I’ve been an avid writer and reader all of my life. I have a diverse background, and have found I’m happiest running my own business. I currently live in the Northern Idaho area with my husband and our two cats. Here you will find Top Tips for Content Creation, Publishing, and Monetizing
Nowadays, it seems that just about everyone is obsessed with online marketing. But have you ever thought about what promoting your books offline could do for your career as a self-published author?
In a world where practically everyone has access to the internet on a computer or a phone, it can be easy to overlook the more traditional forms of marketing that have been tried and true for countless businesses over a span of centuries.
That said, with billions of people navigating the internet super highway on a daily basis, you’re probably wondering why you would even consider going offline to do your marketing and promotion?
The Powerful Benefits of Offline Marketing
If you’re skeptical about whether or not there is value in offline marketing, what follows are just a few of the reasons why it is something that you should look into if improving your brand visibility and increasing your fan base is on your list of long term goals.
One of the most outstanding benefits of doing offline marketing vs online marketing is the in-person interaction you get to have with prospects that you can’t get in the virtual world.
There is something about shaking a hand, giving a smile and having one-on-one interaction that no amount of email, blog posts and webinars can deliver. This is especially true if you are what could be considered as a “people person” that does well with interpersonal communication.
If this sounds like you, consider taking your book promotions offline to have the greatest marketing impact.
Reaching Groups That Don’t Use the Internet
While over 40 percent of the world’s population is online, there are still billions of people who rarely, if ever, use a computer or a cell phone to access information on the world wide web.
Depending on who the members of your target audience are, this could mean that you’re missing out on lots of valuable opportunities to showcase your books and brand in front of an audience that will truly appreciate them.
With all the advances in online marketing, word of mouth remains the best marketing tool in the world for spreading awareness of a brand and its associated products. Nothing gives your prospects the confidence they need to purchase one of your book offers more than a recommendation from a relative, friend or associate.
While shares and likes are common online, the vast majority of word of mouth communication still takes place in the offline world. Try shifting your focus towards in-person marketing techniques to help boost the chances of your books and brand being promoted via word of mouth.
Improve Your Brand Identity
The internet is a wonderful tool for building and developing a strong brand identity, however to truly have the best results it is important to expand your reach to offline sources of potential customers.
This is especially true if you want your brand to become well-known locally and if your book offers tend to center around specific geographical locations.
Low Cost Marketing
An often overlooked but significant benefit of doing offline marketing is that you can often get a lot of high quality exposure for a very low cost.
Many online marketing strategies such as blogging and search engine optimization can bring in leads and prospects with little or no money spent up front. But the same applies for offline promotion depending on the types of marketing methods you choose to utilize.
Narrowing Your Prospects Focus
One of the biggest drawbacks of online marking is that you are instantly thrown into an endless sea of competition in the form of other self-published authors, millions of blogs and all kinds of marketing messages that vie for the attention of your target audience. Worse still, they have to wade through all of that on a daily basis to get to the ones that they actually want to know more about.
Going offline with your marketing has a distinct advantage that comes from being able to cut through the noise and connect with the eyes and ears of members of your target audience without having to first navigate through all the distractions they would typically encounter online.
The Allure of an Actual Book
While, eBooks have been very popular for many years and continue to be a resource for promotion and a source of revenue for many self-published authors, there’s no denying that there has been a massive resurgence in the desire for hard copy books in recent years.
When you move your marketing offline, you are almost required to have hard copies of your book that you can either give away in promotions or sell to interested parties.
For prospects who live for the feeling of paper between their fingers, a real book goes a much further way than any virtual offer ever could.
Simple Offline Marketing Tactics for Self-Published Authors
There are countless ways that you can do offline marketing and promotion as a self-published author. Here are some of the simplest ways to get started:
Get into Public Speaking
If you feel comfortable speaking in front of a crowd, why not consider getting into public speaking in order to gain more exposure for your brand and books?
This method is especially effective if you write non-fiction books and have plenty of resources available for booking gigs in places such as community colleges, universities, author networks and interest-specific meetups.
Another great way to improve you brand visibility and get the word out about your books is by sponsoring an event.
Becoming more involved in local community events and backing them as a paying sponsor can go a long way in terms of becoming more well-known.
Investigate non-profit organizations and fund-raising events in your area.
Host a Book Launch Party
A fun and effective way to promote your book offline is by throwing a book launch party where all of the attention is focused on you, your brand and your books.
This offline marketing technique isn’t as simple to pull off as some of the others. However, if you can secure a nice location, coordinate the event well, do some effective promotion and attract a significant group of your target audience members, you will have a memorable event and likely score some new fans and customers in the process.
Give Away Promotional Items
A simple way to market offline is by giving away promotional items.
If you’re worried about the potential costs associated with doing this, bear in mind that creating meaningful physical goods doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.
Consider giving away copies off your book that you already have printed. Alternatively, you could also consider giving away branded products that book lovers are sure to appreciate like bookmarks and other small and low-cost tokens.
Write a Newspaper Column
An easy way to enhance brand recognition while also giving you a chance to let your writing skills shine is by contributing regularly to a column in a local newspaper or magazine on a topic of interest that closely relates to the type of books you write.
For example, if you author books that focus on business topics, try approaching a local paper with ideas for a weekly column that lets you share your knowledge related to small business advice.
The moral of the story?
Never underestimate the power of offline marketing. In an internet obsessed world, you too can tap into this often-forgotten goldmine of marketing and promotion and reach an untapped audience you never even knew existed in the process.
Actually, that’s not true: not even a small percentage of published authors make a living from their royalties. And those are the writers who have book deals. That begs the question: why do so many people dip their toe into publishing every year, whether that’s with a big-name press or as a self-publishing author? The short answer: while most authors are unlikely to retire on royalties, a book can be an invaluable tool to support your other businesses.
In this post, we’ll talk specifically about non-fiction publishing and show you how authors are using their books as a powerful tool for selling their products and services.
Note: This is the point where many entrepreneurs will say, “But I’m not a writer.” If you’re one of those people, we have one word for you: Ghostwriting.
