Book Promotion Woes?

Many new authors believe that once their book is written and they get it posted at Amazon that the sales will just come pouring in and they’ll make a bundle. Sadly, this disillusionment is shattered when they receive their first royalty check. Or worse, no royalty check at all.

In reality, the author’s work isn’t done once the book is published. The real work starts when the book is released.

Even some of the big author names of today began by peddling their books out of the back of their car. Many big-name authors of today also began by self-publishing because no one else recognized their talent nor believed in them.

They didn’t typically start off their writing career with a huge bang. They did not have the money to afford publicists and big marketing firms when they started out and yet, here they are, today, super successful.

Even before you self-publish your book, even before it’s completely written in some cases, marketing, promoting and networking must be done every single day — for the life of the book — and all in balance with your other activities and obligations.

Many new authors feel their only way to success is through book signings and bookstores stocking their book. While in larger centers with good promotion, a book signing event or book reading event may result in as much as a couple hundred one-time sales, most smaller venues can only expect less than 10 sales. Is this worth the 2 hours or more that you spend at the event?

And that’s not even counting all the preparation, marketing for the event, promotion materials, any displays that you have designed and possibly paid for ahead of time plus time taken away from work. These events do not pay authors to host an event so any sales they do have may not even cover the traveling costs, hotel cost, meals, parking or supplies — let alone the time they put into it. Nor do they usually result in long-term sales — sales are often only during the few days around the event.

Bookstores can only realistically stock less than 1% of the 3 million books available on the market. Their discount with the publisher/distributor is large. Authors are paid royalties only on what their publisher has received. So is all the time and effort going into attaining spots on bookstore shelves worth it?

While those venues can be valuable and important to any author — everyone wants to see their book on the bookstore shelf — as a self-published book author, you need to step back and figure out where your efforts will bring the greatest results. Don’t expect immediate and overwhelming acceptance by the media or your audience. Marketing, networking and promoting are long-term efforts that will reap greater rewards as your efforts continue.

Many authors live in tiny towns and hold down “day jobs” or have physical limitations that prevent out-of-town promotions. But with today’s technology within easy reach of just about everyone, these limitations don’t have to actually BE limitations.

Even if you aren’t already in some type of business, your book becomes both your product and your business. You’ll need to start thinking like it’s a business. This means using all marketing channels at your disposal.

Keep in mind that consistency and persistence are the keys to any successful marketing endeavor.

Newspapers, libraries, and bookstores are only the most obvious marketing channels and tend to be the most difficult to gain the attention of without first having a strong image. You, along with every other author, are vying for their attention.

So work on your image. As a book author your brand is just as important as it is for any other business. Creating a strong brand image supported by strong promotional materials will help you stand out among the thousands of new books released every single day and increase your chances of more success.

You want to offer as many ways as possible to reach your potential reading audience.

Develop a long-term marketing plan and stick with it. Your plan will grow and change as time goes on and you’ll want to try out new channels, especially as the initial roll out begins to fade. You may have your next book already in your sights, but you’re going to still want to keep your first book — all of your books — visible in your marketplace.

Keep good records of what works and what doesn’t work for you so you can determine how you will go about marketing your next book. Good marketers are always watching for results — both good and bad — to determine the next steps and making adjustments for getting — and keeping — the word out about your book.

So many authors get overwhelmed by the immense amount of effort it takes to market a book, too often letting their book languish and die, that I also offer marketing support — along with formatting and promotional materials — for my self-publishing clients. Let’s chat about it.

If you take one day, one step at a time, along with a good plan up front, you’ll find that marketing does not have to be so overwhelming. As your book sales rise, you may discover just how much you love the marketing part.

Remember too, that efforts you are making today may not reap immediate results.

You may have to reach out to your audience many times before they click that button to order. Be patient and professional, persistent and consistent in all that you do and you’ll reap the rewards of more book sales.

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