If you missed Part 1, you can find it here:
(3) Promote your book indirectly through discovery and branding.
Consider these questions for a moment:
- When you’re walking down the sidewalk, do you like it when someone stops you to give you a sales pitch?
- Suppose that an acquaintance tells you that you should come to his shop and buy a product first thing every time that you meet him. Would you appreciate this?
- Do you believe it when somebody tells you that their product is the best ever?
- If a stranger tells you out of the blue that you should buy a particular product, will you go to the store and purchase it?
- Don’t you love it when a televised movie breaks to commercials just before the climax?
Most people have an aversion to advertising and salesmanship. You won’t sell many books through self-promotion and direct advertising of an unknown book by an unknown author with an unknown publisher.
Bragging also tends to be ineffective. It’s important to show confidence and passion for your own work, without coming across as boastful.
If you post online just to promote your new book, most people will ignore it. If you frequently advertise your book, most people will tune you out.
Now consider these questions:
- When you see people wearing outfits that you like, do you ever ask where they bought them?
- Suppose that you’re having a conversation with an acquaintance. You ask what he does and learn that he’s a singer who has just released a new CD. Would you be interested in buying a song from someone you’ve actually met?
- If you’re buying a product in the store, do you ever choose one that you’ve heard of over one that you don’t recognize?
- Do you enjoy seeing an artist’s passion for her work?
When people discover that you’ve written a book (rather than have you thrust this information upon them) they are much more likely to develop interest in it. If people recognize your book, your cover, your author photo, or your name from your indirect branding efforts (not from direct advertising or salesmanship), they are more likely to buy your book. When people see that you are passionate about your book, but not boastful, this tends to increase their interest in it.
The indirect techniques of discovery and branding tend to be far more effective than self-promotion or direct advertising.
Interact with your target audience in such a way that if they enjoy the interaction, they can discover that you’re an author and inquire about your book. Gear your marketing efforts toward increasing your visibility among your target audience in order to brand your book.
Personal interactions tend to be more effective. People like to read books by authors they’ve actually met. Mingle with your target audience. Let them discover that you’re an author, rather than volunteering this information. If you ask what they do for a living, they might ask the same of you, for example.
Of course, there is a limit to how many people you can interact with in person, so you must also interact with your target audience online. If they enjoy their interaction with you, they may check out your online profile and discover that you’ve written a book.
Where relevant, some authors end their posts with Your Name, Author of Your Book (in an online forum, it’s best if you have a very short title – two to three words). Don’t list several books and services at the bottom of your post, since this will look like your post is mostly about advertising and sales.
Branding entails more than just getting your book and name out there. Your image is at stake. Brand your book or your name in a negative way and it can greatly deter sales. You want to come across as professional, confident (but not boastful), trustworthy, credible as an author in your genre, respectful of others, knowledgeable, and as a model for how authors should behave.
Never behave defensively, avoid complaining, don’t say bad things about any customers or reviewers, refrain from asking for reviews, and so on.
(4) Attract a following by providing valuable content.
Blogging about yourself and tweeting about your book, for example, aren’t likely to attract new readers. You can provide more information about yourself on a fan page, but this just entertains a few of your current fans – it doesn’t gain you new readers. A fan page might help you spread the word of subsequent books. But what you really want to do is attract new customers.
What you want to do is provide valuable content that may attract your target audience. Get valuable content where your target audience is likely to see it.
When you blog, provide helpful nonfiction material that relates to your book (without duplicating the content). Blog because you’re passionate about the subject and wish to share it with others (don’t blog because you’re trying to sell books), and your articles are likely to be more valuable. When you tweet, focus on using the limited space to offer useful information to your target audience – often through a link (that doesn’t go to your own book or websites). Use tags and hashtags to help reach your target audience.
No more than 10% of your posts should be about you or your book. If people appreciate the content that you provide, they may check out your profile and discover that you’ve written a book.
Look for other ways to provide valuable content. Meet bloggers who are a good fit for your target audience: They might feature you on a guest interview (or review your book on their blogs), for example (something you can also do for others). Write an article and try to publish it online (the very large number of websites out there gives you reasonable chances of achieving this in a modest traffic zone), where the website is a good fit for your target audience and your knowledge and expertise. At the bottom of your article, you want it to list Your Name, Author of Your Book.
Passing out flyers generally isn’t effective because they just look like advertisements. Passing out bookmarks is much better because bookmarks serve a function – it has value to the recipient, especially if it doesn’t look like an advertisement for your book (it might feature images from your cover and mention no more than the title and author). Especially, distributing appealing bookmarks among your target audience can be helpful.
In every marketing strategy that you consider, think about the following:
- Is this mainly reaching my target audience?
- Does this provide valuable content to my target audience?
- How will this affect my image as an author?
- Will people view this as advertising or discovery?
- Is it helping to establish your brand?
Click here to view part 3: https://chrismcmullen.wordpress.com/2013/04/14/effective-book-marketing-part-3/.
Chris McMullen, author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers