Monday, March 31, 2014

Marketing Techniques

I have been doing some research over the last two months on marketing of books. It becomes apparent very quickly that most of the success of self published authors comes down to luck. Some marketing techniques that have worked for some have not worked for others. Some books sell really well while others do not. However, I did come across some common themes that give a little insight to increasing your "luck".

Social Media

Social media has become the backbone to advertising in the past couple years. Places such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and even Pinterest has reached millions of potential customers in the click of a button. The trick here is to grow your groups, learn how to market within these online environments, and make your advertisement attractive.

Another important point here is that people are more likely to read your post if it is funny or has nothing to do with selling something. People are on these websites for social reasons, not to buy. However, the exposure and generating buzz can only help.

Increase your Book Reviews

Submitting your book for free may seem like crazy at first but let's talk about it. If you were to go to Amazon to buy a book and it had very few reviews, would you read it? Would you spend the money to buy a book that nobody else wanted? There are mechanisms within Amazon that allow you to give away your book for free for a limited time. This will count as a "sale" even if there is no revenue involved. You have a window to put your book up for free and advertise that people can grab it. This will generate reviews. Not everyone who downloads your book will write a review, but any review you get will help generate future sales.

I know that some people would say that you shouldn't give your work away for free or give something away that you could be making money off of. The thing about that approach is that it is short term. If you sell your book for $3.99 and ten people are brave enough to buy it, you will make some money even though it is not much. If you give your book away for free for a limited time, yes, you would lose those potential customers. Let's say you give away 100 e-book copies. This cost you absolutely nothing to do. Even if half of those people write a review, you will have 50 reviews on your book. It will now show up on 100 different lists of "People who bought this also bought....". In addition, if those people like your book, they will buy your next one and refer it to a friend.

It is not about the short term gain, it is about the long term vision of building a fan base.

More books equals more sales

From what I have read, it appears that people with more than 4 books as an author sell more. This is not a proven fact, just an observation. If you think about it, the idea is pretty rational. If an author can reach a reader or group of readers and the book is well written (important point there!), then the reader typically wants to read more by that person. How many times have you read a book by an author and purchased another written by them because you liked the way they wrote, told a story, etc? I do it all the time. Repeat book readers goes back to my previous point, building a fan base.

In addition, the more books you have written, the better chance you have of being visible. This is not magic. This is just logic.

Book Covers Matter!

I cannot stress this point enough. People do judge books by their covers. This happens all the time and has only increased in the e-book industry. In a world where you can see thousands of books in the click of a button, you have to stand out. Your book cover has to reflect the genre and be professional enough to be taken seriously. You cannot expect people to spend money on something that does not look professional.

Look at other books in the genre that are selling well. What is it that sets them apart from the others? What about the books that you have read that you like? What caught your eye and made you want to buy it? These are all questions you need to ask yourself when you buy a book cover.

Change, Evolve, Innovate

The world is changing every second. What was popular one minute is old the next. You cannot expect to upload your book, stand back and say, "Give me money!" You have to drive your sales, push different avenues to reaching new potential customers, and keep changing. I am not saying that you have to change your cover every week. Nothing that drastic. But you should be updating your blurb summary of your books, reading reviews for feedback, and updating your books to correct errors. Maybe your cover is not working. You have to make that call. It may be possible to reach out to your fan base for feedback on your cover.

Innovation is a tough word for anyone. It is easy to do the things that work because they work. Do not be fooled by this. Those who do not change in an ever-changing environment will die. Ok, a little over dramatic but you get my point. Try different things. You may fail at most of them but you may also stumble on the one marketing avenue that slingshots you into high sales. You have to try. Nobody will do this for you.

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