From Jane Friedman:
When I first started marketing my wife’s books, I thought we needed to be everywhere and do all the things in order to be successful:
- Facebook ads
- Amazon ads
- BookBub ads
- YouTube ads
- Promo sites
- Facebook groups
- All other social media platforms
- Newspapers and magazines
The list goes on—and on. The truth of the matter though, is that you don’t need to do even half of what’s on that list.
The do all the things approach likely does more harm than good, especially in the beginning. Sure, further down the line, you can start adding to the list, but even then, don’t feel you need to.
My wife’s books currently earn a healthy six-figure income. And we use two traffic sources:
- Facebook ads
- Amazon ads
Now three years into the journey, we are starting to explore other traffic sources so as not to rely so heavily on Facebook and Amazon. But these two platforms alone, along with a small spend on BookBub and promotional sites for launches and promotions, drive the results for us.
. . . .
Marketing for 30–60 minutes per day came about as more of a necessity than anything else; with three children under the age of three in the house, time isn’t something either my wife or I have much of! If you currently have young children or have done so in the past, you’ll know where I’m coming from. So I had to make sure every minute I spent was on the right marketing for us.
Avoiding the shiny objects discussed in Facebook groups, i.e. the latest fads, I identified what was driving results for us and doubled down on them, eliminating everything else.
This is when I (accidentally) identified what I now call the four pillars of book marketing. And, after speaking with many authors over the past couple of years, I believe these four pillars are critical for every author.
Without them, you’ll be spinning your wheels not knowing what to work on and when, or worse, spending your resources on things that don’t move the needle.
So, here’s what you’re going to learn:
- What the four pillars of book marketing are
- Why 30–60 minutes per day spent marketing is all you need
- How and why to craft a strategy for your author business
- Identifying your lever-moving activities
- How to plan out your days, weeks, and months for maximum productivity and results
The 4 Pillars of Book Marketing
Some activities in your author business may not be exciting but are essential to keep your business going, such as accounting, taxes, replying to emails, and other admin/auxiliary tasks.
When it comes to marketing and driving book sales, there are really only four pillars that truly matter:
- Book product page
- Audience building
Book product page
Something I say to authors a lot is: Your book sells your book.
No amount of marketing or advertising is going to sell a poor-quality book.
You could be the best marketer in the world, but if your book itself isn’t up to scratch, isn’t up to the standard it needs to be in today’s world of publishing, it’s not going to sell.
You may be lucky and get a few sales, maybe even a few hundred sales right off the bat. But when the reviews and ratings start coming in, the performance of your marketing is going to decline over time.
This is why, yes, you need to write a stellar book. But you also need to present your book in the best possible light. And you achieve that by creating a superb book product page.
After all, sales don’t happen in your Facebook ads, BookBub ads, Amazon ads, etc. They happen on your book product page. That’s where readers make the decision to buy or not to buy your book.
The key assets of your book product page you need to focus on are:
- Book cover
- Book description
- Reviews and ratings
- Look Inside
- A+ Content, specific to Amazon (optional)
With a compelling and engaging book product page in place, all of your marketing and advertising will perform that much better because your conversions (i.e., sales directly from your ads) will be higher.
And the more sales your ads generate, the more organic sales (sales that come as a result of your Amazon rank) you’ll enjoy.
. . . .
For my wife’s books, we are exclusive to Amazon. Authors who have books in the Top 500 of the Kindle store generate 80–90% of their sales directly as a result of their bestseller rank. These are all, essentially, free sales.
But to achieve a great bestseller rank and enjoy those organic sales, you need to tickle the Amazon algorithm enough to take notice of you, which you do by driving sales through your own marketing and advertising efforts, such as Facebook ads and Amazon ads.
. . . .
As an author, your biggest asset is your books. Your next biggest asset is your audience.
I’m not talking about your Twitter followers or Facebook likes. I’m talking about true fans of your books, who you have direct access to through email.
The issue I have with building an audience on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook is that you’re building this audience on rented ground. If your account on one or more of these platforms is suddenly shut down, you would lose your entire audience overnight.
To avoid this situation, by all means, build an audience on these platforms, but, make sure you are de-platforming people by encouraging them to join your email list, which is best achieved through offering them something in return for their email address, such as a short story, a novella, a bonus chapter, or even a full book; this is commonly known as a reader magnet.
With an email list, you can contact your audience at any time (within reason, of course), ask them to buy your new release, leave a review of your book, and let them know about a flash sale you’re running.
When your email list becomes large enough, you can drive a LOT of sales of your new releases and your backlist, and it won’t cost you a penny in advertising. Your world really is your oyster when you have an email list.
Just respect your audience, don’t spam them, provide value (yes, even entertainment is considered value), and share a little or a lot, whatever you’re comfortable with, about yourself, your writing—even Tibbles, your cat, who accompanies you whilst you write!
Remember, you are communicating with real people, so be sure to treat them as such. And ultimately, be your true authentic self.
Link to the rest at Jane Friedman