Dos and Don’ts of Marketing

When it comes to selling books, there are gobs of opinions out there. And there is no one way. But there are many dos and don’t when it comes to marketing. In this post, we’ll try to capture a handful of them.

Do – take advantage of every opportunity to market

Never ever EVER pass up a captive audience. When someone reads your book to the end, they will ALWAYS read the page AFTER the end of the story. (Don’t you do the same?)

Key things to include:

  • First chapter of the book’s sequel.
  • First chapter of another work if the current title isn’t a series.

After the chapter include a link to sign up for your email list. This is called “going for the ask”. It’s tough for introverts but a time tested recipe in marketing and sales.

Don’t – publish your series all at once.

“I wrote a series. Can I put it all out there at once?”

No. Don’t do this. At all.

Did you pour your heart and soul into these works? Do you want your readers to get them all? Does it give you a warm fuzzy knowing they have your complete works?

Sorry, but emotions are running rampant. I understand the excitement of wanting your audience to gobble up everything. Take a deep breath and don’t rush it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither can your following.

When publishing blog articles, it’s good to drive traffic to one place on your site. Don’t tweet asking people to visit two different parts of your site at the same time. Instead, lead them to a single page on your site talking about the first book. If they like it, the tail of the book can include the hook for the second followed by a buy link. Rinse/repeat.

Why? Because all of these leads to Amazon rankings. And it’s better to slam one title into the Top 50 for a given genre than working two titles into the Top 1000. Focusing all marketing on one title is key. As shown, rankings help Amazon show things like “frequently bought together”.

Do – seek a long term path with many works

There’s an old adage that quality beats quantity. That is quite true. To a certain point. If you can write a great novel, market it superbly, and build a fanbase, you’ll find that it can help sell more books. Many famous authors started that way. A quality novel can jumpstart your writing future.

But at a certain point, your ability to market may/may not do the trick. That is when quantity can overtake and leave quality in the dust. If you look at many historically famous authors, some of the most successful actually wrote LOTS of novels.

If you can publish a dozen novels, odds will stack in your favor over an author that only writes a single novel, and expects to make it big with that. The thing is, try to focus on marketing one at a time. If you try and market multiple titles at a time while building your fanbase, you may accidentally confuse your fanbase.

From time to time, I may mention my older titles, but in general, I pour all my marketing effort into the latest one.

Do – keep making updates to your site

Never forget – your website is supposed to help people discover you, find out that they like you, interact with you, and ultimately buy your wares. Make fluid adjustments to your site as things change.

  • Offering Black Friday discounts? Put a temporary banner ad at the top of your site.
  • Written one or more books? Create a page for each.
  • Written a series? Write a page talking about the series, with each title in order, linking to each title’s page.
  • Written a blog article series? Craft a menu and put it on the sidebar.
  • Give away handouts when you go to sell books at fairs? Put the handout on a page.
  • Want people to Tweet/email/Facebook? Create a /contact or /me page.

 

Don’t – post just to sell

Something a lot of people have a hard time getting to grips with is that blogging, tweeting, and facebooking shouldn’t be just about selling. In fact, it’s recommended to confine actual selling to less than 20%.

We can all smell an oily salesman. Don’t turn yourself into one.

People will read your blog articles if it carries information they are interested in, and if they find value in it. When you are pitching product, the perceived “info” drops quickly.

Do – use content you’ve written in the past in a conversation

Your website should be your main marketing tool, with Twitter and Facebook the place to put out bread crumbs. Don’t hesitate to share a page or a post pertinent to a discussion on Twitter or Facebook.

Don’t forget, this isn’t just about selling product. In fact, I recently blogged a fragment of an older book when the topic of test coverage surfaced.

I followed that Twitter conversation with a blog post, the flaws of test coverage.

Do you have any tips that has helped you market? Share them in the comments.

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