You need money to market or your book wont ever be seen.
I hate this myth in particular. I talk about Tim Grahl, Joanna Penn, and Nick Stephenson a lot on here. The reason for that is they’ve done it. They are more successful than I even want to be. Tim is so successful that he had to find twenty people he could train so he’d have reliable coaches to send the people he can’t help to. When he started out though, he had to ask his parents for money to get by. The full story is in his new book, coming out in July and he mentions it on The Story Grid Podcast and possibly Book Launch Podcast. The reason I bring this up though isn’t to share Tim’s painful past it’s to show you how people with drive and a desire to make it in this industry can and do. Nick Stephenson also started out with nothing and now makes more money than I would know what to do with. Joanna Penn saved up enough for her to go six months and she had to make it or go back to work. That’s pretty motivating. And she was looking at going back when she started to make money. I’m on my way up using these techniques, following these people, and I’ll share my own story soon enough (hopefully real soon if you know what I mean). I’ve made such small simple changes and already my business is growing! Readers are finding me and I actually know what to do to keep them engaged and looking forward to my new books. And all this without spending a penny on ads or promotions.
Ads are great and they definitely have their place in marketing, but you need organic growth before you start paying for ads. First, because that’s just good business. Spending money you don’t have to reach people once, as in get a sale, is really bad business. Yes, you have to spend money to make money. This is a universal truth but you need to spend it in the best possible places. You should be spending money on editors, yes plural, cover design, and your platform. If you want to attract readers and keep them coming you need a quality book. That means a structural or content edit, copy editing, and proofreading and it’s best to get different editors for each step. Once someone knows what you're trying to say it’s harder for them to find issues in the text.
Your cover designer should know your genre and target market as well as you do and provide a quality cover design that looks like it belongs with the other titles but also stands out.
I know that you’re thinking. Great but what about that organic growth you were talking about? Glad you asked. The answer is your platform. A properly set up and automated platform, acts like an employee finding readers and converting them into fans and subscribers. And the best part? Once you set up your platform (website and email service) the rest is free. Through your blog/podcast/vlog and outreach, you can reach new readers daily.
First, you need to use SEO to keep your content relevant. Then you need to find other people in your space who already have a large audience and ask them for access to it. It’s that simple and that complicated. People protect their audiences. After all, they went through all the trouble to build that group of fans. So make sure you’re a good fit and you’re offering something of value. In a guest post, you could talk about your research or your characters. I’ve done character interviews which are always fun and help readers understand the protagonist a bit more. AIn order to do this and bring value to the influencer and their fans, you’ll need to do a bit of research and check out their platform before you reach out to them.
Here’s where you need to understand a few things. One, doing a guest blog or interview is helpful. Creating content on a weekly or bi-weekly basis is tough. By offering to fill one of those spots, you’re helping the influencer. Two, you have value to share. And three, always, always direct people back to your site and email sign up.
You should be doing some kind of outreach twice a week. Whether it’s a follow-up email, an initial contact email, or the actual guest post/interview, you need to be doing two. This takes time in research and scheduling as well as creating the actual post or doing the interview but this will change your business. And please, take a moment right now before you even start, to revoke your right to be offended. If they ignore you, assume they have a good reason. If they say no, assume they have a good reason and ask for a referral!
Alright, last tip before I wrap this up. Each influencer will have a different kind of platform so when you’re researching make sure you pay attention to how you can the most helpful and how they can help you the most. For example, is someone has a blog and you scroll through and don’t see any guest posts, you might not want to offer that. You might ask for a shout out to their mailing list instead.
Alright! If you’re looking for more information you can subscribe to our mailing list to get a free platform checklist which will walk you through everything you should have set up and how here and I highly recommend Tim’s book, Your First 1000 Copies, Nick’s book, Reader Magnets, and Joanna’s books. I’ve read most of her nonfiction and it’s all amazing but if I had to pick just two I’d say Successful Author Mindset and Business For Authors. Good luck! If you make these changes and start seeing a difference in your sales and sign-ups let me know! I love to hear success stories!
What are your biggest struggles when it comes to book marketing?Comment below and I'll do my best to help you work through it!
***Bonus Tip*** If you haven't researched and optimized your keywords on Amazon yet, that's a great way to improve visibility without spending a dime! I went from or fewer downloads a day to multiple downloads a day (everyday) after my first tweak. Imagine what you could do if you're already getting a few downloads everyday?
Marissa Frosch is the head of marketing at Amphibian Press and all writes under the pseudonym Cameron J Quinn. She is the award-winning author of The Starsboro Chronicles. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, blog and her website.
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