Welcome to a guest post from Karen Jonson about marketing your books.
Did You Sell All the Books You Wanted to Sell in 2013? — Or Did Low Sales Crush Your Dreams?
Do you recognize your book marketing problems in this list?
If so, make a New Year’s resolution to conquer your book marketing problems.
1. No Marketing Strategy.
Too many authors spend all of their time on book marketing tactics, like relentlessly tweeting about their books, posting book sales offers on Facebook and LinkedIn, and asking everyone they know to buy their books.
However, every one of these tactics and others like them are likely to yield unsatisfactory results.
But with a strategy in place, every promotional seed an author plants is part of a bigger plan.
Every action is specifically designed to add value to a plan that is robust, comprehensive, and ultimately more effective at creating an ongoing, powerful book marketing program than merely engaging in random acts of marketing.
2. Failing to Give Readers a Map to Discover Your Books.
We tend to thing of book selling as pushing our books in front of readers.
But I think there’s a more powerful process that many authors are missing — giving potential readers a map to discover your books.
This book discovery map approach accomplishes several important objectives including:
- Eliminating the obnoxious “buy me, buy me, buy me” approach many authors take.
- Widening the net of people who discover your books.
- Getting better results with less effort.
3. Ignoring Your Blog — (or Not Even Having One!).
Authors who don’t have blogs rely on their social media sites to communicate with followers, fans, and likes.
This is a huge mistake.
The number one reason is that you do not “own” your followers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or any other social platform. The companies own these platforms — and this means they own your followers.
They can do whatever they want with your followers — advertise to them, delete them, or weaken your connection to them.
Here’s a classic example: Facebook controls how many people (who liked your page) actually see your posts — and this number has trickled down over the past few years.
Some say it is currently 5 to 10 percent. Others say it’s as little as 1% in some cases.
Is reaching a small percent of your audience a smart marketing strategy? Certainly not.
Guess where you are assured of reaching 100 percent of the people who opt in to follow you?
4. Failing to Capture Prospect Emails.
Even having your own blog is not enough to boost your book marketing impact.
What you need is a group of people signing up to regularly receive your blog updates and other emails from you.
And this means you have to capture the emails of prospects who want to stay connected to you.
This involves having a reliable auto-responder, a compelling call-to-action, and a valuable freebie offer.
This is how you build a list of prospects that you own!
5. Using Social Media Incorrectly.
The rapid rise of social media as a way to communicate with people is a lot like a gold rush.
You know there’s gold in them thar hills — you just don’t know exactly where it is, how to get to it, what tools you need, and how long it will take to hit the mother lode.
With any gold rush, many prospectors will fail. They will waste time, use up resources, get frustrated, and quit.
Does that sound like your experience with social media?
If so, it’s not the fault of the social media platforms (though we like to blame them with a succinct: “Oh tweeting doesn’t sell books!”).
When the reality is that you are likely using your social media assets incorrectly.
What you need to do instead is set up social signposts within your Book Discovery Map.
6. Lack of Subtle Selling Skills.
Like social media, many authors are using all of the wrong techniques for selling their books.
While many authors profess that they “don’t like selling” or “don’t want to sell like used car salesmen,” too many authors just blast out “buy me” messages and call it marketing.
Instead of trying to hit people over the head to get them to buy your books, you need to craft “sales” messages that help readers decide that they want to buy your books.
7. Failing to Analyze Results.
Even big companies don’t always do an excellent job of analyzing the results of their marketing efforts — so don’t feel bad if you are weak in this area.
However, engaging in regular marketing analysis is a powerful step in the direction of realizing your goal of selling a lot of your books for two simple reasons:
- You’ll figure out what is working and what isn’t so you can do more of what works and eliminate what doesn’t work.
- You’ll bring strategy to your book marketing effort, which will elevate your attitude, habits, and approach to your life as a book marketer.
If your book marketing plan has fallen victim to one of more of these seven deadly mistakes, it’s time to take your book marketing program in a new direction in 2014.
Clancy's comment: Thanks, Karen. Mm ... In recent years I have said, 'I never knew I was a car salesman until I became a writer.' It's all up to you folks. No white knight is about to appear on your doorstep. You're in charge!
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