In Your Corner: Fall Abundance (Part II)

Are you facing down the same cold snap that I am? It’s looking to be quite an early start to Winter, almost skipping straight over Fall, but I’m determined to wring every last drop of sunshine and joy out of these long afternoons.

Last time I wrote to you, dear readers, I launched this series about fall abundance and taking a moment just to breathe it all in … along with all those pine needle and pumpkin spice and fresh-baked shortbread aromas that are spiking the air right now.

fall cookies pumpkin autumn halloween

As the evenings take on a distinct bite, there’s still the tang of summer smoke in the air–all the fire of a season packed with heat and mixed feelings–and it’s time to start thinking of how to make the most of the Autumn writing and marketing season. Yes, it may be most often called the ‘back-to-school’ season, but we all of us go back to things in Fall. Back to work, back to family routines, back to the marketing strategies we … may … have let languish during the busy summer months.

How can we flip the switch and get back to work?

Here are my recommendations:

  • You’re not the only one who may need a reminder that change is upon us. Use the next month as an opportunity to launch a special deal or giveaway. You can frame it as ‘back-to-school savings’ or you can use it as a promo for new or upcoming releases.
  • Think visual. Fall is perhaps the most striking of all (or at the very least, one of the most striking) seasons. Take advantage! Your book is a product, and selling a product is at least half of the time about selling an image. If you haven’t created an Instagram and Pinterest, now is the time! These two social media platforms offer a great way of humanizing your brand and showcasing your product.
  • Fall is a great time to get your networking game on! People may not be thinking about taxes just yet (or they might be thinking about them a lot if they applied for an extension), but you certainly want to get your foot in the door before the holiday craze so that readers remember your name and your book come tax time–and come the holidays! Connect the dots between everyone you ‘meet’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and even LinkedIn and work those contacts and relationships now, while they’re planning out their budget, calendar, and holiday schemes for the school year.
  • And on that note, it’s time to plan your own editorial and marketing calendar–or at least to sketch out the outlines! Is it your hope to write some newsletters, blog posts, or social media updates in the coming months? Do you have some new work on the horizon? Now is the time to schedule not just your writing time or your own holiday marketing plan–it’s time to lay the groundwork for an entire year of editorial works!

And these are just a few of my recommendations! As you might expect, there are plenty of chances to enrich your opportunities during the Fall. Don’t put things off–start now! More than just a hint of pumpkin spice is wafting on the rising breeze of Autumn ….

fall cookies pumpkin autumn halloween

You are not alone. ♣︎

Do you have ideas to share? Please don’t hesitate to drop us a line in the comments section, and I’ll make sure to feature your thoughts and respond to them in my next post!

Elizabeth

ABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 20 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Director of Sales and Marketing for Outskirts Press. The Sales and Marketing departments are composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

In Your Corner : Celebrate National Reading Month With These Marketing Tips! (part three)

Two weeks ago, I started us off on a month-long exploration of one of my favorite subjects: the intersection of reading with writing and publishing, a journey that I continued last week in honor of National Reading Awareness Month.  I said it then but I think this bears repeating: here at Self-Publishing Advisor, we love the fact that there’s an entire month devoted to celebrating the written word–as well as the ways in which we can spread the joy of literacy–and so I would like to invite you to continue joining me in making reading a focus all month long, here in our Thursday blog post slot.  How am I going about that?  Well, for starters, I’m running down my go-to list of tips and tricks for the new and ingenue self-publishing author.  This week, I’ll be starting with …

 

TIP EIGHT : Craft a “keep in touch” plan

Last week, we examined the benefits to putting together an active mailing list and/or using a Facebook group to keep in touch with your readers through direct messaging.  But what’s next?  Once you have put together your active mailing list, you’ll need to decide how you want to keep in touch.  And by “how,” I’m talking about the content and quality of your communication, not just the platform.  One thing is absolutely, unarguably true: over-sharing can prove more toxic to your message than bad grammar and condescension put together.  I highly recommend that you find a reasonable frequency–for example, a monthly newsletter–to touch base with your readers.  You can write about topics related to the genre of your book or other similar books that you think your readers would enjoy, or you can stick to more of a “behind-the-scenes” glimpse into your writing process, if you feel like you have enough to share without spoiling the reading experience itself.  If you plan on publishing multiple books–say, in a series–your followers would no doubt love updates on the status of each upcoming book, the research you’re doing or interesting things you’ve discovered during the writing process.  Give them just enough to whet their appetite, but not so much that they feel like they have to sift through an essay to find the important facts!

