At every networking event or new introduction – without fail – I get at least one person offering up the following response when they hear what I do: ‘Ooh, you’re a publisher! I have an idea for a book….’
Whilst there’s nothing wrong in that – it is, after all, why I exist – not once do I hear any mention of the proposed book’s marketing, or whether there’s an audience waiting for the book to be released. The promotion of any book is always the last consideration, which, nowadays, just isn’t good enough if any author hopes to sell copies or earn a living from their writing.
Statistics show that few authors sell above the ‘100 books’ mark. I’ve seen authors that have, but they’re only those who look at their book as a business in its own right, and who put themselves out there as often as they’re able. The whole idea of an author platform is that the book – whether non-fiction or fiction – raises your visibility; your name begins to be familiar with your readers, who subsequently ‘buy into’ you.
I’ve learned, as an author myself, the hard way, but that’s why I feel so passionately that authors work with me only when they’re ready: once they’ve created the demand for their book. Though I’ll help authors at any stage, I do recommend they go some way to implementing promotion before they concern themselves with what they supply. Trust me – it’s much, much easier in the long run.
Creating the demand involves:
Researching your book idea for any competition and for the size of your market
Analysing the needs or wants of your ‘perfect reader’/target audience
Building anticipation, by enjoying regular contact with your target audience, offering value to them, more so than wholly promotional posts
Capturing potential buyers’ email addresses for instant sales once the book is complete (adhering to GDPR practices, of course)
Promotions, such as competitions and giveaway, to help spread the word and collect followers on your social media platforms
Gaining regular feedback from your target audience that what you’re due to supply still meets their needs
Carrying this out once you’ve written the book, or post-release, means a delayed reaction from your audience. Delayed reaction results in few early sales; this is deflating for an author, and it inspires them even less to proactively market their book. All in all, the whole concept becomes a wasted opportunity.
Creating the demand is easier when the premise of being an author is still dangling like a carrot from a stick. You’re also able to gauge expectations better and work out which marketing initiatives work best for you before your book sees the light of day. The motivation you’ll feel to complete your book once you know there’s a pool of people waiting to buy it is powerful.
The marketing of your book should be as important as the book’s concept, and there’s no time like the present to start telling people about your upcoming title. Include details in your email signature, blog about it, mention it as you meet people during your daily routine, or have some postcards produced with a link people can visit in the interim to find out more. The supply bit may seem daunting but it’s the easiest part of the equation – pay heed to sourcing the demand, or reality will stamp all over your high expectations, once your book has been published.