What ‘need’ does your product fill (and for whom)?
This is the first question any entrepreneur needs to answer: where is there a gap in the market, and how does your product fill that gap? Another way to look at it is to ask, ‘what problem am I solving?’
If you’re selling bicycles, maybe they have a safety feature that makes it less hazardous to ride in a busy city? If that’s the case, then that takes care of another question: who is my target consumer?
If you’ve developed new accounting software, maybe it helps small business owners handle their taxes by themselves — and will save them thousands in accounting fees.
If you’ve managed to identify answers to those two questions (what problem do you solve? And for whom?), then you’re halfway to an idea for a book that can help you sell that product.
How else can you help them solve this problem?
A big mistake would be to write a book that’s all about how great your product is. People don’t want to read a 200-page sales pamphlet. Your aim should be to write a book that helps to solve a problem that your target audience has.
If you’re that business with the accounting software – why not write a book that contains your insights and tips for handling small business taxes? If you’re selling those safe bikes, perhaps your book is about cycle safety or a directory of cycling routes? You want to connect with your target customer, make them more aware of the problem that your product will eventually solve, and offer them solutions.
These solutions should not involve them buying something from you: that will come later. Now is the time to get to let your customer become aware of you and to earn their trust: and nothing betrays trust quicker than a hard sell.
“Get out of my book (and into my mailing list)”
Once a prospective customer has read your book, learned to love it, and sees you as an authority in your field — it’s critical to get them into your business’s ecosystem. One of the best ways to do this is with a lead magnet (or a reader magnet, as they’re called in publishing).
Somewhere in the book, tell readers that they can go to your website and download extra content for free. This might be a worksheet, a template, a webinar, or an additional book. So long as this content is of value to the reader, they will be happy to sign up to your mailing list in exchange.
Treat these customers well
At this point, if you’ve done everything right, the people on your mailing list who have read your book and downloaded the extra content will be ‘hot leads’ — customers primed to purchase your product or service with just a little nudge.
You can set up an email automation that will send new subscribers a few useful pieces of content before finally dropping your sales email.
Be sure to take care of these leads: as folks who have bought into your brand, they’re also more likely to evangelize on your behalf. Offer them discounts or bonuses that are exclusive to them; be sure to answer their emails promptly; give them discount codes to share with their contacts.
Also, remember to engage them through your newsletters regularly. Be careful not to spam them, though: keep your newsletters relevant, and always be sure to offer them free content that’s of value to them. Then when the time comes to sell them your next product, they’re ready to hand over their hard-earned cash.
And we haven’t even touched on how authoring a book will give you a platform and allow you to secure publicity opportunities like conference appearances and guest posts. In short: if you go about it the right way, your book will become your company’s marketing Swiss Army Knife, and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.
Martin Cavannagh is a writer and a member of the team at Reedsy. The world’s largest marketplace of experienced publishing professionals, Reedsy has helped thousands of authors create great books work with the help of top editors, marketers, and ghostwriters.
One of the simplest but most effective ways for self-published authors to get the word out about their new books is by carrying out a book blog tour.
A well-executed blog tour makes it easy for you to gain widespread exposure quickly and to get on the radar of large groups of prospects that would very likely be interested in buying your book once it is released.
If you’ve ever though about doing a blog tour but don’t know where to begin or how to ensure that you design an effective one, keep reading to find out the steps you need to take for the best chances at success.
What’s a blog tour and why would you benefit from doing one?
A blog tour is a relatively short period of time in which an author promotes a new or existing book by making a series of stops among a predetermined group of popular blogs.
During the blog tour you are featured in posts, articles, interviews and other types of topic/interest-based resources while also getting to talk a little bit about yourself and your books in each one.
These blogs have hordes of potential prospects that are very likely to be interested in buying one or more of your books once they are exposed to your brand and marketing message.
During each blog tour, you effectively leverage the already established audience of each popular blog you visit and get the opportunity to position yourself directly in front of them.
Another great benefit of doing blog tours is gaining the ability to “speak” to hundreds or thousands of people without actually having to do any public speaking at all or having to physically going to a specific location.
If that sounds good to you, the next thing you need to know is exactly how to set up your blog tour in order to get the best results possible.
How to Design and Carry Out an Effective Blog Tour
Designing and executing an effective blog tour typically involves going through some very simple but specific steps.
Pinpoint your ideal reader and target audience.
The first step to creating a winning blog tour is to figure out who you want to reach with your marketing efforts. It makes no sense to carry out any marketing or promotion without having a specific audience in mind.
By focusing on the types of readers you want to connect with it makes the search for appropriate blogs to target that much easier.
There are many different methods that you can use to find leads for blogs to target along your tour, with the easiest being to perform simple web searches that include the word “blog” along with the main topic of your book (Ex. Vegan Cooking Blog).
While you search for relevant blogs to target, be sure to make a note of whether or not the blog in question:
has good user engagement levels
takes submissions from outside authors and bloggers
If a blog you’re interested in checks off most or all of these boxes, you’ve found a potential candidate.
Create a list of around 15 blogs that you can pitch for a feature.
Continue to do your blog research until you come up with a list of approximately 15 or more potential blogs you can approach to be featured on during your blog tour.
To make the most of your time, list the blogs in order of most to least popular and be sure to contact them in that sequence.
Start preparing long before you actually launch your blog tour.
One of the biggest secrets to carrying out a successful blog tour is to start your preparation long before you ever send out your fist email pitch.
Once you identify blogs that you want to target and that have the kind of audience you want to attract, it’s always a good idea to start reading the existing blog posts and commenting on them.
If possible, begin this very important step at least a few weeks before sending in your first email pitch.
Reach out to blogs about being featured.
Once you’ve done the leg work and contributed thoughtful comments on blog posts already featured on the web properties you want to target, it’s time to send a formal request to be featured on the blog.
Draft an email pitch that offers unique and interesting suggestions for a blog post idea that you think would appeal to each blog owner.
