What’s the 3-Step Process to Marketing Your Book? vectorstock_1255258

I’m often asked, ‘When is the ideal time to start marketing my book?’ It’s a good question, but let’s go a bit deeper today.

The question should not only be that, but also: how do I ensure I get the most sales when I do release?

Sales vs. marketing. Marketing vs. sales. In corporations, they are often diametrically opposed in technique and vision. As authors, we are both, and it’s that inherent conflict that can create issues.

Today we’ll look at your book release from a marketing perspective. Part Two will focus on sales. Part Three will combine the two.

Let’s deconstruct.

1) Pre-release marketing activities. The best time to start marketing your book is before you have one. Yes, you read that correctly.

In fact, that’s probably THE number one biggest mistake authors make; waiting to market their book upon release. Why?

You need to attract people when building relationships, right? If you like someone, you ask for their phone number (or email or social info). How is attracting book buyers, readers, book bloggers, or book reviewers any different? Do you attract people by pounding them over the head like Bam Bam? No.

You develop relationships with people by talking with them. By helping them. By promoting them. I don’t mean telling them to purchase your book (which doesn’t work if you don’t have a product anyway). You focus on what’s in it for them. Why should someone follow you or buy your book (eventually)? That’s what you need to provide.

So, practical tips to get you started in effective pre-release marketing efforts:

  • Share chapters or posts as you write them, either on your blog or in a newsletter.
  • Create a fan page on Facebook, Google+ and/or Pinterest. Different than a friends and family page, this is a great place to share your work and others’ as well. I recommend using your name as opposed to the book. Why? You’ll write another book, right? Then what? This is planning ahead.
  • Use your social media fan base to find beta readers and reviewers: people who are anxious to be ‘chosen’ to get a glimpse of your completed work before anyone else sees it AND to give you feedback. It’s very empowering. Thank them, and change the work only IF you agree. I suggest having your editor review suggested changes also.
  • Actively build your following daily. I use ManageFlitter to follow 250-500 people daily on Twitter. I have a large account, so that works for me. But it’s large because I do this every day! I recommend starting with 25-50. Tip: Use their ‘fast select’ button. You can follow in one swoop. Starting actively getting LIKES on your Facebook page also. Invite a few each day. Same with Goodreads and other channels. Bits here and there add up!

2) Release activities: Think of your book release in two phases: a soft launch and a hard launch. If you’ve done all of the efforts I mention in #1, you will have a wonderful base to draw from.

  • Phase 1: upload your book. You must have an eBook at this point – it’s been said lately that 90% of book purchases are made online (of all types of books); of those, 50% are digital. Paperback is helpful but sales are dwindling.
  • Send out a newsletter to all your beta readers that the book is up and ask politely, could they leave a review? Remember: there’s no guarantee they will like your work or give you a positive review. But hopefully you’ve already made changes and they will be pleased. The goal is to have 10 reviews up (minimum) before taking it to Phase 2. Also, contact book bloggers via the Book Blogger List. It’s updated weekly so you know the info is accurate.
  • Phase 2: Announce it to the world! This is what you’ve been waiting for. I recommend:

– Blog post

– Adding the cover with buy link EVERYWHERE (site, posts, email signature, all social media)

– Guest posts

– Blog tour

– Advertising

3) Post-release activities: If you think the hard work is done, think again. Now is the time to focus on visibility and exposure. How?

  • Insure your website is optimized for both SEO (search engine optimization) and SMO (social media optimization). If you’re not sure what this means, think about what your keywords or key phrases are and see if that’s represented in the copy on your site.

Also, and so critical: have share and social media buttons prominently displayed – typically top right is ideal – on your home page and every subsequent page. If this is all Greek to you, I suggest you contact Barb at Bakerview Consulting. She’s affordable and knowledgeable.

  • Blog consistently, at least twice per week. This helps your SEO.
  • Participate in memes and chats on Twitter (i.e., #MondayBlogs or #litchat).
  • Purchase a book about getting speaking gigs (if you’re comfortable with that) or connecting with local news organizations or charities that have to do with the book’s content.
  • Remember: social media is for building relationships, not spamming repeated, duplicate links BUY MY BOOK! LIKE MY BOOK PAGE! ME, ME, ME!!! Annoying, right? Don’t be that person. Besides being an effective way to be blocked, it’s also against Twitter’s TOS (Terms of Service) guidelines.
  • Continue growing your presence via following and interaction.
  • Set up book signings.
  • Apply for awards.
  • Attend conferences.

If you have the money, a traditional PR person can do much of what’s in #3 for you (with the exception of blogging, though some do). If not, do what you can. I’m also available to help with the social media aspect (see BadRedheadMedia.com for services and fees).

I hope this gives you some idea of marketing your work, and the three-step process. Some of the steps are interchangeable – i.e., you can go to a conference and build your social media presence anytime. See what works for you, your time, and budget!

Questions? Ask away!

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