When I ride my bike around the neighborhood, the easy part is going downhill. The workout comes when I have to go uphill (of course, that’s when the wind starts blowing). For me, writing the books is like coasting downhill compared to the endless slog marketing seems to be.
So I’m always on the lookout for marketing books. Some time ago, I came across the Duolit girls, otherwise known as the Self-Publishing Team. Here’s my take on three of their books:
Building Your Fan Base
In Building Your Fanbase: A From-Scratch Guide for Indie Authors, Toni and Shannon introduce the concept of reader-centered marketing. Rather than try to identify a target market by demographics like age and income, they suggest coming up with a profile of an ideal reader, someone who could become an avid fan.
I have to admit, the first time I tried to follow their instructions to develop the profile of my ideal reader, I came up with nothing. I gave it a rest, re-read that section, and tried again. Something must have clicked, because I was able to do it. If you have trouble with this, stop by the authors’ website and check out their Weekend Book Marketing Makeover. It goes into a bit more detail on creating the ideal reader profile.
The key point to the ideal reader exercise is you want to focus your marketing somewhere, and the profile helps you do that. Over time, you’ll be able to tweak that profile as you see where your results in terms of sales come from. But you need a starting point, and that’s where the profile comes in.
Then they tell you how to find people like your idea reader and provide lots of suggestions. So that this doesn’t become overwhelming, they say pick two try and focus on those two only for two months. If you meet your objectives, great. If not, try something else.
The idea is to build your fan base slowly, without burning all your time on marketing. This is a sensible, easy-to-understand plan that helps make sense of the chaotic world of book marketing.
Book Marketing Basics
Book Marketing Basics: How to Use Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and Email Marketing to Connect with Readers gives lots of tips for using Facebook, Twitter, blogging, and email to market books. Beginners will find it useful for getting started. Even though I’ve been at this for awhile, I learned some things I didn’t know. Especially helpful are the examples the authors give to show how it could be done. They also provide a call to action at the end of each section that helps readers decide which tips to follow, rather than just creating a massively overwhelming to do list. This is a very helpful resource. If you get nothing out of the rest of the book, the bonus chapter which gives 105 possible blog topics will surely give you something helpful.
Self-publishing Basic Training
Just getting started in the whole writing and publishing world? Self-Publishing Basic Training provides an overview to the publishing process. The pre-planning sections cover the need to think marketing before the book is done. There are good sections on writing and editing. (I’ve read enough self-published books to say that it would be a wonderful thing if more people heeded the advice in these sections.)
The book includes a lengthy discussion of the pros and cons of self publishing and tips for comparing services. It also goes into the nitty-gritty details of self-publishing, like ISBN numbers, pricing details, and returns.
Marketing isn’t overlooked, starting with design issues for book covers and the interior layout. Pre-launch marketing and some marketing strategies are also discussed.
The resources guide at the end is a nice feature and has lots of help to offer, like how to find an editor.
While it’s written for beginners, I picked up a few tips myself. I also want to point out that my own book, Read Me Before You Write: What You Need to Know about Writing, Publishing and Marketing Your Book, covers much of the same ground. Of course, I’m biased as to which one I think is better. But if you go with Self-Publishing Basic Training, you won’t be sorry.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”