First, there are seven big questions you need to answer to successfully market your work.
- What is your book’s genre? Most readers read and select books by genre. So defining the genre of your work is an important first step. Selling and marketing a “how to” book is a completely different process than selling a YA novel. They have different readers, design requirements, and marketing tactics.
- What is your story? You are essentially selling two products, each with distinct attributes to highlight and promote: You (The Author) and Your Book. You must position each in the minds of the target audience (readers of your genre) and then create a story that is a combination of your author profile and your book profile. Once you have completed this phase you now have a story to tell during author interviews, on blogs, and book websites. You will tell this story during radio and TV interviews. It will go in your PR copy and on your about me section of your website. It will become intrinsically linked with you and your book for better or for worse. So take the time to get this right.
- Why should anyone buy your book? You answer this question by answering 4 sub-questions: Who is the customer? Who is the competition? What’s unique about your book? How do you break-through the clutter and grab your audience’s attention? Once you’ve answered these questions you need to craft an “elevator pitch” or a one sentence statement for your book that highlights the unique place for your book in a customer’s mind, relative to the competition.
- Where will customers find your book? Unfortunately,this question is not as easy as answering, “Everywhere!” You first have to consider the costs associated with print book distribution vs. ebook formatting and distribution. You need to know the ins and outs of each retailer, from Amazon to XinXii. And yes, you have to consider the online retailers because the likelihood of sustaining your writing career by pointing readers to your website is highly unlikely. When it comes to ebook formatting and distribution there are 6 R’s to analyze: Rights: Do you retain your copyright once you sign the distribution agreement? Remuneration (pricing) and Royalties: Do you set your own pricing? What are the royalty implications of different price points? How often do you get paid? How can you track sales? Requirements: Each ebook (or print book) distributor has their own set of criteria for inclusion into their digital catalogue…read this information clearly or your book may never see the light of day. Reach: Each ebook (or print book) distributor has their own marketplace and reaches thousands if not millions of potential readers, understand the reach and contemplate this in your marketing plans. Resources: What tools are available to interact with readers on the ebook distributor’s site? Do they enable social media integration?
- How much will customers be willing to pay for your book? How much are they paying for books like yours? Research the top ten books in your genre and write down their sales prices for both the print and ebook versions. This is called reference pricing. The newer you are as an author, the lower your price should be relative to your references. As you become more established and put out more books, you can move your prices up, and your audience will move up with you.
- What promotions will you run to attract readers to your book? It’s not enough just to have your book listed and available on Amazon and BN.com. You must somehow draw customers to your work. Some of the best free ways to promote your book to readers are to give your ebook away early and often to start the word of mouth marketing process; leverage the Amazon KDP Select program to promote your book to strangers; network with other authors, bloggers, and reviewers; get involved in the conversation and discuss books with readers and other authors on social media sites and reader communities; and drive traffic to your website by blogging and posting interesting content.
- How much do you have to invest in marketing and promotion? The answer to this question will determine what other activities you may want to engage in such as online advertising, giveaways, and other creative ways to reach your audience. You want to measure your promotional activity in terms return on investment to make sure you are not overspending and seeing no return in terms of book sales.
To get you started, click here to access a free book discovery plan that will help you get found by the right readers. If you like it, please be sure to let others know where you got it!
After you build your book discovery plan, it’s time to consider investing in an author website and blog.