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by Joan Holman– Author, nationally-acclaimed online marketing guru, book marketing diva and founder of SelfPublishing.Zone

Have you ever seen the television show SHARK TANK? It is one of my favorite shows and I think it clearly demonstrates the path of entrepreneurship.

  • Entrepreneurs have an idea for a product 
  • They invest time and money to develop that product
  • They sell (or try to sell) that product to the market

What really impresses the “sharks” is not necessarily the product itself, but the fact that the market demonstrates that it likes the product. The evidence of this is product sales. 

If you watch Shark Tank, you will notice that it takes an upfront investment by an entrepreneur (or their investors) to create and market a product. 

Without marketing, there are no sales. And marketing involves time and/or money. And trial and error. The entrepreneurs pour their energy and time into their businesses in order to build those businesses, and some succeed and some don’t, for any number of reasons. 

Of course, not every author is seeking the kind of success as the entrepreneurs who appear on Shark Tank. And not every author measures success in terms of number of books sold or net profits from book sales. In fact, someone may write a book to boost his or her professional reputation or thought leadership. Other people write books just for creative expression. Some people are just thrilled to see their name in print as the author and hold a book in their hands.

However, if you do want to have some degree of success with your book, however you may measure that success, then you must approach the development, publishing, and marketing of your book like an entrepreneur. 

THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR

You must view your books as products and develop a strategy to package and promote your books for maximum appeal to the right-targeted audience(s). You must understand what it takes to prove a product in the marketplace and you must commit to providing the market with a product that appeals to that market. This can involve market research, product testing, and trial and error. 

  • View your readers as customers
  • Do market research 
  • Know your competition (what other books are like yours)
  • Be business-minded
  • Be marketing-minded
  • Pick a niche audience and target that audience with your marketing
  • For fiction writers, write a series and not just one book

ONLINE MARKETING IS CRUCIAL FOR MARKETING A BOOK IN TODAY’S ONLINE WORLD

I have been helping authors market their books for 20+ years and have seen a significant change in how books are marketed. In fact, today almost all book marketing is online marketing. And as one of the first people in the world to develop websites and do online marketing (starting in 1995), I have seen a great change in the world of online marketing over the years. 

  • Today, you must have an author or book website. 
  • Having a blog may be helpful, but only if you post regularly on that blog and use it to engage your readers. 
  • You should be on LinkedIn. 
  • You should be on Facebook. 
  • You should use Twitter, maybe Pinterest, and other sites, depending upon your target market.
  • You should build an e-mail list, and use it to communicate regularly with your audience.
  • The Internet has become very visual, so have a great book cover and use graphics and images for social media promotion.

Another way to promote your book is to have strategic partnerships with influential websites and influential people who have an interest in your kind of book. Whether you write fiction or nonfiction, there are many niche communities online that include Meet-Up Groups, LinkedIn Groups, popular blogs, and specialty websites.

YOU MUST BE WILLING TO PROMOTE YOUR OWN BOOK OVER A PERIOD OF TIME

What has not changed with book marketing over the years is the fact that authors must promote their own books, whether they are self-published or traditionally published. Too many times I have had authors come to me who were at first very excited to get a publisher, until they found out the publisher would do no marketing for them. 

Being successful at marketing your book begins with the understanding that nothing happens unless you engage in marketing. You should make a commitment to consistently market your book over a long period of time. How much time should you devote to marketing? It all depends. Maybe it is one hour a week, or 10+ hours a week, or several hours a month, but it is a consistent ongoing process to build momentum for a book. But most authors that are really successful have usually done a great deal of marketing themselves.

Register for my "Lunch & Learn" webinar, “Success Secrets for Marketing Your Books,” on Wednesday, June 22 at Noon ET. 

Register Now!

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