Book Marketing 101 for the Self-Published Author -- Getting Started
No matter what any publisher or marketing company tells you (even the traditional publishing houses), you, the author, are almost 100% the reason your book will sell.
It is your belief, excitement, enthusiasm, and energy that will get a reader excited about buying your book.
Publishers are certainly a vehicle by which you can communicate your passion to the rest of the world, but, for ANYTHING to happen you'll need to know a few things about yourself and your book -- and be able to communicate them very clearly.
1 -- What is your definition of success for your book?
Some authors write and self publish for themselves and their families only -? they don't dream of their books as bestsellers in the marketplace. Some authors write for a very specific personal need to tell their story. Some have unique insight into very specific topics. Many have dreams of seeing their book in the front of Borders or Barnes & Noble. Each author is different, but you MUST decide what your real definition of success happens to be. Don't try to pursue a goal that may not be what you actually feel is important.
2 -- Who will buy your book?
This is the big secret to sales success in self publishing. Target your marketing to your potential reader -? and have it be someone who is reachable.
"Everyone will want to read my book!" Sorry, but that doesn't work. Even the absolute best selling books ? that sell 2 or 3 million copies in a year -- only penetrate to a very small percent of the population. Sales success for your book will be driven by defining a very clear picture of who is interested in what you have to say.
And -- they must be identifiable: Make a list! Which groups would be interested in your book? Why? Who is next? Why should the need or want your book? (remember this ? someone is more likely to buy something they NEED before something they WANT)
Now ?- narrow it down even more. Years ago books on computers were all the rage -? the market was saturated at the "beginner" level, and it seemed impossible to get anymore books into consumers hands. Then a company came along with the bright idea that they would write a computer book for beginners ? but beginners who felt intimidated by their computers ? and the now ubiquitous and quite famous "For Dummies" series was born ? at the time the books hit, there were nearly 3 dozen titles out for beginners. Yet this one scooped up nearly a 70% market share overnight. The rest were left to fight for the scraps. Find a unique angle about your book ? and don't try and be everything to everyone, because you can't -? instead target 100% of a specific part!
3 -- Where will you sell your book?
Start Worldwide (world wide web that is) and then get local: Where are your customers? Probably scattered around the country. Use the power of print on demand and just in time fulfillment to deliver books all across the nation without having to print hundreds at a time. Where does your customer hang out online? What magazines and papers do they read? What stores do they frequent -? that AREN'T bookstores? What associations, clubs, or affiliations do they join? What conventions to they go to? How can you reach them? Promote your books where you find your potential buyers.
4 - How will you promote your book?
The least expensive and most effective ways to promote books are with book reviews, news releases, search engine registration, and some form of highly targeted direct advertising ? such as email campaigns, news releases, and pay-for-performance click through advertising. Longer term promotions include author signings, TV and Radio spots, and tradeshows ?- these are also the most difficult, time consuming, and expensive to secure.
Do NOT neglect the power of you the author ?- many publishers promotional packages include materials that can help turn you into a promotional machine. Business cards, posters, bookmarks -? all are available to support your marketing efforts.
Follow these steps on creating a plan for your book, and you'll find it much easier to create an effective and efficient marketing program for your book.
Ray Robinson is a partner in Dog Ear Publishing http://www.dogearpublishing.net a self publishing services company specializing in delivering "high touch" services to the author community. His company provides a full range of services to authors, from editorial to page layout to marketing and fulfillment.
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