There are many ways authors can reach their target audience. Some easier than others, with many being no or low cost. An author’s promotion and marketing mix may also include high cost activities. Whichever route you choose, or combination thereof, an author should not give up if one or two methods don't work.
“Drop it like it's hot”, an old friend of mine would say when something’s not working.
Authors should try different platforms. If they don't receive ROI of time and effort they should try another.
Finding the Right Platform
Author and publisher Michael Wiese tells authors, “Sell one book at a time. Find one person who needs and wants your book. Offer your book to that person. Repeat.”
Where do you find that “one person” and which tools should you use to reach him/her? There are many resources available, and one may say so many that they become overwhelming. Remember, try one at a time until it clicks, or doesn’t!
Every contact may not culminate in a “book sale”. It could lead to making a valuable connection that in the end is worth much more than the sale.
Brian Jud, a BMM contributor, created a short list of promotional and marketing tools: free, low cost and higher cost. Below is a list of no cost tools. I’ve added descriptions of why authors should use them and how they can be of benefit.
- Participating in discussion groups: Provides an openness, conversation and community. They offer chances to contribute and receive subject matter feedback. Discussion groups are also a place to make connections and provide “feeders” to products, services, and more book sales.
- Social media site: Offer global, open, real time and interaction between you and your target audience. They allow you to connect to readers and list interesting updates. Authors can network with other organizations, agencies, etc. that dovetail with their published work. Social media sites provide a 24 hour portal for sharing your message.
- Publicity: "The art of using other people or other websites or other tools to let the world know what you’re doing. That could be to promote maybe a book signing, it could be to let the world know about problems that you can solve." (Joan Stewart, Publicist) Publicity can turn readers into ambassadors.
- Testimonials: A reader’s feedback and one of the best forms of promotional material. They can play a major role in turning browsers into buyers. An author can take the reader’s feedback (testimonial or review) and use it to improve their future work.
- Blogging: A blog is an author’s hub, their home base. It is the place where people can find out more about you and consume more of your content. Posting on your blog can also improve writing and facilitates reading, learning and sharing.
- Media appearances: Having a book definitely helps get speaking engagements and media appearances. Meeting planners want authorities, and radio or television programs want memorable guests. If you have something interesting or provocative to say, and communicate well, you may be invited to return. Media appearances help build credibility, and increase opportunities to meet more people. As a result of your appearance, you may add more people to the mailing list and increase networking contacts.
These no-cost promotional opportunities help authors make connections with potential readers and eventual buyers.
It's true that each method needs a commitment of your time. But, the rewards of promoting and marketing your book can substantially impact your ability to expose it and your message to as many members of your target audience as possible.
Call to Action
What methods are you using to reach your target audience and promote your books? Share some of your success stories and some of your not-so-successful campaigns.
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