Updated: Sep 28, 2022
The world of marketing is large and vast. There are so many do's and don'ts when it comes to marketing your book that it can become a terrifying place. So here at Wingfield Designs, we want to break down some simple steps that you can take to get the ball rolling in the right direction for your author career.
Some of the biggest questions in the author world …..
Do I really need to spend time marketing my book?
Yes, to damn right, look at your author persona as a brand, Heinz didn't get where it is today without extensive market research, branding, and marketing. Let's take the example of selling your home, many of us have been there and if we haven't we generally know the process. So you want to sell your home, you don't just decide you're going to sell it and it sells … There are boards that go up outside your home, estate agents that you hire to sell your home, websites it's placed on, open houses, the list is endless. Even with a million-pound home, it won't sell itself, so no matter how well written your story is, without marketing your book won't reach the hands of readers.
If I hire a publisher they'll market my book, right?
This is a HUGE misconception, of course, they will do some marketing but don't expect to get to USA Today's Bestseller without doing some leg work yourself.
Let's take a look at some simple although time-consuming tips that you can take to get your book noticed and give it the flying start it deserves.
1. Marketing your book will take time.
Many authors write their books and believe that they will sell without ever having to market them because they've put them on Amazon. Some may actually be extremely lucky but imagine how well they could sell with the correct Marketing schedule!
Other authors think that just posting occasionally on social media will cut it but if that's you, you have been seriously misled. so you have a release and literally show up on social media to post on release day expecting it to reach your fans. Well, I will tell you now Facebook algorithms will not show it because you haven't been an "active" user they will not find your material as current. If you have a launch in September for example you need to be increasing your social media usage as early as a month in advance and not just book sales posts but we will get into that more later. I can hear you asking yourself but wouldn't all this be better spent writing my next novel? Well now, what's the point if no one will see it?
Be patient! Learn how to make social media work to your benefit. Stay tuned for another blog post about social media.
2. Ensure your website is engaging and current.
Websites and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) have never been a strong point of mine, and I refer to the Kanteneo blog in order to assist me with my SEO, a great starting point is their post on Why Social Proof is Important.
Every author should invest in a website, be that from hiring someone on your behalf or using a platform such as WordPress or Wix to create your own. This website I built myself using Wix with no experience so it's possible for you to do it yourself. So what does this have to do with selling books? The self-published market is extremely oversaturated and you must stand out from the crowd, and engage with your readers. How can you do this?
Blog weekly, ideally you should be blogging daily but there are never enough hours in the day, right? Also, it isn't just about blogging about your book you have to offer your readers something unique so they keep coming back for more. Check out this post on blogging strategies for authors in order to gain some inspiration for your own blog . One of the most important factors is to make sure your website is SEO optimized, this way you will begin ranking on google.
Always remember that this is a portal for readers and publishers alike to find out all about you and your books, to connect with your brand and you on a personal level.
3. Build Your Mailing List.
Your own mailing list is the number one tool for selling your books. Yes, like everything else it takes time and patience to gain those emails but in the long run, will be worthwhile. You can collect contacts using things like Mailerlite, this is also a platform that will allow you to build your newsletter and send it to your mailing list.
How can you build your mailing list?
Well, this can be quite simple but is just a gradual process. You can start by including a sign-up to your mailing list at the back of your ebooks this way if the reader has read and enjoyed your releases they can stay informed with up-and-coming releases. Something else that will enable you to gain contacts is by offering free content when signing up for your newsletter, this can be things such as bonus chapters, exclusive content, free ebooks, and maybe even a different point of view to one of your already released stories. A sure-fire way to build your mailing list is a Rafflecopter but make sure any giveaways are always aimed at readers, you can use items such as signed paperbacks, Amazon gift cards, and signed swag are small examples of what you could offer. Offering items that appeal to readers will ensure that your demographics are correct. If the person signs up for something that they enjoy they are more likely to stay on your mailing list rather than unsubscribe as soon as the giveaway has ended.
