I came home from attending the second annual BookBaby Independent Authors Conference in Philadelphia. I met wonderful fellow writers, listened to practical book marketing tips from successful authors and entrepreneurs, and took away many ideas I am anxious to try. In this post, I would like to share some of the great ideas I learned at the conference.
Eva Lesko Natiello is an author, speaker and book marketing consultant. She wrote and self-published The Memory Box, a bestseller on The New York Times and USA Today. Her website is evanatiello.com. Eva gave the following marketing tips for self-published authors:
- Fill out your Amazon Author Page completely and link it to your website and blog.
- Run a discounted price promotion and advertise it widely.
- Be a guest for a book blogger. To find book bloggers, simply google “(Your genre”) book bloggers”
- Study the competition. Make a list of all the current books similar to yours in the last three years and find out their book prices, format, and number of pages. How are authors of your genre promoting their books?
- Show gratitude to readers who have taken the time to review your book.
Tieshena Davis is the CEO and Senior Publisher of the award-winning Purposely Created Publishing Group. She is a speaker and the author of Think Like a Bookpreneur (www.thinklikeabookpreneur.com). Tieshena encouraged authors to begin selling their books with pre-sales, which is a strategy to establish audience interest, connect with fans, and secure advance sales before a book is publicly released.
- Authors need to meticulously plan during the pre-sales process (6-8 weeks before book is released) to achieve results. Set a goal of how much money you the author would like to make. Remember to calculate all expenses (costs of the printing, transaction, shipping, packaging, etc.), and review the profit margin.
- Authors need tools to drive sales such as an email notification list, creating a promotion team, alerting social media followers to spread the word, and exploring targeted events where your readers gather.
- Notify target buyers on an email notification list that the book is available for pre-order.
- Build an audience connection by sharing quotes, tips, or resources; host weekly virtual events; email teaser content; offer special bulk book packages; and send out snippets of the book.
- Run ad campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon Author-sponsored ads.
- Discount and cross promote. An example is if readers pre-order author’s second book, they will get the first book at 50% off.
- Run weekly contests and giveaways.
Joanna Penn was the keynote speaker of the BookBaby conference. She is an author, international speaker, and entrepreneur. Joanna writes fiction and nonfiction. Thousands of authors go to her website www.TheCreativePenn.com for marketing and promotion. The following are her tips:
- Change your mindset– don’t think of yourself as a struggling author. Write down positive affirmations and refer to them daily.
- Authors must focus on the customer. It’s not about you, it’s about the reader. What do they want to pay for? Find the intersection between what you love and what you can sell.
- Amazon is a search engine for people “who buy stuff.” Use it for research to find out what people are buying.
- Sell your book in multiple countries in English. Joanna’s books have sold in English in 86 countries through Kobo (a Canadian company that sells e-books, audiobooks, e-readers, and tablet computers).
- Write three shorter books rather than one 80,000-word book. This works well in fiction.
- Build multiple streams of income. Most writers make money from other sources like speaking, freelancing, and blogging.
- Attract an audience that works best with your personality, your book, and your lifestyle. What can you do consistently over the long term?
- Take action.
- You get what you focus on. Make the time.
- Write the best book you can. Don’t rush it!
As one can see, being a successful author involves hard work; there are no shortcuts. Research, computer savvy, and knowledge of various marketing strategies are imperative. Writing the best book you possibly can is simply not enough. The experts advise doing around twenty minutes of marketing a day along with writing. If one marketing strategy doesn’t work, try another. Don’t give up.
The BookBaby Writers Conference boosted my motivation to market my first novel, True Mercy. It was great meeting so many like-minded people. Rather than being competitive, participants were eager to help fellow authors succeed. Networking opportunities abounded.
Last but not least, I would like to thank my husband Michael for attending the conference with me and supporting my efforts in the book business.
Note: My novel True Mercy is on sale for only 99 cents on Smashwords. Go to https://www.smashwords.com/books/search?query=True+Mercy.