As the article appears in the November issue of Uncaged Book Reviews:
I met Dawn back when I started working with BTS Book Reviews. She was the lead and it was always a great working relationship that grew to a friendship.
The one question that I ask authors quite often is what is one of their least favorite things about being an author, and the response is overwhelmingly that they don’t like marketing. When Dawn told me about a new eCourse that she developed for authors and how to market their books, I jumped onboard and asked her to talk about it here in Uncaged.
So please welcome Dawn to Uncaged, we are excited to learn more on this daunting subject.
Why is marketing so important for authors?
If you don’t have a way to genuinely connect with people, to share your message, how will they even find out about your books? Unless your name is Nora Roberts, and then well, you know, you’re Nora Roberts and that’s all you need. But for the rest of us, marketing is what gets the word out about what you have to offer. That being said, one of the very first points I make in the Marketing for Authors course is that marketing is not the same thing as selling. Book sales are the result of effective marketing, not the source. I think this is a really important distinction that a lot of well-meaning books and blogs fail to hammer home.
Marketing is not about making a sale, marketing is about connecting with the people who will support your work. Sales are about a single transaction, marketing is about building relationships that cultivate long-term sales over your entire writing career. Because, as we learn in the course, marketing is relationship building, it is the vehicle that drives long-term success. It not only get the word out about your books, but it also ensures that you don’t lose your entire audience between releases. It’s not so much about driving sales for a particular product, marketing as a whole, is about creating a community of people who will consistently support your work.
How should an author get started marketing their book?
The first thing I recommend to every author, whether you write romances or how-tos, is to sit down and create a marketing plan. I know, I know, everyone hates the marketing plan, but the biggest complaint I hear from authors is that they really don’t have any idea what do or where to begin when it comes to their marketing. As much as we all hate the marketing plan, this is exactly what it is designed for. A good marketing plan will not only help you determine your goals and strategies, it will actually ensure that you are creating marketing that is going to be effective. There is nothing worse then create a marketing campaign that goes completely unnoticed, talk about a waste of time. You could have been writing, right? A marketing plan (and as we also discuss in the course, a campaign strategy) will help you make the most of the time you spend marketing.
What is the best way for authors to market and sale their book online?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret, social media is the worst place to try to sell a book (or any product for that matter). Your website, Amazon, your publisher’s site, these are the places sales are made. Even if you click on a Facebook ad, you don’t actually make the purchase in Facebook, it takes you somewhere else. So please, please, please don’t waste your time trying to sell your book on social media. If you want to focus on sales, focus your efforts on the venues where the sales actually happen: pump up your Amazon reviews, get featured on your publisher’s site and make your own website a sales machine.
Social media is however a fantastic place for cultivating relationships, and marketing is after all, relationship building. Use social media for the purpose in which it was intended: to make connections, engage with readers, and provide content of real value that makes a positive impact in someone’s life. Put the “social” back in social media and focus on building connections that will allow you to share your message and funnel your audience toward your sales.
What is the most important thing for an author to know about marketing?
That your marketing is not really about you, LOL. Authors have a tendency to market in a way that serves our own needs rather than the needs of our readers. We create blog posts and share items on Facebook that interest us, as the writer, rather than what interests our readers. We sometimes forget that as authors, we must operate in service to our readers. While we certainly find joy and fulfillment in our writing, we write primarily to share our knowledge or our stories with someone else, to be in service to others. If our books were just written for us, we’d never need to learn how to market because we’d never need to publish a single word. Thus, your marketing is not really about you, it’s about your readers.
So instead of asking: how can I market my books, start asking yourself: how can I be of service to my readers? Marketing is about making your message connect with your audience, to do that, you have to make sure that your message actually serves a purpose in their life. I know this can be challenging, especially for fiction authors, so we really go into a lot of detail on this point in the course. Even if you write about blood-sucking vampires, you can still be of service to your readers. You can still create messages that add value to their lives. Look for those points of value and let them drive your messages.
When is the best time for an author to start marketing?
Now. Right now. It doesn’t matter if you have one book out or ten. It doesn’t matter if your latest release just hit the shelves or has been collecting dust there for the last few years. It doesn’t matter if your next release is ten days out or ten months out. It doesn’t even matter if you haven’t released a book yet. As an author, or a soon-to-be-author, you should always be marketing, because marketing is relationship building. That means you should always be working not only to build new connections, but to maintain the connections you already have.
If you shift your mindset from marketing as a task to be checked off your list, to marketing as a way to connect with the people who will buy your books, you’ll find that this marketing thing isn’t really that hard. Sure, you have to work to put strategies into place and build campaigns, but at the heart of it all, you’ll find that the best marketing is really just genuine connecting. When you stop thinking of marketing as a way to peddle your work and start seeing marketing as a way to share the books you love to write with the people who can’t wait to read them, it stops being a chore.
Tell us about this course you mentioned.
Marketing for Authors is the first course from my new Author eCourses program. It is a self-paced course that not only teaches authors how to develop a marketing strategy that fosters long-term growth and facilitates sales, but also offer the tools and techniques to build a loyal reader base and create content that engages those readers. You’ll learn the strategies behind successfully marketing, but more importantly, you’ll have a easy-to-follow, step-by-step plan to help you master your marketing. You can find out more about this course at AuthoreCourses.com (http://authorecourses.com/).