Book Market – Tips for Writers
Launching a book is an important tool in releasing a book, but don’t end your efforts after the book arrives on the scene. Think of launch day as it is intended to be. A launch into the book market. Once launched, you have the problem of sustained marketing. Otherwise your book will fall to the ground and be forgotten. None of us want our work to find its place in the graveyard of forgotten books. Writing is not for the faint of heart. As the Bible says, the race isn’t to the swift. It takes persistence and endurance.
Book Market through Self Evaluation.
Authors must first step back and evaluate their plans. We all claim to be in this for the Lord, but are we really? If we are honest, there is a bit of selfish ambition in all of us. And we must guard our ambitions to keep them in check. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves with a runaway ego, or grumbling with disappointment.
When we present something for an audience to hear or read, it’s only natural to want that message to reach as many people as possible. However, not every message reaches the masses. You may be called to reach one person, or you may be entrusted with a best seller. If it’s truly a ministry, is it for us to decide?
I say all of this because as Christians, we should examine our motives. There is nothing wrong with marketing your work, but there is a balance we must keep in perspective.
Having said this, let’s take a look at marketing. Unless you have already hit the bestseller list, no one knows who you are. Plopping a book on Amazon’s store won’t sell books. To sell books, people have to know your book exists. The real nuts and bolts of marketing don’t begin when you publish, it begins now.
Networking is crucial for the book market.
Networking is all about relationships. To establish relationships you must get involved in the world of writing. Writer’s conferences are a great place to meet people. Facebook and blogging are great ways to meet people. You don’t have to have a popular blog to be a successful author. If you enjoy blogging, do so. At a minimum, every author should have a landing page to direct readers to. But if writing blog entries is a burden, don’t burn yourself out or beat yourself up over it. It is a tool, but isn’t a necessity. But getting involved with other authors is.
Identify a list of blogs that fits your style and interests, and begin commenting. Be an encourager. Over time, you will build a relationship and when it comes time to publish, other writers will be eager to help you. Fellow authors gladly help friends, but don’t expect much if you approach someone you’ve never interacted with.
Helping others is a great tool in the book market. Promoting other authors on Facebook, twitter, and if you blog, do so there. Then others will be willing to return the favor once you publish. No one wants to feel used, so build relationships now – before the time comes to market your book.
Looking for a break on the book market.
Every bestselling author got a break. Is it luck? Not really. Think of marketing as a wall of doors. Most doors will not open, but some will. You cannot know which doors will open until you knock and ask to be invited in. Authors must be thick skinned, for most doors will be closed to anyone who is unknown. Sometimes the person behind the door will be hurtful. Don’t give up on all the doors because most don’t yield success. There are thousands of doors to try, and you won’t find the ones that can benefit you unless you keep knocking. Who knows, behind a door may be someone who believes in your book and will give you that special break that pushes you over the top. As the cliché goes, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” In a nutshell, opportunity is what you are looking for. And you probably won’t find it without perseverance and being prepared.
Make it easy for readers to find your book.
Post it everywhere and use every opportunity to make it easy to find and buy. If you’re an independently published author, make your book available as an ebook in as many formats as possible. Use smashwords.com to reach the ebook markets for Apple, Sony, Barnes and Noble, etc. Amazon has great tools for the Kindle format. All these tools are free. The goal is to get the book as high in the rankings as possible. This is so readers can find your books. Each category has a top 100 list, but unless you can get in the top 20, readers probably won’t find your book. Research has shown that readers will rarely browse through more than two pages of information.
Joining a marketing group is a great strategy for getting your book off the launch pad, but one day of ranking won’t keep you airborne. The goal is to get a sustainable ranking. There are some good ways to do this. Facebook and blogs are the best tools for no-name authors. Do blog tours. You’ll be surprised how many readers will buy because they read about it on their favorite site. Don’t give a bland author interview, but make yourself likeable with humor, anecdotes, and tidbits about you that intrigue readers.