Monday, 29 June 2015

Who Really Markets My New Book

Finally it has come down to the wire. Your novel is written, edited and published. There are various platforms for marketing your new book—Amazon KDP, Smashwords, Draft-to-digital and others. Any platform where your book gets exposure to the general reading public is a good prospect, however, the saga doesn’t end there. You thought to yourself, ‘phew, at least that’s done—now I can start concentrating on the next book’—WRONG! But CONGRATULATIONS—your efforts have come to fruition with your first project, however, the real work has only just begun.

They’re lining up to get that book….

Your first customer, of course, is yourself. You want to see exactly what a purchaser of your work will experience on opening the tasteful cover you spent days choosing and that brilliant manuscript you spent months pulling out of your head. Your friends are next—perhaps a few will buy it to show their support. Maybe, even one or two will give you a review. Comments may vary from, “I got your book and have started reading it”—when a month passes by without further comment you get the message and console yourself on the possibility it was not the genre they like to read, or whatever.  Do not rely on friends or family to do your marketing for you. Because of the familiarity factor their first instinct is to critique your work and mostly they’re pretty sure they could do a better job. If anything, they feel they owe you the truth as they see it.

So…who markets this book?

You do, of course! But you say, “Isn’t Amazon, (or whatever platform you’ve chosen) responsible for bringing in customers to their store window?” Yes, they are—but customers are not robots who simply click ‘buy’ because it’s your book. In the real world of readers it takes the prospector a maximum of two to three seconds to scan over your book cover and title before moving onto the next one in line. It’s difficult to tie down exactly what a purchaser is looking for because everyone’s tastes are so different.  My point is this: if you are relying on the ‘front window’ of your chosen platform to be the only form of advertising the book receives, failure is imminent.

What are your choices?

Firstly, you need a plan. Hannibal Smith always said, “I love it when a plan comes together.” Plans don’t just ‘come together’, unfortunately. You have to actively invent one, or find one that works; perhaps see what others are doing to promote their books. Below are some ideas to start with:
·        Start a blog. This, of course is another learning curve all of its own! Blogs are hard work but if you can develop a readership with interesting topics it could be very worthwhile. Your books can be advertised on your blog page.
·        Find a book on the internet dealing with e-book marketing. I found one which has proved to be very helpful, offering some excellent advice from the author’s personal experience. It’s called, “How to Hit #1 in the Amazon Free Store” by Jeff Bennington.
·        Choose your marketing platform and stick to it. I used to have my books on all the available sites but nothing really worked. I decided to use one (Amazon KDP) and concentrate on their SELECT program. Now things are starting move a bit better.
·        Use SELECT’S “free Book Promotion” or “Kindle Countdown” options. Do not worry about how much money you are earning from your venture. Giving away free books gets your name out there.
·        Think of using sites that place your book in the hands of readers for the purpose of writing a review. Reviews are one of the most important aspects of marketing success.
·        Being a prolific author is another aspect of good marketing. There are very few “one-book wonder success stories” out there. Successful authors gain that success by writing more and more books—not just quantity, but quality—your writing should improve with every book you write. It may be a good plan to use your first few books as stepping stones to produce the one that will grab the public’s interest. Give away as many free promotions as you can. Once a book gains some interest it’s highly likely that all the other books, written prior to the successful one, will suddenly attract similar interest. I read somewhere that to be successful as an author on any of the online giants it takes at least six books before your name catches the public’s eye. If you are not in a hurry for fame then try building up your inventory first before throwing money at advertising.
·        Check out Amazon’s SELECT program and the KOLL (lending library). There are free promotions and also ‘pay’ options for advertising your book.

Anyone who writes for the on-line market or its print-on-demand option needs to know the truth about marketing. Nobody likes to think of all the extra work foisted on them in consideration of this aspect but it’s as necessary as the writing function. To avoid disappointment our dreams of being a successful author in today’s modern society must include the business aspect. There has to be the consideration of a realistic budget beyond the printing of a book. Your vision for this should be flexible, in the hopes you are not throwing money away, into a huge hole. If you are not succeeding, don’t give up—just change your plan.

This completes the series of blogs on the subject of E- writing. I trust you have found it helpful.

Please take a little time to check out Books Written by Colin Setterfield