and Jell-O. Tad’s fascination with Jackie begins just as his mother announces the return of her younger sister. His aunt’s free spirit and globetrotting lifestyle open old wounds while secrets promise to cut even deeper. When Tad greets his aunt, he can’t believe his eyes. She’s torn from the same magazine pages as Jackie. The uncanny likeness sparks his imagination. We first meet Tad as an adult approaching his thirty-ninth birthday. After years of running from love, he may have found romance with Mike, a handsome CPA. But a ten-year age difference and suspicions planted by his over-protective mother and petulant brother stir anxieties. Can he accept the love that Mike offers? Temptation and doubt threaten his happiness, testing lessons learned in childhood. Tad awakens to news that a plane piloted by John F. Kennedy Jr. is missing. Stung by the recent deaths of his father and aunt, the unfolding Kennedy tragedy catapults Tad back to his youth. Could that turbulent journey help him find a path forward? Capturing the glamour and calamity of an era that includes the rise of Jackie Onassis into an international icon, Jell-O and Jackie O was a 2013 semifinalist in the prestigious Faulkner-Wisdom literary competition.

FINAL DESCENT – First Class Betrayal

Everyone hates the airlines, and Intercontinental’s no exception. Economic headwinds, executive infighting, and a concession-weary workforce generate turbulence, feeding the media and Congress a diet of sensational service failures. Richard Weston, Chairman and CEO, will use any means to crush dissent. His goal? Keep the company airborne long enough to sell it. Leaks of his scheme could send the airline into a graveyard spiral. Charting a course of deception, Weston enlists the aid of diabolical, Ingrid Shattenworter. The pair tap grizzled company veteran, Hap Sweeny to polish the airline. And Sweeny’s got just the guy to calm employees, Jim Abernathy, a young idealist who loves Intercontinental as much as Sweeny – perhaps more. Jim has an adoring wife, Julie and a satisfying job. One thing’s missing – a baby. Getting pregnant is their top priority, but Julie fears Jim’s job will make him an absentee parent, or worse, send him to an early grave like his father. Ignoring his wife’s warnings, Jim accepts Sweeny’s offer, pulling away just when the couple’s goal is within reach. At work, forces conspire; the current culture won’t surrender without a fight. And rather than pacifying employees, Jim stirs them up. Weston commands Sweeny, torn between love of the airline and loyalty to his boss, to rein in the maverick before the place ignites. A flight to Frankfurt provides the stunning climax. A story of love and betrayal, the book appeals to anyone who’s toiled in the corporate world, juggled home and work, or stepped onboard a commercial airliner. Visit the Final Descent Author Webpage here.

Congratulations to Becky Kueker’s Award-Winning Cover Design

Book_Cover_AwardsCan a custom cover make your self-published book an award-winning book? The answer is a resounding “Yes!” Just ask Becky Kueker, who’s book, A Classic in Clown Shoes, was determined by TopShelf Magazine to feature the winning cover in the self-published non-fiction category.

After ordering the Professional Custom Cover Design option for her book with Outskirts Press, Becky went one step further and engaged the services of our Marketing Research Option. The 37,000+ readers and followers of this very blog were presented with all the details of the book and the author and presented with two different cover designs. A public poll allowed everyone to choose their favorite and, if they wished, provide personal feedback to Becky and the cover designer.  See that posting here.

76% of the voters chose the winning cover. Becky thanks you for your help and feedback.  Let’s learn a little more about her…

Becky is a Tucson-based, nationally known speaker and author traveling around the U.S. providing presentations that relate to her personal journey about retirement and long term financial planning. She retired from a 20-year career as a partner in a woman-owned, commercial architectural and interior design firm. Leading business development and forming strategic relationships with Fortune 500 companies around the world, she also chaired the firm’s Corporate Advisory Board. Becky was named a top Woman of Achievement, received the “Star Catchers” Award from St. Louis County Library, and is a recipient of the YWCA President’s Award honor. Becky is the author of the highly popular book Hiding in My Pajamas.

Let’s take a look at that winning cover, shall we?

Love, Life and Money: a hilarious journey of coming to terms with a brand new you.

Becky Kueker thought she had it all, publishing a new book, Hiding in My Pajamas, three years ago, and launching a national speaking career traveling the country at 75. What more could you ask coming off a two year low after she retired struggling with the emotional stereotypes that deal with retirement and aging. It was not until a complicated surgery requiring six months in a wheelchair and endless rehab, turned her life in a new direction she could never have expected. Fighting fear, depression and the realization that she would once again have to start over, Becky shares her journey facing a new beginning discovering that it’s laughter that changes everything. Meeting passionate people who inspired her, chapters are filled with poignant stories from women and men who have proven that aging does not have to define you and new beginnings are possible. Their stories are powerful and highlight the determination it takes to live your best life and what the passage of time means to how capable we are of embracing change. Not being financially prepared for retirement has become a national epidemic. Her chapter, Learning to Live After Retirement, features stories from those who were unaware that not planning was just speculating and rolling the dice on what might be. The shock that their savings will not be sufficient to retain the lifestyle they lived before offers a glimpse of a generation not prepared. Interviewing her husband and other men about retirement and aging highlights the unexpected marital turbulence that finds its way into very personal struggles that no one saw coming.

Congratulations from all of us at Outskirts Press, Becky!

See all the details at TopShelf Magazine here.
Order the book for up to a 50% discount at Outskirts Press here.

Interested in publishing your own award-winning book with professional services like custom cover design and market research available? Visit Outskirts Press today.

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. 

50tips

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.