It’s a fairly well known fact that the book business isn’t the kind of industry that produces overnight millionaires. In fact, if making millions is your goal, your odds are probably better trading stocks or investing in lottery tickets. However, when it comes to making money, writers get a bad wrap, often credited with being famous and rich or infamously poor. Yet, more than any other time in history there are plenty of opportunities to find success as an author. What follows is a list of 21 marketing tips that when applied can multiply your chances of building a loyal readership.
1. Develop a strong social media platform.
This is important for almost every kind of writer, but it’s especially essential for self-published authors. Having a solid social media platform on Facebook, Twitter, and even Instagram can help expand your readership. Using your social media accounts to promote book releases, readings, signings, and even related articles or press releases has the potential to spread the word about your work.
2. Get your name out there.
Publish with magazines, freelance, or even contribute to an anthology. For the most part, whatever you publish can benefit you because it adds a little more weight to your name. Not only will you be getting your feet wet in the industry and diversifying your body of work, but you’ll also be increasingly your likelihood of being taken seriously—or even getting noticed—by an editor or agent.
3. Master your Elevator Pitch.
The perks of knowing your Elevator Pitch like the back of your hand cannot be overstated. Your elevator pitch is your go-to marketing tool whenever and wherever you are. You never know when you might really need it to convince a potential agent or editor to take a look at your work, so write one out, perfect it, and practice it often.
4. Attend conferences.
Conferences provide writers with the chance to network and meet agents, publishers, and other authors. Whether you’re a children’s book author, an academic writer, or you’re an aspiring mystery novelist, there’s a conference for you. If you’re really serious about your career as an author, attending conferences will help you establish yourself within the publishing industry, providing you with opportunities to gain all kinds of information and meet a variety of people who work in the publishing business. They’re great opportunities to network and even research potential presses.
5. Develop as many professional relationships as possible.
Whether you’re attending conferences, giving readings, or accompanying your accounting-executive spouse to an office Christmas party, always be open to building professional relationships. Broadening your network increases your odds of having a happenstance face-to-face meeting with an agent or editor. You never know. Jim from accounts payable might just be son-in-law to the editor at HarperCollins. So get to know as many new people as possible.
6. Understand your audience, and brand yourself accordingly.
Whatever you write, it has a specific audience that appeals to it. As an author, you must make sure your brand appeals to that audience. For example, if you write self-help books, you should brand yourself and your subsequent writings to appeal to the self-help audience. You risk losing readership by trying to lure numerous audiences at one time, and readers will sniff you out as a sheep in wolves’ clothing. Chose a target audience and market yourself to that audience.
7. Apply for book awards & contests.
Contests and awards are a great way of getting your work out into the world and gaining recognition as an author. Many publishing houses will actually submit upcoming books into contests in order to gain traction for new releases. Yet, there’s no reason why you, the author, can’t do the same. Look into contests and awards that fit the subject or theme of your book and submit. Make sure you do all the necessary research about the award to increase your odds of getting picked.
8. Start local.
See if you can work out a deal with local bookstores to promote your newly published novel, or set up a reading. Many local bookstores love supporting their community, so starting local will not only help you to spread the word about your work, but it will also provide you with a secure platform to introduce audiences to your book.
9. Consider an agent.
If you were buying or selling a house, you probably wouldn’t go at it alone. Just like a Real Estate agent, a literary agent is a student of the market. It’s their job to study the current market conditions and apply them to your advantage. Finding a good agent can make the getting published and promoting your work less daunting.
10. Start a website or blog.
Even if you’re not a blogger, there are plenty of benefits to be had from starting a website or occasionally blogging. In a world where the scope of information on Internet is growing exponentially, having a place where readers can turn to find more information about your work or buy your books is extremely important. What’s more, blogging about subjects that are closely related in theme to your book can attract more readers to your work. So consider starting a website to help you build an audience and promote your work.
Have a unique concept or idea, especially in the how-to department? Use video blogging to attract readership. Creating videos that give small take-aways from your book can actually hook readers. Be strategic in what you give away, but don’t be afraid to provide readers with small amounts of free information to entice their interest and get them to buy your book.
12. Online advertising.
Create strategic advertisements for your book online. This sort of marketing is especially beneficial for self-published authors who want to attract people to their books via their website. Utilizing tools like Google Adwords to promote your website can actually help you create a reliable following. Online advertising has the capacity to be successful because you’re marketing is directed at individuals who have self-selected to be a target audience by searching specific keywords in Google, increasing the odds that they’ll actually click on your link.
13. Do yourself a favor: learn as much about publishing as possible.
Make yourself stand out to agents and publishers by showing that you have an understanding of the process and have realistic expectations. If you’re in the phases of submitting to publishing houses for consideration, the best way to market yourself is by doing your research about each publishing house and writing a professional and well-crafted query letter.
14. The benefits of a good cover.
How many times have you bought a book because you fell in love with the cover only to realize that you couldn’t care less about what the actual book was about? This is called clever marketing. If you’re a self-published author, consider hiring a professional to help design your cover. If you’re working with a publishing house, don’t be afraid suggest cover art that you think will help your book stand out.
15. Invest in a unique title.
Most of the time, your title is the first factor that gets a reader to pick your book off the shelf, since most books are only seen via their spine upon first contact anyway. So take the time to find a title that’s thought provoking and has a good ring to it.
16. Get reviews.
Self-published authors can occasionally overlook the importance of reviews. While there’s nothing wrong with quoting how much your ninth-grade English teacher loved your book on the back cover, it’s probably not going to help your book sell. Don’t be afraid to submit your work for review to related book websites, clubs, and journals. While it’s nerve wracking, receiving reviews not only helps you to become a better writer, but it can also help spread the word about your book.
17. Learn about SEO. Or hire someone who knows plenty.
Search Engine Optimization is growing exceedingly crucial for almost every kind of business, but it can especially be useful for self-published authors. Learning how to get found of the Internet, or hiring someone to do it for you, can make all the difference in how much traction your book earns.
18. Reward your readers.
Provide (strategic!) giveaways, inside information (think pottermore.com), and merchandise for your loyal following. Not only will they keep coming back for more, but also they’ll spread the word.
19. Fill a niche.
Authors could benefit from seeing their book as a product and their career as a business. Entrepreneurs look for the things that are missing from the world that might make life easier, and then search for ways to meet that need. Write something that fulfills a particular need and readers will find you.
20. Be competitive, but not too competitive.
If and when you can, offer competitive prices for your work, as an incentive for readers to buy your book. However, a note to the wise: avoid over-doing this at the detriment to the value of your work. Find a firm balance between being competitive to attract audiences and maintaining the integrity of your work.
21. Write an awesome book.
There are exceptions to the rule of course, but in general, good books naturally lure readers. Writing something that has a lasting impact on one person has the potential to attract more readers. If your words cut deep enough, one person will tell others. So write what you’re passionate about, and do it to the best of your ability.
By applying these tips, you can increase the amount of attention your book gets ten-fold. While many publishing houses will do most of the marketing for you, being your own advocate and representative of your work will only help you to reach more and more readers. Although these tips aren’t the end-all be-all when it comes to marketing, they’re a good starting point for authors who are genuinely curious about increasing their sales. The harder you work to get your name out there and establish a readership, the more success you will have as an author.
Image credit: Pixabay[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/hv1.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Hiten Vyas is the Founder and Managing Editor of eBooks India. He is also a prolific eBook writer with over 25 titles to his name.[/author_info] [/author]