If there’s one clear message to come out of my two months of research into the state of today’s publishing world and the best way to take my own newly finished memoir to market, it’s this: If you, as an author, actually want your book to succeed, you better embrace your inner-marketer self – because the job of marketing and promotions is falling on you.
In today’s tumultuous marketplace, even big publishing houses are pushing the job of marketing onto authors. While it can feel daunting, the good news is that the global reach and viral power of the Internet and social media has leveled the playing field for authors, making it easy to launch a broad-reaching marketing program on an author-size budget.
There are five key ingredients to any successful author marketing program – each of which interconnect to maximize success. Taken step by step, the marketing strategy outlined below will ensure that your book gets the exposure it deserves in today’s new world of publishing.
1. Put Up a Web Site: A web site is your window to the world and the foundation of any good online marketing and promotions program. Launching a book/author web site doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, a customized Word Press powered site can be can be done for as little as a few hundred dollars. Beyond having a professional looking site that shares information on you and your book, make sure you site has these components: a) Blogging capabilities that enable you to continually post new content; b) Content management system that makes it easy to handle your own updates; c) Your own URL. Rather than signing up for a free web site on Word Press or another blogging service, it’s worth spending the $50 to $60 a year for a hosting package and a URL of your own (e.g. www.johndoebook.com vs. www.johndoebook.wordpress.com). Along with being more professional, it helps ensure search engines find your site and push Web traffic back to it.
2. Start Building Social Media Networks: The viral nature of social media, combined with the instant, two way interaction it affords, makes social media networking a must for today’s authors. If you haven’t already done so, you should immediately set up a presence in any social media network that makes sense for your target audience. Launch a Facebook page for your book. Start a Twitter account. Kick off a group in LinkedIn. Consider posting videos to YouTube. And then get busy posting content, engaging fans and seeking out new contacts. For more info on how to leverage social media, read: Six Steps for a Successful Social Media Strategy
3. Reach Out to book bloggers: The fact that there are now several conferences and conventions devoted to book bloggers should hint to the power book bloggers now wield. There are thousands of book bloggers covering every book genre possible, all reaching audiences interested in learning about new books. One great resource for connecting with book bloggers is bookblogs.ning.com, which hosts numerous groups devoted to book blogging.
4. Send Out Press Releases/Story Pitches: Think of your book as a news story – then write a press release with a news hook that will attract the attention of editors and bloggers. A general press release about your book should be sent out over a reputable online distribution service such as PRWeb to generate online pickup. But you should also put together personalized story pitches targeted to local publications and radio stations, and to niche market publications that are interested in the topic your book covers. Doing so will translate into Free Media Exposure, which translates into more book sales.
5. Think Promotion: People like to be engaged. They also like to be rewarded. So when it comes to marketing your book, think about offering a promotion that will get the attention of potential customers and motivate them to act – whether it’s purchasing your book, visiting your Web site, or spreading the word about your book through their own social networks . Don’t think expensive, think creative. To drive sales and awareness for his new book Purchased Power, first-time author Dennis Sheehan recently offered customers a chance to win a signed copy of the yet unpublished manuscript of his next book. Based on the enthusiastic response from his Facebook fans, it sounds like the promotion has been a huge hit. The book, which went on sale June 29, sold out of its first run in two days.
Ingrid Ricks specializes in online marketing. For more information, visit: www.rcstrategiesgroup.com To learn more about Hippie Boy, her coming of age memoir, visit: www.hippieboybook.com