Welcome to Part 2 of my blog about writing a book and becoming a published author! Today we’re going to take a closer look at marketing ideas for your books.
One of the biggest challenges I’ve found as a new author, is marketing. Before your book is published, you should think carefully about how you are going to promote and sell it.
First, you will need to carry out your market research. Who is your audience? Where do they hang out? Market research is an essential activity, BEFORE you start promoting—preferably even before you start writing.
With hindsight, I realise that my initial market research could have gone further. I wrote the Gemstone Detective series for individual hobbyists and tourists who have no gemstone knowledge, but the books have turned out to be a big hit with gem trade professionals, too. When I started thinking outside the box and drilling down, I discovered at least ten different potential audiences for my series.
Many people feel awkward about promoting themselves. I get that, but if you are serious about writing a book, you really do need to get comfortable with marketing—the success of your book depends on it!
Buying Gemstones & Jewellery in Australia – book review
So how and where do you start to market your books? Here are my Top 10 book marketing ideas to get you going:
1. Read books about marketing books
According to John Kremer, Author of 1001 ways to market your books, there are plenty of ways you can promote your book. Don’t attempt too many at once as that will overwhelm you. Simply choose some that are within your own capability and focus on your favourite.
2. Find an expert in your field
There are tons of marketing experts out there offering to send you tips & advice by email. The danger is that by listening to too many experts you will soon feel overwhelmed. Just pick one or two who resonate with you.
3. Join book clubs
Clubs like these often host social events, which are great ways to meet other authors. I have subscribed to Byte the Book, for example. I also get a lot out of the offline trade events where I can chat to book trade people—it’s a great opportunity to pick their brains!
4. Start blogging
I publish a blogpost once a week with each post aiming to entertain my audience or help them. Generally, the more you blog, the better chances you have of building an audience. But don’t forget, if you blog, you then need to find ways to market and promote your blog. I promote my blogs via social media but there are so many other ways.
5. Build a mailing list
This is an essential part of marketing. Your mailing list is your IP (intellectual property). Once you have people subscribed to your mailing list, you have an audience for promotional emails, newsletters and special offers, for example.
6. Join social media
This is a huge topic that really deserves a book of its own. Your choice of social media platforms will depend on who your audience is—and this you will have discovered when doing your market research. Where does your audience hang out? How can you grab their attention? As a photographer, I lean towards visual marketing activities and so have chosen Instagram as my primary social media outlet (though I also post on Twitter as a way of raising my profile). Secondary to Instagram and Twitter, I use Facebook. I post occasionally to LinkedIn.
7. Utilise marketing tools.
Have you heard of Book2look? The Book2look widget is an incredibly useful marketing tool. You may be familiar with the ‘look inside’ function that Amazon offers. This tool is ten times better—it lets the reader peek inside your book, but it has many other promotional functions, too. Most importantly, it can drive people to your website to purchase your book.
8. Join Facebook groups for your niche and interests Identify and join the best groups, not only for your target audience but also for people who share your niche and interests. Don’t simply spam the group chat with promotional material (that’s a great way to get yourself barred), but take the time to learn from your fellow group members. Enter into discussion, give and take advice, get to know people—you’ll gain useful insight as well as making new friends. These are some of the groups I’ve joined so far: For the gem trade: Gemology Worldwide, Jewellery History, Fair Luxury, The World Gemstones Corner, Gemological and Jewelry Book Club, GIA Gems & Gemology For the book trade: Byte the book members group, The Connection Hub – for Speakers, Authors & Coaches, PR Secrets by Amanda FitzGerald. I also follow Jan Murray’s 2020 Media Diary Owner’s group. For my own personal interests: Astrocamp, Jack’s Flight Club Travel Community, Let’s Go Digging Nationwide Metal Detecting Events. 9. Build collaborations The idea behind collaborating with others is to a) raise your profile and b) get your message across to a wider audience. Who in your book genre shares your audience? Who could help you get your message out to your audience? I am collaborating with two businesses: the World Gem Foundation, which publishes a quarterly magazine for the gem trade, and a US publisher, who produces a magazine for all the gem trade shows across the USA. I have been providing both with magazine content in return for promoting my books. It’s a win-win for everyone!
10. Speak with your publisher
Last but by no means least, your publisher is likely to be a mine of information. It’s in their best interest to help you.
There is one vital tool I haven’t addressed here—your author web site. I’d go so far as to say it’s probably your most important marketing tool as an author. It deserves a blog post all of its own, so stay tuned for next week’s blog!
Be sure. Be smart. Buy with confidence