It’s easy for books to become swallowed up in the void that is the publishing industry. After all, there are millions of books published and some genres are incredibly popular. Idea generation and the writing of your book plays a significant but small part of the whole process. If you want to make your books visible to the world, you must put in the time and effort.
Here are 5 top tips as a starting point.
Plan ahead. Research other books that are in your chosen niche. What have they done to make their books so popular? Check out book covers and descriptive blurb too. Review the top 20 books on Amazon and learn from their examples.
Write a detailed marketing plan. What makes your book stand out from the rest and why should readers choose your book compared to others? Set a marketing budget and plan which websites will be best to market your book.
Create a plan for a series of books in your niche and then, title them accordingly. Book one, book two and so on.
Get a website so to build a platform on which to engage with and promote your books. Create a Facebook author page and a Twitter account and link the two.
Think outside the box. Brand yourself after all, you have attached your name to your book and you are proud of it. Let others know that you are an author and that you love the written word. Live the dream.
With many authors getting paid less and less for their hard work, it does make you wonder why authors still dedicate so much time to their pursuit of the written word. For me, the answer is simple. It’s as much about the creative process as it is for the money. We don’t just want to write, we have to. There’s a creative flame inside and once it ignites, it’s hard to stop. Having said that, every author, certainly those who have written a good book deserve to be paid decently for their hard work.
The publishing industry is constantly evolving. When I first began to get my work published, it was prior to Amazon’s role in the industry and at the time, opportunities for publication were hard to gain. Once Amazon entered the marketplace, so many changes occurred and they created huge opportunities for writers. It also shook up the whole industry dramatically and created millionaires out of little known writers.
Gradually, this settled into a reasonable income for authors and then the slide began where authors had to constantly market themselves to fight for their place in such an over-populated marketplace. Traditional publishing methods were under fire and big advances, marketing investments and royalties were all under threat. Many authors jumped on the Amazon band wagon as did those large publishers as a way to promote their authors.
But now that the industry has settled once more, it seems that publishers are doing quite well but, authors are not.
An article in the Guardian earlier this year stated that a full-time writer only earns about £5.73 an hour. I suspect many earn less than this. Median earnings have plummeted by a whopping 42% making an annual income of less than £10,000. You can read more about that here.
So, for those who signed up with Amazon and with royalties up to 70% per book sale, why are authors still struggling? The problem appears to be a lack of visibility. Unless you have stumbled upon or, hopefully, researched a small niche area for yourself, you are likely to be fighting against mainstream and well-known authors or, fighting against those who have the money and the time in which to run marketing campaigns. Competitiveness is expected but, it does reduce the potential to make the same monthly revenue.
At the time of writing this, I believe there is money to be made when writing books but you have to be extremely savvy if you want to carve out your own niche and to earn rewards for your creative endeavours. Write smart, plan ahead, work out a marketing action plan, without it, you may find that your book sinks without trace and this does not reflect on the quality of your work.
Authors are known to be indulgent about the creative process, after all, that’s why they love the written word and, it’s easy to become totally immersed within the writing process. If you haven’t given much thought as to sales strategies, you may want to add that to your to-do list. These days you have to juggle all aspects of writing and publishing and this includes promoting yourself. Of course, when you first start the creative process and have literally just typed the words…Chapter One…you don’t really care much about all the tedious stuff to come. It’s exciting and you just want to watch those characters develop. However, it’s a good idea to have this in mind before you even start tapping away at the keyboard.
Consider sales strategies that work.
Authors the world over make simple mistakes, they don’t formulate plans of action. Who wants to buy your book and why? What age range are you writing for? Have you checked if this book has a specific niche and if you are considering self-publishing, then, consider relevant keywords for marketing and, for use on self-publishing sites such as Amazon.
You should also:
Consider local radio
Build up a social media following
Take up any guest speaking opportunities
Write articles that promote you as an expert
Radio- become a guest on your local radio station
Sometimes, you have to think outside of the box and what sales strategies might work for you? This is likely to depend upon the nature of the book. What can you do to get your name known – in the right ways of course? Ultimately, writing a book will naturally lead to a desire for book sales and nothing is more heart-breaking than sweating tears over the keyboard only to find no-one is interested. Start early. In fact, start now.
