Tag Archives: Book Sales

4 TOOLS FOR THAT SCARY AUTHOR MARKETING STUFF

confused 4As authors, our biggest conundrum isn’t coming up with ideas, plots, or characters. It’s marketing. It’s so easy to label marketing as difficult, not in our wheelhouse, and an activity we creative people simply do not recognize. However, marketing is everything we already know. Marketing is extremely creative and done right, totally connected with the wonderful book (fiction or nonfiction) that we’ve written. It’s all a matter of dropping our distaste for marketing and giving it a real chance. After all, marketing is the nerdy one in the corner wearing thick glasses, the kind we super creative types seldom spend serious time with. Go on. Take a shot. It could be sales success at first sight.

Like any first date, there needs to be a few ground rules. First, forget everything you thought you knew about marketing. Second, open your mind to concepts you haven’t heard before from any your author friends. And third, be focused and consistent in your marketing efforts. Really, really consistent.

Here are four tools to help you find real author marketing success in 2016.

Other AuthorsSTOP MARKETING TO OTHER AUTHORS – Yes, I do understand. Other authors are our friends. We love the support and camaraderie, the emotional and creative help, and especially the feeling that we’re not in this alone. That’s all wonderful and very nice, but have you ever really thought about this from a marketing point of view? First of all, other authors are your competition. And when it comes to marketing, they seldom, if ever, know any more about marketing than you do. Keep in touch with other authors for writing craft and support, but strategically step away for marketing.

I know that authors do buy books, but spending a majority of your time and effort marketing to other authors will never get you to the top ten sellers list. Trust me, Hershey’s Chocolate marketing executives aren’t hanging out with Mars Candy marketing executives on Facebook sharing promotional strategies. Step away from other authors. Eliminate them from your twitter and Facebook accounts. Stop promoting your books on FB groups loaded with, and targeted to, other authors.

Real marketing is about identifying audience and connecting with them. The first step is to stop surrounding yourself with the competition. Recognize marketing as the success tool to create awareness for your book and gain sales.

Broader AudienceSEEK BROADER AUDIENCES – Okay, so now that you’ve purged all your author friends out of your twitter and Facebook accounts, who are you going to talk to? Well, eliminating the social part of social media will drastically open a lot of time for you to do some real marketing. The most important thing to do now is seek out broader audiences. We all know to join the book sales groups on Facebook, and follow all the book clubs and book reviewers on twitter. But there’s far more than that. You just need to think creatively – in relation to the book you wrote – to find them. Here are a few brief tips.

  • If your write Romance, remember, the biggest audience for romance is women. Not just women who love to buy romance books, but women in general. They love romance films, romance television shows, romance in travel, clothing, etc. In other words, while you’re joining Facebook groups for marketing, take a look at groups that talk about romantic things like dating, finding the perfect man, and fitting a dating life into the single parent life. Think of the reader of your romance as a woman with a whole life, not just a book buyer/reader life. Reach out to romance lovers on twitter through romance film accounts (just go to the romance film’s twitter account, and all films have a twitter account these days) then click on the followers. VOILA! You’ll see hundreds and hundreds of women who love romance. Follow, follow, follow and most will follow you back because your twitter account description will be about you and your romance book(s).
  • If you write Historical, seek out new friends and followers and groups that focus on the elements of that historical book. The clothing, the weapons, the parts of the world, the historic landmarks. Relate to a new audience that already loves what you’ve written in your book.
  • If you write nonfiction, how to, or memoir books, focus on the unique hooks within those books and target groups and audiences that are interested in those things. Think WIDE. If your book is about organizing your life, look for all the people who can benefit from this book—mothers, crafters, day care facilities, teachers, hobbyists—the list can be endless. You may not always find a Facebook group that directly targets your topic, so consider creating one. Think about speaking and doing book events at places that relate to your topic, like craft stores, pet shops, day care facilities, teachers group meetings. Step away from the norm. Be creative.
  • If your book is loaded with powerful imagery, no matter what the genre might be, consider using Pinterest. Create a board that is pinned with imagery that matches the feeling of your book—along with your own descriptions under those pinned pictures that relate to your story and a buy link for the book. Now you have something else to post instead of the tired old “buy my book” links on Facebook and twitter. Be sure to talk about your Pinterest board in all your unique hook connections. It’s visual, and that’s an added punch,
  • Whatever you write, fiction or nonfiction, can be extremely effective in the YouTube universe, but ONLY if you creatively stand out and apart. Boring book trailers are no longer effective, however, if you have one of your book’s characters write a diary and make it a series of YouTube 30 second videos, you can really catch attention. If you have written historic, focus on things in your book, like suits of armor or medieval weapons, explaining how they work, how they were used, and how masterful your characters are with them. BE CREATIVE. Use a talking sock puppet for a humorous book, have the entire 30 seconds focused on a Victorian pair of button down women’s boots or corset while you voice your 25 word pitch. Make people raise their brows and want to tell others about it. And of course, never forget to get your book cover and buy links on the closing frame.

