Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Authors - Marketing Your Book is a MUST

As a #1 Bestselling Author of several books, and self-publishing expert who has
assisted many authors to enjoy that status as well, I find myself consistently in awe of
the constant changes in best practices and in tools that are available at our fingertips
to market our books.

Indeed, one could go into complete and total overwhelm as publishing books have
become the "thing" we do for a variety of reasons.

  • A business establishing themselves as an expert in their field. 

Even brick and mortar companies are finding that having a book or series of books has brought more clients and increased sales.

  • Speakers and coaches are writing books to add professional credibility and an extra stream of revenue.

  • Individuals who have a story to tell, write books to inspire others.

Time and again, I have observed new authors become joyful at accomplishing bestseller
status then lose their steam and experience enormous disappointment with the fact that after the initial launch of their book, sales are nearly non-existent.

It is what could be described as Lost in the cobwebs to cyberspace!
This is really sad to see. As I call on my former clients who simply hired us only for the
publishing aspect (editing, formatting, book covers, bestseller launch), of book
publishing, I saw their disappointment and, their dilemma.

My company began surveying authors as to what their experience has been and what
they want. Consistently, marketing was the missing ingredient and even if they were marketing it was inconsistent.

Many authors who have chosen the self-publishing realm, (often called Indie authors),
consider either look at what they can do on their own to market their books, or look
for services to do it for them. Often this happens AFTER they have published.
Marketing a book MUST be:
  • part of your overall publishing process
  • begins the moment you put pen to paper, or tap, tap, tapping the keyboard as you write your amazing book.
  • a strategic and detailed part of your "business plan" as you treat your book as YOUR business. 

We suggest a project management platform (free) to outline and track what you need
to do. This platform has a built-in calendar with the ability to add links, key training
on how to implement and a checklist. You can also use a special notebook to outline
and track what you will be implementing, but we find that this platform is simple to
use and creates a good visual that does not easily get lost.

There is a TON of information as you search the web about marketing and I find that
for many authors it becomes overwhelming and there is a tendency to go for the
"shiny objects" and end up in overwhelm. Overwhelm leads to doing nothing at all
and that leads to low book sales.

In this blog series, we will share in bite-sized chunks, a marketing timeline that will
serve you well. Whether you have already published or are just beginning to write, all
of these strategies are useful and timely. By creating a detailed book marketing plan,
you will have the confidence that becoming an author will not be in vain.

Let's Begin!

Before you can create a marketing plan, let's examine the big "WHY" behind your
book. This will affect your overall book marketing strategy.

1. What is your goal in publishing your book?

2. Who is your target audience? Who did you have in mind when the thought of
writing a book came to your mind?

3. Are you writing your book to make money? How many books do you want to sell?
Break it down to pre-release of your book, the main launch, first month, first quarter, first year.

4. Are you writing this book to inspire others? How will you accomplish this and do
you wish to position yourself as the expert on the subject matter?

5. Are you writing, (particularly as a coach or a speaker) to add professional credibility
and differentiate you from others in your field? How will you measure your success?

6. How much money can you spend on marketing?

7. How do you evaluate book marketing services?

8. Do you want to do-it-yourself? If so, where will your marketing begin, and what tools
should you use?

9. If you hire a book marketing service, should you go for their all-in-one
publishing/marketing services, or should you use a variety of services from different

10. How much time do you have to commit to authorship?

11. Are you willing to treat authorship as a business?

Next week in Part 2 of this "Treat Your Book Like It's Your Business" series, we will
discuss the starting point, providing key tips to help you begin the journey to
successful publishing and marketing of your fabulous work of heart. Part 2 is about
Branding Yourself as an Author.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 7 - Don't Stop At One

Don't Stop at One!

Done correctly, a book series often results in the sale of many more books than a single book by an author.

While most of us think of fiction books working this way, the same is true for non-fiction. Once a reader likes what they are reading, they will look for books by the same author.

Have you ever found yourself waiting for the next book in a series to come out? And
the next one after that? I have!  I recently picked up a book at my local library from an author I had never heard of...and found she had written a complete series based on the storyline of seven sisters. Do you think I went looking for those books, after spending delightful evenings spellbound by the storyline? Absolutely!

