As a marketing consultant, I hear many indie authors say that they simply don’t think like a marketer. They try: they read articles (like this one) and books, attend webinars, and hire people like me to advise them. And educating yourself is the perfect first step! But despite what some may lead you to believe, book marketing isn’t a science. There are best practices, but no hard and fast rules that work for everyone. That’s why you need people who think like marketers to evaluate your specific situation to develop a plan to market your books in the best way possible. And one of these people can be you!
Here are some tips that I give my authors to get in the mindset they need to market their books just like a book marketer would:
You are your brand
When you are an author, this is the number one thing you should remember. In most cases, there is not a clear line where your books end and you begin. People following your social media presences are following you! This means that they don’t just want to hear about your books, but they want to feel connected to you (author you, that is). Think about the elements of yourself that complement your books. If you write books geared towards parents, try sharing your own experiences as a parent. If you write about space, geek out about space-related news with your audience. Find genuine elements of yourself that fit your “brand” and run with it!
You may not be your target market
I’ll summarize basically every marketing 101 course (and save you the $4000): you may not be your target market. This means when you’re crafting content, you have to think about what your target market will like. This isn’t necessarily what you like. If you write YA, the best way to reach your readers may be through Instagram instead of Facebook. Even if you are your target market, you have to think holistically when posting. Take politics, for example. I’ve run target market reports on authors and found that even though they are liberal, 50% of their audience is politically conservative. This means you may want to steer clear of the political posts on your author pages so as not to alienate any portion of your audience. Save that for your personal pages.
Promote, promote, promote!
It can be easy to either post too much or too little about your books. A very fixable problem that a good chunk of authors face is they don’t post about their books enough. You’ve written them, they’re great, you’ve got to promote them! Of course, you should do that in a way that’s engaging for your audience (don’t spam them), but don’t be shy about talking about your books. People who like your author page know what they’re getting into. They want to hear about your books. Think of any other brand that’s selling a product; it would be silly if they barely ever talked about their product. I totally get that tooting your own horn may feel awkward, but it’s necessary to make sure that as many people as possible know about your books.
I firmly believe that every author has the ability to think like a marketer. You already have the creative and story-telling chops, all you need is some confidence and to start thinking about promoting your books like a marketer would. If you’re looking for someone to help you get started, we should talk: email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.