Let’s take some time to talk about marketing your book. We’ll first be talking about creating a marketing foundation before going onto specifics in other blog posts. I know many independent authors who struggle with marketing their books and creating a plan of action. The fact of the matter is that most are doing it all by themselves and don’t really have the means to invest in a marketing team to do it for them. It sucks, you need to sell more books to hire the people who will help you sell more books.
There are a few things you’ll need to utilize before you’ve finished your book. I’ll tell you what they are and how to find them in the most practical sense. The first thing you’ll need to do is…
Define Your Ideal Reader
Who is going to be interested in what you’re writing? This is such an important question as it will help you figure out your niche. As a fellow creative, I know that “finding your niche” can sound limiting but don’t be fooled. Defining your ideal reader will open up more doors for you because you’ll be creating a solid fan base. You’ll consistently attract the right kind of person to your writing, which in turn will create hype and attract people who are not your specified ideal reader.
Get really specific about your ideal reader’s age, their gender and their interests. Their interests should align with what’s in your book. If you’re writing a beginner’s cookbook then your ideal reader could look like this:
Mid-twenties female, newly living on her own and looking to learn how to cook nutritious meals for herself that don’t take a lot of effort.
Use this persona to choose the types of words that attract this person. Simple, healthy, quick, easy. Write these ideas down and use the words in your book title, book description and when creating social media posts online.
Don’t wait until your book is finished
Your book could be a couple of years in the making and it would still be a good time for you to start getting your name out there. Think about where your audience might be hanging out online and get active in those places. Continuing on with the example from earlier, your ideal audience would be hanging out on recipe websites like realsimple.com in the food recipes area. How do I know that?
I used the words I mentioned earlier and google searched ‘simple meals’. Look up the terms your ideal audience would use in google and then see if it’s possible to contribute posts (like recipes in this instance) on related websites to start building a name for yourself.
You can also use these terms when posting on social media. Crafting content that relates to these terms will allow you to use hashtags your audience will use like #simplecooking #easymeals and so on.
Get personally involved
The search term ‘simple meals’ brought up a lot of blogs and bigger brand websites as it was pretty generic. If you want to get in there and talk to people who are just beginning to cook then you’ll want to type in something like ‘Forums for beginning cooking’. When you type this in you come across a forum called Cheftalk.com with a post that has someone looking for advice on learning how to cook.
Join these related forums, get involved and help the people who you think would be interested in your book, mention that you are writing one and use this as practice for speaking publicly about yourself as an author.
Building a reputation on websites that are in your niche will mean that you have people to sell your book to when you’re actually finished writing it. Getting to know your potential fan base before hand also means that you’ll have writing input that will actually benefit your reader. They may mention that they’re struggling with an issue that you never considered including in your book and it’ll be easier to address this before you’ve gotten your book published!
Get to know your fellow authors
There is very much a community mentality in the creative industry, especially when it comes to writing. I don’t think anyone could empathize more with the struggles of an author than another author. Don’t ignore the authors who have a similar audience to you. These partnerships are super beneficial to both of you and there’s no need to see them as competition.
Other authors can provide you with support, feedback and valuable insight. You’ll want a few authors in your corner who you can rely on to encourage you. These authors will likely be on the same forums and websites I mentioned your ideal reader being on but you’ll want to search author specific terms too. Search for local authors guilds and again, continuing on with our above example, searching for ‘food bloggers groups’ both on google and facebook will connect you with people in your writing niche.
Once you build more relationships within your industry, you’ll quickly figure out who is at a similar stage in their career as you. Keep these authors in mind when you’re considering collaborating and marketing efforts. Ask them if they’d like to cross-promote which will further your niche-specific reach.
Focus on the long-term
The above tips are designed to keep your eyes focused on your long-term efforts as an author. Continue building on these with each book you have. You will want to have a broad definition for your ideal reader so people can identify you as a specific type of author but adjust this definition with each book you publish.
For example, your overall ideal reader might be people who want to learn how to cook but you may have a more specific gender or stage of life in mind for each cookbook you write.
Continue building relationships with your readers and fellow authors. You’ll need to remember that social media is meant to be social and forums are meant to share insights. Sharing your knowledge and letting people get to know can take you many places in your writing career.