While a book series is not for every author or every story, if you haven’t already
thought about it, here are a couple of reasons it may be worth considering.

You Have Too Much Content for One Book

Often publishing consultants will tell their authors that their book is simply too long.

That's one instance of when a series is born. Chances are, your readers have developed a soft spot for them too and will want to read more about them.

For fiction writers, if you have too much content for one book and you have compelling characters with strong stories of their own, you have good reason to turn your book into a series. Consider stretching the storyline for one or more minor characters you've become especially fond of.

With a series, you don't have to start your next book with a blank slate; you have familiar characters, storylines, and settings to return to.

There's a reason why the Harry Potter and Game of Thrones books are so popular.
Readers love following characters they are not ready to let go of. Once you have
created characters readers love, or love to hate, you have an established fan base
waiting for more. When readers fall for even a minor character, reading book three or
four in a series is akin to checking in on old friends.

We have an author who is developing a line of books for children. While the characters are fictional, what she teaches is not. A bear is the central theme of her book, (Bear Gets His Heart Checked) and "bear" has a heart condition and is going to the cardiologist for the first time. Skillfully she teaches bear what to expect and explains all those big, scary machines and strange noises.

The same holds true for non-fiction writers as I mentioned above. Another of our authors has written a solid series called the Confidence Series. Confident Leadership, Confident Public Speaking, and Confident Reinvention are among her titles, with more on the way.

Chances are, your readers have developed a respect for the author and like their style and return for more.

The Added Bonus!

A book series helps your Book Promotion!

Another reason to write a book series is a built-in book marketing strategy.

When book two comes out, you can revitalize interest in the series and drum up promotion
for book one all over again.

  • Write an attractive ad for your first book and put it in the back of book two.
  • Consider offering a price promotion on the first book to get new readers hooked on your series. 
  • Giving your first book away or selling it for 99 cents.

Be sure to use the "real estate" in the front or back pages of your book to advertise the other books in your series.

While at first glimpse, this might seem contrary to making money from your writing, however, as previously mentioned, with a book series you get to play the long game.

Readers of fiction books know that their favorite characters from book one are bound to return in the second or third book, and if they’re engaged with you and your writing, they’ll buy every book in the series to find out what happens next.

For those searching for answers, once they find a reliable expert on a non-fiction book, they will be more likely to return for more by the same author.

Is this helping you expand your mind as to the opportunities that lay ahead of you?

Welcome to the world of the...


How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 6 - Give it Away

Give It Away!

About now, you might be scratching your head in puzzlement. Say what? Give it away? What away?😊

Building a strong author platform can start with free content. 

Every word you write is a tool for promoting your brand and driving book sales. 

While it may sound counterintuitive, giving away your writing benefits you in the end. 

The main principle of marketing with free content is that all publicity is good publicity. The more you get your name and writing out there, the easier it is to create brand recognition and gain a following.

WHY Give It Away????

Say What???

As is true in most any profession, networking for authors means building reciprocal

adjective: reciprocal
  1. 1.
    given, felt, or done in return.
    "she was hoping for some reciprocal comment or gesture"
    synonyms:given/felt in return, corresponding
  2. 2.
    (of an agreement or obligation) bearing on or binding each of two parties equally.
    "the treaty is a bilateral commitment with reciprocal rights and duties"
    synonyms:mutualcommonsharedjointcorrespondingcorrelativegive-and-take, exchanged, complementary
    rarereciprocatory, reciprocative, commutual
    "reciprocal obligations and duties"

In the world of being an Authorpreneur, the idea is that you want to build relationships that will benefit you in the future. As with life itself, it cannot be one-sided.

When you offer free content to others, giving them free access to your book, often they will, in turn, share it with their own fans, followers or friends, and perhaps even give a review or even an endorsement. 

Additionally, readers are far more likely to take a chance on a new author when they
don’t have to pay for the content. 

By offering free articles, stories, videos, or blogs, you will begin to grow a fan base that will be much more likely to purchase your book or books, than someone who has never read anything written by you. It's called proving your salt or your worthiness. 

The added bonus is that these same people know people, who know people.

Looking at the bigger picture, serve them well and they are more apt to become your client!

Well, all of this may begin to sound completely and utterly overwhelming. But it is not.
This is where you...

