by Penny Sansevieri
If you hate the idea of marketing or don’t know where to begin, you’re not alone. I get it. Believe me. Marketing isn’t easy, especially if you still have a full-time job and want to focus on your next book. The challenge is that if you don’t market, no one will know about your book.
The simple act of putting your book on Amazon does not a marketing plan make. Contrary to what your mom, family, and friends may think—or perhaps what you’ve been told in your writers’ group—your book is not the field of dreams. Just the mere act of publishing won’t bring droves of people beating a path to your door. So what’s an author to do? Well, the good news is that it’s deceptively simple!
- Build your fan base: Fans, and Super Fans in particular, will help you market your book. In fact, if you really engage with your Super Fans, they often help you sell your book. And wouldn’t that be great? So how do you build this fan base? Well, I talk a lot about putting a letter in the back of your book—something engaging and inviting—something that encourages readers to contact you. Building a loyal base is worth its weight in gold, and if you really don’t want to spend your life marketing your books, then you must invest in the fans who find you organically.
- Pitch reviewers: I know how tedious this is, but if you pitch only five bloggers a week, that’s twenty new blog pitches in a month. And it does add up. You should always pitch your book consistently to bloggers, readers, Amazon reviewers, etc. Not sure how to find them? Check out these links for a list of bloggers you can pitch:
- Boost your Amazon visibility: It’s hard not to venture onto our blog without seeing a post about Amazon Optimization. Yes, I’m a huge fan of it—not just because I wrote a book about it, but because it works. If you want Amazon to (almost) market your book for you, you must check your keyword strings and categories. If you have single keywords, replace them with actual keyword strings. If you want to dig deeper here, read our chapter called “Demystifying Amazon Categories, Themes and Keywords.”
- Blog and social media: I get that this is a turn-off for most authors. You already have another book you want to write, and now I want you to blog and be on social media too? Well, yes, but don’t overthink this. Be interesting or be funny or “open the kimono,” as they say, and share a glimpse of a writer’s life. The blogs don’t have to be long. In fact, some of the best posts aren’t long at all. But they should be interesting, insightful, and even funny, if being humorous is your thing. How often do I want you to blog? Well, twice a week ideally, and once at a bare minimum. In terms of social media, keep in mind that it’s not about being everywhere but everywhere that matters. If you only have time for one site, then do just one site. Post one piece of content a day—that’s it. It takes, literally, less than five minutes, and it’s free. Engage, build fans, and network. Whatever you do, whether it’s one of these things or all of them (rock star!), do it consistently. One blog post every once in a while, one social media update, or one pitch to a blogger will not move the needle. But if done consistently, this will have an effect on your success.
All of these things are easy to work into a schedule. And some, like the Amazon keywords, have to be done only one time or a couple of times a year, if you’re in a popular genre with lots of new competition. If you wrote a book, you owe it to yourself and the book you spent so much time on to do something, even if it’s at the smallest level.
It’s easy to throw your hands up and say, “I don’t get it!”
And believe me when I say that I see this a lot: authors giving up and walking away.
When I was first in business, I hated a lot about what I was required to do. Taxes and accounting are great examples. I did this myself for a while and it wasn’t pretty. But I did it, and it got me through. When I finally had the means, I outsourced these tasks. I’m glad I didn’t walk away from my business just because I sort of suck at math. Why am I telling you this? To emphasize that we all have pieces we hate to do. But if this journey and your book are important to you, you’ll make time to do them or learn how to do them.
You only fail if you fail to try! So dig in with me, and learn some great marketing efforts that you can begin in around five minutes!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book-marketing and media-relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book-marketing campaigns. This is an excerpt from her book, 5-Minute Marketing.