If you want to sell books today, you need to pay attention to book marketing. Yes, that’s always been the case, but the days when you could ignore marketing and still make sales are long gone.
(BTW, when I say “books” in an article, please be aware that I mean ebooks too…)
We talked about the book sales’ downturns in this blog post:
Over the past couple of months, reports from some indie authors indicate slashed earnings at Amazon. Their Kindle Unlimited (KU) “pages read” counts are down, and ebook sales seem to be affected too.
No one knows what’s happening. It’s sad for many authors, who’ve built up five-figure monthly incomes from ebook sales, to see those incomes dwindling by 20% — or in some cases, by 80%.
Book marketing: no longer optional if you want to sell books
Today, major publishers are getting into ebook publishing with a vengeance. They’re using tactics first used by indie authors. This means that no matter what category or genre you’re in, you have a lot of competition.
You need to get your books noticed, and that means marketing.
The following strategies are working today.
1. Use social media it’s free, and powerful when used consistently (start promoting when you begin writing your book)
One of my former students told me: “Since June, I’ve been spending as much time marketing my ebooks as I’ve been writing. It’s working. My sales dipped slightly in August, but they’ve come right up again.”
He’s using social media for his marketing, mainly free promotions (other than the time he spends), as well as spending a small amount each week on Facebook advertising.
In social media (Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc) promoting your books works, as long as you work at it. Remember that social media marketing is social. You need to spend as much (and more) time on social activities on the networks as you spend promoting on those networks.
Vital: don’t wait until your book is published. Start promoting when you start writing your book — get subscribers to your mailing lists.
2. Advertise locally: use press releases and paid promotions
I do love new marketing strategies. 🙂 If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I’m a huge believer in “local” activities when it comes to getting clients. But I’ve never given much thought to marketing your books locally.
That’s an oversight I’m going to correct. Several of my students are currently using press releases, as well as ads in their local newspapers to get subscribers to their mailing lists, AND to promote their books directly. It’s working. While one author is just breaking even (and he’s happy with that, because he’s getting known), the others are selling more books than they’ve ever done.
One author of nonfiction has developed partnerships with local businesses. They sell her books in their shops, and she’s giving presentations to local networking groups.
3. Partner with other authors (but don’t use questionable tactics)
This is one strategy which is effective and powerful, but which can also go horribly wrong. You’ll find many groups on Facebook and elsewhere in which the authors promote each other.
Unfortunately however, if you use this strategy as a shortcut, and rely solely on it, you may end up as one unfortunate author did — her account was cancelled by Amazon. She managed to get her account reinstated, which was lucky, but it makes sense that with Amazon cracking down on scammers, you wouldn’t want to do anything which is questionable.
Please don’t swap book reviews. Don’t do anything which will eventually raise a red flag. Confine your partnerships to things like promoting your books to each other’s mailing lists, and other innocuous activities.
4. Vital: promote daily, even if it’s just a tweet
I tend to hammer this one, because it’s so important. You need to make marketing a HABIT. Do it daily, even if you just spend a minute sending out a tweet, or posting an update on Facebook. Build your habit — consistency counts.
5. Join groups, either via email, or on Facebook or LinkedIn
It’s never been easier to network. Network with other authors, and with readers too. Whatever fictional genre or nonfiction category your books are in, you’ll find authors’ and readers’ groups you can join.
BUT (and it’s a big but) please don’t spam your groups. Join a group, and become a valued contributor. If other members want to to check out your books, they will. Look on groups as a way to network, rather than to push for sales. If you do this sensibly, the sales will come.
Bonus tip: remember your blog
I always seem to be talking about blogging, so I won’t say anything more about blogging, other than reminding you to do it. 🙂
Happy book marketing. 🙂
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