When it comes to selling books, authors have two choices: hire someone to help or apply a do-it-yourself approach. As Boni Wagner-Stafford outlines in this post, there are several reasons why doing our own book marketing is worth the extra effort.
Those who want to write a book believe that writing the book is the hardest part. Those who have written a book soon discover that marketing the book is actually the bigger challenge.
There are a host of reasons for this, including that many writers prefer the intimate, one-on-one relationship with their keyboard over shouting anything about themselves or their book to anyone… However, your success is entirely in your hands and forethought and pre-planning your book marketing strategy will go a long way to achieving your goals.
What’s a Book Marketing Strategy?
Your book marketing strategy addresses:
- why you’ve written your book
- why the marketing strategy exists, and
- what you’re going to do to market your book.
It provides the answer to the question, “What should I be doing today to market my book?”
Hire Help or DIY Your Book Marketing Strategy?
Before you run out and hire someone else to craft a book marketing strategy for you, here are four big reasons to do this yourself.
The research, rationale, and foundational knowledge you build through creating your book marketing strategy yourself is empowering. You’ll build an intimate knowledge of your target reader, where they buy books and what format they consume.
You’ll learn much more about the market into which you are launching your book and specifically how you’ll reach your audience. You’ll understand the broader environment into which you are launching your book, including the socio-economic factors at play with your audience. You’ll understand your methods, messages, and the mechanics of getting the word out about your book.
You’ll know precisely which promotional products you want to produce and where you’re going to use them. You’ll know which events you want to speak at and attend.
This will not happen to the same degree if you hire someone else to do the work.
You’ll have an easier time speaking to others about your book and engaging with potential readers and influencers.
You already know your own content: creating your own book marketing strategy will build confidence about how to speak to your readers and influencers, how to engage in conversations about peripheral topics, and how to naturally insert the topic of your book into those conversations.
You’ll know exactly where you’re going and how you’re going to get there. You’ll have created for yourself a marketing roadmap that you can follow from the beginning. No more driving in the dark without headlights.
And this is a map you’ll keep on referencing, over and over. It will steer your marketing approach, your content, your timing, your social media. You’ll be better equipped to deal with the challenge of volume: there is so much that it is possible to do. You’ll cut through the clutter by aligning what you will actually do with the objectives you want to achieve with your marketing.
It’s the best way to choose the marketing activities that are right for you and your book.
These strategies are big, long, and detailed, and hiring someone to produce a really good one can be pricey. Save your money on the front end so you can invest some of it on other marketing activities that you have researched — and because you have done the research you can make that investment knowing it will get you closer to your goals, whether those goals include selling 2,000 copies, reaching one million readers, or achieving bestseller status in one or more categories.
By creating your own book marketing strategy, you’ll see, understand, and connect the dots in the big picture first. You’ll end up with a plan of action that aligns with your purpose for writing the book.
What a book marketing strategy will not do — no matter who creates it and how innovative, good, or thorough it is — is make up for an inferior product. Your manuscript must be the best it can possibly be, which means professionally edited and proofread. (Your neighbor or best friend who loves to read does not count.) Your book cover must be professionally designed, meaning unless you are a designer you do not want a do-it-yourself cover.
Before you invest your precious time in building a marketing strategy, be sure you’ve invested the right amount of time and money into these foundational elements of your book.
[You can find more ideas for book marketing here.]
Have you given some thought to what your marketing strategy will look like for your next book launch? Please leave your thoughts below and join the conversation.
Boni Wagner-Stafford is author of One Million Readers: The Definitive Guide to a Nonfiction Book Marketing Strategy that Saves Time, Money, and Sells More Books. She’s a writer, ghostwriter, and editor specializing in nonfiction and she manages communications and media relations for the Alliance of Independent Authors. She is also co-founder of Ingenium Books, where she coaches nonfiction authors writing in the genres of business, self-help, personal development, memoir, and journalistic nonfiction.
Boni, who has lived in more than fifty towns and cities in Canada, Mexico, and France, is currently residing in La Paz, Mexico.