We’ve all been there. The writing is finished, you’ve spent a fortune on an editing service and now, you just want the book to be published. Sound familiar? But, it’s vital that you don’t rush the publicity process because your book needs it. As an author, there is much you can do to promote your own book and to start gaining interest from potential readers but, to do it properly, you will need a professional book publicity service.
Why have a professional book publicity campaign?
A professional publicist or company who specialises in this service will help the whole world to know about your book. A professional will look at it differently than you will, after all, it’s your baby and you have sweated blood and tears over it. But, from a professional viewpoint, your book will have unique aspects that you may not have even considered. A good publicist will be able to detect this and discuss its potential with you in media terms.
Most of the books that you see listed as best-sellers would have a publicity campaign. Yes, there are always exceptions to the rule but, if you want your book to have a fighting chance in a highly-competitive marketplace, it makes sense to do so.
Publishing – as a business
It’s perhaps a sad truth that publishing is all about the business aspect of selling books. It’s not about a book that deserves to be published anymore. So, as an author and no doubt, creative being, you must adopt a business approach too. This can be hard for many to do. Most authors live and breathe the creative process and balk at the marketing processes that must follow however, if you want a successful book, you’ll do what is necessary.
Publicity and peace of mind
Hire a good book publicist and you’ll have peace of mind that your book is in good hands. Any publicist is going to tell you that it’s not just about the sales. It’s about you as a brand and it’s about, inciting continued interest in books you write thereafter. Ideally, you should approach a publicist prior to the book being . However, it is true that there are tricks of the trade that can spotlight a book with flagging sales.
If you are in the middle of writing a book now, and still have some months before the book is even ready, this is the ultimate time to speak to a publicist. They will guide you through the process. The costs vary and so, it’s customary to send a quick email to explain what your book is about and when it is likely to be finished and they will clarify what they can do. It’s certainly worth opening up the lines of communication if you wish to accelerate the sales on your book. Want more information? Email: email@example.com please mark the subject line with book publicity
The fabric of our lives are made up of richly-woven memories and it is these that craft the essence of our being. We all have our own wonderful experiences – these contain a mixture of those that are deeply inspiring and gratifying and those that are not. All our experiences shape us in ways you may not imagine. These resonate with us but, they may also reach out and touch the lives of others too. As such, your life story is interesting.
Your life story – as it is
You may not think that your life is wildly exciting. You may even feel that it is deadly dull, after all, we all yearn to expand the boundaries sometimes, but, share some of your tales to others and they may marvel at your experiences. Share your tales of woe, and the journey of highs and lows and others may connect with you as their experiences mirror your own.
Writing as therapy
You don’t have to write the whole of your life story, but, you can use aspects of it to incite interest in fiction or, to write a non-fiction book to help others. People often think that their lives are just not that interesting but, that’s not true. Emotions, experiences, events all make you the person you are and no two people’s lives are the same. Find a unique element and build your story around this.
Writing can be incredibly therapeutic too. When I wrote Emotional Abuse – Get Out Of My Head and Out of My Bed, I was not initially planning to write it as a book, but the words poured out. Suddenly, I realised that it needed to be a book. Since, it has helped many others who have shared similar stories. I have been so grateful that I did share those memories and my own development since those days.
There are many ways in which your life story can help or encourage others, but, if you don’t know your starting point, maybe we can help? There really could be a good book hiding inside of you.
Most authors embark upon their dreams of writing a book without giving much consideration to book promotion. After all, that comes much later, right? Wrong. The best starting point for promoting your book is before you’ve even started writing it and of course, during the planning stage. It may sound as if you are in it for the long haul when it comes to book promotion but, without a doubt, the success of your book depends upon it. In the early stages, it’s all about the planning and if you can think like a marketing pro, your book sales will reward you.
Book promotion and the creative process
I have worked in the publishing industry for a great many years – yes, even before digital books exploded onto the scene, and a great many authors were waiting for this with baited-breath. Through my own mistakes, and, through studying and researching the publishing industry, one very important thing became apparent. The emphasis had to be on the author taking responsibility for book promotion. Why? Because the industry was changing rapidly and as a result, even traditional publishing had its wings clipped when it came to promotional funds.
