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.
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.
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 the 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.
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
If you’re getting ready to launch your book and would like help to put together a successful event, download my free special report: Anatomy of a Book Launch. Then CALL me at 602.518.5376 to schedule your complimentary 15-minute consultation. It’s never too early to begin planning!
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