By Amanda Miller
Book Marketing is usually the toughest part of your publishing journey. That’s the reality. Writers, unlike businesspeople, seem to be extremely uncomfortable marketing themselves, yet they often don’t have the funds to delegate the tasks to someone else. Add the fact that you can rarely see book marketing results in real time and the whole thing becomes demoralizing.
So how do you stay motivated? Let’s start with this pep talk.
Ask yourself what success means to you – and remember it!
Your vision of “success” could be to win an award and therefore be recognized as a great writer. It could be to have your book displayed in the local bookstore, to change people’s lives, to get your production money back, or to make a living as a writer.
Now you may be thinking that all of those are your goals. If that’s the case, it’s vital to pick your main goal and list the others in order of priority. This approach allows you to focus on achieving one goal at a time. We find that when authors try to succeed at all the goals all at once, their marketing efforts get skewed, and they find themselves shooting arrows in several directions instead of targeting the focused few.
When you reach your initial goals of “success,” it’s a good time to re-evaluate and set new goals, but always remember these first goals and remember that you’ve reached them.
Set realistic goals
When people ask, “How many authors make their production costs back?” the answer is, “Whoever tries.” The fact of the matter is that because authors generally hate book marketing, they expect too much from too little effort. Discouraged, they throw up their arms in frustration and cry uncle.
It’s important to set realistic, achievable goals. To get started, think about marketing on three levels:
1. Target the people in your immediate circle: friends, family, colleagues, neighbors. You can do this by hosting a book launch party and during your program ask for what you need. This is your tribe, and they want to help. You’re asking them for Amazon reviews, connections for speaking engagements, book clubs, podcasts, and any other ways that help spread the word about you and your book.
2. Reach out to six degrees of separation: everyone that Level One knows! You can reach these people through your friends’ introductions, social media, book clubs, classes, author showcases at your local library, even speaking engagements at the local Rotary Club, Lions Club, or churches.
3. Find those served by your book who you don’t know. You can reach these people via podcasting, guest blogging, author ad campaigns, and putting your book up on book promo sites.
It’s important to understand that launching a book is not just the first week out but should be ongoing. Before the age of print-on-demand and self-publishing, a book had a two-year shelf life. We’re now in an age where your book’s life can span decades. Take advantage of it.
Pair up with a “Book Buddy”
Motivation is largely more attainable with a support team. Even if it’s just one other person who you meet with regularly. A Book Buddy is another author who is in the same timeline as you or shares the same vision for success. It doesn’t have to be the same genre, but it should be someone who released their book near the same time you did. A Book Buddy is someone to meet with for accountability or one-hour marketing binges, and to brainstorm with.
Create a Book Marketing Mastermind
You could uplevel your “Book Buddy” into a small group of authors. A Mastermind is a small group of people who meet regularly (say, once a month) to support each other, learn from each other, problem solve, share experiences, offer accountability and general pumping up. Marketing can feel overwhelming, and a support group is a great way to alleviate that—and, dare I say, make marketing fun.
Be honest with yourself as to what time commitment you can give to your marketing and commit
Let’s say you can commit to one hour three times a week. Maybe, instead, you can devote a one- or two-hour stretch to your marketing on Saturday mornings. Block out that time in your calendar and keep it blocked. Whatever you can commit to, keep at it consistently.
Your first 90 days out from launch will take more commitment than the second 90 days. But your time commitment for marketing should be on your calendar for at least one year.
Lay out your marketing plan in your Book Marketing Calendar
First things first! Lay out all your marketing tasks in your marketing calendar. You can make a quick print out calendar off the internet, or jazz it up using Canva, or just grab a pre-made calendar at www.BookMarketingCalendar.com. Once you have a blank calendar, list all your tasks according to the time commitment that you’ve set. Then, when you sit down at your committed time, you’ll know exactly what you’re doing.
Customizing your book marketing strategy to align with your unique goals and time constraints is not only essential but also empowering. By defining your objectives, surrounding yourself with motivating influences, and setting manageable steps, you can maximize your efforts while staying within your available time frame. Remember, marketing is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and adapting it to your specific needs will yield better results. So, take control of your book’s destiny and tailor your marketing plan to achieve the success and impact you envision. With the right strategy and a commitment to consistency, your book will have the opportunity to shine and captivate the hearts and minds of your readers. Happy marketing!
Amanda Miller is a self-publishing consultant with My Word Publishing who is passionate about guiding authors through the maze of self-publishing and helping them bring their written works to life. She is a writer of poetry and has published a collective anthology on limited release back in 2020, titled The I In Politics, where poets worldwide came together to raise money for charity. If you have a book in you, contact Amanda at [email protected]