Publishers stopped investing in unknown writers but promoted those who had already made it, after all, they were a safe bet in an industry that literally was evolving as everyone watched. As a result, many new authors or, those who were considered a risk, suddenly had to find their own way to make their books known and, suddenly, the creative process was not enough. Let’s be honest, you could write the best book ever but, unless you had money to throw at book promotion, it was obvious that your book could sink without trace.
Set the foundations of book promotion
When you start contemplating your book, this is the time to consider book promotion. Forge the foundations of it. By doing so, you create the mindset needed for success. You create the right approach considering where you could promote your book and what the marketing angle might be. You consider whether to have press releases or, to hire a company who specializes in book promotion. Or, you could look for free sites that may publish details of your book so to get the message out there. Each book may require a different approach, but you must formulate a plan otherwise, your wonderful book will just not be seen. That’s the harsh reality.
The mistake I made with my first book was not investing enough time in the marketing process. Sadly, I rushed it and paid the price. This is a classic new author mistake. If you are reading this and nodding profusely, then, you’ll know the importance of a little strategic planning next time. At the time, self-publishing was all-new and success, not guaranteed. Marketing options were a little hit and miss but, opportunities for success were available.
Nowadays, you have to be ultra-smart. You may wish to utilize press releases for media attention. Or, you can submit your book to free marketing sites in the hopes they may promote. Equally, use paid-for advertising to get the word out there. But, don’t make the mistake in randomly selecting advertising methods. Think it through. It’s easy to spend a fortune and achieve absolutely nothing.
Ask any author who ventures into the self-publishing arena what the most difficult aspect of the publishing process was and they are likely to say book marketing. The reason for this is simple, most authors who are relatively new on the scene would admit that they know little about marketing. They may have spent years learning writing techniques to help engage their readers but, are suddenly thrust into the marketing arena when it comes to generating sales.
Think it through
If you want your book to do well, you have to consider what your overall goal is. What story are you telling? Are you sharing knowledge that will resonate with a great many? Understanding what your book is about on an analytical level will help you to develop a strong book marketing strategy.
It’s important to find a unique selling proposition (USP) and once you have achieved this, you can plan how to impart your key message to the world. You also need to know who your target audience is. Think about the age of your anticipated readers and the type of interests they might have. You need to create a book that will resonate with them.
How to generate awareness of you as the author
How to create events to market your book
How to get online and offline exposure
Book marketing – specialist or self-promotion?
You must also consider what budget you have at your disposal and also, the time factor too. Ideally, an ongoing marketing plan is vital but if you don’t have the time to commit to this, consider hiring a specialist company. Talk to the company about your goals and discuss an action plan. There are many things you can do to promote your book yourself so, don’t just sit back and let it happen. After all, if you have invested months or even, years of work in writing your book, go the extra mile. Give it the best send off possible.
There’s no doubt that blogging is huge and for some, it’s profitable too but, as an author, should you create your own blog? To determine this, it’s best to consider what you are trying to achieve and this way, you can plan a strategic rather than a creative approach to your blogging endeavors.
The blogging conundrum
Blogging has great potential. Many people love it because it gives them a chance to vent or share their thoughts by way of an online journal. But, is it really worth it? From an author’s perspective, it can be useful to create an online presence providing it is regular and you have a plan of action. When you consider the time spent to set up and provide content for your blog, any money that you expect to make is going to potentially be low in comparison to the amount of hours in which you are investing. So, this will be a labour of love in the first instance.
If you have little to no idea what you want to blog about, but, you fancy doing something creative, then, go ahead, a blog enables you to test your creativity but it’s also a sharp learning curve too. If you are a methodical, forward-planning individual, you may want to create your own blog for these reasons.
1. Create your own blog and form your writing platform
If you want to get yourself known as a writer, a blog can help you to do just that. Define your ideas, think about each post carefully and plan ahead. It makes sense to create quite a few blog posts and schedule them in advance. This takes the pressure off you when you don’t feel like writing or, if life gets in the way.