Cross MarketingTHINK ABOUT CROSS MARKETING Cross marketing is sort of like using someone else’s money to make money, only in this case we’ll be using someone else’s audience to sell books. Not another author’s audience, but an audience related to one of your book’s unique hooks. This is something really cool with the potential for great ales success.

For example, if there is a dog in your book, a dog that plays a big part in the plot (not a stray that sows up once on page 23), dog lovers can be a major audience for you. Think about everything people do with and for their dogs. They go to dog parks, use doggie training schools, doggie day care, pet supply stores, and so much more. For this strategy you need to step away from the book world and think completely about your unique hook. A great technique is to locate an online healthy dog food website and contact the company about contributing content for that website. You would write a 1,000 word monthly article about dogs for their website, and in return they would permit you to post your book cover and buy link. It’s a win/win. They get monthly creative content that keeps their customers coming back for the next article, and you get access to all their dog loving audience.

This works with any unique hook—coffee, cigars, antiques, vintage clothing, pets, candy, horses, music, anything!

CharitiesCONSIDER CHARITY CONNECTIONSHere’s a simple tip to seriously help your bottom line, but it only works when the chosen charity is deeply connected with the elements and unique hooks in your book. You can do this three ways.

  • First, simply donate a portion of your annual sales to a unique hook related charity. Make sure this is stated on your book cover and your website, and make note of it in your blogs and social media.
  • Second, find out what fund raising activities the unique hook charity holds in your area during the year and simply participate in the event. Donate a reading basket loaded with copies of your books, coffee mugs and a pound of coffee. Or offer to speak and do a book sale/signing at the event with a portion of your sales going to the charity. Make sure to promote the event.
  • Third, create an entire event to support the charity. Notify the local media and communities and have a lot of fun with it. The charities are always supportive of these events and you will get a lot of visibility, as well as do something good for a charity you care about.

There you are; four powerful  tools for author marketing success in 2016. Questions? I’m here to help.

Deborah Riley-Magnus, The Author Success Coach

Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap Between Creative Writer Author

Write Brain.Left Brain


TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR AUTHOR MARKETING SANITY

nerdOkay, I’m one of those strange people who loves marketing but hey, it wasn’t always so. When I started I was an intern at an advertising agency, then I was a writer at a radio station, then television, then something happened … I discovered that marketing is everywhere and applies to everything! I used smart marketing to job shop, to bring in customers, to be noticed, hell, even to get a date! Like most people, I didn’t actually love eating the spinach until I realized how much it could do for me.

Marketing authors with books to sell are in the same boat. They know they have to market their books, they just don’t exactly know how. Excuses abound for avoiding this task, but the truth is that until they actually SEE great results, they will continue to hate marketing. It’s time to back up and punt, regroup, and make a plan that will help you keep your sanity on the way to making some money at this author life.

beehiveTAKE A BREAK – You’re doing so much, buzzing like a beehive, trying to get as many sales as possible and unfortunately finding the results unsatisfying. It’s time to take a break and rethink your strategies. I’m not talking about a year long break, or even a month long break, I’m talking about taking a week away from EVERYTHING related to writing, marketing, and books in general. Lift your eyes and look around. There’s a whole word spinning wildly and marketing its way into everyone’s lives. How are they doing that?

Taking a break from the marketing activities you’ve become bitterly mindless about is a great start for rejuvenating your mind. Observe all the marketing around you, coming into your email box, texted on your cell phone, blazing across the television screen, over the radio, and along the roads you drive. This marketing thing is alive and well and not going away. There’s no reason you, a person who has written a great book (or 10), can’t be successful at marketing. Exploring marketing strategies and promotions for products that are NOT books can open a huge avenue of creative thinking. Ideas are everywhere, so maybe that 99 cent book promo or that silly genre lovers promotion aren’t the only way to go? Yep, they’re not, and taking a break is a sure way to help you recognize that it isn’t your efforts that are failing … it’s the promotional vehicles and concepts you’ve used that are failing you.

Take a break, take a deep breath, observe the marketing world around you, and let your mind become as creative as the day you imagined writing a book.

looking over shoulderSTOP LOOKING OVER YOUR SHOULDER – Authors have a bad habit of keeping an eye on other authors’ marketing activities and forgetting the person who will actually purchase their book. Surrounding yourself with other authors creates a kind of language of its own, I call it AuthorSpeak. Every time we see a promotion for a book it seems to sound the same. We think the same, we pitch the same, WE ALL TALK THE SAME! I recently surveyed book buyers and discovered that most, even avid genre lovers, find it frustrating how almost every blurb, pitch, and promotion is similar. This makes it hard for readers to make a choice.