keep in touch

TIP NINE : Go to the Press

And by that, I mean: It’s time to start thinking about putting out a press release.  Any time you have important news to share about your book–such as announcing its publication, the advent of a book signing event, or spreading the news about an award it has won– you should definitely look to your local newspapers, radio stations, and other media sources … but this shouldn’t preclude you from looking further afield, to national media outlets and popular blog sites, for example.  You can use online press release distribution sites or try contacting your local newspaper as a first step, and if you’re working with a hybrid or full-service self-publishing company you should definitely check out their list of marketing options.

press release

TIP TEN : Get your next manuscript off the drawing board

Hollywood scriptwriters and directors often talk about “development hell,” but this term isn’t the exclusive property of the rich and/or famous: it applies to authors of all kinds, too!  We all know the dangers and struggles facing us in the form of the dreaded Writer’s Block, so if you’re ready to start publishing–or you’re getting close–you should definitely try to give yourself the necessary kick in the pants necessary to put the finishing touches on your manuscript and start the publication process today.  Delay hurts no one more than you, and that’s the truth!  Many companies offer publishing packages or offer the services of a Publishing Consultant to assist with this process, and sometimes a little help really is necessary.  There’s no shame in turning to a professional for help if it means your book gets off of the drawing board and into the hands of your readers!

drawing board

TIP ELEVEN : The book must be blogged!

An oft-overlooked component of a successful marketing strategy is the beloved book blogger.  We love them, we read their posts, but we don’t often think of them as partners in our journey to publication.  But they are!  They really, most definitely, can give your book a boost in visibility.  So, my last tip is more of a suggestion, really: Find those book bloggers you need to increase the exposure to your book.  Check out websites such as BookBloggerList.com to find bloggers interested in the genre of your book, and look to the book bloggers you personally admire and find readable.  Find out which bloggers would be open to reading and reviewing your book and contact them–or vice versa.  You might even get a link to your website or your Amazon book page out of it!

I’ll be back next week with some more tips!  And …

… always remember: you are not alone. ♣︎

ElizabethABOUT ELIZABETH JAVOR: With over 18 years of experience in sales and management, Elizabeth Javor works as the Manager of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable publishing consultants, pre-production specialists, customer service reps and book marketing specialists; together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Elizabeth Javor can put you on the right path.

Marketing BASICS : Ascertaining Your Ideal Reader

Welcome back to Wednesdays on Self Publishing Advisor, where we tackle the intricacies of marketing each and every week in the hopes of making your life as an indie, hybrid, or self-publishing author just a little bit easier.  This is actually the third post in a series examining marketing B.A.S.I.C.S.––yes, that’s an acronym! but more on that later––with a particular emphasis on marketing for new or first-time authors.  It all began two weeks ago with this introductory post, and continued last week with an in-depth look at the “B” in B.A.S.I.C.S.: “Building an Online Presence.”  This week, we’re ready for a new letter and a new sub-topic.  What does the letter “A” stand for, then?  Simple: “Ascertaining Your Ideal Reader.”  This is one of the most important and foundational of steps to crafting a successful marketing strategy.

What is this “Ideal Reader” business??

Your ideal reader is not simply the person who buys your book; he or she is the person who falls in love with the world your book creates and actively looks for ways to participate in that world, whether by following you (the author) on social media or sharing your book with others.  They’re not invested solely out of obligation––which is to say, they’re most likely not members of your immediate family or friend circle.  As wonderful as your existing network of relationships is, and as useful as your friends and family can be––as cheerleaders and amplifiers in your marketing campaign––they first fell in love with you and not your book, and that is always going to be a complicated tightrope to walk.

