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Ready to Sell More Books in 2017? Here Are 9 Tips

Here are 9 tips for moving your book marketing forward in 2017 .

Unless you’re writing as a hobby, your book is a business and you have a goal to sell as many copies as you can. The start of the year is your chance to review and revise your current book marketing plan – or create and implement one if you’re just starting out.

You’ll need a few things to put your plan into action:

1. Sales goals, broken down by week, month, and/or year
2. Concrete understanding of who your ideal reader is (demographics)
3. Knowledge about your ideal reader’s habits and preferences (psychcographics)
4. An understanding of relationship and content marketing
5. A plan to grow your email list
6. Strategies you plan to implement to reach your ideal reader
7. An actual calendar (paper or digital) on which to record the steps of your marketing plan
8. Assigned dates for quarterly reviews of your plan
9. Rewards for accomplishing your goals

1. Sales goals, broken down by week, month, and/or year
It’s impossible to reach your goals if you don’t know what they are. So how many books do you want to sell? What’s realistic, given the time, skills, and money you can invest in your marketing efforts? How many books do you need to sell to recoup your costs? How many books do you need to sell to reach/maintain bestseller status?

2. Concrete understanding of who your ideal reader is (demographics)
No matter how good your marketing plan is, it’s likely to fail unless and until you know who your ideal reader is. Who this reader is may surprise you. One author I know writes hard-boiled detective novels, so he envisioned men, particularly law enforcement types, as his ideal readers. As he was halfway into his second novel, he did a review of who had bought his first book and was surprised to find it was mostly soccer moms.

3. Knowledge about your ideal reader’s habits and preferences (psychcographics)
Once you know who your reader is, it becomes easier to discern what they like, what they read, where and how they buy books. This will help you determine whether your best bet is to connect with them via LinkedIn or Instagram – or whether you’re more likely to find them at a tradeshow or through your membership in a civic organization.

4. An understanding of relationship and content marketing
Think of your own preferences, when it comes to buying things. Long gone are the days when people will tolerate being sold to. More often, they buy because the product (yes, your book is a product) meets a need or sates a desire – and they choose books because the author comes pre-recommended from a trusted source. Don’t discount reviews – but an anonymous review on Amazon carries a lot less weight than their best friend telling them, “You have to read this book – it’s amazing!” That kind of sharing results (a) from a really good book, and (b) because an author takes the time to cultivate relationships and provide engaging content via their blog, website, YouTube, and other social media platforms.

5. A plan to grow your email list
Although your blog readers and social media connections are important, nothing is more valuable to you, when it comes to marketing your books, than your email list. If your blog goes down for any reason or your social media account is hacked, bye-bye to all those connections. But you own your list – no one else does. If you don’t have one yet, it’s time to start building it! This means finding ways and reasons to get people to give you their email addresses. Contests and giveaways are a big one, as is an ethical bribe you offer on your website or social media pages (a free report, quiz, ebook, or other interesting/useful item). Make sure your giveaway item is digital – so that it’s easy for you to collect the visitor’s email address upon delivering it.

6. Strategies you plan to implement to reach your ideal reader
Now that you know who your reader is, what steps will you take to connect with them? A focused Pinterest campaign? A contest? Biweekly news releases? A blog? A Tip-of-the-Week newsletter? Choose no more than six you will focus on for all of 2017.

7. An actual calendar (paper or digital) on which to record the steps of your marketing plan
Now, it’s time to actually break down the six (or fewer) strategies you’ve settled on into realistic, manageable, measureable steps – and add them to your calendar. Whether you dedicate a certain amount of time every day (the best plan) or a couple hours one day a week, nothing’s going to move unless and until you TAKE ACTION on your plan. This means calendaring the steps, and then keeping your appointments with yourself to implement the plan.

8. Assigned dates for quarterly reviews of your plan
As you move through the steps on your plan, you’ll likely find that some things work better than you’d anticipated, while others are less effective. An important aspect of achieving your goals is setting a date once a quarter to review your plan. What worked? What didn’t work? What might you do more of? What can you abandon and replace with something else?

9. Rewards for accomplishing your goals
Whether you sell one book or a hundred books, it’s more than you sold before – so have a plan to celebrate your success. First, you’ve got to know what it means to have succeeded (see #1). And then, you really want to have a pre-determined reward for accomplishing that goal. Think of it as something to work toward. Try to make the reward commensurate with the goal. For instance, come up with small rewards like a bubble bath or dinner at your favorite restaurant for meeting your weekly goals. Then, think of bigger rewards for accomplishing your quarterly or annual goals.

