You come home from a long day at work and just want to veg. Your nagging “to do” list of laundry, mowing the lawn, and cleaning out your car seem so daunting. But there is something else you are forgetting. Something really important. What was it?
Oh yeah. My book was just released. I should get to that.
The reality for many authors is that success is not instant. Being an author isn’t a high-paying, full-time job for many; and so authors must work a different, perhaps less exciting, full-time job in order to support their goals of perhaps one day becoming a bestselling author.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be an instant success? To wake up one day, quit your regular job and just earn millions in royalties from book sales?
Bestselling author Jodi Picoult, author of My Sister’s Keeper, said on her podcast, “So You Want to Be a Writer,” explains that most writers don’t get published. Even others who do get their book printed only see little sales. Vow not to let that happen to you.
You know you need to spend time marketing. But how do you get there? How do you spend the time needed in order to market your book when your day already feels like it is filled to the max?
Picoult continues: “For many people, the tricky thing is time… often, if you’re working a 9-to-5 job, the last thing you want to do is sit down and work on your novel at the end of the day. But if you don’t give yourself a designated time to write everyday, it won’t happen…. You don’t need six hours. Just a half hour. Or several.”
While she is talking about writing a book, the same concept could be applied tomarketing as well. So many authors out there are struggling with time, just like you. The difference between authors with titles that sell and titles that don’t are that the successful authors go out and market their book when they could, whenever they could. The unsuccessful ones only dream about it, let other things get in the way, and offer the excuse, “I just don’t have the time.”
Don’t let that be you!
As you embark on your journey of being an author while holding down a full-time job, keep these important tips in mind:
Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing.
Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques.
Be consistent over a long period of time.
If you can do these three things, eventually it won’t matter that you don’t have gobs of hours to spend marketing your book. Do these things, and hopefully you will be the successful author you have always dreamed of being.
1. Set aside time everyday to devote to marketing. Carve out time to devote to your book every single day. What time can you stick to? Get up early, spend part of your lunch hour, or wait until the kids are in bed. Or do all three! Whenever you can spare time, that time is for you and your book. Nothing else. Commit now and set a timer if you have to! No veering off and doing other things. This is focused time just for marketing. Go.
2. Develop a Promotion Plan of effective marketing techniques. As early as possible, the best thing you can do is spend time developing a Promotion Plan. Ideally, this is done while your book is going through the editing/publishing process so it is ready to go once you go to print. But if your book is already in print, it’s not too late to kick-start your marketing plan. Start today. Start now.
What is a Promotion Plan? Think of it as a business plan. It’s everything written down step by step that you need to do to get your business off the ground and selling your product. It is always a work in progress, so keep it handy and change and update as needed.
What to include in your Promotion Plan? First, check with your publishing company. They may offer details for you (we provide information to our authors and include a sample promotion plan as well) or you may find ideas in the marketing books or online.
Why is this Promotion Plan so crucial? A plan is key because it outlines what you will be doing as soon as your book is published, what you will do after that, and what you will do to market in the next year. With this plan, you don’t come home from work wondering “what should I do to market my book today?” because you already know. You already have a plan. A Promotion Plan will save you time in the long run. It will keep you motivated and focused.
To begin writing your Promotion Plan, first educate yourself on the book marketing process. Read books, listen to experts give talks, sign up for e-newsletters—whatever you can do to learn about book marketing. This will take time, which is why doing this before your book is in print is the ideal.
You must become educated because you’ll want to know what the experts do so that you can emulate them and try their ideas. For example, did you know that bookstore signings aren’t very effective? Did you know that not very many authors today do book tours? Did you know that you can earn a lot more in royalties by selling your book directly? Book marketing has changed a lot, especially in the last few years with the Internet and social networking becoming a big part of people’s lives. So don’t skip education. Learn everything you can about book marketing and what works. It will take time, but it is essential.
A few books to get you started: 1,001 Ways to Market Your Books by John Kremer,Guerrilla Marketing For Writers: 100 Weapons for Selling Your Work by Jay Conrad Levinson, The Complete Guide to Book Publicity by Jodee Blanco, 55 Ways to Promote & Sell Your Book on the Internet by Bob Baker.
Read these books on the train on your way to work, listen to them on tape, read a chapter while waiting at the doctor’s office—devour all the information when you can and where you can. As you read these books, take notes and put the ideas in your Promotion Plan.
Here are some things you will be learning from those books. We suggest putting them in your plan, though make sure to read up on them for more details:
*Develop an author website/blog/social networking page. Continually add to them so they become information centers on a certain topic rather than just about you and your book.
*Create press kit.
*Write and later publish articles on subjects relating to your book’s genre.
*Order copies of your book in bulk so you can 1. Sell direct and earn more royalties, and 2. Send copies to the media and other centers of influence to be reviewed. These reviews can be added to your website and/or the back cover of your book. Both are worth the initial investment.
*Set your release date (typically a few months following the initial printing)
*Set up events such as speaking engagements, book signings (at places other than bookstores).
*Post reviews and have others post reviews on sites like Amazon.com.
*Set up interviews with local media, then regional, niche media (relating to your genre) and then go for national. Become an “expert” in your field and offer information to the media so they will use you as a resource.
As you write these into your plan, also write down how you will do these things. Plan them out as much as possible. What will you include in your website? If you aren’t sure, check back with some of the marketing books for details. What should be included in a press kit? Again, check back with marketing experts or check out our other blog post (LINK). Write down the details in your plan so when the time comes to implement this step, you will be ready to go.
Keep adding to your plan and refine it; perhaps your publishing company’s marketing department will take a look at it and offer suggestions. Be flexible and open to new ideas. be willing to try anything.
3. Be consistent over a long period of time. You made it! Your book is in print!
Now that tangible copies are ready to order, the key is to implement those items on your Promotion Plan. Order copies to sell direct. Add a shopping cart to your website so people can order. Write a blog post about it. Send copies out to be reviewed. And more. You should know exactly what to do because it will all be spelled out in your Promotion Plan.
Continue to spend a little time everyday at the same time, implementing things from your Promotion Plan. Perhaps one day you could write an article and submit it to an ezine. The next day you could get copies ready to mail out for review. The following day you could set up a speaking event. You may not complete each task in one day, but keep at it. If you stick with your Promotion Plan and work on the things that are the most effective, hopefully sales will follow!
How long should you continue working at this pace? As long as possible. Work consistently over the long term. Most authors don’t become successful overnight. Only after months and even years of hard work do many titles get noticed. Look inside the cover of a bestseller—notice the copyright date? You might be surprised to find how long some books took to really sell. So decide now to dedicate yourself to the task. Don’t give up. Keep on going.
And who knows? Maybe someday being a full-time author could be your day job.
*Reposted from the American Book Publishing Blog