It’s fabulous to have a book published, no matter how it’s published. There’s the thrill of seeing it available on Amazon or on a bookshelf, there’s that excitement when you sign the book for someone, and it’s so much fun to watch the books sell and sell.
But guess what? Right on the tail of your book launch at least a thousand other books are being launched, a huge percentage of them in your same genre and going after the same reader who buys your books. What’s an author to do? After the first blush of success, it quickly fades and most authors resort to harder pushes on twitter or facebook or silly gimmicks like giving away free books or dropping the price of their book to less than a buck. It’s time to face facts, every book faces a crunch time where it feels like the author can make it or fail miserably.
So … how do we solve this dilemma? It’s so simple it might make your head swim.
- Locate your secondary markets
- Plan early
- Implement without fail
- Enjoy your success
Yes, that’s it. Four little steps and I’m going to help you organize your plan so that it will run smoothly and efficiently. And guess what? If this is done right, you’ll never have to watch your book flood into the market for Free or .99!
LOCATE YOUR SECONDARY MARKETS
I want you to imagine yourself as a General. You’re in charge of winning the war and in order to be ready for the battles ahead, you need a strong strategy. Whether you win the first battle or not, you still have a whole war to win, so planning is critical.
Your first offensive line as an author is to follow the standard procedures. Announce that your book has been released. Reach out to your genre readers through twitter, facebook, blogging, guest blogging, blog tours and book clubs. This is the first blush of success I mentioned earlier and it is a thrill, but it dies out soon.
The difference between you and all the other authors out there is that, as a good General, you have an entire set of strategies for your second, third and forth attacks.
No matter what you’ve written, fiction, non-fiction, YA or a children’s book, you must have these secondary strategies ready and waiting for the next battles ahead.
As an example, let’s imagine you’ve written a romance or romance subgenre, an urban fantasy, high fantasy, mystery, cozy mystery, science fiction or women’s fiction. There is one strong and very broad target for your books that takes your marketing strategies beyond the standard first-blush targets. That is simply … women. Where are women? They are everywhere. A vast majority of them read books, are not a member of any of the book clubs you’ve already approached, and they gather in places other authors aren’t thinking to approach.
To strategize a plan of attack for reaching this very broad general target, you need to slip away from the normal book selling and promoting marks, lift your head and look around. Nurses are women. Mothers are women. Home cooks are women. Bike riders and palates classes are filled with women. Dental assistants are women. Women are EVERYWHERE. Don’t be like some narrow minded authors out there who can’t see the forest for the trees. Do any of your friends or neighbors belong to a sewing or scrap booking group? Is there a ladies auxiliary group in your neighborhood? How about a walking club or weight loss club or cookie club? How many of these groups have online activities? Food or cooking bloggers? Skiing clubs? Swim clubs? Anywhere and for any reason women get together can be a vast target for this secondary approach.
Another direction to go for finding broader book buyer targets is to look inside your manuscript. Dissect it, examine it. Stay close to your manuscript not only as you write the book, but after the book is out in the world. You’d be surprised how many authors I work with have basically forgotten many of the subtle elements inside their own manuscript that can possibly prove to be great directions for marketing. Pick up tour book and READ IT AGAIN. Take notes. Is there something in there that can fit perfectly as a new target marketing goal for sales? Is the main character a baker or gardener? Do they have a food preference that comes up often? Does the book touch on an illness or have an underlying story arc that explores travel or sailing or mechanics? Every one of those elements you originally put into your story to add color or roundness to your characters can easily become a powerful direction for marketing.
Next week we’ll be covering how to approach these new secondary markets, but in order to do any of that, you must identify them! That’s why it’s the first step for developing growth potential for your book sales. Take a few hours, review your own book and list every possible secondary market inside the manuscript, as well as every place you can locate these target book buyers.
Before your book even comes out is the perfect time to seriously plan your strategies. Never launch all your strategies at once. Start with the standard book launch approach, then after a few weeks, launch your next attack, then your next then the one after that. Watch how your book is selling. When things start to quiet down, be the General and get your strategies into play. Never try to do too many different approaches at the same time. Two is about the limit if you want give it your full attention and gain the best results.
The most important part of your plan is testing the results. By watching your sales and comparing it to your activities, you can see quickly if a target is responding or not. If it’s too quiet for too long – two-three weeks – step away and go another direction. Without understanding what works and what doesn’t, you will be spinning your wheels and the goal here is to be enjoying success.
IMPLEMENT WITHOUT FAIL
Now that you have our plan and know your secondary targets, there’s a big thing you must remember. You can’t tell if a strategy is working or not if you don’t implement it fully. This is vital. If you choose to approach women through live groups, email groups, online groups and blogging, you can’t simply start, get bored and drop the ball. It happens easily, trust me, I’ve been there. There are a thousand distractions in an author’s life. There are new books to write, family and friends to socialize with, houses to clean and bills to pay. When you find yourself at a point where you’re losing interest in a new target approach, ask yourself this question. What did it feel like the day your book was released? Regain that enthusiasm and excitement and remember … the new target you’re going for knows nothing about you or your book. It’s all new to them, so it must feel all new to you too and your enthusiasm must shine through!
Remember to learn from every target you approach. Tweak your strategies like a real General and use those variations for the next attack.
Your plan should include no less than twenty new targets that reach beyond the standard author marketing approaches. If a target proves successful, find ways to expand it. For example, if your main character knits and you’ve discovered that knitting groups, live and online, are responding, take it further. Reach out to stores that sell yarn and inquire about any knitting groups they might know. Contact specialty yarn and knitting needle online stores and ask them if you can write a weekly column, or at least advertise your book on their website. Be sure to tell them how many knitters love your book, perhaps even send them a list of the reviews. What you’re looking for is a way to get MORE of the same sales success with a target that is proving lucrative.
Have fun with this. Don’t stress or go nuts over it. Never forget that the average author is sitting at their computer panicking over why their book sales have fallen off and offering free copies or .99 books just to try to build their numbers up. Of course, you can do that too, but why not play in the areas nobody else has even thought about looking at? Enjoy the ride. Be the General! Don’t sit back and wait for failure to crush you, be proactive and go out and win as many battles as you can.
ENJOY YOUR SUCCESS!
If you’ve found your secondary targets within your genre and manuscript, if you’ve done your planning well, if you’ve implemented your strategies joyously and without fail AND kept records so that you can determine which targets are worth going deeper with and which are worth discarding, you can’t help but find sales success. Manage your time carefully, approach no more than two new targets at a time and remember to keep up your momentum and enthusiasm. Just as energy breeds energy, success breeds success!Questions? Please post them and I’ll be happy to answer.
Next week we’ll be talking about HOW an author approaches and maintains a new market effectively. See you then!
FREE Ten Tools for Author Success Handbook available for download at The Author Success Coach website.