Novice writers, pro
authors and business owners alike need to focus on their marketing plan, particularly
with limited time available. But, which elements do we need to work on—and why?
Ironically, you should first work on your Why: your reason for writing.
Coming from a ‘why’
perspective, it gives any author a strong motive to move past their comfort
zones. I lived my fear-of-being-seen for ten years, so I know first-hand how
this inhibits sales. Therefore, identifying a good reason to spread your
message is imperative.
As you undertake
self-publishing lessons, you will be learning about author brand, reader
benefit writing, landing pages, keywords, and teaser lines. These may be
outside your comfort zone as well, but are all helpful for attracting the right
people to any book.
Besides, planning your writing from an audience perspective has three other benefits.
While there are postcards, flyers, biz cards and more, there are a couple of print marketing materials I’d recommend you get done when marketing any book. That is:
a bookmark and a roll-up banner (or poster).
While I like designing, I reckon it’s somewhat risky to make your own bookmarks like I did. Still, I was pleased with the result and especially the LARGE bookmark size, printed at our friends PrintLinx Brisbane.
Small Bookmark sizes: 55 x 176 mm, 38 x 184 mm
Large Bookmark sizes: 71 x 203 mm
Mine was 71 mm x 203 mm (final size) and cost $35 total for 100 at PrintLinx. I would guess it is 250 gsm.
Some places offer pre-made designs and low rates, like Udesignit.com.au. Their small size costs $38 ex GST and shipping, so about $50 total.
You can also design with Publisher and print bookmarks on your own home printer, if has really good ink density.
Bookmark Designs: What to Tell the Designer
When providing a design to a printer, don’t forget to allow for BLEED.
This sounds painful, but it means giving artwork an extra 3 to 5mm all-round and then ensuring the final PDF encapsulates that extra bleed. This is only for designs that have background colour that runs right to the edge and it is because things often shift when printing and trimming.
The best program in which to design bookmarks is Adobe InDesign. MS Publisher would also be okay.
Make sure the PDF is High Print Quality or Press Quality and fonts are embedded. (Also, that your images and fonts are legally procured). Ensure all images used are 300 DPI or above. This can be done by buying stock photos at regular stock photo stores and selecting ‘M’ or ‘L’ size, not small.
It didn’t take long for me to realise my researched and well-crafted books weren’t selling and I needed a launch strategy: only ten years! Don’t let it take you this long… Here I share my own book launch process and project management style for non-fiction books (indie authors).
It takes a bit more work than a written plan, but the fact
that it reminds you daily of your tasks is enough impetus for me. Asana is a Project Management tool, which is a
SAAS (so yes, you can pay for more features by the month) and I use the free
As a business author, it seems you need to split your time 50/50 between writing/editing and book promoting/connecting. But if you fit in client work too, it’s more like 75 clients | 25 writing/promoting. And there is so much to fit into your writing time already!
golden age of the personal publisher, introverts must play to their strengths. If
you’ve ever read the book ‘Quiet: the
power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, then you’ll
understand exactly what I’m saying. We introverts need to speak up, but in our
own quiet way.
Are you good
at asking questions, but self-conscious about video? Then try Podcasting.
Podcast to a Larger Presence
is the ‘slow burn’ way to attract a fan base. You own the podcast, so you also
own the advertising that can be infused in a short grab inside the show.
mind that shows seem better with two people, so invite a specialist you know to
talk about a topic within your new genre range.
If you have a WordPress or Blogger site, then it’s a six-step process to get your RSS feed (linking the files) to connect to Apple iTunes. First you’ll need to find a place to host your podcasts and apply post tags, categories, etc. Apple Podcasts Connect has a podcasting guide and best practices.
You’ll also need a good quality USB microphone (e.g. Nessie Blue), come up with a Podcast logo – which you can make on Canva for free – and plan how often you’ll produce an episode. It’s best to plan ahead a few podcast shows, and launch the first three all at once.
Having a foundation in online book marketing
makes a difference to any book’s ability to succeed in the market.
