For most authors, book marketing ranks somewhere between root canal and sitting next to a screaming baby on an airplane.I get it. It's a daunting task for anyone – and especially for someone who may be on the introverted side – to get out there and promote. We writers typically aren't the brashest folks on the planet, and we lean toward humility as a default position (mailboxes full of rejection letters will have that effect.).
And so, we're left with three choices – none of them especially appealing:
· Force ourselves to promote and hate every minute of it
· Don't promote at all
Why I View Author Marketing Differently
As the co-owner of Children's Book Insider, the Children's Writing Monthly, I've helped writers become published authors for 25 years. So I know you guys. I know you really well.
But I'm also a marketing pro. I used to own a PR agency in New York (we introduced Pictionary to the US market) and I've mentored scores of entrepreneurs on marketing over the years. It's a topic I find endlessly interesting.
So here I am, with a foot in both worlds and an ability to see the bigger picture. And now, I'd like you to share a bit of that vision.
The Essence of Author Marketing
The first thing you need to grasp is that so much of what's talked about when we talk about marketing is just nonsense. You've probably been subjected to an avalanche of buzzwords, “magical” techniques and marketing horror stories. It's left you puzzled, worried and thoroughly convinced that marketing just isn't for you.
Let's fix that. Here's some truth about author marketing:
Marketing isn't about you and your book. It's 100% about the hopes, desires and needs of your potential reader.
Considering most of what passes for author marketing is slapping book covers and Amazon links on Facebook and then shouting “BUY!”, it's no wonder “author marketing doesn't work”. You need to grasp this and hold on to it – all good marketing is based on what value you have to offer someone that will make their life experience better.
In other words, lead with the reader, not with you.
Marketing is just another word for Communication.
The word “marketing” is so loaded with meaning that it might be helpful to replace it with something else. Something that's actually much more to the point.
Marketing is communicating. That's all it is. The medium may change, but that fundamental point doesn't. It's one person (you) talking to another person (your prospective reader). You've got something to say (“here's something of value that will make your life better”). And your prospective reader has something to say (“Really? Tell me more!”).
As a writer you are a born communicator. This is right in your wheelhouse.
Marketing is just another word for Advocacy.
There are people out there who need to read your work. The education, inspiration or entertainment you're ready to provide them can greatly enhance their lives.
If you can make someone's life better, you owe it to them to share that important news. Doing anything less would be a major disservice.
You've put your heart and soul into your work. But if you don't stand up and advocate for it, who will? Your marketing efforts shouldn't be a business activity – it needs to be a mission.
Get going and start advocating for your work. There are people out there who need you.
Marketing should NOT be complicated. One simple technique that works is all you'll ever need.
One reason I like to give people alternatives to the word “marketing” is because it's such a giant, all-encompassing term. Heck, you can get a Masters degree in it, so you know that it can get really complex.
I'm willing to bet that you aren't interested in getting your Marketing Masters. You want to spend as little time as possible even thinking about marketing. You just want to write. And sell some books.
Good news: author marketing can be really, really simple if you allow it to be. In my course I teach just one technique. I've been using it for years and so have many other folks who have sold a lot of things.
Here it is: Build a community (or Tribe, if you prefer) around an interest or core concern of your ideal readers. Nurture the community, feed it, lead it. Have fun with these folks (who will rapidly evolve into your fans). And, when it comes time to sell your book, you've got a built-in audience.
Then, month after month, year after year, just keep building your Tribe.
In other words, lather, rinse, repeat.
My students do use social media, but sparingly and in a targeted fashion. In other words, they don't spend hours on Twitter or Facebook. They have writing to do.
You've just been handed the keys to book marketing: put your reader first ; make it a human connection; advocate for what's important; and use a simple technique, not a mismatched collection of time-wasting activities.
And above all, don't be intimidated or frightened. Let your humanity shine and start connecting!
Jon Bard has been helping authors for 25 years as the co-owner of Children's Book Insider, the Newsletter for Children's Writers (http://writeforkids.org). He recently introduced his course Easy Author Marketing – The Simple Solution That Sells Books (http://easyauthormarketing.com).
Free gift for Pen & Prosper readers:
To learn more about Jon's unique take on book marketing, download Jon's free eBook: The 10 Minute Turnaround: Overcome Your Fear of Marketing & Start Connecting with Readers Now! It's yours with his compliments, and you can get it right now at http://easyauthormarketing.com/free-report