Before launching into today's topic, a big SHOUT OUT to Lisa Cherry for her new book, Like A Flood-Love Boldly. Love Truthfully. Stand Fearlessly in Post-Christian America which released Saturday and hit two bestseller positions that same day:
#1 New Release in Christian Social Issues
#1 New Release in Spiritual Warfare.
Writing a book is hard. But the task that follows after the writing is where it really gets hard. That's when we have to change hats and begin to market, promote and sell the book. And yes, that's part of the package.
And here is where you buckle down even more than before and keep your seat in the seat to market your book. It's not going to market itself.
I heard a publisher say one time, "I don't want a book I have to market. I want one that markets itself." I had to laugh at that statement. Don't we all??
I wish books would market themselves, but unfortunately they don't. Writing great content is only the first step. But if no one knows that content is published and available, it matters little that you went to the effort.
So where do you begin.
Start planning your marketing as you are writing the book. Meditate on it. Write it out. Google what others have done and how it worked for them. Make your plan personal to your book.
Start building your social media platform---as you are writing the book. Twitter. Facebook. Instagram. Whatever your preference, build it...at least one and then utilize it. Don't know how?
Start making yourself familiar with other bloggers who talk about your topic, e-zines, radio shows, etc. that look for the type material you write and get familiar with them. Make a list of these contacts to reach out to them at least 3 months prior to publication.
If you wrote a particularly good section in your manuscript that could be a stand-alone article, flag it as you write that you can go back and pull it, shape it and send it out to e-zines or magazines just prior to the books release.
If you plan to try to "Run It Up the Charts" at your release, then 3-6 months before the book releases, you need to start crafting that strategy, pull in your launch team, and create tools and promotions to get the word out. Michael Hyatt just did that with his latest book (500 on his launch team---whew!) I've seen successful launches happen with just 25-50 dedicated people. Can't get 25? Work with what you have. But do something. We don't all have Michael Hyatt's extensive fan base, but use what you have and grow yours.
Line up friends, family and fans who will post a review of your book online in either Amazon or Goodreads (ideally both!) You have not, because you ask not. Provide a list of instructions on how to do it successfully, otherwise you will lose approximately 30% of those who try but can't figure it out. Help them out.
You need to study, study, study, the various marketing options available, especially through cyberspace, that allow us to get the word out. Bookbub.com, and Periscope are a couple that gain presence.
Don't forget to get endorsements. Some have said that endorsements don't make a difference. They do. Immensely. Even if you don't know anyone famous, you probably know someone with a title. Remember that over 80% of purchases are made from recommendations, first from people we know. The percentage drops somewhat after that of endorsements or recommendations of people we don't know....but it still matters. Don't discard this important area.
Last, help others. It's surprising to me the number of authors who ask for assistance or endorsements for their books, but don't offer the same in return. There are certainly times that we are not willing to endorse someone's book that we don't know them personally or we may not agree with the content. If it's the former, do a little research. Because at some time you will ask someone else to do the same for you. As authors, we should all be willing to help someone else along in their process. It just takes a little time investment.
In the end the difference in the equation is PERSISTENCE.
Remember, once your book is released, the fun really begins. Set aside the time necessary to breathe life into the promotion and marketing of the new book that was just birthed....rather than immediately moving onto your next book. One of the worst things an author can do (if you want to gain the attention of a publisher) is keep putting out books that generate no sales, in the end that will hurt you rather than help you.
Do the work needed, invest the time and show yourself and publishers that you can write great content AND get others to find it and take interest. Otherwise it's not much different than writing a blog and wondering if anyone is going to read it. Except a book is a whole lot more expensive.
So make it count.