Ahh, ‘marketing,’ that filthy word writers hate slightly less than ‘self-promotion.‘ But, marketing is what sells our books, generates an audience and builds a fanbase… So why the apathy folks?
Whatever the reasons (unbridled imposter syndrome, unfathomable irrationality, a case of lost-your-fucking-mind-itis), we can’t help but cringe, whimper and cower away from saying those dirty words.
*cough… buy my book…please…*
Okay, maybe that’s a little unfair. We do say it… Just the once mind, and only quietly using our best polite-British voice.
Let’s get a grip, shall we?
If you’re even half serious about selling books or writing full-time, then you’re going to have to get with the self-promotion program, and fast.
Did I mention that I published a book…?
Cause I have…
It’s called 13 Steps To Evil, and you should probably check it out…
See… that wasn’t too bad, was it? No one died because I promoted myself, and I’m only sweating and twitching a little bit! *deep breath* *reaches for paper bag*
Before we move into hardcore tactics – here’s the ‘what I’ve learned about marketing through publishing my first book 13 Steps To Evil stuff.’
If you don’t want to advertise and promote yourself, that’s okay, but just so that you know, you ain’t gonna sell any books. Putting a book out there and hoping for sales, is a dead method. Beyond dead, in fact. Even the grim reaper himself won’t take pity on you if you plump for hope marketing. So let’s agree we’re not going to do that.
THE MARKETING MINDSET
What Is Marketing? And What Should You Expect From it?
Marketing IS selling.
What it isn’t is a cause and effect miracle science. Just because you whop out blog tours like candy bars, doesn’t mean you’re going to sell a hundred books. In fact, you might not sell any. But… but… but… a blog tour is so much work. I know, I know. It hurts knowing that work put in might not equal an exact number of sales out. But that’s marketing for you. If there’s one truth I can give you, it’s that…
MARKETING IS THE LONG GAME
The really, really, painful stab-yourself-in-the-eye-till-it-bleeds type long game. There’s an accepted rule in business and marketing that a person needs to hear your message (or see your book cover or author name) seven times before it even registers. Of course, not everyone needs to hear a message seven times before they buy, but it’s a good average.
Considering how hard it is to get your book in front of people just once, that’s torture to hear too. But it soon adds up, a couple of blogs here, a sprinkle of Twitter, a dash of advertising and then hey presto you’re in someone’s ‘also boughts.’ All of a sudden you’ve hit seven ‘sees’ and you’re in an Amazon basket.
NOT NOW – ALWAYS
The point is. Don’t think about the marketing you do now in terms of instant results.
Unless you’re doing a BookBub, paid advertising, or have a large subscriber list. You’re unlikely to see huge numbers of sales from the marketing you do now. But that doesn’t matter. You might do a guest post now and not see results, but that shits evergreen folks. I’ve had blog posts go nuts eight months after I posted them because that’s the insanity of social media. So hard work now is never lost. It may generate sales in the future. And like Suzie and Elena said at the blogger’s bash, KEEP promoting that shit.
Once you’ve done the hard work, you can keep reusing it. The internet (until we have a technological blackout style apocalypse, is evergreen. People will find material that’s years old… IF you keep sharing it.
For clarity –
- I do mean reshare helpful blog posts across social media that might also promote your book.
- I do mean iterate the content from your book to help others, or share snippets.
- I DON’T mean repost ‘buy my book’ a million times. That shit is annoying, and doesn’t work.
But don’t be afraid you’ll piss people off by resharing. Social media has the half-life of a gnat’s piss. Most people won’t even realize you’re resharing stuff, and if they have a problem, they don’t have to follow you.Which brings me on to the next point:
DON’T CRY OVER LOST FOLLOWERS
If the fear of losing followers is preventing you from doing certain things or promoting your work, you need to take yourself off to the corner and have a word.
Let’s apply this to something meaningful (to me) – Subscriber List.
I’ll go into sub lists in more detail in a different lesson. For now, know that I have to pay for my subscriber list, so I only want subscribers who are engaged and enthusiastic about my work. I get a few unsubscribes every.single.time.I.send.an.email. Do you see me weeping tears because I lost two followers? Nope. Good riddens. Okay, not true. I did find it hard at first, I may have even shed a coal shaped tear or two; then I realize the benefits…
A) It saves me money in mailing list fees
B) I’m only sending emails to people who want them and are engaged with them and will potentially buy books
The same principle applies to finishing books – I had to take a blog break to get books completed – did my stats suffer? Yes, a bit, but my mailing list still grew, and that’s the most important bit – a direct link to inboxes to let people know your book just went live. Plus because of the break, I’m building a backlist of books.
