I’ve written about how to organize and repurpose your content, so that you are fueling your content marketing needs while working towards the Expert Book that provides you the ultimate credibility needed to position yourself at the peak of your niche.
What I haven’t written much about is how to best market your book. In this week’s post, I’m going to summarize a really incredible podcast that I listened to yesterday featuring Alinka Rutkowska, an internationally award-winning best selling author and coach. She is also the founder of LibraryBub, which connects librarians with best selling books from independent authors and publishers.
The Publishing Profits Podcast Show by Tom Corson-Knowles is a favorite of mine as it features highly successful author’s journeys to success. Tom is a really good interviewer that doesn’t step over his guests, but adds the right affirmations at the right times.
From here, I’m going to do my best to summarize Alinka’s best advice as concisely and clearly as possible. She is sharing content from her book, “How I Sold 80,000 Books”. This is only a summary. Alinka and Tom have a lot of additional gems in the podcast, so check out episode #143 of Publishing Profits on iTunes.
The 4 Ps necessary to sell thousands of books
Product, Place, Price and Promotion. Alinka recognizes that this is Marketing 101 stuff, but stresses how it is nonetheless the perfect formula for self-marketing – even for new authors. As Tom pointed out, these are like the combinations to a lock — three can be right, but if the fourth is off, it still won’t work. Each of the 4 Ps are incredibly important.
Product: Your book
Alinka divides this into two parts: The manuscript and all that’s around it.
– Writing that book from the heart only to find that it doesn’t fit well within a market of need. Alinka stresses the pertinence of doing market research FIRST.
The Marketing Research is really easy for authors: Get on Amazon!
- Check out the 5 titles similar to the book that you want to write… and see if they are selling.
- Then, check out their reviews. You’ll find what’s missing in those books – what people are looking for and this will help you find your niche. True for both fiction and non-fiction.
Create your book.
- Become part of Critique Groups, where you read each other’s work. It will help shape yours for the better, and give you inspiration and ideas as you read others.
- Next stage, use Beta Readers – qualified readers who will give you insightful feedback.
- And finally, get an Editor. One reviewer being turned off by typos can ruin an otherwise successful launch.
All that’s around the manuscript
Book Title and Description: Amazon heavily utilizes keywords to position its books properly to the audience. Make sure your use your best fitting, high ranking keywords in your title and description. Again, research what other high ranking books in your niche are using for keywords.
Capturing email addresses: Make sure, on the first and last pages of your book, you have links to your landing page where you can capture email addresses. Do this from the very outset – anytime you’re just giving away a free chapter, you can be getting early subscribers.
Place: Distributors. Different strategy for eBooks vs paperbacks.
EBooks– Kindle Unlimited is a great choice for distribution. Also, definitely feature it on your own website, as you’re eliminating a middleman.
Paperbacks– Many people overlook the importance of the paperback niche. Alinka has had a lot of success selling paperbacks in bulk. For instance, she has a series about children traveling on cruise ships. The ports of call have been an excellent source of mass quantities of sales for her paperbacks as there is no competition to that audience.
**Super Ninja Tip: If you already have an established relationship, such as a health center, and your niche is a form of wellness, find out what fits best within this niche BEFORE you begin writing your book. Let them help shape it as you go along. Get their buy-in upfront and they will happily sell copies of your book.
Price: Different strategy for eBooks vs paperbacks.
Biggest mistake: Pricing an book too high that isn’t quite as polished as others in its class, and by an unknown author.
Perma-Free strategy: This is a very viable strategy where you use your book for the sole purpose of establishing yourself as an expert in your field. You’ll get 100 times more downloads by offering your book for free vs even offering it for $1.
If you’re exercising your opt-in list building,the Perma-Free strategy will grow your audience by leaps and bounds. Likewise, this success pays off immensely in service contracts and/or the sale of follow up books. This is an amazing way to get people into your sales funnel.
Promotion: Online/offline. Before/during and after launch
Award-winning books SELL!
**Super Ninja Tip: Getting an award sticker on the cover of the book — HUGE. Shows value. You don’t need more than a couple of awards, as they get pricey. But, a couple awards shows a lot of credibility. There are hundreds of contests online that you can enter. The trick is to get one or two upfront for the extreme value, then focus your marketing efforts elsewhere, as the contests get pricey and you’ll only get diminishing returns from there.
Tip: You can recycle the award(s) in the future as “award-winning book series” or “”by award-winning author ___”.
Your bio is incredibly important
Another often overlooked part of promotion is to have a great photo and bio of yourself that sells you as the author of this subject matter. It’s as important to your credibility as your About Us page is on your website. People often overlook these super-important promotional items.
Book fairs are huge
Attend book fairs as that’s where the fans are! Have a terrific business card that leads them to an opt-in page on your website. Even if you’re still working on your book, offer the initial chapter as a freebie to capture that subscriber. You may very well run into an influential person that can give you important exposure.
Many of us will think that this is too far ahead of where we are currently, but start at local libraries, networking groups and MeetUp groups (Alinka even did one with her local hair dresser). If you can prove that you can bring people of interest in, many local places will be happy to feature you, and word-of-mouth is one of the most important ways to begin gaining your following.
Alinka and Tom both agree that these small, offline promotions are very overlooked today, and have a lot less competition.
Guest posts and podcasts
Approach people with smaller blogs who will welcome your free content (post) and leverage that to build to larger blogs with bigger exposure. This also builds credible backlinks that hugely impacts your site’s SEO.
Of course, getting appearances on podcasts in this same way increases your exposure exponentially.
While they didn’t mention Facebook ads, I will. Doing a well-designed Facebook ad campaign targeted to the right audience is an incredibly cost-effective way to promote your book and build your list.
I hope that you enjoyed this podcast review. It really impacted me as I’m creating my own book, finding my voice and audience. If you’re doing the same, or simply thinking of writing your own book, bookmark this post for future reference. And share it with a friend that will appreciate it!
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