Want to learn more about ways to build your mailing list take a look at our blog post "Top Tips For Building a Mailing List for Authors".
4. Look at getting reviews before your book releases.
Advanced reader copies are vital to the success of a release. Many readers purchase through amazon and will take reviews into account when choosing which novel to read, so if your book is released and doesn’t hold any reviews, they're likely to move on to a book that is already reviewed. Gaining these can be done in many ways, you can approach blogs yourself that are relevant to your genre and see if they would like a copy in exchange for an honest review. You request that they post their reviews to GoodReads and on release day approach them and ask if they could transfer these to Amazon. If you would like to know more about how to gain more reviews take a look at our latest blog post "Top Tips for Gaining Book Reviews".
You could also use a blog tour company that approaches blogs on your behalf to review and post content on release day, these are known as Release Blitz's you can learn more about them in my recent blog post "Book Promotions and How They Increase Sales". There is also a platform called NetGalley which effectively allows its members to read and review books before release, you can read more about how NetGalley works here.
5. Don’t just try to sell your books.
I can hear you all saying but that's what marketing is right? Well yes but think of yourself as a social media user, am I right in saying there is nothing more infuriating than scrolling through Facebook or Instagram and seeing advert after advert. Let your readers know who you really are, this goes back to that essential part, in the beginning, you're not just selling a book you're selling a brand and that brand is you! Your fans want to know the author behind the story. The more your fans engage and connect with you as a person the more willing they are to dive into that latest book and ultimately be loyal to every release thereafter.
BE ENGAGING. BE INTERACTIVE. BE A SOURCE OF WISDOM.
6. Knowing your target audience.
Begin this with a couple of social media accounts and don’t take on every single platform as you will overwhelm yourself to keep up with responding to every post. Consider what type of novel you are writing and which platform would reach that target audience. For example, research what demographics you need to be targeting, if you are writing a young adult romance you need to be targeting the younger generation and many of them mainly use Instagram or TikTok as their go-to platforms for social media so you are better off to place your material on those social media platforms. If you are writing erotica your target audience is generally older females and they are more likely to be found on Facebook.
Knowing your target audience also helps when using these platforms for paid advertising as it allows you to streamline your target audience.
7. Making online connections.
If you know you're going to be releasing a book later this year you need to start making connections early, connecting with those in the author, blogger, and reader world. There are a huge number of groups and communities out there where you can share experiences and tips with other authors and readers. You are talking with like-minded individuals about a shared love of reading. By building these relationships early you have a foundation for then approaching them to ask for that review or for help and advice. Follow other authors, share in their successes, celebrate wins with your readers, and be connected with their lives. Even just you stopping by to wish one of your readers a happy birthday will help create a connection where they will want to support you.
8. GIVE GIVE GIVE.
Social media is all about what you can give, give away freebies, and share other authors' work or their freebies and sales. Share blogs giveaways, or content. Interaction is absolutely essential. People will look to you as someone they can turn to for useful resources, discount sales, and ultimately will be more likely to help you out when you have a sale, etc. Discounts are a great way to give a sample of your work to readers and this is easily done if you are self-published however if you work with a publisher ensure you sit down with them and make a marketing plan that you both agree on.
9. Utilise external resources.
There are a huge number of awesome people there who are just waiting to help you! Cover designers, such as myself, are ready to get your book noticed! Promotional companies, editors, formatters, PA’s, and Social media specialists. You can see a list of services we recommend here:
Here at Wingfield Designs, we are launching “The Creative Writing Corner” where we will be bringing you a platform to share with other creative minds and help with motivation and monthly workshops/expert talks about taking your writing career to the next level if you would like to learn more take a look at our dedicated page here.
10. The single most important tip is to BE YOURSELF.
Remember you’re not just selling a book, you’re selling a brand, a little piece of you! Your readers want to know you, they don’t want someone who’s misinformed and doesn’t know what they're talking about. They don’t want to see promotional post after promotional post that is just copied and pasted. They want to see a piece of who you are, you will gain so much more love and understanding if you truly connect with your readers.
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