“Marketing is really about understanding your message and why you’re the unique messenger for this topic.” – Azul Terronez
Authors have so many questions about marketing their books — and some even grow to hate marketing before their book is actually finished.
That’s where I come in. On this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead,” I’m answering your biggest questions surrounding marketing — because at the end of the day, marketing shouldn’t be hard. It should just be another way of sharing your message.
When you’re unclear on the message your book presents, that’s where the stress and anxiety start to seep in. So if marketing doesn’t feel effortless, this could be the culprit — and I’m here to help.
Let’s get started!
“When Should I Start Marketing My Book?”
My short answer is: As soon as possible, even if your book isn’t finished yet. The research says that people need to see a book, topic, or idea marketed at least seven times before they pay much attention to it.
So, when you first have the idea for your book, it’s okay to let people know that you’re writing it. They care about you and want to support you. They want to hear about your book journey — how you decided on this topic, what your writing habits are, and how your book progresses.
Trust me, these details are interesting to your followers — more interesting than seeing post after post promoting your book for sale. This could look like posting pictures of yourself writing, or sharing an article related to your book, or including them in a big decision, such as a title or cover choice.
“How Can I Make Marketing Feel Comfortable When I’m Not a Business Person?”
Authors can be hesitant to start marking their books because they don’t consider themselves “marketers” — not to mention, promoting yourself can feel uncomfortable or even sleazy.
Think of marketing more like networking. We want to share our message with the people it will benefit, and our book with an audience that will truly enjoy it. Seek out local businesses, churches, schools, bookstores, libraries, chambers of commerce, and parenting groups — and don’t forget about online communities, like on Facebook, that have built-in potential readers.
Providing value to these groups might be offering to speak for free, give advice, or another service related to your message. Book marketing shouldn’t be hard; it should feel like service.
“What Is the First Step in Marketing an Anthology?”
Use the power of the group! The exciting part of marketing an anthology is that you’re writing your book with other people, so you have each other to help with marketing. They all want the book to be successful.
When you connect and collaborate with your co-authors, ask about their marketing strategies. Do they have an email list? A podcast or a blog? If so, offer to be a guest. The group effort only amplifies your own marketing efforts when promoting your book.
“How Do I Identify My Ideal Audience?”
Identifying your ideal book audience or avatar will help you understand how to market it. Start by considering whom you’re targeting: Is it housewives, small business owners, teens? Then, where would you find them online?
Next, pinpoint the problem you’re trying to solve, or an issue you’re addressing with your message. If this feels unclear, your book will be difficult to market — and if you’re too broad, the book will feel inauthentic.
Most people don’t want to know what the book is “about” when they’re shopping on Amazon. They want to know what problem it will solve for them.
“How Do I Find Business Owners Interested in My Book’s Topic?”
If you are clear on your book’s topic and the problem it solves, now you need to know where your ideal readers hang out. What magazines, books, or articles do they read? What groups do they participate in?
Once you find out where your ideal reader spends their time, don’t immediately reach out to them. Most business owners won’t respond to this kind of tactic. However, they will usually contribute to magazines or articles in their area of expertise. If you’re seen as an expert, they might read your article, and visit your website to learn more.
People don’t want to be pitched. They want to be helped. Remember, marketing is a way to share your message, solve problems for the readers and make an impact in the world. Use your book as leverage to promote yourself as an author, which can help you get on podcasts, TEDx talks, or open up speaking opportunities.
As you’re thinking about your own marketing hurdles, I suggest you sit down and make a list of all the possible ways to market your book — and the places you could speak about it. The closer you follow opportunities, the more you’ll find.
Build a calendar that identifies one book marketing task per week, and complete it. Be consistent and know that people care about authors. They trust you when you speak your authentic message. You’re the person they’re looking for, so find ways to share your journey, as well as your message.
What was your biggest takeaway from the episode? In the comments, share your biggest challenge in marketing your book.
That’s all for this week. If you have a message inside you that needs to be written, know that any obstacles you encounter can be overcome — even the dreaded marketing of your book. Today is the perfect time to start sharing your journey as you write your book!
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