Writing a book is an exciting adventure. But what comes next is often the most challenging for writers who only dream as far as writing the novel itself. One of the primary concerns most writers have once they publish is how they are going to fund their efforts to promote their book.
For an Indie writer, the realities of making their book a success can come as quite a shock. Often the price tag associated is much higher than expected, and the pay off doesn't match up, and the time/effort required seems astronomical for one person to take on alone. When you're on a budget, it can make these challenges seem overwhelming.
Sound familiar? You're not alone. There are tons of writers out there who share your concerns and are wondering how they're going to make things work.
The trick is to think smarter, not harder. Here are 10 tips for building your book marketing strategy that won't break your bank:
Update Your Social Media
It goes without saying that we live in a virtual reality. It's important that your image online not only exists, but that your presence across different social media sites stays congruent and updated. The biggest benefit is that it can help bring you more readers and potential book-buyers. Social media not only raises awareness about your book but can also generate excitement. It allows fans to connect with you on a more personal level and allows other literary professionals to network with you beyond face-to-face interactions. While you don't have to focus on all the different types, it's important to have the ones you do own match your personal brand and marketing approach. Contact information is also vital to keep updated and answers to comments or questions should be kept timely. Unsure of where to start? Check out this excellent article from Kindlepreneur: The Ultimate Guide to Social Media for Writers 2021.
Splurge On Your Cover
One area that can make all the difference is your book's cover. It makes sense that the first impression your book makes upon a potential reader can alter the rate at which your book is purchased. An eye-catching design, strong description, and stand-out fonts/images can all work in your favor. But what makes a cover a success? That's for the professionals to know, and writers like us to pay top dollar for. That's right, we don't recommend designing your own cover (unless you have experience in design or book cover design). This is simply because the experts are trained to know what's pleasing to both eyes and readers. While you can cut costs elsewhere, this is one area where you'll want to splurge rather than without funds. Interested in learning more about what makes a good book cover? This article from Business of Illustration can help you.
Rewrite Your Book's Description
If your book has been out for a while and you're not seeing the results you're looking for, you may want to rewrite your book's description. It may not be dynamic, exciting, or tempting enough. By updating your blurb, you can alter the fate of your book with little cost to your pocketbook. A way to test what works and what doesn't is to create two different covers for your hard copy and Ebook. You can then compare and see which cover does better and why. Still not seeing a change? Switch out these covers for new ones every two months until you strike a winning combination. Need a guide in general? Here's one that gives great advice.
Research Effective Keywords
Keywords are what readers can use online to help find your book. They are also powerful tools to attract new readers. On Amazon's online Ad platform keywords play an influential role. Having a hard time getting exposure on Amazon for your book? It could be because you're using outdated or unpopular keywords. To fix this you need to do your research. Don't worry, it's not hard. You merely need to find what people are actually searching for on Amazon. Here's a guide to help you get started. The first step is to type a keyword and find all the possible variations of it, then you need to check each and see how they fair competitively. You can do this in a tool such as Google Ads. Learning how to use this tool can take time, so here's another walk-through to help you out. The best way to do this is to reserve a couple afternoons to devote to this type of research. Though time consuming it pays off in big ways.
Network With Your Goals In Mind
One thing that writers tend to overlook when they first start out is the power of networking. Other writers, publishers, editors, book designers all create a community through which knowledge and the promoting of books transpires. While making new friends is fun, it's also an opportunity to increase your book's publicity. Think of followers on Instagram as viewers. The more "eyes" you can get on your book's promotional materials, the more likely it will be that someone will purchase it. Marketing experts know that statistically speaking it takes about a hundred views to make one sale. By creating a network of other writers, you can give yourself (and them) free advertising, host a team that will help recommend and spread the word, and entice a larger audience with giveaways filled with more value than you can alone. 7 Networking Tips for Authors and Writers by Novel Publicity provides tips on how to get started.
Capitalize On your Mailing List
We've all heard about the power of a large mailing list. This is probably the most important tool you will ever have in your book-selling arsenal. Your mailing list are the loyalist of followers, the ones who are most likely to buy your book. The reason it works is because of established connection. It's a gateway between you and your readers, allowing information, updates, and sales pitches to reach their intended audience without extra effort on your part. The hard part isn't getting people to buy once they're on your list, it's building the strategy that will guide them there. A foolproof strategy is to abide by the 80/20 rule. 80% of your emails should be valuable information that the reader can depend on. Send your emails out frequently and around the same time of day. Pack it with helpful tips, interesting personal anecdotes, and updates on book-related things. Then announce your sales pitch the remaining 20%. Rinse and repeat as often as necessary. Another technique that works is to use an incentive to lure new subscribers. You can offer a freebie of some sort for anyone who subscribes to your monthly newsletter, for instance. This can be tailored to your specific audience and should also have value (example, a template, guide, or merchandise). You can also employ this tactic as a reward program for loyal book buyers.
Join Story Origin
Have you heard of Story Origin before? If not, you're going to want to check it out. It is a community platform that connects you to key tools to help you build both your author network and your readership. It includes things like review copy tools, universal book links, reader magnets, audio promo codes, and direct downloads. The best part is that the beta version is completely FREE. It eventually won't be, so join while you can still reap the benefits.
For Indie authors there's a great resource called BookFunnel. From delivering your reader magnet, sending out advanced copies of your book, handing out ebooks at a conference, or fulfilling your digital sales to readers, this site can do it all. They have reasonably priced payment plans that are matched based on where you fall in experience level: First-Time Author, Mid-List Author, or Bestseller.
Vary Your Online Content
Though it sounds obvious, a common mistake that authors make online is that they don't vary their content enough. While doing one or two types of posts on social media (or what everyone else seems to be doing) may be the easiest technique, it doesn't mean you'll find the same success. The best way to energize your online marketing is to vary the content you provide. Try new things and see what works and what doesn't for you. Through trial and error you'll learn what grabs your specific audience's attention, what times work best to post, what hashtags work or don't, and so on. There is no right or wrong way to do it, so don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Go Live, share personal anecdotes, share your writing process, tell us about your book, make character art, provide valuable writing tips- the ideas are endless! 40 Ideas for Writers to Post on Social Media
Utilize Ad Pro's and Con's
Ads are one of those necessary evils. They aren't cheap but it's something you can't avoid if you want your book to be successful. However, there are ways to make sure the money you do spend doesn't go to waste. Ad costs too high? Consider lowering your CPC's on your Amazon Ads. CPC's for anyone unfamiliar is Cost Per Clicks. Basically the idea here is that if you have strong keywords, you can lower your CPC's (therefore lowering how much you pay) but still gain readers. You don't want to go so low so that you never receive any impressions, but realistically there are authors out there who bring in an audience at only fifteen cents. Another source you should consider trying is Facebook Ads. With a $5 budget per day you can create a lead ad that can help you generate new traffic. While this doesn't drive traffic back to your sales page directly, it will result in more money coming your way. What it does is lead people back to your Facebook page, which then can lead potential book buyers back to your mailing list. Even if you only get twenty leads per day that adds up to a substantial mailing list over time!
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