Start with What You Have

You probably already have pieces of writing you can use as free content to market
your work. Look through your book manuscript for chapters or sections that work as
stand-alone articles or stories. 

Reach out to websites, podcasters, magazines, and specialty news sites that cover your topic, and offer them a polished piece with your author bio and link to your author website and books.

(Watch for our upcoming blogs on these topics!)

Building a Strong Author Platform

There are many ways to use free content to gain a following. 

Here are just a few:
  • Guest posts
Cultivate relationships with bloggers and, after you get to know them, offer to contribute guest posts. Your post will include an author blurb that links to your site and information about your published work.
  • Publish on general interest websites 
Publish pieces on sites like and These sites have wide readerships and they can help you gain a following with new readers who otherwise might not find your work.

  • Use social publishing
Harness the power of social publishing to create community. Develop your market with social publishing sites like Wattpad and Scribd. Sharing drafts and works-in-progress will help you create a community that can be a huge source of feedback and support for your work.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to read and participate in the development of other
authors’ works as well. These are communities, after all.

  • Cross-post 
Whenever you publish free content on another website—a guest blog, an article, etc.—cross-post it on your own website and social media accounts.
  • Offer a freebie with an email newsletter signup 
A great way to get people to sign up for your email newsletter—perhaps your best marketing tool of all—is to offer a story or ebook in exchange for their email address. 

Provide a collection of stories, a small how-to book, a writing guide, or whatever you think will be irresistible to your target audience. Then you have permission to talk to them

Offering segments of your existing writing can be a great way to connect with your
audience and market your books. Providing free content will allow readers to get to
know you and, hopefully, to share your writing with others. 

In this way, you’ll gain a larger following and strengthen your author platform.

How's it going on your journey to becoming a top-notch...


How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 5 - Author Brand

Building a Recognizable Author Brand

As you travel on freeways and roadways, you undoubtedly received lots of brand messages without even realizing it. 

From the ever popular Starbucks logo to the logos of everyday products we consume daily, branding is a key marketing tool. 

Everything from the major sports teams, and popular drinks, to the diapers worn by our babies, have a recognizable brand and often we never give it a thought.

Even without billboards and magazine ads, companies have creative ways of telling you what they want to be known for in their marketing. Big brands spend millions on these clever ways of making you associate their name or product with certain values. Their branding is immediately associated with who they are and what they do.

Self-published Indie authors should be branding themselves in their communications also. All authors have a brand that will be judged by readers, media, and booksellers.

Why? We hear this response often... 

But I’m an Author, Not a Brand...

It is about making a decision regarding how you want to present yourself to your audience. It is important to actively position and present yourself as you wish to be seen.  A memorable brand is a part of making that good first impression, that you will build on for years to come. 

Determining Your Brand Values

It all starts with brand values. What are the things you want readers to turn to you
for? How do you want them to see you? 

This is the foundation of your author brand.  An exercise we use with our authors is having them brainstorm, writing words that will describe their brand values. 

For example, say you know an older female baker who writes cookbooks and wants to be known not only for her recipes and baking skills but also wants to incorporate a friendly, grandma-like approach to her author brand. Her values might be:

Everyone’s favorite grandma

Try this exercise yourself. Think about what 5 words or phrases you want readers to associate with you and your books and consider how you could work those into your communications

If you have a friend or family member who has read your work, run through your list with
them and see if they agree. You might think you are giving off a certain impression but others may see you quite differently.

Do Your Values Match Your Words?

Once you have these core values written down, you need to keep them somewhere
you will see them a lot, i.e. on your whiteboard by your computer. The next time you
write a social media or blog post, check whether it is aligned with the values you want
to be known for. 

For example, blogging or tweeting about a bad date might be fine if you’re a romance author, but maybe not if you write business books.

Are Your Values Reflected in What Readers See? 

It’s not just what you say and how you say it, but also how you present yourself.
Some self-published authors fail because their brand does not look professional
enough—don’t make that mistake. 

You want people to start recognizing you, so you should have the same visual look and feel anywhere a reader might come across you/your books, i.e. your website, social media, business cards, book cover, etc. 

Establishing congruity is essential when considering your author branding. This means that you will want to be consistent in your colors and fonts and your logo will reflect what your topic matter is about. If your book is teaching confident public speaking for instance, you would not use a cartoonish childish logo. 