Hint: Many bloggers tend to focus on a handful of very specific topics. Take the time to comb through their existing blog posts and figure out what their most popular blog topics are and tailor your blog post pitch to have similar appeal.
If you don’t get a reply from a blog owner after sending your first email, be sure to follow up with another one within a week.
Create a blog tour organizational calendar.
When you begin to hear back from potential blogs with positive responses, the next step is to create a blog tour organizational calendar.
This establishes how to time your blog tour stops, helps you to define your unique blogging topics and lets you properly schedule your posts, interviews, etc. with each blog along your tour.
Consider promotional elements for your blog tour.
Another way to enhance your blog tour and make it more alluring for prospects and bloggers alike is to feature promotional elements along the way.
The simplest and most effective promotional item would be to offer a few free copies of your book as giveaways. However, you could also try going a step further by giving away a free chapter to anyone who signs up for your email list. Even better, consider giving away an entire book if you want to try experimenting with the power of “free”.
Announce and promote the launch of your blog tour.
When everything is in place and you feel well prepared, the final step before making your first stop along your blog tour is to formally announce and promote it on your own web properties.
Make sure to blog, Tweet, send out a special ezine and rave about your upcoming tour on your Facebook page.
What Happens Once Your Blog Tour is Over?
It’s important to follow up with each of the blogs that featured you and your book and to thank them for having you. But even then, the story isn’t over.
How exactly will you know if your blog tour was a success or not?
The key is to establish parameters upfront that you can use to measure the success of your blog tour and to determine whether or not it was in fact effective.
Use measurable benchmarks such as reader comments and post views and make comparisons with similar blog posts to see if your topic of interest resonated well with your target audience.
Setting up and executing an effective blog tour isn’t difficult by any means, but it does require time and effort to uncover the sources that will make the biggest difference when it comes to marketing and promoting your latest book.
Work through the steps above and you’ll be well on your way to putting together an amazing blog tour, gaining better brand recognition and eventually scoring more book sales.
The 1000 true fans concept is nothing new. In fact, the idea is well over a decade old and became popular via a blog post written by Kevin Kelly of Wired Magazine.
He brought attention to the thought that just about anyone with a good product or service to sell can earn at least six figures a year simply by amassing a loyal group of 1000 fans who are each willing to spend an average of $100 each per year on those products or services.
Since its introduction, the 1000 true fans concept has gone on to dramatically change the way that many successful entrepreneurs approach setting their business goals and designing a plan of action to achieve them.
As Mr. Kelly stated, the concept can work for anyone. This includes self-published authors like you, who want to earn a substantial income from the sale of your books.
However, if you consider that the initial blog post about this concept was written ten years ago, you might be wondering if it still applies today. Taking a closer look at the fundamental tenets of 1000 true fans should make things clear about whether or not the concept has stood the test of time.
What is 1000 True Fans Really About?
When you think about the idea of 1000 true fans do you really understand what it means?
As a self-published author there’s no way you can compete with huge publishing houses that have billions of dollars to spend on marketing and promotion in an effort to launch, grow and maintain robust book sales.
The reality is that you don’t need a million customers to be successful. Instead, make your main goal to attract and keep an audience big enough to support your desire to create and share your work while earning an honest living at the same time.
If you want to see dramatic improvements in the quality of the audience you attract and the relationships you build with them, it is imperative that you put aside any thoughts you have of making money in the initial stages of your audience development plan. Instead, focus exclusively on providing exceptional value to your prospects and work on building the foundation of what will eventually turn out to be your tribe of 1000 true fans.
Why Is Having True Fans Important?
If you’re wondering why having “true fans” is even a requirement for building a sustainable business it helps to think about some of the many well-established and successful businesses in the world today.
Take for example whatever or whoever may happen to be your favorite grocery store, retail fashion chain, recording artist or actor.
You may often find a random person looking to buy a gallon of milk, find a great pair of jeans, download a song to their workout playlist or watch a movie on a date. However, if the businesses in question built their foundations on these occasional and one-off types of transactions, they wouldn’t be able to stay open for very long.
The truth is that the grocery store, retail fashion chain, recording artist and actor all rely on their core fan bases of loyal followers to make up the bulk of their business transactions and keep adding to their bottom line.
The same thing applies for you as a self-published author.
Your 1000 true fans will always be eager and willing to buy your latest book, support your future projects and they will always be ready to give you an endless stream of ideas and inspiration about what they’d like to see from you next.
Along with being eager to consume your current and future books, your true fans serve another very important purpose.
They literally become your brand ambassadors and play a significant role in helping to spread the word about you and your books so that you can continue to grow your audience and convert prospects into future customers.
How to Connect with Your True Fans
Once you fully grasp the concept and the power of having 1000 true fans, your next step is figuring out how to attract and connect with your very own group of staunch loyalists.
The good news is that while this part of the process takes a bit of time and effort to achieve, it is quite simple and has been done by many, so you can find blueprints to follow everywhere.
The main questions that you need to answer are:
Who is my ideal fan?
Where does he or she hang out on and offline?
How do I get them to notice me?
How do I get them to accept me as a thought leader?
If you can answer these questions and follow through with the actions that support your goals you are well on your way to amassing your group of 1000 true fans.
Stand Out in Your Niche – The key to attracting your core 1000 is to be extraordinary and different in your niche.
Every day your prospects are bombarded by hundreds, or thousands of blogs and other self-published authors sharing articles, posts and books about similar topics as yours. In a sea of me-too content, why would they take the time to focus on you, much less become an avid follower?
That’s where your individuality and creativity come in.
Even if a million people are talking about the same topic, the way each of them communicates will attract different personalities and resonate more with certain types of people.
One of your major goals in the quest to connect with your 1000 true fans is to find out what it is about you that can help you stand out in a crowd, connect with your target audience and leave them yearning for more.
Become a Leader to Your Tribe – Figuring out how to stand out in your niche will definitely get you noticed by members of your target audience, but what will make them stay and convert them into loyal fans for life?
Once you’ve gotten your audience’s attention the next step involves becoming indispensable to them. It’s not enough to simply provide them with quality content, entertainment and information.
