10 Reasons Self-Published Authors Should Promote Their Books
If you’re like most authors, you’re probably more than a little bit intimidated by the prospect of marketing your book. ‘I’m an author, not a marketer,’ you might say. ‘I don’t know how to do all that e-maily, markety, salesy stuff.’
But when you’re an author, especially a self-published author, you should know that writing is as much a business as it is an art. And you may be surprised to learn that writing/storytelling and marketing all have things in common.
Both storytelling and marketing evoke emotions, both make people think, and both can inspire people to act. Mastering both fields also depends on deep audience understanding.
Publishing your book is only the beginning. These days, authors have to act as brand managers, entrepreneurs, and master marketers. Here’s why:
1. You want to spread the word about your book.
Marketing should be your top priority if you want to reach out to as many readers as possible. You need to create a good marketing and promotional strategy, going where your ideal audience is to pique their interest and encourage them to read your book.
For example, if you want to let new parents know about your book, you might want to start by your promoting your book at your local day care first. Targeting already established audiences will help you maximize your budget.
You should also start choosing what kinds of media you should use to advertise your book. There are plenty to choose from: digital, traditional, and more. But whatever you choose, remember, the campaigns that will deliver are always the well-planned ones!
2. You want to get feedback and insight about your work.
As an author, you already know that there is no way to escape critics. But more often than not, that’s a good thing. There’s nothing like some constructive criticism to help you improve your craft. And guess what? You can get constructive criticism through book marketing, too.
Yes, book marketing isn’t just finding the right people and communicating the right message. Sometimes, you can get book reviews, organic reviews from social media, and even from your local book club!
3. You want to hit your sales goals.
This is pretty self-explanatory. While it’d be great to say all you want to do is write for the sake of writing and maybe live off the grid in a little cabin, the truth is, even authors need some cash every now and then. That’s where marketing comes in.
Marketing is key for getting your book on the shelves of brick-and-mortar bookshops or in libraries. You also need it to sell books online, whether it’s in an online bookstore like Amazon or your own website.
The right marketing strategy can help you garner a devoted and engaged readership, which means you’ll have an easier time selling your next book!
4. You want to establish your niche and get your book to stand out in an ocean of paperbacks.
There are over 2.2 million titles published every year*. You’re definitely not the only author out there, and you’re not the only one writing about your favourite subject. Lots of people are writing about dragons and elves. Tons of memoirs come out every month. Self-help books are a dime a dozen. So how do you stand out?
Your competition gets smarter and more aggressive every year, and you don’t want to get left behind. Promoting your book means it doesn’t end up at the bottom of the sales bucket any time soon.
Yes, getting noticed in the publishing industry can be a huge challenge. But with a smart, actionable marketing plan, you’ll be able to use the unique qualities of your book—and your unique qualities—to ensure that people take notice.
5. You want to share your own take on writing.
Speaking of unique qualities and standing out, you can use marketing to showcase the best that you, as a self-published author, can offer, too—like your writing style. Or your imaginative plots. Or your own unique experiences and expertise.
With so many writing styles and stories out there, marketing is like the megaphone you need to let people know you’re here to make your mark on the publishing industry.
6. You want to appeal to the right audience.
Marketing is also your go-to tool when you’re looking to connect with a specific type of audience. For example, if you want to make your high fantasy novel available to Dungeons and Dragons fans, then you can combine a variety of promotional methods to reach out to them. Figure out where they go, what they read, and even watch and listen to, and you’ll be able to tap into that market.
7. You want to build a fan base for your books
When your marketing campaign has helped you find your audience, you can then use marketing to build your own community. The people in this community—your readers—will prove to be the perfect promoters of your book. When people love books, after all, they share them with their friends, co-workers, and family, so you get to market your book by word-of-mouth. (Possibly the best kind of marketing out there.)
Marketing is essential when you want to engage current and potential readers. With the right branding and campaign, you’ll be able to speak directly to your audience, provide them with valuable tips, videos, and maybe even discounts and previews of your next book.
Speaking to your fan base might not even feel like marketing after a while. Many authors have built up communities around themselves that feel like a kind of family to them, which can be a great source of encouragement and support.
Now, building a fan base can be tricky, since there’s no real formula for creating a following. The good news is that there are best practices that you can follow. Here are some of them:
- Use the right platform. Spend some time researching various platforms and finding the right one for you. If, for example, your ideal audience is in their 70s and older, try a more traditional route and advertise in that age bracket’s favourite magazine or newsletter.
- Be consistent. Find ways to always deliver the same quality of content to your readers. If you have a blog, have a posting schedule, like once or twice a week. Send your newsletters when you say you’re going to send them. Make them want more from you all the time!
- Network, network, network. It’s so important to be part of a community. It can’t be stressed enough. Get together with fellow authors and book lovers, share your work in book clubs, neighbourhood poetry readings, and community library events. You can build a readership by building connections, and it doesn’t hurt to have some community support.
8. You want to maintain and/or improve your relationship with your readers.
When you have a fan base, you want to keep your relationship with them healthy. Otherwise, you’ll lose the community you’ve worked so hard to create. You can use a variety of marketing tactics to keep them engaged. By now, you should have an idea who you’re talking too. This will help you cater to your readers’ specific needs.
As an author, you can create a personalized experience for your audiences using something called a buyer persona. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents your ideal reader/readers. These personas are created through detailed statistical and behavioural data. This helps you market to one person, which is more effective than trying to catch every type of reader with a single net.
Speaking to buyer personas will certainly help you cater to your readers better. For example, if your readers are mostly opinion leaders who read newspapers, you might want to make your next book announcement in credible journals and publications.
9. You want to pique the interest of bookstore owners and publishers.
Marketing doesn’t just limit authors to promote to like-minded readers. It can also be used to widen audience reach and explore other areas in the publishing and book-selling industry. You can even use it to bring your book closer to traditional publishers and bookstore owners.
For example, you might want to run a print advertising campaign on Publishers Weekly to reach out to publishers and bookstore owners. You may also advertise your book on the websites of popular wholesalers like Ingram.
10. You want to establish your credibility.
As an author, you want to establish and take care of your reputation. If you’ve got a book about fishing, you want people to know you’ve got the credentials to be writing about fishing. If you’ve got a book about philosophy, then people are going to want to know what makes you qualified to write about it.
Marketing is synonymous with building your reputation. For example, book reviews from trusted publications can encourage readers to seek out your book. Media interviews are perfect opportunities to showcase your expertise and solidify your reputation, too.
Without marketing, a book can never get where it needs to be—on shelves, reading lists, and in the hands of readers. Yes, it can be difficult figure out where to start, but you the good news is you don’t have to do all the work by yourself.
You can always count on professionals like us. We’ve got the expertise and the team that can help you create the perfect marketing strategy for your book.
Contact your Marketing Consultant at +65 3165 7531 (Singapore) or +60 3 3099 4412 (Malaysia) to find out more about our promotional services.
*How Many New Books are Published Each Year? (And Other Related Books Facts). Retrieved October 8, 2019, from http://www.theifod.com/how-many-new-books-are-published-each-year-and-other-related-books-facts/.