Book Marketing 101 – Get Ready to Pull Your Hair Out
This post isn’t about growing tomatoes. If you want to know how to do that I’m sure there is someone out there who can tell you. What I’m talking about is planting seeds in your life. That’s the biggest part of book marketing. To be more specific in the marketing for your book. People always tell you the generic ways to do it. Here’s a list for posterity.
- Use social media
- Buy Ads on Amazon
- Email the 2 million newsletter subscribers you already have
That is what I see in every article. These people try to tell these stories of how they got 10,000 preorders by doing those three things. Do you have 2 million fans already? Probably not. If yes, then go promote my book Second Sight: The Decay!
Plant seeds everywhere you go. Have you ever heard that old phrase “If you build it, they will come.” You can’t just build a book and expect them to come. You have to become the world’s biggest shill. There is no magic elixir.
Cold shilling is like feeding a toddler. It works 2% of the time. Sending out a thousand tweets shilling your book is like screaming in a stadium. Nobody will buy it that way.
What you have to do is go up to each customer. Smile, shake their hand and offer them a business card with a link to your book. People are a lot more likely to buy your book if you make a personal connection with them.
Promote your book where people look for books. Paying for promotion on Facebook, Twitter, or other sites that aren’t focused on books is a huge waste of money.
Here are some hard numbers to illustrate my point. I am an Amazon Affiliate. Out of 100 clicks I get about a 2% conversion rate. That’s click through, not sales. Out of that 2% I might see one sale a week.
Now, if you paid for Ads, you still are working with a 2% conversion rate. Let’s be realistic. For every $10 you throw at the ad; you may get 2 dollars back.
Affiliate marketing and posting your product on external websites only is profitable if you do it FOR FREE.
Here are a few out of the box ideas to help you not “scream in the stadium” before we continue.
- Get copies of your book and “forget them” in doctor’s office.
- Print business cards and hand them out to people. Vistaprint gives you a huge stack for $10.
- Print out flyers and put them on bulletin boards around town.
- Find places you can leave a stack of business cards. Libraries, doctor’s offices, bars, hair salons, or even at your job. Small businesses love helping locals.
- Join writing or book club discord servers.
- Help others with their projects. You don’t have to be their co-author, but connect with others and help them. They may be a bestseller, because of you. Then you can ask for help later. If not, at least you made a new friend.
- Tell all your friends you know in real life. Don’t be ashamed of your book!
- Make a list of book blogs and request a review from them.
- Reach out to everyone regardless of size. A sale is a sale. I have emailed the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, and got a reply from one of his assistants. A personalized reply to my inquiry. A multi-billion dollar company CEO had someone read my email and actually replied to me. You can do that if I can!
Marketing is like a diet. You have to change your lifestyle for it to work.
You shouldn’t see customers as numbers. See them as business associates or even partners. Your loyal fans will go out there and talk to their friends about you. Then the snowball effect happens, and keep in contact with them, and build a genuine friendship with those customers who love you. You don’t have to call them every single day but have their back. They had yours. If they eventually have a book that comes out then return the favor they did for yours. Pay it forward and back.
Spread seeds as far as you can. Not only should you be talking to other authors, but talk to EVERYONE. Especially if someone reaches out to you, talk to them. Never get on a high horse and think “I’m too important, or they don’t benefit me enough.”
If you do that… #1 you are an asshole. #2 you lost a potential lifelong friend and fan.
Don’t be offended if people don’t respond. Some people have a life. Most people do I hope. They have kids, family, school, and may even be working 80 hours a week.
Almost all businesses operate at a loss for the first 4 years. This is due to the startup costs along with costs to advertise and get the ball rolling. You may not be successful now with your book, but in 4 years it may be a best seller. Expect nothing, hope for the best.
Things take time. Gardens don’t grow overnight, but they won’t grow at all if you don’t plant the seeds and tend to them.
When I first wrote this book I kept saying “if it sells 10 copies I’ll be happy.” Well, we are far beyond that point. I set the bar low so I wouldn’t be disappointed later.
The biggest takeaway I can give you is to be grateful for every fan you ever get. If someone loves your book or music be grateful. Show appreciation. Go out and shake their hands, sign their books, take pictures with them and smile. Your fans love you, and you should love them too. Ask anyone who has ever been a fan of mine. Anytime they reached out to me with an issue or just wanted to talk I put time aside to do it. I didn’t spend all night with them, but I gave them some time.