Expert Round-Up Topic: How do you carve out time for book marketing?
The question implies that this is after the initial launch. At that point, one should not “carve out” time but instead, their latest book should be part of their everyday conversations, in podcast interviews, and on social media alike.
Authors need to “live” their book subject daily until the release of their next book so marketing should be on auto-pilot, automatically delivered as part of the author’s personal brand and their conversations with readers online.
Principal – FINIEN
Make marketing your books and your author brand your first priority—not your last. The book you are writing right now hopefully won’t be your last. But you only have one author platform. By proactively building your brand and engaging with your audience, you greatly increase the success of the book you are writing now, and your future books.
Nobody is going to do your marketing for you, and that includes the big publishing houses. By taking charge of your marketing, not only will you get better sales, you have more sway in negotiations and landing better deals. And you are treating your writing as a business.
This includes podcasting, blog posts, social media, and search engine optimization—all topics you need to have a basic understanding of. If it sounds overwhelming, pick one topic, specialize in it, then get outside help for the other areas.
DOUGLAS E. NOLL
Here’s the hard truth: 1% of your effort should be put towards writing your book. 99% of your effort should be focused on marketing your book. From concept to post-publication and beyond, marketing is Job #1 for a nonfiction author. Unless you have a huge platform, no publisher will spend a dime on marketing. You have to do it all yourself, and you have to start from Day 1. You shouldn’t even do an outline or book proposal until you have thoroughly researched all of the titles relevant to your topic, how they have done in the market, who the dominant authors are, what they do in addition to writing books, and, most importantly, identified that you have an audience of sufficient size ready to buy. You have to write out a detailed marketing plan, create a marketing budget, learn how to market yourself, or have a lot of money to pay someone else to do the work for you.
Essential marketing skills include knowing how to create and maintain a content marketing system (CMS), creating sales funnels, writing copy, writing blogs, writing guest blogs, getting on podcasts or doing your own podcast, creating webinars, creating and publishing on your YouTube Channel, and understanding how to maximize social media platforms. For most authors, this is a big, steep learning curve. Patience, persistence, and discipline are the only tools you have to dissolve the walls in front of you.
So the answer is, you carve out time for doing everything else in your life away from your marketing efforts.
Make use of your downtime from your day job. The majority of people do not put forth 100 percent effort during their workdays at their day jobs. They’re sneaking in Facebook breaks or squandering time on idle talk with employees, which is against company policy. And here’s the thing: your boss is well aware of this. As long as your manager hasn’t expressed worries about your productivity levels or the amount of time you’re zoning out while on the clock, you can utilize your downtime to monitor your social media, conduct research, create your email newsletter, and other tasks.
SARAH J. KAY
I found time for book marketing by making myself unavailable for everything else and using online scheduling tools. In a nutshell, I removed all distractions to focus and automated as many tasks as possible!
Here’s how I created time:
-Start with the end in mind. Be clear about what you would like to achieve with your book.
-Define your audience and the insight. For whom are you writing your book? What problem are you solving for them?
-Where do people look for content like yours? Where and how is your genre usually communicated?
-How do you express yourself most compellingly? I’m an introvert, and I find the prospect of creating “live” content and webinars terrifying! I built a marketing strategy that doesn’t rely upon me to play a central role in the creative, which has the added advantage of not committing myself to time-specific events.
-Keep your marketing simple. Focus on the aspects that will create the most significant impact in exchange for your available resources (money, time, you). Because your book marketing strategy is so focused, it will be easier to carve out and prioritize one hour a day to execute the plan.
To create time, I’ve built my marketing plan around scheduling everything ahead of time: I use Mailchimp to organize future communication with my advanced readers and subscribers and understand how they react to the content. I use SmarterQueue to plan the next four months’ worth of LinkedIn posts. I’ve booked my advertising on Linked In and Amazon. I’ve consolidated my outreach to media through HelpAReporterOut.com. I built a website on Squarespace using proofread content from my book. I will recycle and pre-schedule content across these channels, on my blog, and in my newsletter for the rest of the year, leaving me free to focus on my day job—and paddleboarding.
