Book marketing PROBABLY isn't the most glamorous part of being a self published writer. (Unless your idea of the literary life is updating your Facebook page and churning out WordPress blog posts.)
But these days the "literary life" - even for writers represented by the big traditional publishers - isn't possible without a CONSISTENT book marketing plan you can put to work, again and again.
So, here are 5 Book Marketing Platforms you can use to help you achieve the literary life - and put some much-needed money in your bank account as well.
Book Marketing Platform #1: Email
I know, email. Not terribly exciting.
How is boring old email gonna help you sell books on a grand scale when there are so many other sexier - and hipper - platforms to use.
Well, have you ever noticed how those hip, cool platforms - such as Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest - let you know that there's activity on your profile? Yep...good old email.
Now, email does have its downsides. Deliver-ability is tough. Standing out in a sea of spammy inbox denizens is another. Coming up with interesting email content that doesn't JUST sell is tougher still.
But...having written over 30 books I have found NO more effective way to market, promote and ultimately sell more books than through email.
The key thing is to "collect" email addresses wherever you can. This includes having a link to your email capture page in places like:
- Front and back of your books
- In every blog post you writer
- In the bio of every social media profile
- Anywhere else you can think of!
And don't wait to start collecting until you have "something to say." Just start collecting them email addresses now. You'll be glad you did - and so will your checking account.
Book Marketing Platform #2: YouTube
If you think YouTube is just about cats playing keyboard and American Idol wannabes, let me assure you YouTube is the fastest, best, most effective way to build exposure for your books, and ultimately your brand as an author.
Now, unlike the other platforms on this list, there is a slight barrier to entry to using YouTube effectively. (You have to have some kind of video-recording device. You have to not become paralyzed with fear when talking on camera.)
But if you've got a halfway decent smartphone and an external mic, then you could easily (and quickly) churn out amazingly powerful 2-3 minute videos.
And the COOLEST part about YouTube videos, aside from the fact that videos rank really high in Google search rankings, is that subscribers to your channel get an email letting them know you've put up a video. (How cool is that?!)
So...what do you create videos about? (Well, if you're a non-fiction author then you'd want to share your expertise, if you're a fiction author then you could share experiences about the writing process or maybe talk about where your ideas come from.)
Remember: most of your readers want to know more about YOU. (And many wish they could be you.) So give them a bit of insight into your creative life. (You just might create a couple thousand die-hard fans in the process.)
Book Marketing Platform #3: Pinterest
I gotta be honest. For years, I just didn't "get" Pinterest. (Something about all those Prada handbag pics just didn't quite resonate with me.)
But then I came to realize two things I just LOVE about Pinterest: 1) People who use Pinterest BUY and 2) Pins actually stick around for awhile.
This is more profound than you'd think. Unlike social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, a Pinterest pin doesn't just disappear in the ether five minutes after it goes live.
And...people don't go to Pinterest to connect with friends, such as Facebook, or avoid doing real work, such as Twitter. They go to "dream" and be "creative." (And what's more dreamy and creative than books.)
And perhaps biggest of all, in these frenetic, fast-paced times visual content, such as a Pinterest pin, is the probably the most effective way to get your message out there.
Now, what kind of content you put in your pins will depend on your writing genre. (I like to break my books into small, digestible chunks of Pinterest awesomeness.)
Just make sure that each links EITHER to your book listing page OR your email opt-in page. (The goal, as in all these platforms, is readers...not followers.)
Book Marketing Platform #4: Facebook Advertising
Now, you'll notice I DIDN'T say Facebook, or Facebook Fan Page. I said Facebook advertising.
That's because, these days, posting to your Facebook fan page - without some advertising component - is a waste of time. (People simply won't see it.)
Now we can all complain and curse the ghost of Mark Zuckerberg that hangs over Facebook, or we can learn to embrace the stunning power of Facebook advertising. Which is...
...amazingly targeted audience info.
No single platform lets you REACH your ideal reader like Facebook. And I mean ideal.
Want to create an ad that just reaches 31-year-old women, who work at Starbucks and live in Nebraska and love the "Twilight" series - but hate "Fifty Shades of Grey" - and are planning a wedding in the next six months.
You can do THAT with Facebook advertising.
Yeah, but how does that turn into readers. Well...you could use Facebook ads to:
- Let people know about your free book promo
- Send people straight to your book sales page (my least favorite)
- Send people to an email opt-in page (my favorite)
- Get the word out about your NEW YouTube video, blog post, or Facebook update
Now there is a bit of a learning curve with Facebook ads. (You'll want to start SLOW and ease that budget up.) But as long as you're breaking even with book sales, Facebook ads can be an amazing way to boost your readership. (And help you afford that 1st edition of "To Kill a Mockingbird" you've had your eye on.
Book Marketing Platform #5: Forums and Message Boards
Now I know online forums can be a bit like the cantina in Star Wars. ("A wretched hive of scum and villainy.")
But they are also reservoirs of passionate people who care A LOT about a specific subject. And if you've got a book (or books) then they are the PERFECT way to connect with possible readers and get some instant feedback on things like titles, covers, blurbs and...even first drafts.
The trick is: to be VERY respectful. That means commenting on other people's posts, without constantly selling your own books. And waiting 3-4 weeks before telling people about your fabulous book promo. And above all...respecting the terms of service. (I mean it: ya gotta read 'em and abide by 'em.)
But if you're able to do that, and gain the trust of the forum bigwigs - don't worry, you'll quickly learn who they are - then you might just find a pipeline to die-hard fanatics just waiting to embrace you as their new favorite author. (Even if you have to deal with some scum and villainy along the way.)