To truly connect with your audience, you must strive to inspire them, encourage them and most of all, provide an example someone or something they want to become.
Remember that people are most attracted to individuals who leave a mark on their life for something far beyond the superficial product or service they offer.
Think of people like Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs and Steven Hawking.
Each one of them is world renowned for being one of the best in their respective fields, but the awe that their die-hard fans have for them goes far beyond the fact that they are a basketball player, a tech guru and a scientist.
So, is the 1000 true fans concept still relevant for self-publishers looking to establish and grow a loyal audience?
It is and will continue to be as long as consumers put more value on close relationships built between themselves and the suppliers of their goods and services.
By putting your prospects first and going above and beyond to serve and overdeliver value, you will quickly and easily attract your own loyal base of 1000 true fans, which is all you really need to change your life forever.
Ever since the dawn of mass communication, interviews have given the general public an easy way to get first hand insight into the life and times of an individual or business.
At first, interviews were mainly seen as a medium for discussing topics of common interest to large groups of people. However, soon enough, interviewers and interviewees alike began to realize the power that interviews have for promoting goods and services that relate to the general topic of the interview.
More often than not, interviews end up piquing an audience’s interest so much that they end up wanting more information about products and services offered by the interviewee, and it usually happens without the need for the business person to be salesy or pushy.
In recent times radio, podcast and online video interviews are some of the most popular channels being used by online entrepreneurs to spread awareness of their brands and product offers. These mediums have also turned out to be very effective for attracting the attention of members of a target audience that would be most interested in buying niche specific products and services.
Another big benefit of doing interviews to promote your products is that unlike other forms of promotion, interviews are generally booked without a cost to the interviewee. The only thing you would have to exchange in order to secure an interview is a few minutes of your time to talk about whatever it is that you have to offer.
If you are wondering how you can use interviews to promote more of your self-published books, here are some simple steps that will lead you to your ultimate goal of booking as many interviews as possible.
Do Thorough Research Upfront
While the idea of getting booked for a long list of interviews sounds like a good one, the truth is that securing a hand full of very high-quality interviews is always much better than finding yourself involved with many interviews where very few members of your target audience tune in.
With that said, one of the best ways to go about finding appropriate talk shows, blogs and vlogs to approach is to do thorough research on who members of your target audience spend most of their time listening to.
A few hours of in depth research online for radio shows, podcasts and vlogs that cover topics related to the types of books you write should reveal several potential candidates for further exploration.
Look out for channels that feature regular interviews with upcoming self-published authors so you have a good idea upfront about whether or not you even stand a fair chance of booking an interview.
Once you have a list of between three and five potential leads you can start thinking about crafting a short and simple pitch to send out with the goal of booking as many interviews as possible.
When coming up with your pitch, try to connect the topic of the interview with a current hot topic if possible. Having something to talk about that’s already generating a ton of interest in a niche makes it much more likely that you’ll be selected for an interview.
As an extra incentive, you could also offer to promote the show that will feature you on your author website and social platforms once you’ve confirmed a date and time for the interview.
Focus on a Powerful Central Idea
If you’ve been self-publishing for a while, chances are you’ve written and submitted an article to at least one blog outside of your own with the goal of getting more exposure and attracting more prospects to your author site.
Getting a foot in the door typically involves pitching your target blog with an idea for a new post and having them accept your proposal before they actually go ahead and welcome you to create and submit the piece of writing.
When you are approaching a channel owner to request an interview session the same principle applies.
It’s important to always remember that these individuals have audiences that they’ve worked hard to attract and grow into loyal followings. So, it only makes sense that they would want to expose their tribe to what they consider to be the best of the best of what’s out there.
Before you fire up your email to send an interview request, always come up with a compelling core idea that clearly communicates what your book is about while also being very likely to resonate with the audience listening in.
Feeling stumped for ideas?
Try going through some of the past interviews of guests on the radio show, vlog or podcast you’re interested in to see the types of topics that have been covered before.
Another source of inspiration could come from checking to see which interviews received the most views and comments. And if there is a comments section, it can be very helpful to read through each one to see which parts of the interview audience members were most interested in and to look for information gaps that you can try to fill with your own unique knowledge.
Tips for Showtime
Once you land an interview (hopefully several), the next thing to focus on is making sure that the time you spend with your interviewer is as productive as possible.
A great way to do this it to provide your host with a short, one-page biography about you and your book. This way they can get to know you a bit before the interview and can give the audience some solid background information before jumping into the juicy details of your book.
To make your on-air time even more effective you could refer to the research you did earlier into the comments section of previous interviews and outline questions you believe listeners may want answers to. Along with keeping the interview flowing naturally, this also helps to keep the topic focused on your central idea.
While a major goal is providing the audience with lots of compelling information about the topic of your book, another equally important goal should be letting them get to know more about you and your unique personality.
People love doing business with people they know and like. That means that it is important to always strive to connect with your audience on a deeper level as much as possible by exposing bits of your unique personality during every interview.
It helps to be as relaxed and friendly as possible while interacting with the interviewer in a casual but respectful way.
Will you be wasting time if you don’t focus exclusively on talking about your book?
The audience is listening in to hear more about your book and what it’s all about. However, if you only focus on talking about your book instead of trying to make connections and build relationships the interview can end up coming across as one long sales pitch.
When you focus on providing valuable content and having interesting conversation about the topic of your book it can have a powerful effect. Instead of shoving your books into the forefront of the conversation, view the interview as an opportunity to leave a tantalizing trail of bread crumbs that have your audience wanting to follow along to find out more about what waits on the other side.
Always use the “wrap up” of your interview as your first opportunity to pitch your book to your target audience. Try to close strong and give listeners who want to find out more about you and your self-published books a way to connect online (mention your blog and social media channels) or ask any additional questions they may have.
The key to making it work is building your community or your tribe around a common interest that represents the type of information or entertainment you want to offer through your future books.
This interest could be just about anything that has the ability to attract and hold the attention of a group of like-minded people, whether that interest happens to be fitness, adventure, science, business, finance, cooking or any of the millions of other niche areas out there.