Your Author Brand in Action

If we take another look at our grandmotherly cookbook author, we can see how she
might put all these things together to give readers a really good idea of what she is
about and what we can expect from her brand.

Content: her blog and social media, of course, have a lot of recipes and friendly
advice for readers who have baking problems, but also other domestic hobbies,
such as gardening, as well as photos of her with her grandchildren, etc.

Colors: She tends to use pretty, soft, feminine pastel colors across her website
and social media, and she often wears these colors in her author photos too.

Fonts: The fonts used on her book covers, recipe videos, social media
graphics, etc. are traditional, pretty, and feminine.

Think seriously about how you want to be seen as an author. Your brand matters and
it should be something that you set for yourself.

All things considered, welcome to the world of an...


Monday, April 22, 2019

How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 4 - How to Build

Building a Powerful Author Platform

For some authors, building a strong platform comes naturally. It is simply a fun part of the process for them. But for others, this extroverted activity of networking takes a lot of work and it is highly uncomfortable.

Let's face it. Writing can be a lonely pursuit and so many authors feel like they have to do it all by themselves, writing, revising, and seeking publication in solitude.

Whether it feels comfortable or not, the reality is that an author’s work needs to reach the right community of readers to be successful. This means that one of the most important aspects of book marketing is building relationships with people who will promote your book.

Fortunately, in today's digital world, there are more opportunities to build author connections in-person and online than ever before and it is these author connections that will be among your best self-publishing tools.

Don’t be afraid to connect with people you already know.  Enlist their help in finding readers who will really love your work, turning them into true fans—those who will follow you wherever you go, from your social media to live author events.

1. Begin Before the Beginning

When it comes to networking, it’s never too early to start.

If you wait until your book is released to start building your connections, you’ll be left playing catch up. Start as soon as you begin tap, tap, tapping the keys on your computer, or put pen to paper. 

The best networkers are always cultivating existing relationships and looking for new contacts. Continuing relationships will ensure an audience not only looks for your upcoming book, but the next book, and the one after that.  (Watch for our blog article on the wisdom and practicality of publishing a series of books.)

Before your book is even published you can attend writing conferences and find
professional groups, organizations, and associations to help you be successful.

Go to conferences and join groups specific to the industry or genre you write about. These are fantastic places to build relationships with potential readers, other writers, and publishers who can serve as great resources.

Check out conferences on marketing, public speaking, and ways to get your message out.  These are excellent places to begin building relationships of supporters, joint venture partners, collaborators, and even your launch team.

These outlets help you stay plugged in to what’s happening in your field, including developments, challenges, and trends.

They also help you build editor, publisher, and author and reader connections. You never know who will help you reach the next level of success.

2. Start with Your Existing Community

Your family, friends, coworkers, and other community members can be your most
loyal fans and best advocates—people who are automatically predisposed to support

Think about it and you’ll be surprised at how many automatic fans you can identify. The thing they all have in common is you. These people know, like, and trust you and will support you regardless of whether the book you’re publishing is their kind of book. These people aren’t necessarily in it for the book; they’re in it for you.

Waiting until your book comes out and then asking your community to promote can
be a mistake. It is important to involve those who have supported you throughout your writing process in your journey to authorship also. Make them feel included and expand your reach by letting them help you build momentum.

3. Join Online Communities and Social Media

Online forums, communities, and social media platforms are great places to build
your author platform and establish connections by providing new friendships,
entertainment, author support, and a sense of community.

Find groups related to the subject you write about or find author groups about writing
in general on Facebook, Yahoo, Google Plus, and LinkedIn. Online communities
have many positives; they’re often free, you can access them immediately, and you
can participate in them at any time. In online author groups, you can get feedback on
ideas for pieces you’re writing, potential blog posts, and marketing and publicity

Because forums typically focus on a particular subject, you can get tons of attention
by offering your own expertise.

Be respectful of other members’ authority, but feel free to engage by providing your own questions, comments, and resources.

4. Find an Author Group Near You

While much of the writing community has moved toward the online environment,
there’s nothing like communing and commiserating with a group of writers in person.

Look to your local library and bookstore for connections with other writers. Also, try, a free networking site that allows users to find special interest groups
near them.