Priorities. Nuff said.
THE BUSINESS MINDSET
There are 6 million books on Amazon. SIX FUCKING MILLION. Do you even know what 6 million of anything looks like? Cause I sure as shit don’t. But I’m guessing it’s chuffing big!
Why am I saying this? Cause, we need to stand out. We need a way of reaching the hundreds of millions of Amazon customers, waving our hands and saying ‘pick me.’
How do we do that?
Business mindset – Your book isn’t just a book.
Especially so for non-fiction, but the same can be said for fiction.
You need to be asking yourself how you can iterate your book. In fact, how’s about we don’t even call it a book anymore? Let’s call it was it is, a product.
Have you got an ebook? A paperback? An audiobook?
Got discarded excerpts or deleted scenes? Why haven’t you slapped them together to create a freebie?
If you write non-fiction, can you turn your book into cheat sheets to encourage subscribers? Have you got a workbook? A course? Can you bastardize your chapters into guest posts?
Iterate. Iterate. Iterate.
Content made once can be used a hundred times over. Each one is another stream of income.
Boxsets, iteration, selling, you always have something to offer. Think evergreen.
Yes… There’s stuff that works, and some stuff that doesn’t. And likewise, not everything will work for everyone, but if you don’t try how will you know? Oh, and once you’ve tried once, try it again with an iteration, just because it didn’t work once, doesn’t mean it won’t another time.
YOUR NETWORK IS EVERYTHING AND NOTHING
You need a street team comprised of people you know, trust and can rely on to help you (a subject for a different lesson). Usually, your street team comes from your network. Which means you’ll be reaching a wider sector of your audience. Extremely useful, but doesn’t tap into wider networks of people you don’t know.
So two questions:
- Who DON’T you know? Who’s your idol? Who would you die to guest post on their site? Who gives you imposter syndrome even thinking about asking to post on their site? That’s who you should be targeting.
- Who do you know that has a bigger or different audience to you? Who could you either work with or market jointly? What big guns do you know that you could owe a favor to and post on their site?
I lied, that was at least ten questions… *shrugs*
Blog tours are time intensive; there’s a million other ways to market that take less time – podcasts, recommendations in other authors subscribers lists, affiliate programs… the list is endless. There’s two things you need to know:
- Know why your doing the marketing your doing
- Know what impact it will have.
However you choose to market, think about the time required to do the thing you want, versus the impact of whatever it is your doing.
MAKE IT EASY FOR READERS
If you want people to buy your book, make it easy for them.
Sounds like I shouldn’t need to say this, but I do… cause, well, it’s my blog!! How easy is it for readers to find your book?
Have you got book links EVERYWHERE? Slathered over your platforms like cheap perfume in a brothel. You need to.
How many pictures have you got of your book over your website? Brand awareness folks. People need to visually recognize your book.
You think you’re pissing people off with the repetition. You’re not.
A) You just sweated blood and all the other bodily fluids over this book-puppy, it’s your goddamn right to scream naked at midnight from city rooftops about this book badger.
B) People are
dumb, lazy,forgetful and often preoccupied with shit… like, you know, their own lives. Whatever, selfish. The point is, they need reminding about your book SEVEN TIMES. So keep fucking reminding.
Did I mention that I published a book..?. It’s called 13 Steps To Evil… AND IF YOU NEED NEON LIGHTS….
Okay, I’ll stop with the sarcasm. Maybe.
Have you heard of a universal book link? No, shame on you. Get one – Read Sarah’s post on them. It’s a single link that takes your reader to whichever bookstore they use.
annnnnd….. I’m done! For now.
WHAT WOULD YOU ADD TO THE MARKETING MINDSET? WHAT PERSPECTIVE HAVE YOU FOUND USEFUL? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS.
If you liked this post, why not get even more awesome tips in the book 13 Steps To Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains
Click this link to purchase and then click the logo of your device or regular bookshop, and it will take you to the right page.
You can also get a FREE villains cheatsheet by joining my mailing list just click here.
P.S. Yes, I am back… sort of… slowly… gently… my priority will always be book writing now though, so expect delays in comment replying.
P.P.S. See what I did there? One more bit of self-promo… That wasn’t so hard, was it?