The reason building a community before having an offer works so well is that you can fully focus on your prospects, and provide them with information that can educate and inform them without worrying about your bottom line. And even better still, when the time comes for you to create an offer, it will be as simple as asking them exactly what they want.
Capture your followers email addresses.
In the early days of the internet, forums, chat rooms and instant messengers were extremely popular because that was the only way that people could communicate with each other online.
Today, social media has exploded and there are literally thousands of platforms through which your prospects can find and communicate with you and your brand.
Unfortunately, this also means that there are thousands of platforms your competition can use to communicate with your prospective readers as well. In fact, your prospects are bombarded all day long with marketing messages and everyone clamoring to get a few seconds of their attention.
The best way to get around this issue is by building a list of prospects that actually wants to receive what you have to offer directly and on a regular basis.
Having even a small email marketing list of people who are eager to hear from you and want to buy the books that you eventually sell is one of the most valuable assets that you can have as a self-published author.
Focus on delivering value before asking for anything in return.
The key to creating strong bonds with the members of your community lies in putting their needs first and going above and beyond to deliver exceptional value. This means putting your desire for sales and income on the back burner for a while as you focus exclusively on becoming the go-to resource for readers in your niche.
How exactly do you go above and beyond to build strong relationships with your readers?
Be communicative and responsive. Discuss topics that no one else in your niche is covering, approach old ideas from new angles, offer them exclusive content and most importantly, be consistent.
When your readers begin to feel like you are always there for them with the best information, insights and advice surrounding your niche topic they begin to get to know and like you and look forward to hearing more of what you have to say.
Focus on quality, not quantity.
At some point just about everyone believes that more is always better. However, in many situations that’s not the case, particularly when it comes to building a thriving and loyal tribe of followers for your self-published book brand.
Instead of getting caught up with the number of people who join your community or subscribe to your list, it is better to focus on their engagement levels.
For instance, when you send out an email, how many of your subscribers actually stop and take a moment to open and read it? This is a better metric to pay attention to than simply having a lot of signups.
It is always better to have all or most of a small group of subscribers opening all of your correspondence than to have a large group that never or rarely does.
Always remember that your goal is to build a base of loyal and dedicated fans who become ambassadors for your brand.
Don’t focus on selling.
The way consumers receive marketing messages has changed forever.
The worst thing you can do when you’re trying to win a prospect over is to smash them over the head with sales pitch after sales pitch hoping to bully them into buying your product, or in this case your book.
A better approach is to completely forget about “selling” while you communicate with your audience and instead focus on building relationships with them.
If your audience feels like you are coming from a place of sincerity and are truly putting their needs first instead of your desire to sell, they will be much more receptive to listening to what you have to say.
Always strive to be authentic.
In the world of book marketing it’s important to remember that there is only one you, and in order to succeed you have to play up this fact as much as possible.
The truth is that there are very few things that are new and unheard of in this world. Whatever topic you are interested in, chances are there are at least 10 (in reality many more than this) other bloggers or self-published authors that focus on the same niche.
The key to standing out in the sea of same-ness is to let your true personality shine through in every aspect of your communication with your tribe.
Real people respond the most and the best to other real people.
Don’t try to “act” or develop a “persona” of who you think you should be to attract members of your audience. Simply tap into your authentic self and let the attraction happen naturally.
The result is real connections made with real people based on authentic communication and connection.
Just as in real life relationships, people tend to be closer to those they communicate with on a regular basis. The same goes for creating a rapport with the members of your tribe.
The more regularly you communicate, the closer you tend to become.
Now this doesn’t mean you have to send messages to your followers every hour on the hour in order to stay in their minds. Doing that may actually annoy them more than anything.
All you really have to do is set up a regular timeline for communication and stick with it. This could mean sending out your newsletter once a week or once a month, or scheduling a group chat every Thursday night at 8pm.
Whatever works best for you and your tribe, just be sure to develop a routine and stick to it.
Use these simple tips to start building your community today and in short order you will begin to reap the benefits that having a loyal tribe brings.
If you’re a self-published author and your main goal is to earn an income from your writing, the thought of giving your hard work away can seem down right frightening. However, when it comes to marketing and promotion, sometimes giving something away actually turns out to be one of the best investments you could ever make.
As a writer, content is your currency and it typically comes in the form of your author blog and, of course, your books.
It may come as a surprise, but taking the time to create an awesome piece of work to then turning around and giving it away can give you incredible marketing leverage and lead to more book sales than you ever thought possible.
Freebie Marketing Benefits
Freebie marketing has been around for a long time. And that makes perfect sense when you consider how effective it is and the fact that it works whether you are trying to promote products or services.
Think about all the times you’ve received free samples of a product. If you loved it, chances are you turned right around and bought the full-size container.
Remember that free trial software you were able to use to your hearts content for up to 30 days before you had to commit to an ongoing monthly subscription? Even something as simple as the trailers you watch at the theater before the feature film starts is an example of freebie marketing.
It’s all about giving your prospects a taste of what they can expect if they make the decision to jump on board and become a paying customer.
Why a Free Book?
As a self-publisher, you can begin the process of warming up your prospects by giving them a constant supply of valuable content through your blog, social media channels and email list, but at the end of the day the proof is in the pudding.
You’re a writer, so your target audience is interested in reading a good book that provides them with the information or entertainment they want.
This is where you free offer comes in.
If you present your prospects with a unique book that offers them the content they’re looking for at no greater cost than the time it takes them to download and read it, you can hook a loyal customer for life.
Now, this doesn’t mean you have to spend the next year of your life writing a New York Times best seller just to turn around and give it away. On the contrary, a good freebie can be a simple book that appeals to your target audience and gives them something that whets their appetite for either information, instruction or entertainment.
Here are two examples….
A non-fiction writer who writes books about travel and adventure for millennials could put together a book of information about 20 of the hottest international outdoor electronic music concerts.
