A Simple Question You Must Ask Yourself

Sunday, January 13, 2019
In a world where nothing seems simple because there's so much to do, when it comes to marketing a book, I think, sometimes, we make it more complicated than it is. Let's look at a few points...

1. You are a reader, not just a writer.
2. You buy books.
3. You don't have millions of dollars or millions of hours to buy or read every single book.

You are some author's audience that he or she is trying to connect with. You make choices on which books to read, to check out from the library, and to buy from a bookstore.

So ask yourself this: what makes you take a chance on a new author? 

Is it seeing a random Facebook ad with no connection to you?

Is it passing by an author booth at a book fair and the author is playing on her phone?

Is it one of your Twitter pals who is constantly tweeting, "Buy My Book?"

Hopefully the answer to those questions is no. But have you ever stopped to ask yourself what has made you buy a book, start a new series,  or take a chance on a new author?

We read articles and blog posts about building a marketing plan, and it is important. I even teach a class about this, and have marketing plans myself. But you have to start somewhere, and one of the SIMPLE questions you must ask yourself is...when do I take a chance on a new author?

The answers could range from a recommendation from a friend to a chat you have with an author at a book signing to a "similar book suggestion" on Amazon. Before you put together your marketing plan, brainstorm a list of all the reasons why you've tried a new book, and then make sure those opportunities are currently on your marketing plan.

There's not any ONE method, social media account, event, or even book (most likely) that will give you thousands of readers. It's a combination of strategies, including writing a good book and continuing to write good books. But what I said at the beginning of this post is true. We do forget to include some of the "common sense" or simple things in our plans. We forget that we are consumers ourselves, and we are attracted to certain marketing ideas and not others.

Don't miss out on using yourself as an example of what works when trying to get readers to notice your book. Ask yourself the simple question: What marketing strategies (ads, campaigns, events) make me go and buy a new book?  

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, and writing coach, living in St. Louis, MO, with her 8-year-old daughter. On January 23, her class, "Individualized Marketing for Authors and Writing Industry Professionals" begins for 5 weeks. In this class, students will create a marketing plan, a media kit, a sample email newsletter, and more. It's only $99 (on sale from $155). Check it out here and join the marketing fun

Question mark photo above by purpleslog on Flickr.com


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--You certainly gave me food for thought. Rarely do I buy a book at a book signing, unless I know the author (and respect their work) or somehow the (unknown to me) author charms me.

Recommendations from friends work wonders.

But don't the publishers market the books so well, the authors can just sit back and rake in the money? Hahahahaha

www.thebohemianfreethinker.com said...

Excellent reminder Margo for all writers, even those of us who are not book authors. Funny, I often use this logic in daily life- for instance with an unhelpful customer service rep- when I remind them that they are consumers too and have been themselves, (or one day will be) experiencing a similar problem, it usually gets good results.

www.thebohemianfreethinker.com said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angela Mackintosh said...

Great food for thought, Margo! I'm one of those people who buy books every week that I'll probably never read. It's a serious addiction. I just bought four yesterday. I usually take a chance on a new author because I read a review, or the Amazon suggestion feature, or reading a post or essay by an author and looking at her bio to see what she's written, or it's someone I know through the WOW community, or I hear a podcast and check out the author's book. So many reasons! :)

Nicole Pyles said...

This really made me think! I sometimes select books and add to lists due to shallow reasons (i.e. the cover was cool!) or deeper reasons of wanting to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Only because I'm conscious of authors and their efforts do I pay attention to tweets pushing books or Facebook ads (however, Goodreads ads have caught me). Reading book bloggers have definitely captured my interest in new authors too.

Margo Dill said...

Sioux: Right, it is just a myth that authors have to build their platform and create a marketing plan. Publishers do all the work. :)
I agree that I very rarely buy a book from a random author at a lit festival UNLESS I have a conversation with him/her or I get to hear him/her speak about the work. Just something to keep in mind.

www.thebohemianfreethinker.com : Yes, I agree that if we all put ourselves in each other's shoes a little more, we all might be a little calmer and a little smarter. :) But it's much easier said than done.

Ang: The podcast point is really good. I think that might be even stronger than a blog post--although that does work too. But I think there's something about hearing someone's voice that makes it feel like you know him/her better--just like listening to someone at a conference. If the podcast makes you feel a connection or the person is a good speaker, I might also buy the book. I am thinking about adding podcast to my marketing plan, but that might be a 2020 goal.

Nicole: I think that we as authors often do pay more attention to book author tweets and ads BECAUSE we sympathize with the author. But I don't think that's how the rest of the world works. And a lot of times authors have so many other author friends that they can't possibly buy all the books. So you have to try to pretend to be a "regular reader." LOL

Renee Roberson said...

Margo--I have to admit I'm a very brand loyal reader! If I've read one or two of an author's books and like them, I just keep buying. That's how my Jodi Picoult and Elin Hilderbrand collections started up. I sometimes check out books because of Instagram and Facebook ads, authors I see here on WOW!, and books I hear about on podcasts, too. I was brainstorming the other day whether or not I should go ahead and start trying to build an e-mail list, as I have a book I'm shopping around right now. Then I was thinking about what that e-newsletter would have it on it that would appeal to readers. So I'm sort of there, I guess!

Sioux Roslawski said...

Renee--What's your favorite Jodi Picoult novel? (Sorry, Margo, for the digression.)

Renee Roberson said...

Oh man, Sioux that is so hard! I had to google a list of her books to get an idea. I think "Nineteen Minutes" was the one that broke my heart the most. I remember staying up until the wee hours of the morning to finish it, and then sobbing uncontrollably for at least an hour. I haven't been able to read it again because of that. I also really liked "The Storyteller" and "Small Great Things" and "Leaving Time" (I haven't read her latest) but I will tell you, I can now predict some of her twist endings. I knew what was going to happen in all three of the books above. I may have read one too many of her books!

Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top