It’s crucial to maintain contact with your community—not just when you need to ask
for a favor in the form of sharing or promoting your book.

Actively supporting your local libraries and bookstores and attending group activities prior to publication will create goodwill when it is time to promote your book. In this way, you’ll cultivate stronger relationships that will serve you well now and in the future.

5. Focus on Your True Fans

Quality is more important than quantity. Kevin Kelly, the founder of Wired magazine,
writes that an artist can thrive with only 1,000 true fans.

True fans are those who engage with anything you do. They’ll read your blog, follow you on social media, listen to or watch your interviews and other media appearances, and eagerly await the release of your next books. Stay connected with your true fans by providing them interesting content through all available channels.

Update your blog regularly, and share relevant information on social media. Try other
ways of creating content, like video or podcasting. These are the people who love
your work—don’t give them a reason to forget you.

6. Define Your Author Brand

Your best brand is your name, but your author photo, typography, and colors are also
part of your author brand. Brand recognition means that those who remember your
name are more likely to pick up and promote your book. (Think CocaCola, Pampers, Proctor & Gamble, etc.)

7. Be Real and Have Fun

If you’re not having fun, learning something, or are uninterested in the others in your
author community, you’re either in the wrong group or you’re not engaging properly.

Remember, treat your online presence as you would a gathering at a meeting or
party. These are personal relationships and require authenticity and manners. Initiate
two-way conversations and be generous sharing content and promoting other

People do business with those they know, like, and trust you, which is the formula for creating relationships that encourage sharing, sales, and reciprocity.

8. Time Management

Of course, you can’t be active with all of your connections in all of your outlets all at
once. That would be exhausting! Keep in touch, yes, but it’s not necessary to be
active in all forums at the same time.

Pick a few ways to engage every day and every month so you don’t neglect the author community you’re working to establish. Make goals to do the following to maintain your author connections:

  • Spend a designated amount of time in your online communities and social media per day.
  • Post a new blog post on your author website a few times per week
  • Visit your local bookstore or library at least once a month
  • Organize a monthly meetup or book club with your local author community
  • Attend at least one author conference per year

Once you find your audience, it’s important to nurture them and maintain contact.
These will be your true fans and the more time you give to them, the more likely
they’ll be to support your books.

Welcome to becoming an...


How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 3 - Getting Social

Getting Social

In part three we are going to address getting social. There are numerous ways to "get social" but in this context, we are talking about using social media and other platforms to get feedback on the contents of your book.  This can include anything from the design of your book cover, to the title, and snippets of your content.  That is called Social Publishing.  There is also Beta Publishing.  We will discuss both below.

What is Social Publishing?

Social publishing is the art of publishing content in ways that allow people to respond and give feedback (think of the comments section of a blog). Implied is the social aspect involved in this type of sharing–the potential to build relationships based on responsiveness. It includes social media posting. 

What is Beta Publishing? 

Beta readers who sign up to read your book through a digital e-commerce platform provide their e-mail address as part of the process. Use these contacts to increase your e-mail marketing list and to ask for feedback.

Social and beta publishing or posting is a fantastic way to test how well your book will
resonate with readers before you publish it. Many authors are understandably eager
to get their books to publication, but you can learn a lot about who your audience is
before publishing your book by social or beta publishing it first. You may find out that
your actual audience isn’t who you first suspected.

Social and beta publishing offer risk opportunities to get help with design
problems, plot gaps, formatting issues, and any number of other concerns from
reader feedback.

You can upload your book in places that allow you to publish, remove, revise, and republish in just minutes. This enables you to perfect your manuscript before you commit to publication and grow your author platform as you perfect it, making for even better results in the long run.

All you have to do is start sharing stories and drafts of your book ahead of time.

Social and beta publishing should be fun.

It’s about:
  • Creating a community around your interests and your work
  • Aligning yourself with other writers
  • Making friends and important connections
  • Obtaining feedback
  • Testing the market
You can social or beta publish in a number of ways but here are a few tools that’ll get
your writing in front of readers and your future book buyers during your book
development phase.

