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Posts Tagged ‘book marketing goals’

Book marketing goals are as varied as authors’ reasons for writing

I just saw a post from a member of a LinkedIn group for writers that asked, “Who inspired you to become a writer?”

My answer probably goes back to Sr. Laurian, my sixth grade teacher at St. Agnes Catholic School in Phoenix. It was she who told me I was good at writing and would someday have a career in it. However, I suspect I might have found my way into this career whether she’d given me that validation or not. As it happened, I didn’t get here straightaway from college.

My first real job was as a librarian at The Arizona Daily Star in Tucson where, pre-Internet, we read each of the stories in the daily paper, marked them up with what we now know as keywords using colored pens that changed with each year, tore them out of the paper using straight-edges to make clean lines, folded the ones that needed folding to fit, and then filed them into rows and rows and rows of file cabinets filled with over-sized manila envelopes, one for each keyword. I worked there during college and for several years after graduating.

library files

My next job – held simultaneously with the library job – actually involved writing, as a part-time reporter for the features department of our newspaper. The stories I remember writing were about the circus giving away elephant manure to local gardeners (plants supposedly love the stuff), a local man who hand-crafted piñatas out of his home, and a piece on the Catholic Lenten tradition of the “Stations of the Cross.”

Finding after writing just a dozen or so stories that I did not want to make journalism my career, I changed majors to creative writing with an emphasis on nonfiction. Eventually I left the Star to make my way East – to the Big Apple – where I promptly left writing behind for an admin assistant position at the now-defunct Lehman Brothers. It took another decade before I finally found my way into the work that became my career, helping authors write and market books that change the world. And through the process of building that business, I’ve written a number of my own books, the majority of which are how-to’s for authors.

Every author comes to writing for a different reason, through a different channel, and with different goals. And so it is with marketing those books. We market each book for a different reason, through different channels, and with different goals.

Your book marketing efforts must start with knowing the answers to several questions.

my ideal reader

YOUR READER: Who is your ideal reader? Are they male or female? Where do they live? How educated are they? How much money do they make? What do they do for a living? What do they do in their spare time, besides reading? What kinds of websites to they visit? Which are their preferred social media platforms? And if they’re not online (not everybody is), where and how are you going to meet them and connect with them? Ignore the answers to these questions at your book’s peril.

YOUR GOAL: What is YOUR goal for marketing your book? Do you want to share your message with my book marketing goalthe widest audience possible? Develop a legion of loyal readers/followers? Leverage your book sales into speaking engagements? Make a living as a novelist? Parlay your author-ity into a reality TV show? There really are no right or wrong answers to this question. There’s just your answer.

And when you marry the answer to “Who’s your IDEAL reader?” with your answer to “What is YOUR goal for marketing your book?” you have a much better frame of reference and jumping-off point from which to begin – or continue – to implement a strategic marketing plan.

Laura

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Are you getting your money’s worth for your marketing dollars?

Sometimes it’s challenging to know whether the very tempting marketing opportunities we come across are really worth the money. Take for instance the email I received from a client in Trinidad. She’s about to release her second book – its primary audience will be Western European and American businesspeople.

Here is her message, in its entirety:

What do you think about this for my book?

Frankfurt

The fact is, this is a tempting offer. The Frankfurt Book Fair is one of the top book events in the world! Which author wouldn’t want to take such an opportunity?

But is it really all the opportunity it seems at first glance? Here’s how I responded to my client’s query:

That is one of the THE top book fairs in the world, so it might be a good idea. However, here’ s what a book fair like that looks like:

Now imagine having a small pile of your books on one table. That’s the effect it would likely have. It might make a bit of a difference if you were listed in the directory, too – but the directory is about 400 pages long, so again, you’d have one line in the middle of all of that.

The biggest thing it might do for you is give you the credibility of being able to say your book was at the Frankfurt Book Fair, but I think there are probably better ways to spend your money.

Just my thoughts…

For someone with a bottomless marketing budget, throwing anything at the wall to see what sticks might be a workable strategy. For most authors, however, their marketing budgets are an important consideration when making decisions about strategy, tools, and opportunities. It’s crucial that before you plunk down your dollars, you give serious consideration to something known as the “opportunity costs.” Opportunity cost is defined as “a benefit, profit, or value of something that must be given up to acquire or achieve something else. Since every resource (e.g., land, money, time, etc.) can be put to alternative uses, every action, choice, or decision has an associated opportunity cost. … Such costs are not recorded in the account books but are recognized in decision-making by computing the cash outlays and their resulting profit or loss.”*

The challenge when it comes to book marketing is that every book is a little bit different, sometimes making it difficult to measure your book marketing ROI. What worked for one self-help book will not necessarily work for another self-help book. What worked for one author’s first novel will not necessarily work for the same author’s third or fourth novel. Sometimes analyzing opportunity costs is a trial-and-error process. Sometimes, though, it’s just a matter of asking the right questions of the right people.

Be sure to do your own due diligence before investing your marketing bucks. Be smart – don’t invest your car payment on a marketing gamble. Make a realistic marketing budget and stick to it. Know what your goal is, and how you will measure your success in achieving it. Sometimes it’s book sales; other times, it’s simply exposure for you, your book, or your business.

It’s possible that even the most promising opportunities will fall flat. Take those as learning opportunities. Maybe all that’s necessary is a little tweak in your strategy. Maybe you’ve misdirected your campaign. Maybe you failed to include a compelling call to action. Maybe it was just bad timing. Don’t get disheartened. When you do find something that works, do more of it!

Here’s to a your great marketing success!

Laura

* http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/opportunity-cost.html

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