2. Create your own blog so to incite interest in your books
Yes, blogging can help you to get your audience interested in up and coming books. There’s no doubt about it. Blogging has a far reach providing you do it right. But, it’s not all about being creative. It’s about using keywords, yes, SEO (search engine optimisation) is still important. It’s about considering the steps towards your concept, the writing of a book and the whole marketing process.
In the online world, there’s a fine line between writing, marketing and overdoing the whole SELL, SELL, SELL process. So, if you want to captivate and engage the readers, you need to be smart. Don’t make everything about your book, unless the whole purpose of the blog is to share your process, but rather, let readers into your life.
Share your thoughts and feelings and share your inspirations and those difficult to write days. There are ways and means in which to sell to others and the best way of doing so, is to reach out to them and to engage with them like..well, human beings. It works. Hard sales do not. Readers are savvy. They know when they are being over-sold something so, be careful.
4. Consider the longevity of your blog
What are you going to write about and does it have longevity? Can you sustain an ongoing blog about your subject? If you have set up an author site and your blog is a part of that, it can be on any aspect of your life giving the chance for readers to get to know you. But if you are writing just about your book, consider what you will write about when it is published. The blog content will also determine the title of your blog, so plan ahead.
Ultimately, having a blog can be a good thing for authors. But, plan it carefully before you start. Many people make the mistake of rushing into blogging but, don’t consider their long-term plans and that’s a mistake.
If you are venturing into the myriad of twists and turns that is the self publishing route, never underestimate the power of the blurb. I have seen many beautifully presented books with dazzling covers and great titles appear to run out of steam when it comes to the all-important blurb.
How to be successful
To be successful in self-publishing, you need to consider all angles – so, you are a writer, an author, a publisher and marketer too. It is difficult wearing all those hats and it is understandable to feel overwhelmed by it all, but, write down the tasks and work on them one at a time. But, do think about each step carefully. The success of your book depends on it.
In addition, your book blurb has to be incredibly tightly written. Plus, it has to engage the potential reader right from the start. So, depending on the type of book you are planning to publish, you may need to write from the heart. Dig deep within your soul and think about what might resonate with you. This at least gives you a starting point.
Wear your self publishing hat
With self publishing, you have to think about every aspect of promotion. It can be as simple as adding a few opening lines to the top of your blurb. Just ensure these incite interest. If they don’t, then, you need to work harder on these sentences and make them evocative.
Self-publishing is not easy but it does bring great opportunities. As such, take your time, think about it and provide the best blurb possible. Aim for a powerfully written invite into the book that you are passionate about. It could make the difference between lots of sales or no sales at all. Self publishing is a wonderful venture into the unknown. The way forward is not always apparent but, it’s a fabulous chance to get your work out there into the public sphere and to make a name for yourself.
In my previous blog post, I mentioned the potential for being interviewed on local radio and I know this is something that many authors dread, that of self-promotion and having to embrace their time in the spotlight. But, the publishing industry has moved on so much in the last ten years and it’s a whole new beast to deal with if you wish to become a success, so book marketing these days is an essential component of getting the word out there.
I often have writers say to me that the words within their book speaks for them. Well, great, but, it’s worth noting that even if your book is the most amazing collection of words ever, the story is strong, the characters compelling, if no one knows of its existence, then, it will remain on the shelf and just grow dusty.
By actively seeking out and being prepared for an interview through radio or TV, this can really escalate your book sales and you will come across well. But, remember, your book alone will not get you the promotion you need to sell numerous copies. You are the one that people will want to talk to, they will want to understand who you are, your background, what made you write this book. They want to know about you and you need to engage with your potential readers and share a little of yourself. Make sure you know your stuff, be engaging, articulate and definitely entertaining.
Prepare a list of potential questions so you don’t feel under pressure or unprepared and do your best to enjoy it.
If you feel uncomfortable being in the spotlight, then, get friends and family to interview you so you feel more comfortable being asked questions and with the attention fully on you. Have them video you so you are used to cameras. This will help you to feel more natural on screen or, even prepare you if you are participating in a radio interview. Ultimately, it’s about making these opportunities work for you.
Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net