Will 2017 be the year YOU design and implement an actionable book marketing plan?
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Want to take your book marketing to the next level next year? Get your complimentary physical copy of my 2017 Book Marketing Calendar (all you pay is 1 penny, plus $3.95 S&H). Order here: http://bit.ly/BookMktCalendar­.

It has one idea a week for all 52 weeks of the year to move your book marketing forward, along with a theme for each month and specific writing-related day celebrations. You can take action on the weekly marketing tips, while also expanding your engagement by promoting the celebratory days on your blog and/or favorite social media platforms.

EXAMPLES:
JANUARY IS BOOK BLITZ MONTH.

JANUARY BOOK MARKETING IDEAS
– Make a list of non-bookstore venues you can approach
– Put your ebook on CDs/DVDs
– Make a list of ancillary products you can create

JANUARY DAY CELEBRATIONS
January 10 – National Poetry at Work Day
January 15 – Wikipedia Day
January 16 – Book Publishers Day

Get your complimentary physical copy (all you pay is 1 penny, plus $3.95 S&H). Order here: http://bit.ly/BookMktCalendar­.

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Come celebrate Phoenix-area indie authors this Saturday, October 8th!

Authors are a strange lot. Many write for love of the craft. Some write to share important messages or to establish themselves as experts in their fields. Most are seeking readers. Some embrace the idea of abracadabra-instant-best-sellermarketing. Many are stunned when they hear the 80/20 principle as it applies to publishing: the recommended ratio of marketing time/effort to writing time/effort. A huge number seem to wish they could wave a magic marketing wand and be done with it. Hocus pocus. Abracadabra. And voila … a bestseller appears.

Unfortunately – or fortunately – it doesn’t work like that. The successful authors are the ones who are willing to be creative and determined to get the word out about their books.

That is the goal of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup. We are on the cusp of reaching 1,000 members in our little club. That means that one in every 3.552 residents of the Valley of the Sun is a member of our group who either (a) has written at least one book, (b) is in the process of writing a book, or (c) is thinking about writing a book and has an interest in learning more about marketing their titles.

To them, I say KUDOS! Hats off! Well done! And happy Indie Author Day! Now not every member of our group is a self-published author, but the vast majority are indie authors. Google the definition of indie author and you’ll likely find dozens of variations. In my opinion, an indie author is an author who is the creative director of their books, from concept to publication to marketing and beyond. While they may or may not partner with a variety of service providers along the way, they drive their own publishing process and agenda. Many small publishers are indie presses, as are those authors who only ever self-publish a single book.

Saturday, October 8, 2016, marks the inaugural Indie Author Day. On that day, libraries across North America will host their own local author events with the support of the Indie Author Day team. We won’t know for a while whether IAD will become an annual event, but that would be a happy outcome! Surprisingly few Phoenix-area libraries are participating – but it’s the first year, so let’s hope it grows with time.

Maricopa County Library District — El Mirage Branch  /  El Mirage, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Northwest Regional Branch  /  Surprise, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Queen Creek Branch  /  Queen Creek, AZ

Maricopa County Library District — Sun City Branch  /  Sun City, AZ

There IS something else you can do to celebrate indie authors in the Phoenix area – and that is join us forBooks Take You Higher Gala the inaugural Books Take You Higher Gala! This party features local authors – many of whom are members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup – and gives Valley book lovers the chance to mix and mingle with some of the best. Authors in attendance range from award-winning children’s authors to adult fiction authors, memoir writers, business writers, and everyone in between.

Some of the things you can look forward to:

  • A spelling bee for the smarty pants in the house (PRIZE: $25 gift card)
  • A literary trivia contest for the true bibliophiles (PRIZE: $25 gift card)
  • An optional costume contest (come as your favorite literary character – it is October, after all – and you could win a $50 gift card!)
  • Live music from comedy quartet, Lilac Crazy, and solo guitarist Mickey Clement
  • Food from Pita Jungle
  • Much more…

Advance tickets are just $5 for members of the Phoenix Publishing & Book Promotion Meetup; $10 for the general public; and $15 for 2 general public tickets. Join us and help us support Read Better Be Better, a local nonprofit whose goal is to interrupt the cycle of childhood illiteracy that so often gives way to adult illiteracy in our country.

Questions? Email phxazlaura@gmail.com. Please come and bring a friend! And if you can’t make it, please press one of the share buttons to tell your bibliophile friends about the event!

Many thanks to our printing sponsor, Author2Market.com – and Write | Market | Design for hosting the event!

Books Take You Higher Gala partners banner

Laura

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We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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