Marketing isn’t promotion … it isn’t advertising and it isn’t a big PR campaign. It’s funny how the word has taken on a plethora of meanings it really shouldn’t have. Marketing does not gain you direct sales. It doesn’t get you in the newspaper and it has nothing to do with imprinted tee shirts or a mug. Marketing is an animal all its own and if an author intends to use this seriously powerful tool, they need to understand what it is and how to feed and care for it well.
Here’s the truth. Author marketing is simply creating awareness about you and your book – and it should start, well, pretty much the day you start writing your book. Real awareness is informing your prospective book buyers that you are writing a book in their favorite genre, that your book is unique in several ways and that they are going to love it. Real marketing is about setting up an air of excitement about something to come so that when the book is actually released … there are hundreds of ready buyers waiting in line for it.
Marketing is about uncovering and deciphering the “Market” so that you know the exact person to target. Marketing is about projecting where those book buyers will be when your book comes out and how to reach them. It’s about understanding that target so completely, you know what other books they read, who their other favorite authors are, where they buy their favorite book and what makes them buy those books.
Marketing is creating an awareness about you and your book and it should start the day you start writing your book.
Okay, marketing is a lot of homework, but you can do it! Well, you really have to, because wonderful promotions or publicity campaigns will not work if you haven’t spoken to your prospective market and created a buzz first. Period.
So, how does an author go about doing this marketing thing?
Believe it or not, it starts with your platforms and networking. It starts with opening your eyes and paying attention. It happens when you ask the right questions and seek out the perfect reader for your book. You really do need to understand who your target is and all about them.
If you hang out in a book store, you’ll discover that some people go directly to the department they want, pick up the exact book they want and buy it. Others browse and look around for something to catch their attention, and some people simply mosey through the stacks aimlessly until they discover some treasure they didn’t know they wanted. How can you capture each of those book buyers? With the right cover? The correct back cover blurb?
This works the same way for online shoppers.
- Go to Amazon books and check out a book in the same genre you’re writing.
- What are the comments there?
- What other author’s book is that book compared to?
- How many books are in that particular category of genre sub/genre?
- What is the ranking of that book?
All these exercises are what goes into truly understanding your book buyer and how your biggest competition is getting them and holding them.
Check out that author’s website.
- Is it flashy and exciting?
- Is it updated regularly?
- Does the author have a blog that boasts the next book?
If so, you’ve found an author who understands how to hold their fan base, how to communicate with them and how to raise excitement for the next book coming out. You have found an effectively MARKETING author!
And did you notice? Nowhere is that author selling or giving away imprinted tote bags or book marks. Those fall under the category of promotions.
All that author did was some very smart marketing through their platforms and social networking. They did their homework and put what they learned of their market into practice. The key to marketing is to identify your buyer, hook them in and hold them close.
Questions? I’m here and I’d love to answer them!
Next time we’ll be talking about Time Management Tips for the Author.
Deborah Riley-Magnus is an author and an Author Success Coach. She has a twenty-seven year professional background in marketing, advertising and public relations as a writer for print, television and radio. She writes fiction in several genres as well as non-fiction. Her non-fiction, Finding Author Success: Discovering and Uncovering the Power Within Your Manuscript is being released on November 5, 2011. She’s lived on both the east and west coast of the United States and has traveled the country widely. She is a native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and just returned after living in Los Angeles, California for several years.