A fiction writer who writes fantasy novels for steampunk fans could write the first of a series of novels that tell a story of a hero who gets sucked into a time warp and finds themselves lost in an alternate universe.
The options are endless, but the main goal is to put together something your target audience will find hard to resist.
Keep in mind that although you aren’t charging your prospects for your freebie, you should use the opportunity as a chance to get something of value in return. Namely, their email address.
Experienced online marketers routinely use this technique to encourage prospects to join their email list so that they can keep in regular contact and eventually convert them into paying customers.
Before we move on, there’s an important caveat. Sometimes, when you’ve created a valuable free book some people will use a dummy email address to download it with no intention of ever buying one of your books.
If this ever happens to you, don’t let it stop you from continuing to give away your freebie. If you focus on overdelivering value to your prospects at every step of the way, these types of freeloaders will be few and far between.
How to Approach Free Book Marketing
If you’re ready to try using a free book to entice members of your target audience to find out more about your brand and your books, here are some important things to remember.
Focus on overdelivering value with your free offer – The key to making a free offer work for getting the attention of your prospects and turn them into paying customers is providing unbeatable value.
So, if you’re tempted to slap some questionable content together in a hurry just to get “something” out there, and think your audience should appreciate it just because it’s free, stop and take a moment to think it through.
In order for your freebie to be successful you must take the time to create something special that your audience will actually appreciate, love and want more of.
Back your freebie up with valuable content – While a free book offer is a great start, your marketing efforts can’t begin and end there.
Always remember that your long-term goal is to create a large web of influence, or in other words, cast a wide net with your content so that you can entice a significant portion of your target audience and turn them into loyal fans.
This means that along with providing a free offer, you should also maintain an author blog, post updates on relevant social media platforms and also keep in touch with your list subscribers by sending new content out to them on a regular and consistent basis.
Link to your author blog and social media channels in your free book – Another great way to leverage your free book is to use it as an opportunity to link to all the rest of your online properties.
Let’s say for example that someone manages to get a hold of your free book without ever having signed up for your list. If you include several links back to your author blog, email list signup pages and social media channels, your book can continue to get discovered and generate new leads even if it is passed around by a handful of people that downloaded it directly.
When you provide valuable content and include links back to your author site it’s only natural that curious readers will visit your blog and a number of them will sign up to receive more information about you and your paid book offers.
Use your free book as a bridge to paid offers.
A great way to leverage your free book offer is to view it as an introduction to another offer. In other words, instead of “giving away the farm”, you use your book as a bridge to a secondary paid offer. Keyword…paid.
Bear in mind that you want to make your free book as complete and valuable as possible as a standalone offer. However, at the same time, you want to create a need or desire for your next book offer that is available for purchase.
The best scenario is one in which the information in the paid book serves to significantly enhance information already received from the first book.
Going back to the two examples given earlier….
A secondary book that provides information on how to spend a week in each of the 20 destinations listed in the first book while spending less than fifty dollars a day would be of great interest to a budget conscious millennial.
The fantasy writer could end their free book with an awesome cliffhanger that leaves the reader yearning to find out what happens next.
There is power significant power in giving away valuable content for free. Try it today and see for yourself how much marketing leverage you can receive from publishing a single book.
As a writer, the thought of producing and publishing a video is probably the furthest thing from your mind because, after all, pen and paper are your weapons of choice.
The truth is that as book marketing evolves, every self-published author should be looking to increase their arsenal of promotional pathways.
In modern internet marketing, video has become one of the most invaluable methods you can use to get your message out there and to connect with your target audience. In fact, video is one of the fastest growing segments of marketing mediums online. This means that even writers can benefit from the changes in the way that internet users are consuming information.
If you’re wondering how you could possibly benefit from getting into video production and are feeling more than a bit intimidated, here are some important things to note.
Using video to promote your books doesn’t require having Hollywood level videography and editing skills.
You don’t need to hire actors or even be on camera yourself if you don’t want to.
Putting together a short and simple book trailer is all you need to harness the power of video and tap into one of the many platforms available where your future readers congregate.
What is a Book Trailer?
If you’re a fan of blockbuster movies you’ve likely seen your fair share of trailers.
These short 90 second teaser videos give you a synopsis of what to expect from the full-length film.
Studies show that a significant portion of movie goers sight the trailer as a major influence on whether or not they end up seeing a film.
The power that a well-developed trailer has on a prospects decision making is the difference between a movie that becomes a box office sensation and one that has a mediocre reception at best.
The same goes for self-published book promotion.
Having the right video, that is distributed through the right channels and that connects you with the right audience has to power to transform your entire marketing strategy and supercharge the overall success of your book release and ongoing sales.
You can use your book trailer to promote any kind of book from titles geared towards children, to mystery and adventure novels, personal memoirs and even educational books.
The bottom line is that if you can write about it, you can use video to promote it.
Feeling stumped for ideas?
There are lots of formats you can use to create your book promotion videos. Consider experimenting with text based videos with voice over, animated clips, talking head or even live action clips.
Your imagination is the only thing standing between you and the perfect trailer to promote your next book.
If you’re ready to start using video as part of your self-publishing book promotion strategy, here are some top tips to get you started on the path to success.
Create a Video Production Template
Self-publish a lot of books and want to be able to quickly and efficiently crank out teasers to promote each and every one?
Think about designing a video production template to shorten the task and make creating future videos faster and easier every time.
If you look closely at trailers for all the different genres of Hollywood blockbuster movies, television series and even small-scale film festival offers you’ll quickly notice a common pattern to each.
You should always design your trailers with these three main goals in mind.
Grab your audience’s attention. Start with a dramatic or eye-catching opener that practically forces viewers to stop whatever they’re doing and focus all their attention on your video.
Explain the premise of your book. While you don’t want to give away the whole story, the middle of your trailer should focus on conveying the feeling of the content inside your book. Introduce characters, situations and give a bird’s eye view of what readers can expect when they get their hands on your offer.
Close strong. The last part of your trailer should focus on sealing the deal and making sure that your prospective book buyer feels compelled to buy your book or at the very least visit your blog and find out more about it.
