You’ve considered hiring a book marketing company to help with your promotional efforts, but do you have all the necessary information? And are you ready to work alongside them?
First, the biggest thing that I am very clear about with authors is how we can help them with exposure. But if you want to truly capitalize on this, you need to be ready to maximize the investment.
Don’t be too surprised.
You buy a house or a car, and you get insurance. When planning a vacation you make sure you’re not sitting in the hotel all day.
So why would you hire a book marketing company and just sit back and hope they can single-handedly make all your dreams come true?
A good book marketing company will be very straightforward with you about what they can and can’t guarantee, and what their goals are for every strategy they present to you.
Ask questions, don’t assume anything.
The following are ways to make the most of your investment. Keep in mind that collaboration is a good thing. With 4,500+ books published every day, you really shouldn’t stress about duplicating efforts.
Here’s a scenario: You want a book marketing company to expand your social media in promotion for your next book release, but you shouldn’t totally pass the reins over. You should be an active participant in your campaign as well.
Some book marketing companies who perform all aspects of promotion and publicity charge thousands of dollars a month, and for most authors, this just isn’t in their budget.
Here are the things you can be doing before hiring a book marketing company, during your campaign with them, and for the long term, to make the investment in their additional support and expertise really shine:
1. Make sure your website is on point
Nothing says professional like a well-done website, which also allows your readers and the media to network with you, while additionally supporting your brand. You may not need one for your debut, but it’s essential if you plan on becoming a professional author for a career,
2. Engage, engage, engage
Book success isn’t a one-way street. It’s not as simple as just throwing your book info out to the universe. You need to respect who buys the books and writes the reviews. Make yourself available to fans and then really connect with them.
3. Respect the power of social
I hear it all the time, “I hate social media.” Well, now that you got that out of your system, it’s time to get on social media.
Put your efforts into engaging on one social media account rather than being stagnant on multiple ones, and you should research which social media fits best with your target demographic.
4. Never stop asking for reviews
I’ll be honest, it’s very distressing when authors reach out to me and their book has no reviews. Even if it only came out a month ago, someone should have read it and reviewed it in that amount of time.
Work your contacts and let family, friends and coworkers inform their contacts. They’ll no doubt know someone that would want to review your book.
No book should have zero reviews if the author actually planned on writing it for people to read.
5. Reach out to your professional network
Are you a non-fiction writer? Get out there and make some connections with professionals in the area of your book, because you’re competing with intelligent, accomplished authors.
What makes you different? Your network. Get reviews and blurbs from other people on a professional level, ask them to share your book. Leverage anything you have.
6. Thank people who review your book
An author’s work is never done, even if you received some reviews. A personal touch goes a long way, so go on Amazon, head to the comment section, and show your gratitude to the people who reviewed your book. They just may be customers for your next book.
7. Run giveaways
Giveaways are fun, they’re easy, and they inspire action. You can also do them whenever you want and on your own terms. So if you’re not doing giveaways at least a few times a year, take the plunge. (And know that lots of successful fiction authors do them monthly!)
8. Send out newsletters regularly
How frequently is “regular?” Regardless of if you send one every 30 days or once a quarter, the objective is building a mailing list. The people on it have the highest probability of becoming repeat customers.
Just remember to highlight something special or exciting in each newsletter. Announce an upcoming release, event, free download, cover reveal, giveaway winners, etc. You get the picture.
You receive a ton of emails, and so do the people you’re sending to, so make it stand out and worth their while.
9. Be open to events
As more and more bookstores close or dry up, author events are increasingly difficult to arrange as competition rises. So consider some non-traditional venues for your event. Not sure where to start? Are you a regular anywhere? Perhaps a local coffee shop, brewery, or craft store? Maybe you have a friend that owns a small business. Consider where you might already have an “in” and start there.
Once you have even one successful event under your belt you can use that to expand your opportunities and sell more books on a local level.
10. Get involved with your local community
Communities are supportive of local businesses and vendors, and most host events that give individuals a chance to meet others in their communities. Fall is almost here, so keep an eye out for your local markets, craft fairs, and library events. Depending on what your focus is, you may want to consider getting involved in Rotary, Lions or Kiwanis.
11. Keep on writing
What are the biggest hurdles for a book marketing company? The first is handling a book that has little or no reviews, followed by trying to promote an author who doesn’t have a game plan for their follow-up release.
Let me shatter some dreams right now – one book won’t let you retire, or make you famous. It won’t even pay off your car.
Now that we have that out of the way start thinking about your next book and get writing!
Yes, you can hire a book marketing company without ticking off all these strategies, or any of them for that matter, because the reality is you have to start somewhere and yes, I really can help almost anyone, somehow.
But you need to rein in your expectations.
You can’t show up to a party with a half-empty bottle of wine, cold leftovers and expect everyone to be excited to see you.
That’s the publishing industry version of soliciting the help of a book marketing company when your book is over a year old, with minimal to no reviews, and no online presence to speak of or author brand established to show you’ve put in the effort.
I can only speak for my book marketing company, but I will provide you with what I can, along with any tips and recommendations for opportunities still available to you, but you may not be wowed.
Every time you publish a new book is an opportunity to start the process over with a new pair of eyes and the gained knowledge you acquired from your previous release.
Persistence is key, so keep at it. Just remember to keep these tips in mind while you plan and coordinate for your next book. Your big break could be right around the corner!
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her web site at www.amarketingexpert.com.