Being a successful author doesn’t end with finishing your book. Once you’re done writing, you need to market it. Selling your book is part of what will make it a success.
Marketing applies to all authors, no matter what kind of book you’ve written. You must make people care about your story for them to read your book.
Once you get them to care about your book, they’ll have a reason to buy it, read it and share it with their friends.
If writing is your passion and you don’t really care whether you make money from it, then you could skip marketing. But if you want to earn from writing then you have to drive up your sales which marketing can help you with.
What is marketing for authors?
Some authors don’t feel like they need to care about marketing because they would rather spend their time and energy on creating their next work. Their book is a product of passion and shouldn’t be run like a business.
The thing is that your book is still a product, and you need to let people know that it exists for it to sell. Otherwise, you won’t be able to earn a living with writing.
Businessman and marketer Gary Vaynerchuk defined marketing as the process of going where the customers are and winning their attention. Meanwhile, Britannica.com defines marketing as the result of activities involved in directing the flow of goods or services from producer to consumer.
Overall, marketing is responsible for promoting and facilitating the exchange of goods. For authors, you need to persuade someone to buy your book.
For this to happen, you’ll need to:
- Find an easy way to make people understand what you do
- Introduce your book to a lot of people
- Continually engage and communicate with people
Marketing doesn’t mean you have to sell your book like a salesman. It’s not about getting in people’s faces and spamming their inboxes. It’s not about running ads either.
Marketing is about using strategies and tools to introduce your book to potential readers. It’s about getting them interested and getting them to take your desired action which is to purchase.
For authors, marketing just might be one of the hardest parts of the job.
Here are some marketing ideas that would help you create a successful book launch and sell your work more effectively.
1. Create a website
You will benefit from putting up your own website, even if you’re working with a publishing house and not independently releasing your book.
A website will help readers find your book or find you even before you publish your book. Optimized properly, your site will appear in front of your target audience, or those who are looking for topics related to your book even without knowing about it.
2. Optimize for search engines
The goal of having a website is for people to see it and click on it. But, how do you make your website competitive enough so that it ranks over other authors? You have search engine optimization or SEO for that.
As of April 2021, there are more than 44 thousand writers and authors in the US alone. Those who are savvy with marketing will have created their own websites, and you have to compete with them.
Search engine optimization is one of the most effective solutions to this problem. It’s the process of optimizing your website so that it’s able to competitively rank for keywords that match your target readers’ searches.
The spots that you want to rank for are the ones on the first page of Google. Not all spots are the same.
For example, the first page of Google’s search results captures more than 70 percent of clicks, whereas the second page gets an estimate of 6 percent. There’s no question that people are mostly interested in the results found on the first page, and that’s where you want to be.
Targeting the right keywords and posing the right content will help you attract your target readers. For example, if you’re publishing a book about weight loss, then you should post articles that are related to your book and you know what your target audience will be looking for.
3. Be active on social media
Social media is a helpful tool for authors as the audience is far-reaching and with all the social media features developed today, reaching your target audience could be effortless. You just have to develop the right strategy.
Here are some social media platforms you could use to reach your target audience:
You don’t have to be active on all social media platforms. Focus your efforts on three platforms (at maximum) and concentrate on your content marketing strategy for those three social media channels.
Calendar your posts and create social media contests. If you have a new social media account, then having contests could be a good way to reel people in. Have a giveaway and offer a free signed copy of your book.
4. Use Goodreads
People love social media, but there’s one platform that readers specifically go to if they want to connect with fellow readers and authors: Goodreads.
Goodreads is a site specifically for readers and authors, but you should join the Goodreads Author Program as it offers many features and benefits for authors.
You can promote your books, run giveaways, connect your blog, advertise your work, and more as the Goodreads Author Program enables access to marketing tools that will help you build a buzz around your book.
Goodreads and its Goodreads Author Program is an effective way to connect and interact with your readers and also see what they’re reading.
5. Partner with online influencers
Influencer marketing is an effective way to promote your book because you’ll be working with individuals who have established a brand or name online. They’ll have thousands or millions of followers who will acknowledge products they’ll talk about.
Do your research and partner with the right influencer who aligns with your brand or field of interest. You can send them a free copy so they could post it or create a book giveaway in their own account.
6. Encourage reviews for your books
Reviews promote the book and it also promotes you as an author. Book reviews are the voice of your audience and they’re worded in a way that other people could relate to. Reviewers let people know different aspects about your work that your book summary didn’t provide. This will allow more people to understand your book and buy it.
Book reviews are an active part of the marketing process as the voice of a reader is one of the most effective ways to recommend your book to other readers and increase your visibility.
Collect book reviews from previous readers or buyers of your old book. You can also use a call-to-action (CTA) in your book. Add a simple CTA on the last page to encourage readers to review it. You can do something like, “Hope you enjoyed reading this piece. If you did, please consider dropping a review on yourbookswebsite.com or goodreads.com/author-name.”
You can also send book bloggers a copy of your book for them to review.
After collecting book reviews, you can post them on your website and social media accounts to show potential readers how interesting and good your book is.
Now, Market Your Book
Self-published authors would have to think about their marketing strategy as a part of their overall process. Unlike in traditional book publishing where the publisher will take care of the distribution and marketing, self-publishing authors will have to figure it all out by themselves.
Marketing is very important. You have to learn how to communicate what your book is all about so that more people can engage with it. Make it available on as many platforms and then market it using the tips listed above.