by Blaise Ramsay
…says no indie author ever.
The truth is it is indeed downright terrifying when any author first looks at it. Yes, this includes traditionally published authors. They are still required to market their work. As a matter of fact, you have to do more than you think. However for the purpose of this article, we will focus on the indie and self-published aspect of marketing. What is book marketing? What is it not? What is a target audience and where can I find them? Is there a secret weapon to making it easier? These are just a few things you as the reader can expect to find.
What Book Marketing Is…
Putting it mildly, book marketing is an undertaking by which the author is often the publisher, promo, editing, etc. departments all in one person. When we say marketing, it means you are literally having to do the footwork of bringing your book to the forefront of an ever expanding market. Tons of research is needed to not only understand who your target market is but where they are. The question becomes how do you go about doing this? More about it later.
First, we need to understand what book marketing is not.
What Book Marketing Is Not….
It is not a “get rich quick” promise. Getting into the “marathon not a sprint” mentality is the first step in marketing your brand. You will have to come to grips with the fact that you may not see over the top book sales or any recognition for the first 3-6 months – maybe even longer. It takes work and dedication to make your project known. In order to write your marketing plan, you must understand who your target audience is and where they are.
Your Target Audience: Who are they?
As an author, we constantly get the term “target audience” drilled into our heads. So what does this mean? It means the group of readers we hope to reach with our books and platforms. For example, for Blessing of Luna, the target audience is as follows: “Blessing of Luna is a paranormal romance novel for ages 18-65; mostly women, who enjoy shifters and romantic scenes.” It is a short declaration of who it is the title is aimed at and whose attention I want.
Failing to reach your target audience is the downfall of many newcomers to the publishing scene. Not being willing to go out and find them or relying completely on social media to bring them to you is another. With the saturation of social media by book promo sites, Amazon ads, and “buy my book”, your title can easily get lost in a sea of black! Once you identify who they are through careful research, your next step is to find where they are.
Your Target Audience: Where Are They?
This is where your journey truly begins. Where are your readers? What social media do they hang out on? What blogs? They clearly aren’t hanging out on Instagram and clicking the link to Amazon on their way to work so where are they? Twitter? Facebook? Instagram? Which ones?
Here’s an example of what I mean. For my book, I found more growth on Twitter than I have on Facebook and Instagram. Greater growth was seen when I attended live events and set up an email list! Communities like Goodreads, genre specific forums, conventions, and book stores are must-haves in your quest to market and build your platform. So often there is this nagging temptation to just post a book on Amazon and hope to the gods of literature that someone will find it. Do not do this! You must be willing to work!
This Sounds Hard! Is there a secret to it?
To borrow a quote from the popular movie, Kung Fu Panda, no. “There is no secret ingredient, it’s just you.” Research, time, and willingness to see your efforts through are the only ways you will see any growth in the world of book marketing and author platform building. An indie author must be willing to put in the time and the footwork it takes to make their titles known, and yes, you must be willing to suffer more loss than gain at first.
To help, remember why you did this in the first place. Was it for you or for fame? A mix of offline and online marketing are crucial in developing both yourself and your book. It is not a sprint, it is indeed a marathon.
Guest post contributed by Blaise Ramsay. For book buying details, more helpful tips, book reviews, and guest post inquiries to FyreSyde Publishing, check out her website.