I'm excited to announce that I'm launching a new book tomorrow - and a blog series! "A Year of Book Marketing" is a challenge to authors to spend 365 days marketing their books. Those who want to start the journey with me tomorrow (January 1st) are more than welcome to join me here on my blog as I'll blog my way through the challenge for all of 2013. If you'd rather start later, or want to have a copy of the challenge on hand, part 1 will be available on both Kindle and Smashwords. Part 2 won't be coming out until May, and then later on I will release the entire book in print from. But, enough about that, let's get started!
The first stop on the way to spending a year marketing our books, is to make sure that we have a background in book marketing. If you already have a firm understanding of marketing, you can feel free to skip ahead to the next chapter, but who knows, if you go ahead and read through the rest of this one, you might learn a thing or two. It’s up to you.
So what is book marketing? The following is the definition I came up with:
“Book Marketing is the art of promoting one’s book
to gain exposure and increase sales”
Have you ever just stepped back and studied the art of marketing? Because that’s what it is: an art. It’s kind of like the art of writing – only not. The point is that very few authors are naturally poetic. We have to learn the craft of writing before we can be deemed a good author, and then we have to execute what we know by writing, and writing, and writing some more before we can be considered a great author. And the art of marketing is no different. No one is going to instantly be an amazing marketer; we first have to study the craft and then put what we’ve learned into practice – and practice it some more.
In writing, one of the best ways to study the craft is by reading. We hear it over and over again, if you want to be a good author – read. So if you want to be a good marketer, why not pay attention to other advertisements? This could be as simple as picking up a magazine the next time you are in a waiting room and thumbing through the various ads to see which ones draw your attention. Or you could just pay attention to what other authors are doing to market their books – are they adding an excerpt from another book of theirs to the back of the one you just read? Did they create a book trailer on YouTube or go on a blog tour? Which tactics do you think are more effective than others, and why? I do that on occasion, and here are some of the things that stick out to me the most:
1. The image matters. A good picture can make or break an ad. Even in the classifieds, the ones that simply had colored backgrounds stood out more and are the first ones I start reading – well, right after the ones that include a picture or logo that is.
2. Next to the picture, the most important thing is the headline. If you don’t have a powerful, attention grabbing headline, why would I want to spend my time reading whatever else you have to say – whether it’s a blog post or one paragraph about a product?
3. Where do you go from here? So many ads don’t give a good call to action. Don’t get me wrong, simply saying “Learn more at:” is great, it’s the ones that tack on a web address by itself that I’m not impressed with - or worse, the ones that leave you with nothing thinking that their book was so fabulous that I should search it out on my own. People like things simple. Tell the potential buyer HOW to buy your book, or where they can go to learn more about it. Don’t force them to do work to find out more.
While those three things came from physical ads that most new authors can’t afford, I still think that they are extremely valuable to us. You see, we can incorporate them all into our marketing strategies. We can include graphics in our posts, on websites, and even within e-mails that will attract the reader’s attention. We can make sure that our headlines draw our readers in, and we can definitely give good calls to action. For example:
Learn the ins and outs of book marketing in: “Book Marketing 101” by Heather Hart
Another thing we can do to study the art of book marketing, is to read up on it. A while back I read an awesome book on book marketing where one of the points that the author made was that people buy things that appeal to them emotionally. I hadn’t thought of it that way before, but while we spend money on things we need or want, we are more likely to place an impulse purchase if it appeals to our emotions. It has to go beyond the: "this book will be good" notch to the: "you really want to read this" level. And to be honest, I have totally seen this to be true with my own spending habits. I encourage you to pay attention to what causes you to spend money as well; not just with books, but everywhere. Is it the packaging? A promise? What seals the deal for you?
I hope you'll join me tomorrow as I officially kick off, "A Year of Book Marketing."