Someone emailed me last week. She’d published her book on Amazon and wanted some tips on marketing her work. She’s not alone as I get emails like hers all the time.
Here’s the thing: Writing a book is hard. Marketing it? That’s the really hard part.
Which brings me to this…
Why there are hardly any book marketing tips on this website
You may have noticed that, currently, there are hardly any posts on book marketing on the abidemi.tv website.
The reason for this is simple: 80% most of the information online about book marketing is outdated, regurgitated stuff. This makes it difficult to know what works (or even, who to believe), because no sooner has someone ‘cracked’ the book marketing code than it is saturated with people trying the same tactics.
The second reason is that things change so quickly in digital marketing (which is where a lot of book marketing efforts are concentrated), that it’s difficult to keep up to date with the latest trends.
The third (and last) reason is more from an ethical viewpoint. I cannot, in all honesty, recommend marketing tips and tactics for authors that I myself have not tried as an author.
I am currently testing a few book marketing strategies myself and will report back once I have conclusive results.
Having said all that, based on my experience of the industry, here are a few common-sense things that you can do, to keep your book marketing in good stead.
1. Think strategy, not tactics
On their own, tactics are like get-rich schemes. They rarely work, and even if they do, it’s only for a short time.
A strategy consists of targeted tactics, is more long term, and will ensure that you are working to an overall plan. With such a considered approach, your book marketing is more likely to be successful.
So create a book marketing strategy, stick to it, and at the same time, be willing to try new things. Marketing is a long term process and there isn’t a perfect strategy per se. You have to try different things to see which ones work for you.
2. Have a great book
I cannot stress this enough. If your book stinks (is badly written or poorly edited, if at all), then it won’t sell. And in these days of social proof, it only takes one one bad review from a disgruntled reader to derail an author’s hard work and platform.
So, grit your teeth and invest in a good editor – you will not regret it.
And if you’re struggling with writing your first book in the first place, try our course, From Blank Page to Finished Manuscript.
3. A great cover is a must
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. The same thing applies to book covers.
I remember when the rights of one of my traditionally-published books reverted back to me.
I couldn’t use the original cover, so had to get one designed.
In all honesty, I thought the book cover was good, until a lovely fan told me (very kindly) that she loved the book, but my cover sucked. A quick survey in a Facebook writing group confirmed what the fan said.
I pulled the book from Amazon, got a new designer who created an absolutely rocking book cover, and sales of that book picked up after that.
Don’t cut corners with your book cover or editing. Remember, readers are not just buying your book, they’re buying into your author brand. And everything – from the quality of your writing, to the book cover – informs this view.
You don’t want to come across as a penny-pinching, low-grade author, do you?
4. Get a website
I know some people think writing is all about the book (and it is), but, if you want to stay in the business in the long haul, then, you need a website. Having your own website makes it easier to consolidate and direct all your marketing to one place, and it makes it easier for your readers (the people who buy your books), to find you.
You could have an online store (using Selz or even, one of Amazon widgets), host your blog (your blog posts would ensure that you get consistent traffic), or whatever else you want to have on there.
And for those who claim that all they need is a Facebook page, my question is this: why do you want to build your ‘house’ on someone else’s land?
Confused about websites and blogging? Read these:
Book marketing is an ongoing process – you will have to try different things to find out which one works for you. And when you do, keep doing that one thing. Don’t chase after the latest marketing trends or tactics – more often that not, they’re just mindless distractions.
Also published on Medium.