How do you Engage more Readers?
There may be no better opportunity than right now to be an author – the digital age has levelled the playing field and there are now more options than ever to get your work out there and get it noticed. Every day, more and more authors are realising their dream of having their work professionally published. How do you stand out amongst the rest?
There are lots of different ways you can market your book – via social media, book reviews, press releases, posters, business cards, giveaways, reaching out to schools, book signings, podcasts, radio shows – and many more. But before you try any of these things, you must keep a few things in mind.
Now remember, different things will work for different authors and even the genre of your book will impact how you best share it. Furthermore, different publishers will offer different services and means of helping you in this regard. Some don’t do anything, will offer some guidance on marketing but won’t do any of it themselves, and others will take the reins completely. Wherever it is your publisher falls on that scale, arm yourself with knowledge, understand the kinds of marketing strategies that they employ and do what you can to complement them as they go. And remember: take it one step at a time. Often, the simplest things yield the best results. There are hundreds of ways to get your book out there, don’t try to take it all on at once.
Get your mindset right. Stop looking at people like a transaction and connect with them on a human level. People hate to be sold to. We are bombarded daily with ads forcing us to buy, buy, buy. When you promote your book don’t use phrases like: ‘Don’t miss out! Make sure you buy my new book, Winter Fire, only £8.99! (LINK)’. Instead, find what it is in your book that readers will be drawn to and will relate to and use that to connect with them. Why was Harry Potter so wildly successful? Because, deep down (or not so deep down), how many of us feel ordinary and ignored and want to find out we’re special? Why was Bridget Jones’ Diary such a hit? Because it was marketed to women who identify with the ‘ordinary’ heroine and who ultimately want to be swept off their feet by their own Mr Darcy. How did The Da Vinci Code storm the charts? Because in this secular age, religious conspiracy sells.
Why should the reader care about your book? We know you care about your book, and for that reason this can sometimes be a tough one to answer. But when there’s such a wealth of literature already out there – why should someone buy your book? What is it about your book that sets you apart from everyone else and makes your story unique? Find out what that is, because no one knows it better than you, and make sure the world knows too.
It’s about the reader, not the author. Focus on the experience you want your reader to have and let them know about it. Relax. All that pent-up energy, all that time you spend forcing people to read your book, getting angry when they don’t, seeing it as a personal slight – people sense that. They may well want to buy your book but they don’t want to be sold your book. Stop worrying about sales and focus on reaching people. Focus on your art and the love you have for your writing and what you created. Focus on the people you have sold it to and build relationships. Be grateful for every new literary friend and they will be grateful for you.
There is no one ‘right’ way to market a book. There is no one, clear cut line to success when it comes to book marketing. Educate yourself, see what people have done before you, and find what works best for you and your book. And more importantly – try to understand why something works or doesn’t work. There is a wealth of information out there on the psychology behind marketing. If you understand that, then you can get creative!
Take your time. Your time is precious, don’t waste it on things that won’t glean results. Don’t take it all on at once, pace yourself, analyse results, and enjoy the journey. If you’re not having fun, no one else is!