5 Tips to Apply Your Mad Research Skills to Book Marketing
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We know we need to do research. Many of us delight in disappearing down the dark rabbit hole of the internet with the excuse of “research”… er, I mean, for practical and real research! Right?
We enjoy sitting and watching people in public as “research.” We chuckle at the memes like this:
But when it comes to marketing, so many of us just shut down. “I don’t know how to do this!” “I’m a writer, not a salesperson,” “WTF is a CTR?!” we whine.
I didn’t know how to make a stake, until I learned for The Hunters.
I didn’t know about postmortem lividity, until I wrote Elements of a Broken Mind.
But I did the research. You can do the same for marketing too! Here are five tips to get you started.
1) Join a Forum
As Eric Keizer mentioned in, Unexpected Research tools, “never forget to utilize the greatest resource you have available to you- your wonderfully intelligent colleagues and friends.”
2. Follow Some Influencers
There are tons of book marketing gurus out there, many offering free content to get you started (before they sell a course, yeah, but still, suck up the freebies!) Tim Grahl of Launch a Best Seller is a book marketing genius! (Seriously, he has launched so many best sellers for authors, it’s a bit mind boggling!) Brian from Video Fruit gives great content about setting up and building an e-mail list, and how to sell products online. (Note, he doesn’t specifically focus just on books, but the info is applicable!) And of course, one of my fav’s (we published our first book around the same time and I was one of his beta readers for A Writer’s Manifesto!) is Jeff Goins, who gives great information on blogging and building your platform. There are dozens of more that you can follow, such as Joanna Penn, Seth Godin and Mark Dawson, to name a few. The key is to follow several. When you see the tips intersecting, this is something you really should be doing.
3. Book Watch
We all love watching people and coming up with ideas from them. Apply that same inner sleuth to best sellers in your genre. Find a book with similar themes, and go stalk them. What keywords are they using? What blogs are featuring them? What are they sharing on social media? If it’s working for them, odds are similar tactics will work for you. (True story, I jumped on the image quotes from books because I saw Neil Gaiman doing it a few years ago. It’s a staple on my Instagram feed and people LOVE it.)
4. Invest in your Education
I know, we’re all on a tight budget. If you can afford to take Mark Dawson’s Facebook marketing class or the Reedsy classes, that’s awesome! Even if you can’t, invest the TIME in the research. There are literally thousands of free webinars every day. (All the aforementioned offer tons of freebies.) I attend on average one a week. There are Youtube videos, there are actual training programs like Hubspot’s inbound marketing program and Google Analytics Training (Warning, these not about books. Start with those influencers first so you can get a handle on the general ideas before delving into the heavy stuff. If you don’t know what KPIs, CTR, SEM, SEO, Impressions, Conversions, etc, are this is not your first step. Or, if you are a rock star researcher, here’s a handy tool to get you started on all those scary terms. Dive on in!)
As an advanced marketer, I still spend about 10 hours a week keeping up with trends, taking new training courses, and polishing and honing my skills. Most indie authors who are making it will tell you to spend as much time on marketing as you do on writing. But don’t stop there.
5. Start Implementing Immediately
I love this quote:
It’s true in everything we do. Action is better than all the research in the world. I found myself caught up in re-release hell and realized that I’ve been in a holding pattern with my marketing. I’ve been pouring all my energy into building my reader base by introducing them to other authors,, and realized that I’d done nothing for myself in months. After a vacation with family and a lot of down time to re-focus, I am balancing my efforts again.
Bonus Tip: Go wild. If you follow the pack, you will still be behind. Use your creative side in your marketing and brainstorm something wild and unique and go balls to the wall. Marketing is just as much art as science. I’ve seen some crazy ideas really work for individuals. One gal cosplays as her character and hands out bookmarks. Another guy promotes at LARPing events. A fella rented out a bookstore for a month in New York. Another guy bought all the billboards in his hometown. One woman sells her books at the local flea market. I hand carved wooden stakes with my book title on the hilt and sold them at Comic Con. Traditionally published authors are getting on Patreon and offering short stories and behind-the-scenes looks into their writing plans for as little as $1 a month. There are some making over $1,000 a month before they even publish. Think outside the box.
[inlinetweet prefix=”Use your creative side in your #marketing. #writerslife” tweeter=”heidiangell” suffix=”#ourwriteside”][/inlinetweet]
This should keep you busy until next month, but if you have any questions, or need any help, let us know in the comments below!
Until Next Time,
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