When my first book was published, I thought it would be an overnight success based purely on the topic and the fact that I knew the world needed it. My genius marketing plan was to simply publish it. If it exists on the internet, people will find it, right?
As you can imagine, that didn’t work. It’s a bit like showing up to a party, not knowing anyone, trying to make a grand entrance and having zero people pay attention. In fact, it was a lot like that. Hardly anyone blinked an eye or turned their head when my book became available.
Undeterred, I decided that the ticket to my success was that coveted Amazon bestseller ribbon. That will solve all my problems, I thought.
My idea was that I would re-release the book, get to bestseller status and then it would continue to sell like hotcakes and I would just log into my sales report and see the number growing daily. That’s how it works, right?
But, that didn’t exactly happen either. While I had successfully figured out how to get my book to be a bestseller, after that celebratory day nothing amazing occurred.
Myth 1: Bestsellers sell with ease.
All too often, I’ve met people who have a bestselling book, who ask me, “Now what?” The high has ended, and the book sales have fallen off. The marketing is an afterthought because they were so focused on getting their book written.
Ideally, the best time to create a plan to sell your book with ease is while you’re writing. Set your short- and long-terms goals and use the numbered strategies below to help.
If you don’t have a plan in place, it will feel like you’re scrambling after the fact. Luckily, even if your book has been sitting idle for a while, you can pick up at any time to implement a marketing strategy.
Myth 2:A publisher will do all the marketing.
Often I run into people who think that having a publisher will solve this problem. Either they don’t know how to market their book, it seems too scary or they simply don’t want to do it.
These days, much is left to the author, regardless of your method of publication. If you choose to pursue a commercial publishing deal, your proposal will need to outline exactly how you will market your book.
And unfortunately, getting a publishing deal can sometime take more time than you’d like. Brendon Burchard, a well-known motivational speaker and marketing trainer, and a top host on YouTube in the self-help category, had his first book, Life’s Golden Ticket, rejected 15 times. Then after becoming a New York Times bestselling author multiple times over, his publisher rejected The Motivation Manifesto.
According to Derek Murphy, award-winning cover designer and owner of CreativINDIE, “Unless you’re getting a deal over $100,000, which means they are seriously invested in your book, you’ll probably do better to self-publish.”
There really is no way around having to market your book yourself. The good news is, you’re the most qualified one to do it.
The truth: How book sales are really made
It might seem a bit simple, but having an ongoing marketing campaign that you and your team will execute is critical to keeping your sales rolling in.
Think about it like this: When a new movie is coming out, like Star Wars, it is actively promoted so that the day it is released, it has the best chance at being that box office smash. But, what happens as the weeks pass? Fewer people buy tickets and eventually sales dwindle. The marketing window closes.
The same thing can happen with your book, but your window can never close. Say you’re able to sell enough books to get to bestseller status. Afterwards, you have to keep talking about your book.
All of the ideas below with the exception of the last two can be done before your launch date and used on an ongoing basis. Don’t get overwhelmed by the sheer number of tasks to complete. This list can be done with repurposed content.
Remember, when you consistently talk about your book, you’ll get consistent sales. You can do this in a number of ways.
- Share quotes from your book on social media and give yourself and your book title credit.
- Read passages from your book, leaving people with a cliffhanger so they’ll want to buy it to find out the end.
- Offer a free chapter or two to entice readers to want to buy the rest.
- Look for an author with a similar audience and suggest your book to that audience. For example, “If you liked Think and Grow Rich, you’ll love [Your Book].”
- Create a marketing posse. This is a group of fans who are willing to share your content and give third-party social proof that it’s worth buying. According to Suw Charman Anderson, an author and journalist who is one of the U.K.’s social media pioneers, “Only 3 percent [of book purchases] came through browsing categories. Planned search by author or topic, however, makes up a whopping 48 percent of all book choices.”
- Make sure you’re tapped into all online platforms aside from Amazon such as iBooks, Barnes and Noble and Scribd.
- Take books with you everywhere you go, especially to events and networking meetings.
Many times, if you’ve never done something before, it seems hard, scary or overwhelming. But, once you do it, you wonder why you ever had any qualms about it.
Marketing your book is like that. Get creative and add to the list above. Soon, you’ll be automatically talking about your book everywhere you go, making sales, and people will connect [Your Book] with your name.