And one more important tip. Always make your video trailers short and to the point.
That’s why they’re called “teasers”.
Book trailers, like movie trailers, are designed to give a very small taste of what your prospect can expect.
Another important truth is that many people’s attention span for video commercials is very short, so try to keep your trailer between 30 and 90 seconds in order to have the most successful result.
Share your Book Trailer with your Fans
One of the best ways to launch your book trailer and start getting some traction is by releasing it to and sharing it with your core fan base via social media channels and on your list.
Publish your video to as many high traffic social media streams as possible.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the best places to start your video promotion efforts, but don’t forget your mailing list.
Your list of readers who have personally requested that you send them more information about your work and book offers is your number one resource for promoting your latest work.
These true fans are the most likely to share your video link with friends and family members, in forums and Facebook groups and in emails forwarded to like-minded colleagues.
Start a YouTube Channel
Once you get the hang of planning and producing your own book trailers, it’s important to share them on the most highly trafficked spots for video online.
Based on this requirement it should come as no surprise that YouTube plays an important role in online video promotion efforts.
While there are other video sharing websites such as Vimeo and Dailymotion, YouTube (which is owned by Google) holds the lion’s share of the online video audience.
Once you’ve started your channel and posted your first book trailer, your next step should be posting a link to your YouTube channel from your author blog, in your articles and anywhere else you think a link would be appropriate.
That way you build out your promotional web and your readers discover the trailers for any new books you release over time when you add the clips to your YouTube playlist.
Don’t forget to optimize your videos so they get found easily in major search engines for keywords that strongly relate to the topics in your books.
Video search results are now considered a major part of Google’s algorithm and studies show that internet users are consuming more and more information via video vs copy.
Edit, Test and Tweak for Best Results
The key to making the most of your book promotion videos is to never stop trying to improve them. If you document how you create your videos along with the response you get from each one, you’ll quickly discover the best formula to use with your audience.
Consider creating slightly different trailers directed towards the same group to split test your videos and figure out what type resonates with your core audience the most.
Keep testing and tweaking subsequent book trailers until you find that your video views and conversion rates are consistently high.
The true power of video lies in the fact that it quickly captures the imagination of the person watching it.
While your book trailer videos don’t need to be fancy to be effective, they do have to be interesting, easily consumed and give clear direction to your prospects, telling them the next step to take towards becoming a paying customer.
In the self-publishing realm, once you’ve written and published your book, the next big step to success is an effective book launch.
Launching your book with a solid strategy sets the stage for how the book is received by your prospects and has a very strong influence on the initial reaction your latest title as well as its future sales growth potential.
Now that it’s established that launching a book officially is a good idea, how exactly do you determine the best time for the launch?
The truth is that there is no single best answer.
The optimal time for releasing your new book depends on a myriad of factors, a few of the more important being things like the subject matter of your book and whether or not you already have an eager audience waiting for your upcoming offer.
If you’ve been self-publishing for some time and already have a well-established audience, you can safely release your books whenever you want to.
On the other hand, if you are fairly new to the self-publishing scene and are still working on developing and growing an audience you can take advantage of annual holidays, observances and events in order to attract the right audience to your books at the right time.
When is the Best Time Launch a New Book?
One of the most effective marketing strategies for timing a book launch is aligning the release of the book with a significant seasonal event.
Each season and month of the year typically has at least one event that is closely associated with it.
December is an extremely popular month for buying and gifting books and a period when most self-publishers should be keen on promoting their newest titles.
Along with being the most intense shopping month of the holiday season, December focuses on some of the biggest single day events of the year across many cultures.
Books that focus on any of the following topics do very well when marketed during the season:
January is a popular time for books that help people to actualize their goals and dreams, which are typically the focus of ushering in a brand-new year.
Hot topics include:
Diet and Nutrition
February is most well-known for Valentine’s Day; however, it is also when many Americans celebrate Black History Month.
This month can be a prime time for launching a new book if your title focuses on any of the following topics:
Photo Books of Romantic Locations
African American History
Several major observances surrounding women’s health and wellness take place during the month of March making it an excellent launch pad for titles that appeal to women’s interests.
Books that focus on topics surrounding Christianity and religion also do well at this time of year due to the fact that the month of March falls right in the middle of the Lenten season.
Popular book topics to promote during this month include:
Illustrated Children’s Books
April is a month that continues to focus on Christian themes such as Easter, as well as the recognition of the travesties that happened within the Jewish community during the Holocaust.
Popular topics to promote during this month include themes such as:
World War II
May is a month that is primarily recognized for Memorial Day which honors the brave men and women who have sacrificed their lives in order to protect the liberties and freedoms of America.
Mother’s Day, which is another significant celebratory day in the Unites States is a prime time for gift giving of sentimental book titles.
Popular book topics to promote during this month include:
World Wars I and II
When school is out and summer begins, there are many opportunities for self-published authors to give their books a promotional boost that centers on the season.
June is a huge month for commemorative and educational book gifts that are ideal for recent graduates of high school and college.
Popular topics to focus on promoting during the month include:
Travel and Adventure
During the month of July, many people are enjoying down time with family and friends or travelling abroad on that longed-for vacation.
This makes the mid-summer month an excellent time to focus on promoting the following types of books:
Travel and Adventure
August is known as one of the slowest months for books sales. However, it is still a good time to start promoting and positioning books for the upcoming fall season when book sales pick up dramatically.
Fall is the time of year when the general public is focused on annual events such as back-to-school, college entrance and returning to work after long summer vacations, making it one of the most robust periods for book sales.
Since that fateful day in September of 2001, this month has also become an important time to focus on patriotism and politics in America along with memorializing the lives lost in the tragic 911 attacks.
With these events in mind, popular topics during this time of the year include themes such as:
Book lovers all over the world welcome the month of October in particular because it ushers in the annual event known as Halloween.
During this month readers of fiction and non-fiction books that focus on themes involving blood, gore, ghosts and mystery can indulge in their scary fantasies.