1. Blogging

Blogging is one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do. While your blog
serves the purpose of testing your subject matter, it also works as a built-in way to
market your book before it's published and to start to build traction for your author

By the time your book actually is ready to publish, you’ll have an established
readership ready and waiting on your author website. Try to publish a few blog posts
a week, and track results with Google Analytics or another analytical platform.

Analytics will tell you how many unique visitors you're getting each day, and how
many people are engaged (i.e. commenting or sharing) on your blog. It will also tell
you where your readers are coming from so you can identify your most popular

2. Wattpad

Wattpad is a popular sharing site that is growing at a phenomenal rate. It turns
reading into a social experience, tapping into a global audience of millions of readers.
There are also inline commenting capabilities that allow readers to share their thoughts
and interact with your story while they’re reading it, providing you with valuable

3. Scribd

With Scribd you can upload your story to share and make it public or private. People
can rate it and comment on it, serving as a platform for a virtual writing group. You
can even sell your stories or completed books. Scribd also provides a document
preview widget that you can embed in your author website.

4. Social Media

Social Media is a powerful platform for sharing bits and pieces about your book with the goal in mind to build a tribe of followers.

5. Your Website and Author Landing Page

Be sure to create a page on your website where someone can read about your book. As you get ready to publish, be sure to add the correct link to the book, ie. Amazon or Ingram Spark.

Take a look at to quickly and easily build a very attractive landing page for your book. This platform simplifies email list building, sharing videos, easy social sharing as well as gain insight on those coming to your page.

6. Video

Video is a powerful way to share your knowledge and reach new audiences. Posted on social media, your website, blog, YouTube and more you expand your reach quickly, as well as create a conversation and get you noticed by bloggers, podcasters and others.

Expand your reach!

Welcome to the world of an...


How to Build Your Author Platform - Part 2 - Your Avatar

Find and Engage Your Ideal Audience

We work with many authors and we have seen this so many times. It is painful to watch, and truth be told, is heartbreaking.

The book the author wrote is excellent.  So good in fact, that there is a tendency to think that EVERBODY should read this book. Often it is where we start when we sit down with an author.  Our VIP day is designed to hone in on just WHO this book is for.  
"Your book is NOT for everybody!  Decide on the "one person" you are writing for, speaking to, and gear your marketing around that ideal client."

Knowing who your audience is when you begin the writing process, will greatly influence whether you will reach your target audience, and book marketing plan must be planned exclusively with that audience in mind. 

Do you know why a reader would want to read your book in the first place? What message does your book communicate? What potential impact might it have? Who is the message for?  How will the reader benefit from reading your book?

(Be sure to see our first blog in this series).
So many authors, new or not, when asked who their target reader is, many authors reply, “I don't know,” or “everybody who likes (insert topic here).” 
Either of those answers will reduce your book sales and profits. If your book is for “everybody,” how much would it cost you to reach them frequently enough to make an impact (if you could even find a way to do so)? And how do you wrap your brain around the vastness that is “everyone”.
Your book is not for everyone, and the sooner you accept this, the more successful you’ll be. If your goal is to sell books, a lot of books, that’s great! But no writer who has sold books in large quantities has done so by thinking, “My audience is everyone.” It’s hard to build a strategy on “everyone” and much easier and fruitful to narrow your focus.
Successful authors know who their book was written for and they go after those people in particular with very targeted book marketing. Maybe you’ve written a mystery and you’re thinking to yourself that your audience is people who like mysteries. That’s a start, but do you know how old your average reader is? Are they:
  • Male or Female?
  • Where do they live?
  • How old are they?
  • What do they do for entertainment?
  • What do they like to read?
  • Where do they shop?
  • What is their occupation?
  • Are they married or single?
  • What makes them laugh?
  • Do they have children?
  • What is their level of education?
  • How do they consume books, ie.: Do they purchase print books and read from cover to cover?  Do they mark key points in the book? Do they prefer audio books over print? Do they only read Kindle/eBooks?  Do they like long books or short, quick reads?
This is just a small list of items. You get the point. 