With an author-first approach, it’s making sure you and your brand goes out in the world. Many of you will have a coaching, consulting or a particular business in the background and with this approach, it’s going to have the most effect.
If you’re writing a non-fiction book, then you’re in for a lot of fun as you come up with creative ways to market your book, all while juggling your coaching, consulting or creative business. As a busy person, you want to spend your time marketing wisely, as well as your money.
Niche Marketing aims to target a specific audience with a certain marketing and positioning strategy, rather than multiple audiences at once. This allows the author to potentially make more income – with less advertising cost. I advise all my authors to use this principle to better define a target reader audience.
If your goal behind writing a book is to develop skill, express creativity, and simply be published, then you won’t need a book marketing plan. But if your goal is to write to disseminate ideas to as many as possible, and receive a return on time spent, then you need promotional ideas to get that message out.
talented novelist and writer’s festival speaker Susan Johnson, having had a
roaring writing career in the 80s and travelling the world in the 90s, on
returning to Australia and enquiring into publishing, she had a rude shock. No
longer did traditional publishers give big advances, and she could not return
to teach creative writing at University due to ‘qualifications’ at that point.
Why do authors pay for book review programs? I have been reading on Publishers Weekly (USA) about authors opting for paid-at-source book reviews, like Kirkus, IndieReader, BlueInk Review, and others. While assuredness of a newsletter promo and reviews can seem like water to a parched author, it comes with a cost. And not just the $149 to $500 they charge per time, which is quite substantial.
Besides the monetary risk, there is the risk it’s a one-off event. You still might not get reviewers’ email addresses as the review companies try to protect their reviewers’ privacy. That means no future promotion.
If you do get their email addresses, then please ask gently for a review – and do not connect to them on social media first. Some authors might try to send the ePub, but you know, many people cannot work out how to open it without the benefit of their Kindle reader app.
It is imperative that you protect this list of potential Advance Reader emails, because these people are going to come in very handy.
Use a Street Team
What about people who know you? These genuine helpers can form part of your ‘street team’, or advance reader copy (ARC) team. You can either offer your ebook for 99c on Amazon or send a PDF directly to them, for free. You might want to remove the ability to print it though.
Although I was terminally shy at first, because of my networking, I now have a nice list of 420 connections on LinkedIn to ask for endorsements or to notify of a giveaway on Goodreads. Plus Goodreads forums is an ideal place to recruit your street team/ARCs as its chock-full of book lovers.
Remember though, we can’t ask for Amazon reviews from LinkedIn 1st connections because now Amazon is disallowing an author’s social connections to give reviews — whether they bought the book or not.
The Problem of Asking Strangers
Even though I had fairly regular buyers in the first 3 months of launching Create Your New Life of Abundance and How to Start a Freelance Business, there were no reader reviews, which is a common problem. The library copies generally don’t prompt reviews either.
The workaround for this suggested by Mike Kowitz in his book, Smart Marketing for Indie Authors, is to quickly publish a second book and have a page summarising past books within its back matter. But for the first one, he says you’ll have to rely on the Street Team of friends/family who are not connected to you on socials. You may also prompt the review on your own blog posts. I noticed that at least one of his reviews were from a paid reviewer (or at least a pro reviewer) and the others were reading very real.
So, while book reviews are crucial for social proof to better sell your book to others searching for that topic… there are many catches with getting them.
Sometimes it pays to join up with someone who has a bigger email list than you for launch promotions. Think up creative ideas to reward new reader-reviewers. Cute stickers, daily planner printables (letter size PDFs), quote posters, and other low-cost items could be just the thing. Since we are not allowed to pay for the reviews listed at Amazon or Goodreads, and a gift is just a thank you card in physical form.
Always keep your personal return-on-investment in mind when planning book promotions.
Email Jen for Joint Venture proposals: firstname.lastname@example.org
I know all too well the feeling that everyone should be interested in my latest book’s content. I mean, who doesn’t want to manage their money better… or as with the Simple Drive to a Healthier Life book, who wouldn’t be interested in better health? Well, the fact is, some of us are cuckoo for money advice (and some are spenders)… and others are nuts on health (while some like to eat anything tasty).