How to Market Your Book Even If You Aren’t a Salesperson
“Thinking about marketing a book has to change in your mind. Don’t think of a book as something you have to sell.” – Azul Terronez
Many people like the idea of writing a book, but few actually accomplish this goal — and for those who do, they tend to find that marketing is even harder than the actual creation itself.
When authors think about launching their books, they can get stuck. They start questioning how good their books actually are, leading to marketing reluctance, fear of asking for reviews or even sharing it with the world.
This can prevent authors from finishing their books — or if they get through the writing, they stall at the marketing. And so, on this week’s solo episode of “Authors Who Lead,” I talk about book marketing in a way that will give you confidence to market your own book, even if you don’t consider yourself a salesperson.
Mindset is Important
I’ve seen many authors get in their heads and start questioning their writing — or even themselves as an author.
This is where you need to start changing your mindset around book marketing.
Don’t think of it as selling your book. Instead, think of the message at the core of your book as the focus of your marketing efforts. Your message is more important than the book itself, so the marketing should happen all along the way, not just the week of your book launch.
Believe In Your Message First
Understanding that you’re uniquely perfect for writing your book and believing in your message is the first step toward marketing your book.
I encourage the authors I coach to ask themselves who their book is for, and get specific about that ideal reader. Where does that person spend their time online? And in the real world? Where do they get their information and their news? What social media do they use and how old are they? These questions will help narrow down who the book is for. Some authors make the mistake of saying their book is for everyone. I say if their book is for everyone, their book is for no one. Everyone doesn’t need your book.
Participate In Places Where Your Audience Is
As you hone in on your ideal reader, find out where they like to hang out online. Are they part of a Facebook group, or do they gravitate toward Instagram or LinkedIn? When you learn about their struggles and what they need, you can genuinely serve and be part of that community.
This is different from going on social media just to push your book. You want to develop relationships so that when you do share about your book, it won’t feel spammy. They will truly be delighted to know about your book because you’ve been there to help or inspire.
Since, by this time, you’ve hopefully identified your ideal reader, you can start borrowing other people’s audience of listeners if you don’t have your own. Find out if you can contribute to their community. They might have a role for you, or a need for content contributors, which would help grow your own community.
Email lists, especially when started early on, are also a great way to reach people with your message.
Practical Marketing Takeaways
First and foremost, share your journey. Share what you’re doing with your peers, or in social media and blog posts. People like to know the nitty gritty, behind-the-scenes stuff. Let them in on your writing process, share your title, or ask for feedback on cover designs.
You might be the only author they know, and the information you share could be more valuable to them than you think. This is an easy way to create buzz around your book and its message. Some specific ways to serve and reach more readers are hosting a virtual summit, or being a podcast guest or blogger.
Next, grow your authority. By sharing your story more clearly and deeply with your ideal readers, you’ll establish yourself as an expert on the subject. As you share your journey and the message of your book, people will want to know more. As you dive deeper into why your message matters, they’ll become even more invested. If you’re consistent with sharing your journey and message, your launch won’t end up just being posts or asks to buy your book.
Finally, think like a publisher and solve the reader’s problems before the book is launched. While you’re participating in groups, see what people’s problems are around your subject. Research other books with your same message and learn what their readers and reviewers talk about. Is there something in your book that could address these concerns? Is there a way to describe or talk about your message that better resonates with the reader?
Tackling Book Launch and Reviews
After taking all the steps above, now you’re ready for the launch. This is super important because you want your readers to pay attention the day it comes out. This is less about sales and more about reviews.
Reach out to people who know and trust you. Give them an early copy of the book so that when the book does come out, they have already read it and can leave a review. Ask them to buy the book, so that it can be a verified review — and you can always discount it so they have a window of opportunity to pay less.
Putting in the effort to ask for reviews is important, because typically, people don’t automatically leave them. While most of us read and put faith in reviews of products we’re thinking of buying, we often don’t think of leaving a review unless we’re extremely excited or disappointed in a product.
Readers might not be comfortable leaving a review, or even know how to do it. My advice is to walk them through it. In my own book launch, I followed up with people that had said they would write one. Don’t be afraid to be persistent.
Is ‘Book Marketing Camp’ For You?
As you write your book, think of ways you can share your journey, serve your ideal readers, and understand the problem you’re solving with your message. This will help you become a better marketer of your book.
I hope you found value in today’s podcast. As you’re thinking about marketing, remember these main takeaways from today’s episode:
- Share your journey. People want to know the process of writing your book, and how your message came to be.
- Grow your authority. By sharing your message with clarity, people will identify you as an authority on the subject.
- Solve the reader’s problem before the book launch. Think like a publisher and make sure your message resonates with your ideal reader and helps them solve a problem.
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’re struggling with marketing your book, try shifting your mindset toward sharing your journey, rather than selling your book.