Marketing Your Book is In Your Hands (Part 1)
Guest Expert: Flora Morris Brown Ph.D.
New authors are usually surprised to learn that they must market their own books if they want to sell them, that is. For this reason, I ask my new clients if they want their story “told” or “sold.”
An author who wants to write a memoir, a family cookbook or other personal information with the plan to share it only with family and friends may not be interested in distributing her publication widely or even selling it. This author may not be as concerned about marketing.
For the author who wants to sell and have his book distributed to the reading public, however, marketing is essential. This holds true whether you go with a traditional publisher or self publish.
Marketing your book is in your hands and begins as soon as you decide to write it. If you are self publishing you are free to market aggressively, whereas writing under a traditional publisher limits your choices even of your title and cover design. As soon as the title and cover design are decided, however, you can begin announcing your book to the world.
This feels awkward, even scary to most authors since you are not finished writing the book at this stage. But since marketing a book can take a lot of time and effort, you must get started right away. You definitely don’t wait until the book is finished to start the marketing.
Yes, announcing your upcoming book to the world before it is finished will give you heart palpitations, but it will also give you great motivation to stay on task.
Marketing your book requires finding your target audience, telling them about it, building their anticipation and persuading them to buy it. Doing this early in the writing process helps you sharpen your focus on your target reader and refine the message you are creating for them.
As you are writing your book, carve out time in your schedule to start marketing right away.
1. Buy your book title as a domain. Domains are very affordable, as low as $10 a year. Be sure to select a major company that has 24/7 telephone tech support. (Website and domain problems like to pop up while you’re working on a project in the middle of the night.)
The dot com extension is most popular, so go for that one first. If your exact title is already taken, think of a very close variation, or buy it as dot net.
2. Set up a website and/or blog, and put your book up for sale at a prepublication price. There is no need to pay a webmaster a huge sum to set up a fancy website. A number of companies, even the registrar from whom you bought your domain, have simple websites that even a computer novice can set up in a short amount of time.
Setting up a blog is even easier than setting up a website, and again, you can get help from the tech support of your domain registrar to help you do this.
3. Create a way to capture the names and email of every visitor to your website. The easiest way to do this is to give away tips, a free report or free audio message. The contact information you gather in this way becomes your database. With these names you can begin sending announcements, promotions an information about your book as it progresses, and definitely an announcement when it is available for sale.
4. Begin posting articles on your blog at least once a week on your book subject. Your blog posts will share tips, reflections and other content that readers will find of interest.
5. Read other blogs in your area of expertise. Make it a regular practice to see what your fellow bloggers are writing about and take a few moments to leave relevant comments on their blogs. When you do this, you also leave the URL to your website or blog so that readers can follow you if they are intrigued by your comment.
6. Now add your website and blog URLs to your email signature, on your business card, and stationery.
7. Begin submitting articles in your area of expertise to article directories. Be sure you offer a giveaway of tips or some other short writing of value in exchange for collecting the name and email addresses.
8. Line up interviews with online radio talk shows. Many online radio hosts are eager to support authors.
Part 2: To be continued on 21st July 2010.
Flora Morris Brown is an author, coach, speaker, radio host, entrepreneur, mom of four and grandma of three. She has impacted the lives of students, educators, business owners, leaders and many audiences during her 40+ year career.
She is a Professor Emeritus at Fullerton College and hosts the Internet radio show, Color Your Life Happy, broadcasted live from Anaheim every Monday morning at 11AM PST.
She has written language arts texts, academic articles, curriculum, grant proposals, and motivational guides. She maintains a number of websites, two blogs and publishes two weekly newsletters.
Her book, Color Your Life Happy, promotes making choices that give you the life you want. The philosophy she lives by is “Nobody becomes somebody without the help of somebody else.”