If you can narrow down your audience and pinpoint the details behind who they are and what their likes and dislikes are, you will be able to fine-tune the way you communicate in your marketing, so that you CAN reach them. It is the best way to make the best use of your marketing dollars, and the time you invest in communicating with that perfect audience.  
Below are tips that will help you not only determine who your ideal audience is and how to reach them:

 1. Take a look at Your Book's Basic Information 

These items include:
  • Your writing style
  • Images you use inside the book
  • The book cover design
  • The number of pages in the book
  • The age range of your audience
  • The book's format
  • The size of the font you use
  • The title and subtitle
  • The book description
  • The keywords you use
  • The BISAC subject codes and/or categories you choose

The basic components of a book will be items you consider as you keep the ideal audience in mind. Some people may only read ebooks or only print books. Some may only read romance novels, thrillers, or strictly educational. Some readers may only pick up books with people on the cover, or don’t like long books, or books over a certain price.
"Your book’s basic makeup will determine some of  the audience for you, but that doesn’t mean these aren’t conscious, strategic choices you should make from the outset."
Consider these aspects of your readers when you’re setting up your basic book information so that you’re not missing out on your main audience by publishing it in the wrong format or some other misguided specification.

 2. Do Your Research

Google is a major search engine and there is a wealth of information you can glean from searching for the subject of your book. A few simple Google searches will direct you to:
  • Online communities 
  • Blogs that are within your genre
  • Websites of established authors
  • Articles written by top-selling authors in your niche.
  • Networks where your target audience is already engaging in information sharing and promotion activities. 
Engage in guest posting and guest hosting activities to gain exposure to other’s audiences within your target audience.

3. Find Books That Have the Same Subject Matter as Yours 
The wealth of valuable information you glean by researching other books on your subject matter will be priceless. Search Amazon for example. It has become a major search engine in and of itself. Search for best-selling’ books within your category and make a list of the titles and authors. Once you recognize who your competition is, it may be easier for you to pinpoint your potential readers because chances are, you share the same target audience.  
"Take a look at the reviews for the books you are researching. Target the 3 or 4-star reviews and see what they are saying. You can glean an amazing amount of information from reviews as often people will tell what they would have liked to see in that book."

4. Check out Social Media 
Social media can give you a tremendous amount of information as to what your ideal reader is looking for. When you have identified the established and top-selling books within your genre, look at who is following them on social media. You will be surprised how much information can be gained by looking at the interactions and posts. Keep an eye out for the demographics, trends, and other habits that might not be obvious, but can provide a tremendous amount of useful information.
There are several free and paid tools to help you determine your audience. The most obvious places to start, however, are social networks—namely Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  This search should also help you determine where your readers hang out.
"Carve out some time each day to connect with groups in online communities who have either a shared interest or who attracts the same kind of audience you are seeking to engage."
Search Facebook for groups who are interested in your subject matter. Look for followers for your book’s genre on Twitter by searching for tweets that contain related hashtags. Check out LinkedIn for groups that are specifically geared to your ideal audience. 

 5. Use Technology in Your Favor
You can also research current trends to formulate new ideas or refine existing ones. To do that, use tools like Google Trends and Google Adwords. Both platforms will show you how popular a given keyword or subject is. Keep in mind that too much popularity is not a good thing, as there will likely already be hundreds of books on the subject and make it harder to be found or stand out. Drill down deeper to find keywords or phrases that have a decent search history, but is not overly used.
This should help you see where there are gaps in the marketplace. For example, you may be great with dog training, but the marketplace is already flooded with books on dog training. Perhaps instead you want to focus on a particular area, like working with a specific breed, or even a specific issue involved in dog training. The trick is to pick a general subject that pertains to your subject matter and drill down into something that doesn't have an overwhelming amount of competition. You will be doing this when you begin your BISAC and category research as well. 

 6. Think of Your Readers Like They are Real People
While we touched on this at the beginning of this blog post, it bears repeating. Who would be interested in the content of your book? Visualize who they are, and what they look like. Remember that you are marketing your book to real people. Who is the typical person who would actually purchase your book? If you can describe those individuals and the problems that consume them, you can communicate the ways in which the content of your book can help them.
What if “dads” were singled out as a target segment for your book? Defining the “typical dad” for your book and creating a composite of the person to whom you will promote your book, you might seek answers to the following questions:

About how old is he? This will help you specify your target based on where women in this age group typically spend their time and what concerns affect them in particular.
How much money does he make? This could influence your book distribution choices. Should your book be available on Amazon or should you try to get it into Neiman Marcus?
To what ethnic or religious groups does he belong? Could you sell your book to churches as a possible target?
In what leisure activities does he participate or watch? Could a home goods or sporting website be a potential advertising opportunity?
What magazines and newspapers does he read in print or online? Try to get a book review, or submit articles for publications in the media she would be looking at. It's important to pick the right media for your audience, so take a look at a magazine or newspaper’s media kit. 
They’ll tell you exactly who their audience is and they’ll know more about defining their audience than you will for your brand new book. Their media kits may even give you ideas.
In what current events or issues is he most interested? Use examples in your articles and releases to increase your relevance and potential search volume by utilizing specific keywords that are popular at any given time.
To what radio and television shows does he listen/watch? Choose these to send media pitches to hopefully land airtime.
Is there a particular life event that he is facing, such as marriage, divorce, starting a family, career changes, increasing his income, wise investments, health issues, etc.
What makes his heart happy, what bugs the heck out of him? 
What organizations or associations does he belong to?
Where does he live and are they many others in his location that are facing similar issues?
How can you reach him? 

 "Answering the questions above will help you think about not only WHO buys books on your subject matter but also WHY (as we discussed in our previous blog), they buy.  This will help you market more effective as well as position your branding as an author in a manner that will make you memorable to your customers."

 7. Grow or Expand on Your Target Audience

It’s also important to consider secondary markets. Secondary markets are those that are not the most obvious, but that would also be interested in your book. 

For example, a children’s book written to help kids with heart conditions would have a primary audience of children and a secondary audience of parents, physicians, educators, therapists, or others working with these children. 

As tempting as it might be to think the parent would be your primary book audience (children don't usually buy their own books), avoid overthinking this process and focus in on who will be reading the book.

We have a recent author who published her book called "Bear Gets His Heart Checked" by Renee M. Langstaff.  This book was written for children who have heart conditions and are scared of the doctor's examination with all those machines and noises. While it is meant for parents to read to their children, (it also helps scared and worried parents understand the process), but cardiologists, nurses, and hospital gift shops also purchase the book. 

Try to come up with at least five markets for your book—a primary market and four secondary markets. To help you discover other secondary markets, you can start in reverse with a broad audience and then narrow it down.

8. Don't Be Hesitant to Ask for Help

If you’re having trouble identifying your target audience, ask other authors or industry professionals for help. There are plenty of experts in the publishing industry that can help you define your audience. 

Book marketing professionals know how to reach certain types of people and where. Book publicists know what kinds of media (newspapers, magazines, radio shows, etc.) certain audiences subscribe to. Social media professionals know how to pinpoint specific audiences where they spend most of their time, on social platforms.

Even with the tips shared in this blog series, if the thought of finding your audience and effectively growing your author platform is too overwhelming for you, seek help. The necessity of finding, understanding, and building your audience as an author can’t be over-exaggerated. With no audience, you’ll have no book sales. You need to lay this foundation and then you’ll need to cultivate it.

9. Engage Your Audience Audience

Once you have narrowed down your target market, it is time to shift your focus to building a following. At Spotlight Publishing, we always say that marketing, (which includes building a following), must begin from the moment you put pen to paper, or tap, tap, tapping the keys on your keyboard. 
Here are a couple of ways to do this:
  1. Begin by creating and sharing well thought-out content that will catch your audiences attention. The content from your book can serve many purposes as content for blog posts, podcasts, videos, articles, social media posts and more. Cut into small bite size consumable pieces will help keep your audience wanting more and beginning to feel connected to you. They will be excited to follow you, support you, and share with others. 
  2. Figure out the best times and platforms to post content. 
  3. Use software to automate and track your posting schedule
  4. Be generous with your time, and thoughtful about promoting others. 

Promoting your message and book to your audience should include a generous amount of time promoting others along with complimentary tips, quotes, and content relevant to your message. 

Once you are consistent in posting, whether that is on your website or blog or in social media, reach out to connect with or follow others aligned well with your target audience. 

The word here is consistency. When you are consistent, connecting with like-minded people and promoting each other, you will see amazing results.

Congratulations to the world of an...


Authors - Marketing Your Book is a MUST

As a #1 Bestselling Author of several books, and self-publishing expert who has assisted many authors to enjoy that status as well, I f...