One Simple Tool Every Author Needs to Successfully Market their Book
Let me give you a hint: It’s not a pen.
The tool you need as an author to let people know you have a book out there is an email list. If you don’t have a newsletter but still expect readers to find out about your book because you mentioned it on your Facebook page, then I got some bad news for you. Expect to hear crickets. Expect to see very low numbers when you look at your sales figures.
You may be thinking, “Yeah, but I have a Facebook author page with 5,000 or 10,000 or even 20,000 likes so a LOT of people will see my posts about my new book.”
Let me congratulate you on getting so many likes. Maybe that was because you have had a page since the beginning of Facebook or maybe it’s because you were a part of a huge giveaway where thousands of people liked your page to win a prize.
Even if you have that many likes, only a tiny fraction of those people who liked your page will see your posts. You have to understand that Facebook is a business. They know that people who have a business page usually are selling something or trying to reach people for a purpose. Facebook also knows that they can make money off of your need to reach people. Hence, why you see ‘boost’ at the bottom of your posts. They want you to pay (boost) so people will see it. The more you pay, the more people will see the post.
Facebook or Twitter or any other social media outlet can change their rules at any moment and make it even more difficult to reach people.
But – and this is a big BUT – you still are limited in who sees your post even if you pay. Facebook, even with the audience you personally selected when boosting your post, still controls who will see it. They will limit it to the audience you selected, but they are still choosing which user to display it in front of. And even if Facebook manages to read your mind and place your post in every single feed of the people you really want to see it, who is to say that person will click on it or like it or comment on it or just scroll past it.
That was just Facebook, don’t get me started on Twitter – a post lost in the crowd in a matter of seconds. I have all but given up on Twitter but who knows, they may work better for authors one day in the future so I keep my account around just in case.
Which brings me back to email. The one place where you can tailor your message, send out exactly what you want, and know it will land in a specific person’s inbox. No social media outlet can do that. Plus, Facebook or Twitter or any other social media outlet can change their rules at any moment and make it even more difficult to reach people. Not email. It will still land in their inbox.
Plus, with most email marketing services (I use Mailchimp) you can see who opens your newsletters the most and maybe send out a special email to them knowing they are more likely to click on your links or respond to your questions. Or, gather a group of people who you know like your stuff that might want to help promote your next book, like joining a book release group. They aren’t joining in the chance that you will give away a copy of your book and only join groups to win stuff. You KNOW they like your stuff because they keep clicking on your links and always open the newsletters you send out.
These people have the potential to be super fans.
Let’s review why emails are the best tool for an author:
1. Able to tailor your message anyway you want.
2. Having a much better reach than even the best social media outlets.
3. Gather useful data on who is interested in your books.
Those are three really solid reasons to have an email list. Now don’t just take emails from people, like if you run a giveaway and collect those emails to use as your author email list. The person has to know they are signing up to your newsletter. If you do run a giveaway to collect sign ups, specifically state you are collecting their email for your newsletter.
Once you have a newsletter and some sign ups you can start to develop relationships with these people. You can send out unique and personalized emails to the people who open them the most. Let them in on something (like a secret group or special giveaway). Tell them that you appreciate they are interested in what you have to say.
These people have the potential to be super fans. The ones that will suggest your new book to anyone who asks. Did you know that a reader is much more likely to buy a book based on a recommendation from someone they know and trust? Even more than if they are scrolling through the best seller’s list or heard a favorite (famous/bestselling) author recommend another author’s book. It’s true.
From Romance Writers of America commissioned Nielsen to perform the creation, implementation, and analysis of the 2014 Nielsen Romance Buyer Survey.
It is the one place you can speak directly to fans (outside of a book signing event) and have the best free marketing any author could ask for.
Think about it. Are you more likely to buy a toaster because your mom mentioned how much she loves her ‘name-brand’ toaster or because some celebrity chef recommended the toaster on his/her show? You would probably go for the one your mom recommended because you know and trust her. Whereas the chef may or may not be getting some deal to promote the toaster. You just can’t be sure so you go with the one recommended by the person you know would never lie to you (unless your mom always lies to you, then that is something I just can’t help you with).
With an email list you have the potential to not just reach people directly with a specific message, but attract fans willing to recommend your book. When I see that someone recommended my book on a blog or Facebook post or anywhere, I wonder if there is a better feeling in the world. Not only did someone like your book, they loved it enough to tell others. It seriously doesn’t get better than that.
With all that I have said, I can’t emphasis enough how important newsletters are to an author. It is the one place you can speak directly to fans (outside of a book signing event) and have the best free marketing any author could ask for.
If I got 100 free apples but 50 of them were rotten, I would want the rotten ones gone. The same goes for newsletter sign ups that were only in it to win it.
Just a side note before I end this. If you have done a giveaway where people sign up for your newsletter, and you made it legitimate so they know they are signing up, and you get a mass amount of signups. Don’t be surprised when you send out your next newsletter to see a lot of people unsubscribing. A lot of people who sign up during a giveaway only do it for the chance to win something. They don’t care about you or your books and probably never will.
It’s best they go away so you can focus on your current and future fans. I have seen authors get upset when they notice a bunch of people unsubscribe after they send out a newsletter and I am always baffled. I would think getting rid of the fluff is much better than looking at an inflated number that doesn’t mean anything. If I got 100 free apples but 50 of them were rotten, I would want the rotten ones gone. The same goes for newsletter sign ups that were only in it to win it.
That is your cup of Joe for the day. It’s a new year and with that comes putting all this talk into action. I have mentioned in previous posts that I had to put publishing my books on hold due to personal reasons. Well, now I can publish again.
I plan on publishing a book the end of March. I am so excited! I plan on taking note of what worked and what didn’t work and creating a Book Barista post after the release to let you know about it. Who knows, maybe you can learn from me? Wish me luck!
As an indie-author I was wondering what I could do to help get my books out there. So, I looked into it and that's when I realized I had a lot to learn. These posts are to help my fellow authors learn how to market and publish their book. I pass on what I found out about making a book a success.