Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Don’t Sell Me Your Book—Sell Me YOU!

By Len Lawson 

Much has been written in recent years about how the publishing industry and its consumers have changed. The gaps among the success of authors published through traditional publishing, small press, and self-publishing continue to be diminished. The difference in the success remains in the marketing of the product. Regardless of the means of publication, an author in today’s writing industry needs to have a clear marketing strategy for their own work. Publishers may even be more likely to consider an author’s work if authors submit their queries with some options for marketing their books.

The core of these marketing ideas exists in the individual author. Readers not only want to read a good book, but they also want to read from a good author and more books from that author. Then, they will tell their friends about this great new author whose book they read. The more readers can identify with their authors, the more likely they will be return customers. The key here is more transparency, especially for first-time authors. Authors that market themselves can turn readers into fans!

Below I provide some tips for how an author can brainstorm ways to impress agents and publishers how to market—and eventually sell your book.

  • Be unique. To establish a brand, discover a quality that distinguishes you from the millions of other authors in this saturated industry. For example, if you are a teacher, start a blog that is unique to your subject area or to education in general. As a platform, you can speak at teacher conferences or write articles for teacher newsletters to build an audience. Share the story of your career path or your passion for your subject. Once again, the key is transparency. If you have a niche or a passion, then there are readers waiting to learn more about you and subsequently about your writing!
  • Be proactive. After you decide who your audience is, find the readers where they are, talk to them directly, and establish more settings to meet readers besides just book signings. Finding book clubs to join or market to is a good idea, but why not start your own book club? Rally other readers around you who enjoy your genre. This creates a built-in audience that can expand exponentially! Don’t just sit back and wait for readers to come after you write your book. Go out and get ‘em before the process starts!
  • Be enterprising. Some of the best partners for book marketing are in other industries. Someone you know with their own business can use your assistance in exchange for publicity. For example, a store owner may provide a space for your books in their shop in exchange for publicity. Partner with others who believe in your work. The key here is to be creative and to think like an entrepreneur.
  • Be diverse. Since your readers are diverse, different aspects of your book may appeal to different readers. For example, your romance novel may be set at the beach. During the summer, this would be a great read! Therefore, you could market to beach readers or readers going on a long trip. Once again, be creative.

The possibilities are endless for aspiring authors to market themselves along with their stories. Millions of readers are waiting for their next book to buy and read. They are also waiting for an author that appeals to them. Being transparent as an author can open the door to more opportunities with agents, publishers, and ultimately readers.  Don’t allow your book to be the barrier between you and your readers, and don’t wait for publishers and agents to have the last say in the marketing. Your readers are waiting; give them what they want. Give them you!

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