Often it’s a really good idea to be different. Have a different kind of book cover, make your blurb different from anyone else’s, approach your prospective book buyer in a different way, different place, with a different attitude.

Over your shoulder all the other authors are still doing the same things. Publishers insist that books sell better with characters on the covers, other authors insist that you can only write a blurb one way. New authors gobble this up because they’re all looking for short cuts and nothing is easier than following a formula. However, never forget that those formulas get old, and the people these formulas are suppose to attract, get bored. A glance over your shoulder shows that most authors balance their desire for success and their desire to get it easily. It’s a compromise. There are no short cuts, and sometimes going rogue is the most creative way to gain visibility. Leave those other authors behind and make your own creative marketing path. It is a road of trial and error, but it’s oh so much more fun, especially when it shows itself in your bottom line.

crowdSTEP AWAY FROM THE NOISE – Have you ever tried to have a conversation in a noisy restaurant? No one can hear what the other person is saying; conversation dissolves into grins and nods. Not an effective result if the intended conversation was meant to help you gain more book sales.

This is exactly how it is when you stick so closely with other authors to promote your book. Groups of authors, lumping together to sell books and promote future books make a whole lot of noise. The book buyer begins to feel like they’ve stumbled into a carnie, complete with a bearded lady, dancing horses, and a clown car loaded with even more noisy authors. Don’t get me wrong, these events are a lot of fun. We get to hang out with all our author friends, we get to share cool marketing ideas, and we get to stand with solidarity against this marketing thing. Yep, that’ll do it. The book buyers will go crazy for us! We’ll all sell a million books!

Not.

What you and your author friends have actually created is a small pond with a whole lot of noisy fishermen hoping for a great catch. Fifty authors might talk to hundreds of book buyers at that event, but all fifty authors are not going to make a sale. No one author will make all the sales. These fishing trips always result in purchasing fish at the local market because no one ever catches enough to cook for dinner.

Stepping away from the noise means using marketing in a more creative way. Instead of surrounding yourself with your competition (other authors), think of other ways and places to actually connect with your prospective book buyer. Is your book a historical fiction? Think about holding a book signing at an antique collectors’ event. Hundreds of people might walk through but without so much book competition, you can very possibly sell fifty books! You surprised the book buyer in a unique place, and you’ve been careful to choose a place loaded with people who like the events, era, and unique elements inside your story. If you thought a book event with other authors was fun, wait until you do something like this and sell so many books in a single afternoon. Now that’s fun!

talking 1TALK ABOUT THE RIGHT THINGS – Earlier I talked about something I call AuthorSpeak. It’s a kind of code, a system of short cuts, formulas, and tools that when used so much, become ineffective. If everyone is giving away a free book, free books loose their value and the promotion looses its effectiveness. After all, if it was free, how good can it be, right? Besides, if everyone is doing the same thing, it no longer has power. And if everyone is doing that same thing to the same genre lovers groups, it falls on numb ears.

It’s time to say something different and say it in different places and ways. More important than that, it’s time to get more specific. Cater to your prospective book buyer’s interests. In essence, it’s time to say what THEY want to hear, not what you want to tell them.

A perfect example of this relates to the example above at the antique collectors’ event. Often authors fall into the trap of thinking that only book buyers buy books, but who are book buyers? Book buyers are people who do a million other things aside from just buying books. They shop at many places besides book stores, and spend a lot of time online at places that are not book seller websites. Why do authors limit themselves so much when marketing? Why not toss out a much wider net to gain book sales?

Don’t look over your shoulder. Those other authors will have a mess of reasons why you should stick with the program and ignore your need to expand your creative marketing agenda. Going rogue takes guts and you can do this. Center all your marketing and promotional strategies on the things your prospective buyer loves that are already in your book.

If your murder mystery begins with a body found in a veggie garden, focus on gardeners, guest blog on gardening and veggie foodie blogs, hold book signings at farmer’s markets, focus your blogs on veggie recipes with a murderous twist. USE THAT AMAZING CREATIVE IMAGINATION OF YOURS. The possibilities are endless. You won’t see any of your author friends there because they’re all doing their noisy lumped together thing. Do be sure to keep in touch with them though, after you make your bank deposit, that is.

What kind of really creative ideas can you come up with for the unique elements inside your book? There are a lot of book buyers out there who are waiting to hear from you.

