It’s easier than ever to publish a book today, which is both a gift and a challenge. It is estimated that over one million books are released each year, which has created a tremendous amount of competition when it comes to capturing the attention of readers. This means authors need a focused strategy in order to sell more nonfiction books.
Carve Out Your Niche Audience (No Book is Right for Everyone)
As writers, we all want our books read by as many people as possible, but the hard truth is there is not a single book in the world that EVERYONE is interested in reading. We all have personal preferences. For example, I like to read inspiring memoirs with stories I can relate to. A memoir about fighting in Vietnam wouldn’t be a fit for me.
To get clear about your audience, answer these questions:
Is there a common theme in my book that appeals to a specific audience? For example, if you wrote a memoir about how your golden retriever helped you heal through difficult times, perhaps dog owners would be a good target? You can also aim for a sub-group of golden retriever owners.
Is my audience too broad? There is a considerable amount of competition for books in broad categories like small business, health and wellness, finance/money, and spirituality. Consider how you can narrow your focus. Instead of a general investment guide, how about targeting people in their 20’s or single parents or people at mid-life who waited to plan? There are tremendous advantages to carving out a niche. It will be easier to appeal to readers who see your book and your marketing efforts and immediately connect with your messaging.
Create Your Content Marketing Strategy
To achieve long-term success, start by laying a foundation. This starts on your own website with a blog. A blog can consist of written posts, podcast episodes, YouTube videos you create, or a combination of all three.
This accomplishes two goals:
- Serve your audience by creating content that addresses their needs, challenges, and interests.
- Drive traffic to your site from your ideal target readers.
Google gives higher priority to websites that produce content frequently, and statistics show that the more often you publish blog posts, the more traffic your site will receive. If you want to build a career as an author, this is an essential step that will grow your audience with time.
Build an Email List
When a reader gives you her email address, she is giving you permission to market to her. Email subscribers are a captive audience, and you can build a relationship with them by providing value in the content you share with them.
It’s essential to provide incentive for people to sign up for your list. This can be in the form of sample chapters from your book, templates, reports, quizzes, free access to events, and many other types of bonus content. An email list will grow with time, especially when you’re driving traffic to your site with valuable content. When visitors find value on your site, they will want to remain connected. An email list is one of the most valuable tools in an author’s toolbox so please don’t overlook this step.
Find Your Readers
Once you’re clear on target audience and your foundation has been created with a blog on your site and an email list, determine how you will reach them. Answer these questions:
What websites and blogs do my readers follow? Look for submission guidelines to see if you can contribute guest posts.
What print publications do they read? As with blogs and websites, see if you can contribute articles or other content.
What podcasts do they listen to? Podcasts create a wonderful opportunity for authors to reach more potential readers. Find the shows that appeal to your audience and pitch yourself as a guest.
What trade associations do they belong to? You can join the group, speak at local chapters, and contribute to the newsletter, blog, and/or magazine.
What events do they attend? Speakers sell books, so locate opportunities to present to groups where your target audience spends time.
What social media groups do they participate in? Using the example above of the memoir about life with your golden retriever, look for groups on Facebook (and beyond) for dog owners, pet lovers, and golden retriever owners. See how you can contribute to the conversation. Ask the group admin if you can hold a book give-away, interview members for your blog or podcast, and develop a connection with group members. Even better, consider starting your own group to attract your ideal readers.
What social media networks do they follow? Social media has been overly hyped, in my opinion, so the good news is that you don’t need to be on EVERY network. But you should participate in one or two networks where your readers spend time. Use social media to attract readers back to your site by sharing blog posts/podcast episodes/videos. You can also entice followers to join your email list by offering the free downloads you’ve created to grow your email list.
You Can Do This!
I know book marketing sounds like a lot of work. That’s because it is a lot of work and it’s not easy. But if your mission is to grow your audience and get books in the hands of more readers, these are the steps that will move you in that direction. It will likely take some time to build momentum, but when you begin to reap the rewards of your hard work, you will understand how it’s all worthwhile because you will be making an impact with your books.
Like this article? You will love our online courses for nonfiction authors!