Your ideal reader, on the other hand, is a fan; but more than this, he or she is engaged with your book outside of the text as defined by letters inked on a page or pixels shadowing a screen.  Your ideal reader will slide your book into a back pocket while walking the dog or slip it into the diaper bag when taking the kids to story hour at the library; she’ll talk about it over the headset while duking it out with her friends on the Xbox or he’ll pass his dog-eared battered copy on to a friend or someone will drop it reluctantly by a Little Free Library––not giving it up because they didn’t have a use for it anymore, but rather giving it up because they’re fairly certain someone else might need it very much indeed.  These people are your mediators, your access, and your ambassadors to the world.

What does an ideal reader have to do with marketing, anyway?

As with any product, your book needs someone to buy it.  You can try to move copies by being absurdly wealthy and getting your superPAC to buy and then distribute thousands of volumes to local libraries in the vague hope that people will discover it while browsing and magically translate that discovery into a sudden impulse to buy more copies and distribute them to friends and family––but I’d be lying if I told you this is a time-honored or even remotely effective strategy.  Time and again, authors who meet their own personal benchmarks for “success” (and the word means something different to everyone) point to these sudden spikes or “strategic bulk” purchases as unethical, while grassroots support from middle or low-income readers who actually love your book enough to buy it despite limited resources tends to lead to long-term sustainable sales.  It goes without saying that people who have a personal, political, or financial stake in promoting your book are useful … but they can also unintentionally sabotage your success if they make your book about themselves, or about anything other than untrammeled storytelling.  And in order to find your grassroots supporters, you have to know where they live (so to speak), and the language they use (literally but also figuratively) to share what they love.

How do I track down my ideal reader, then?

Your ideal reader, if you’re an author of nonfiction, can be identified according to what problem he or she is trying to solve––whether that problem is the reader’s dependency on sugar for energy (a dietary self-help book, perhaps) or the upcoming dinner he’s throwing for the in-laws (a Mediterranean cookbook, perhaps) or her desire to fill a gap in her understanding (of particle physics, or a history of bipartisan politics in America, or the internal hierarchy of multinational corporations).  If you’re an author of fiction, your ideal reader is defined as someone who, when looking for new material to read, is drawn to the type of content or genre or characterization or form which you like to write––in other words, your ideal reader is someone whose tastes in consumption corresponds directly with your tastes in production.  There are many other people who might read your book and enjoy it or benefit from it, but they are baptized into the fold rather than the founders of it.

ideal readers self-publishing

Now, your book many bend genre traditions.  It may be so utterly innovative that the usual metrics of comparison––genre, plotting, etc––break down entirely.  And that’s entirely wonderful, even if it makes identifying your ideal reader just a touch more difficult.  If this is the case for you, instead of trying to jam your book into the confines of a neat description, ask yourself: What do I like to read?  What works of art and music and film move me?  Where do like to go to discover new reading material?  These make for the simplest and most effective path to finding your readers.

 

Once you find your ideal reader, what next?  Well, you make it worth their while to buy your book.  And that’s where next week’s blog post comes in.  Make sure to check back here next Wednesday!  There’s so much more to come.


Thank you for reading!  If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or contributions, please use the comment field below or drop us a line at selfpublishingadvice@gmail.com.  And remember to check back each Wednesday for your weekly dose of marketing musings from one indie, hybrid, and self-published author to another. ♠

KellyABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at blog.outskirtspress.com, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog, kellyschuknecht.com.

Self Publishing Saturday: What Happened this Week?

On weekend mornings, I enjoy nothing more than reading the paper to find out what has happened this week (now I primarily read the news online) in one place without searching many places. With many “tweeps” (Twitter slang for “people”) using paper.li to put together information, you can keep track of things pretty easily. What if you don’t have a Twitter account? What about the sources the things that weren’t mentioned?

Here we aim to feature things that are going on in self publishing so that you don’t have to find out on your own. Plus, we want to share other resource with you so that you can be well-advised on the publishing process.

So, sit back, relax, and enjoy this week’s digest.

Have you written something our readers can benefit from this week? Post a link in the comments.