Deborah Riley-Magnus, The Author Success Coach

Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author

Write Brain.Left Brain


3 PASSIONATE STEPS TO AUTHOR MARKETING SUCCESS!

Marketing success is one of those things that seem so far out of reach for most authors, they’ve started to believe it doesn’t exist. Author marketing success isn’t an impossible conundrum. It’s a challenge that requires little more than seeing this curious, sometime confusing, and always powerful task with different eyes. Imagining marketing to be the difficult part of author existence will get you nowhere. It’s time to shake things up! It’s time for a little LOVE! 

LoveSTEP 1 – LOVE

Let’s imagine that the your book is a lovely woman seeking happiness and joy. She’s definitely strong enough to stand on her own, but she knows that she needs a partner—a special, caring, and supportive someone—to help her really become the blissful woman she always wanted to be. Your book needs sales, and although the story may be fantastic, without her lover—marketing—no one will ever know how wonderful she is! It’s time to call a truce and start loving the process that can get you to your well deserved happiness.

Stop thinking of marketing as the devil, out to eat all your time and energy and show little results. By opening yourself to the process, you will be able to see the right and wrong paths to marketing success.

The first wrong path is focusing so much of your marketing efforts on other authors, author Facebook groups, and author strategies for twitter. They all do the same thing and most often target their efforts toward each other. Other authors are NOT your customer. They’ll never get you to the best seller list. Yes, you love them and appreciate their support, but it’s time to step away from your competition and use marketing for the right audience … the people who love the unique elements inside your book.

Spread the LoveSTEP 2 – SPREAD THE LOVE

So…where are these people who will love the things inside your book. Yes, they are genre lovers, but do be careful. If you focus your marketing at romance, fantasy, horror, or historic genre lover groups on Facebook, be sure to take a moment to look at the other people in those groups. Yes, they are mostly other authors. Think about this carefully. If the genre groups members you’re trying to sell to are also being shouted at by a million other authors, what are your chances of getting a sale? It’s a small pond with a lot of fishermen.

To really spread the love, you need to find another pond, one where there are no other authors trying to catch your fish. This is actually simple. It requires only one thing…you must actually sit down and read your own book.

It’s funny how many authors never crack open their own book after publication. It’s a done deal, and now it just needs to sell well, right? The reason I suggest that you read your own book again is so that you can locate all the magical unique hooks you already wrote into it. Those unique hooks are your direct line to marketing and sales success and they’re all there, just waiting for you to use them.

For example, does your main character have an interesting preference? Love coffee? Love to square dance, love raising rabbits? It could be anything that reaches a large audience of people who also love that unique hook. Race cars, country music, chocolate, dogs, cats, healthy living…a powerful unique hook can be anything. Usually authors forget about these wonderful elements of their story when it comes to marketing, choosing instead to focus on genre, like all their other author friends.

Here’s an important tip for any author marketing strategy—MARKETING IS NOT A ONE SIZE FITS ALL EFFORT. Never forget that your book is different from any other book written by any other author. It should never be marketed like any other book, no matter the genre. Those unique hooks are the colors and brush strokes that make your book so unique. Use them! Reach out to coffee lovers, dog lovers, people who love healthy eating or green lifestyle. Focus your marketing on country music lovers, horse lovers, or whatever element makes your story so extremely different from another author’s book. Unique hooks are the way to spread the love deeper and further than your competition. You will find yourself marketing to people who actually respond because they’re not so snowed under with other shouting authors. Your pond will be full of fish no one else is trying to catch.

Make more loveSTEP 3 – MAKE MORE LOVE

It’s wonderful to locate twitter and Facebook unique hook lovers by searching your unique hooks. If your unique hook is dogs, seek out animal rescue league, dog breeders, and pet related product services and company Facebook and twitter accounts, then simply ask their followers to follow or friend you. That gives you big reach,

To make more love, think about those people who love your unique hooks. A great way to make an impact with really strong unique hook lovers is to seek out bloggers (NOT OTHER AUTHORS, just regular folks) who blog about your unique hooks. A blog about loving chocolate, dogs, or country music can be loaded with followers you need to reach. Once you find the perfect blogger (or several bloggers) simply ask the blog owner to guest blog to their following. Assure them that the guest blog will be about the thing they love. The last paragraph or so of this guest blog would tie the topic to your book. The blog owner will gladly post the provided jpg of your book cover and buy link at the bottom. Most bloggers love this! They’re thrilled to have a real author guest blog for them…and you’re thrilled to have the opportunity to reach out and market to all their blog followers, people you’d never reach if you did the tired old genre marketing strategies. Imagine creating your own, unique hook, personalized blog tour! The best part of this technique? There are no other authors anywhere in sight! It’s a WIN/WIN!

 Write Brain.Left Brain

 Write Brain/Left Brain: Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author

Finding Author Success 2nd edition

Available in print Amazon, B&N and e-book Kindle, Nook, Kobo

Cross Marketing Magic for Authors

Available in print Amazon, B&N and e-book Kindle, Nook, Kobo