Friday, December 02, 2016

Why You Have to Market Your Own Book

I was at a book festival a few weeks ago when I was approached by a woman wanting to sell her book to a publishing house.

"I just don't have the time to market." She explained. "I just want to hand you the book and forget about it until the royalty checks come."

I had the good grace not to let my jaw actually fall to the floor, but I took note of her name and made myself a mental note to reject the manuscript if it came across my desk.

Even if it's amazing?

Even if it's amazing.

The publishing world has changed a bit (and by "a bit", I mean a LOT), especially when it comes to marketing. In the days before social media, books were advertised via the regular media: in newspapers, magazines, and morning talk shows. This still happens, of course, especially if you are represented by one of the larger houses. The advent of social media, however, has changed the advertising game. Authors have unprecedented access to their potential audience via Facebook and Twitter, and have reach that no marketing department can replicate.

Believe me, I understand that authors are an artistic bunch. The business side of publishing is tedious, and marketing gets in the way of writing time. I understand. I truly do. However, Readers want to interact with authors on a more personal level than in the past. They expect to be engaged, to know the name on the cover and attach it to a face and a voice. When readers feel like they "know" the author, they are more likely to recommend the book to friends. Social media engagement = better word of mouth sales.

What are the three best ways to do this?

1. Facebook - Facebook is a great place to really interact with your fanbase. This is where you can hold online parties to create buzz, promote other authors, and place ads.

2. Twitter - This is where you can find those fans and funnel them to Facebook. Using hashtags and mentions strategically helps you grow an audience with which to engage

3. Email - According to a 2014 study bMcKinsey Consulting, you are 40% more likely to sell a book via email than by social media alone. Surprised? We were. So grow that email list. 

For more on these methods, check out our post here.

The point is, publishing is more about author/reader interaction than ever before, and authors must be willing to put in the time and effort to publicize their own work, even if they are with a publishing house. 
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