Popular topics during the month of October include:
Photo books of Halloween Art
Arts and Crafts
Known as the month of the most celebrated holiday of the year, the big emphasis of November is Thanksgiving, which is enjoyed by families all across the United States.
Most books that are sold during this month focus on this well-loved holiday theme.
Timing is everything and it is especially true when it comes to planning the release of a new book title. The key to launching a successful book is to identify themes that closely relate to annual seasonal and calendar events.
The next step involves creating a promotion that makes your book offer highly relevant and appealing to readers who are very likely to be looking for specific content related to the topic in question.
Taking the time to really think about your offer, setting up your launch correctly and being strategic about the timing of the release of your book works to ensure that your marketing promotion results in success.
While the basic concept has been around for as long as the human race has been doing business, it’s only within the last few decades that outsourcing has become one of the most popular business buzz words and activities.
Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a thriving business that doesn’t use some form of outsourcing in their operations. But if large international conglomerates are the only things that come to mind when you hear that word, you’ll be happy to know that your self-publishing business can also benefit tremendously from a little outside help.
You don’t have to have a multibillion dollar business operation to harness the power of outsourcing. You don’t even have to look outside of your own neighborhood for potential candidates if you don’t want to (although the internet has made recruiting from anywhere in the world a relatively simple task).
Outsource with Virtual Assistants
Self-publishers just like you are reaping the benefits of outsourcing by utilizing virtual assistants to supercharge their results and get more done in less time than they ever thought possible.
Having a well-trained virtual assistant (VA) is like having another set of hands that can take on the things you can’t or don’t want to do.
In other words, they can do the mundane tasks that tend to swallow up a lot of your time, so that you can focus on things that are more important to moving closer to your self-publishing goals like writing more books.
So, what exactly can virtual assistant help you do?
The list of possible tasks is pretty long and includes things like:
Marketing and promotional activities
Author blog maintenance
Social media management
Mailing list maintenance
While these are probably the more obvious tasks you could assign to a virtual assistant, the reality is that you can use them to do just about anything that would help make your life easier. This includes activities like coordinating your travel for book tours and scheduling interviews on your behalf.
How to Find a Great Virtual Assistant
But how do you find a quality virtual assistant when you’ve never used one before and have no idea where to begin the hunt?
Here are some of the most promising sources for starting your search to find the right VA for your self-publishing needs.
Recommendations and references from friends and business associates
Once you’ve found a good source of potential candidates, the next steps you take should be to ensure that you find the person that best suits your needs and to set yourself up to get the most out of the partnership.
Be very clear about the kind of help you need.
In order to find the best virtual assistant, you need to be crystal clear about the kind of help that you want.
By precisely outlining the kind of assistance you’re looking for, you not only attract the best possible candidates for the job, but you simultaneously discourage applications from people who are much less likely to possess the type of skills you’re looking for.
Seeking someone to edit using the Chicago Manual or APA Styles? Looking for a VA who knows advanced SEO techniques? Interested in help for creating more Social Media presence?
Be sure to mention everything you want to ensure that the ideal candidates respond.
Interview as many candidates as you need to before settling on one.
Finding the best virtual assistant for your business can be a very time-consuming activity. However, the time invested upfront will pay back in spades if you actually do end up hiring the ideal VA.
While time always is of the essence, try not to rush through the selection process.
Feel free to interview as many people as you need to before you select someone who has the right balance of practical skills, good communication and interpersonal chemistry.
If you can find a VA that fits into that sweet spot you’re on your way to a hugely beneficial arrangement.
Along with letting your assistant know the specific tasks you want them to do, you should also establish the short, medium and long-term goals you want them working towards. Setting expectations about the level of professionalism you like to see as well as the communication style and frequency you expect is also important.
Try not to leave anything to chance to help avoid future misunderstandings by figuring out exactly what you want and communicating your desires to your VA.
Don’t be afraid to delegate.
If you’ve never hired a virtual assistant before, one of the hardest things you will have to learn is how to delegate, and even more importantly, how to relax and let your VA take over the reins.
Think about it.
What use is having an assistant if you constantly feel the need to check and cross check every single thing they do while they’re in the middle of doing it?
To make the most of your VA, outline your needs, set your expectations and then have the confidence to let them do what you hired them to do.
Be available to provide feedback.
When you’re ready to set your new VA off on their first assignments it’s important to not simply let them loose and leave them hanging.
Unless your VA is some kind of psychic perfectionist, chances are that there will be questions they have regarding the work you want them to do and exactly how you want them do to it.
This is especially true when you’re still in the initial “getting to know you phase” after hiring someone.
Because your VA is very likely to have questions that need to be answered, it’s important to make yourself available to help and to provide valuable feedback while they are still in the process of learning the ropes.
Over time, if things go well, the questions will dwindle and your VA will be better equipped to perform closer to your expectations.
Communicate regularly and effectively.
As with striving to create and maintain any other quality relationship, success with your virtual assistant requires good communication. This is particularly important when your goal is to free up as much of your time as possible by rerouting specific tasks to your virtual assistant.
Developing a communication style early on in your partnership is important. It may be a bi-weekly email outlining upcoming assignments or a weekly skype chat to go over the previous weeks items along with laying out the plan for the coming days.
Whichever method you decide to use, make sure that it is optimal for you and for your VA. Take factors such as different time zones into consideration when communicating, particularly when important deadlines are involved.
Always ask for input.
Speaking of effective communication, perhaps one of the most valuable and underrated uses of a virtual assistant is being able to get valuable feedback about the way you do things in your business and how things can be improved.
Even though your VA’s responsibility is generally paying attention to things you don’t want to spend time focusing on, they can be a big help by giving you hints and tips on the best ways to make the most of their help as well as getting you to your goals faster.
Every so often, make the time to ask your VA for ideas on how to improve your processes based on the tasks that they have completed. And also ask if there is anything that could be done better and how they would approach it.
Virtual assistants can change your business overnight by helping you to enhance your level of productivity and results. After all, the more you can focus your efforts on writing and releasing new content the closer you are to achieving self-publishing success.