Guest Post By Heidi Fiedler of helloheidifiedler.com
The advantages of writing and self-publishing a book go beyond the sales it can generate. A great book is a calling card and a billboard. Establishing your reputation as a writer can lead to consulting work, speaking opportunities, and more. So how do you avoid being one of the thousands of books published each year that sell under 250 copies? How do you make your book stand out in a super saturated market? The first step starts before anyone can even buy the book. Hiring a professional team to design a high-quality cover, editing your manuscript, and selecting photographs and illustrations that will make your ideas easier to understand, will go a long way to positioning your book as a credible and engaging read. Once your book is published, there are three main ways to market your work so your readers can see how amazing it is.
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Grow Your Email List
After conducting extensive research, best-selling writer Tim Grahl of Out Think Author Group has determined that growing your email list is the top way to engage fans over the long term. This strategy makes your prime subscribers excited to buy your next book, and lets them know why they should buy your current products. This method is recommended for both established writers and total newbies.
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Many writers find it helpful to be active on social media and take advantage of the online writing community. If you have a successful blog, you already know how to be visible on social media. Keep doing what you’re doing, and I won’t bore you with more tips and tricks for getting the word out about your book on Twitter etc. Instead focus on opportunities that only exist for books. Organizing blog tours, guest posts, giveaways, reviews, and interviews can extend your reach in powerful ways. Danielle LaPorte’s Big Beautiful Book Plan focuses on how to pitch a book to an agent or trade publisher, but it’s also packed with info on developing a low-cost marketing plan that will build awareness of your book.
If you have some money to spend, advertising can help grow sales, at least in the short term. The analytics you receive from a NetGalley campaign can be useful for helping you understand your audience. If your book addresses a niche topic or includes some very specific keywords in the title, you might find Google or Facebook ads effective. Even a promoted Pinterest pin can be useful if it’s targeted at the right readers. AdBiblio is a new service that works like Google to place ads on a variety of websites, but it uses a book-specific algorithm. Starting at roughly $250, the rates are reasonable, and their track record is strong.
Hire a Pro
If the idea of marketing your book is overwhelming, I hear you. Sometimes, it’s best to hire a pro to help, so you can focus on doing the creative work you do best. It may not be a strategy you use with every title you write, but making your first book a success can pay off every time you publish a new book. Agencies are beginning to rep self-published authors who are highly credible and appeal to a specific market that the agency is already familiar with. Packages can range anywhere from $1,000-$10,000 dollars. A freelance marketing guru like Kate Tilton can offer more personalized and affordable options.
Writing Is Just the Beginning
Even the biggest publishers struggle with getting publicity for new books. An elaborate marketing campaign from a trade publisher can easily cost upward of $50,000, but being successful isn’t always about paying more money. If that were the case, publishers would throw money at the problem and watch every book rise to the top of the best-seller lists. The process is murkier than that. But it leaves room for new authors and indie publishers to make their own mark. The important thing is to know that the work of publishing a book isn’t done when the writing is done. It’s just beginning. The marketing phase is just as important and can’t be ignored.
Which of these techniques you’ve tried and what services you would like to see developed for marketing books?
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Publishers and creatives hire Heidi Fiedler to develop ideas into books that delight and inspire. She has written and edited more than 300 books for clients ranging from Target to Barnes & Noble. Her latest project is Think Like an Editor: An Inside Look at What Makes a Book Work, a new series on Instagram and #thinklikeaneditor. Connect with her at helloheidifiedler.com.