To effectively carve out time for book marketing, seek to automate the process wherever possible. Fortunately, you don’t always need to be present when marketing your book online. You can advertise on platforms like Facebook or Instagram to widen your reach and promote sales of your book. The process is simple: start by writing a captivating caption, and accompany it with an engaging picture of your book or perhaps an excerpt from within it. Then, set a budget that fits your goals, and a duration for the ad to stay up. Then, all you need to do is track your ad performance once a week so you know whether the ad needs to be tweaked or improved in any way. In doing so, you won’t need to fork out hours of your time marketing. Instead, you’ll captivate the optimal audience and promote your penmanship through automation. If you value your time, you should certainly give it a try.
RAMAN K ATTRI
At pre-release stage: It takes a few minutes to engage a freelancer at Fiverr who could help you make an impressive “show reel” of the book. You can use it on social media to promote or pitching for media interviews.
At release stage: It does not take much time to hire professionals or a freelancer to help you release a powerful press release. A press release will not only alert journalists around the globe for a newsworthy piece, but it also generates tons of index links in Google.
At sale stage: If you are a speaker, this could be part of your work itself. Design a keynote out of your book. Propose a talk to organizers of some of the leading forums and conferences. During the keynote, you will be able to talk about your book to your audience.
Before publication, I promote the book. This saves on time. Also, I find beta readers. They write testimonials for me and share my content promoting my upcoming publication. I use the Amazon Kindle Program for publication. The program saves me a lot of time. For instance, AKP lets me use a stock photo in order to design the book cover. As it gets closer to publication, I announce the publication on Instagram using a Countdown Sticker. People who save the launch notification to be apprised of the publication after the book is available for purchase enter my funnel. I contact them in their Instagram DM and introduce myself and tell them about my book. This builds relationships that help sell books.
I am also in several writers groups. After publication, they promote books to their group members and will interview me to promote my books. I’ve been interviewed on blogs and on podcasts. By marketing my book before and after publication and relying on fellow authors, I am able to market my book without a marketing budget in a way that doesn’t take much time.
First, think about the marketing channels that are most natural for you to market to your audience. Do you have a regular newsletter? Are you active on Instagram? Do you have a passionate following in a Facebook group? Think about which channels will give you the biggest results and develop content for those channels first. Then look at how you could repurpose the content for secondary channels. For example, if your priority is to create content for your newsletter, do that first. Then consider how you can repackage that content in your newsletter into Instagram posts or share a little wisdom in a Facebook group.
By prioritizing the best channels for your book, you can get the most return on your investment. Then, repurposing that content for other channels allows you to leverage your work in multiple ways.
(1) I get motivated by establishing why marketing my book matters. When I start with the certainty that my book will support my audience by showing them empathy and providing tools to light their path through their big life challenges, I ensure that nothing gets between me and the tasks I have to get done. That is how I establish for myself that doing my book marketing
matters and is more than just a selfish activity.
(2) I schedule action daily. With a special-needs child, demanding family life, and full-time job, I fit my marketing tasks into pockets around those things, and do a lot in night-time quiet.
(3) Constantly pushing gets monotonous, so I vary what I’m doing in my calendar. Careful planning is necessary to determine what I want to achieve, ensure I take on no more than I can handle so I don’t get overwhelmed, list all the things I must do to achieve my goals, and take action on the highest priority tasks first. I decided which social media platforms would reach my audience best, and I started with one at first. The best part is the human connection that sparks every time someone interacts with me or follows me.
The best insight helping me carve out time for book marketing is to never see it as overwhelming. This prevents it from becoming too much to handle in my mind and through my actions. I take my marketing one step at a time, one day at a time. I always remember to celebrate what has been achieved. I get excited about what else is in store in this journey for myself, my family, and those I serve through my book.
A good author-specific virtual assistant (VA) is the best investment you can make in your marketing (and sanity). As a new author, entrepreneur, and mom of a three-year-old, I don’t have a whole lot of extra time I can carve out to get my book in front of new audiences, so I took a lesson from the online business world (I’m a copywriter for women-run online businesses)
and hired a VA.
After I identified and fleshed out my target readers and audiences, I hired a U.S.-based, author-specific virtual assistant for $25/hour to do the leg work for PR and marketing. She pitches me to podcasts, book clubs, all kinds of media outlets, plus speaking and guest blogging opportunities and bookstores. She helps with my influencer outreach and also helped me brainstorm the most effective giveaways and partnerships on social media for my launch. With a budget of $100 per month, you could hire someone who is already connected with the industry (bonus points for your genre!) and you could easily save yourself over a dozen hours of your own time and get your book in front of potentially thousands of new readers.
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