First things first. Why author marketing and not book marketing?
The easiest way to explain this approach is to think about it like small business marketing. Author, you are the small business, and your book is the product of that business. No one launches a product into thin air, without a company to support it.
It’s very likely this first book, isn’t your only book or your only product. As soon as you began writing, you probably realized there’s another book in you… maybe even a series. It’s also likely that you want to create related products and services as an extension of your book, like a workbook. Or since you’re reading this on One Stone Creative, an online course or maybe a podcast. If you begin by focusing your marketing and branding on the title of the book – website, blog, social media channels, etc. – you’ll have to duplicate your efforts to rebrand for the next book or product. That’s expensive, confusing, and counter-productive. For now, it’s all about you!
The Author Platform
An author platform is the sum of all your marketing skills and assets available to help you sell your book. It’s necessary for every author, regardless of the genre or publishing method. Traditional publishers, agents, and publicists have minimum guidelines required for platforms that may vary based on genre and their level of involvement. Ultimately Author, you will always be required to market yourself to sell your books – even if you get picked up by a traditional publisher.
The foundation of the platform is the same for every author, regardless of genre and includes:
An active blog will work overtime for your SEO, help you become a better writer, and endear you to your readers. The simplest way to do this is to add a page to your existing website. Some authors publish regularly to professional organization sites or public blogs like Medium. If this is the case, just link it to your site via RSS feed.
Social media platforms
You don’t have to be on every platform, but you should be where your reader is. This means if you’ve written a YA novel, don’t market it on LinkedIn. In fact, unless you’ve written a business book, please don’t market books on LinkedIn. Choose the right platform for you audience. And then work that platform really well
Don’t buy followers. Fake followers don’t buy books and they don’t engage. On many platforms, that can hurt more than help by getting your account shut down. Just be you! Share consistent, helpful, entertaining copy and engage with your followers. Be real, be funny, be kind.If you’ve written a YA novel, don’t market it on LinkedIn. In fact, unless you’ve written a business book, please don’t market books on LinkedIn. Click To Tweet
Other media opportunities
As you already know from Megan, media appearances on podcasts, as a guest but especially as a host, are a great way to build relationships and expand your platform.
I’ll leave the set-up of your podcast to Megan’s expertise. But I do have some thoughts on guest opportunities.
When pitching a guest spot on a podcast, don’t force a fit. There are so many amazing podcasts today. Seek opportunities that not only help you, but also the host. Look for opportunities in active podcast groups on Facebook. Play by the rules, pitching or presenting clearly only when asked and appropriate. Be helpful and courteous and your appearances will multiply. Remember, your engaged author platform is a huge asset for any host seeking guests. It also helps to have an active email list, blog, and social media platform to share your appearances.
And then, do it again
I was working on a marketing plan with an author recently. We got to the end of creating that six-month plan and she said, ‘it feels like it’s rinse and repeat’. It is. Benchmark, review, adjust, and do it again!
Lynn McGinnis is a 30-year veteran of small business marketing. She shifted into author marketing four years ago after a long-term freelance opportunity with a hybrid publisher. In that time, she managed every aspect of publishing. Today, she uses her marketing expertise and publishing experience to help authors reach their unique goals through coaching, consulting, and retainer marketing services. Visit LynnMcG.com to learn more.