You’ve done it! You’ve written an amazing book full of your incredible ideas or fabulous fiction. You’ve self published your work and announced it to your family and friends, who willingly bought a copy immediately. You began posting your book on social media and now you are waiting for the sales to roll in and…
Crickets… Hiding in the dark… Like your readers.
You know those crickets are out there. You hear them, but you can’t see them, and it drives you crazy sometimes. (That one cricket in your bedroom in the middle of night especially turns you to madness.)
What if finding your ideal reader was like finding that cricket? You are overjoyed because you found the cricket, convinced it to buy your book and set it free in the outside world.
Okay, maybe I’m reaching a bit. But here’s the thing: In this day of digital publishing, where millions of books are for sale, it’s up to you to find your ideal readers (aka: buyers). It’s up to you to make your work shine above all others. It’s up to you to attract more crickets, er… readers.
So, what is the next step for effectively marketing your book and making sales?
There are many ways to market your book and many venues on which to market it, but today I want to talk specifically about finding an audience for your book. Finding your ideal reader. It’s easy, but it takes some work.
Think about your potential readers. If you already maintain an author platform and an email list, of course you can focus on those wonderful people to help market and sell your book. (By all means, please do not forget to give your loyal subscribers early access and/or special prices on your newest releases.)
But you also want to reach beyond this group. You always want to expand your reader audience, right?
There are two important things to do: Define your ideal reader and research the best places to find your readers.
In order to effectively market your book to your ideal reader, you need to ask yourself two important questions:
1. Who is my book for?
Think about who your book is meant for. Whether you have written a book of fiction or non-fiction, you have a specific niche of readers waiting for it. Your first job is to define that niche of people.
If you have written a self help book about alternative uses for herbs and essential oils, you want to find people who are interested in the use of natural products. If you have written an epic fantasy novel, you are looking for readers who love fantasy stories. If you wrote a how-to book about building cabinets, you are looking for do-it-yourself types and carpenters. If you write romance, you are looking for romance readers, of course. If your book is meant as an experience, self help, or recovery book, define who your book intended to help. You get the idea. (If your book is super specific and has a narrow interest pool, make sure you think carefully on this so you can answer the next question.)
2. Where do my people hang out?
You may already have a significant following on social media outlets and if so, you are one step ahead. But remember, don’t limit yourself to other writers. You need readers. Social media is a great place to connect with your potential readers. You can search for people and groups that are looking for what you have to offer. There are groups that discuss science fiction, meditation and natural healing, murder mysteries and virtually anything your book may be about.
Search for your niche. You can search Google for groups, forums, and blogs. Find your people on Facebook groups. Have a cookbook? Find the people that love to cook. The more specific your niche, the more research you may need to do to find your super-niche people. Be creative. If you wrote it, that means you like it. And guess what? There are others who will like it too, no matter how specific or different your book may be.
The World is Your Oyster…
(Who the heck said that anyway?)
How about this: Get Rid of Limitations.
You don’t have to limit yourself to online hangouts and groups. You are on your computer so much you may not remember this. There are people out in the real world too. You remember people? (Yes, I am also guilty of hiding behind the screen.)
Expand your search to include groups and places in your community. That means getting out of the house and meeting people. Take a deep breath, introverts! Here are some ideas:
Clubs and Societies- Write fantasy? Find clubs that cater to fantasy fans. Write self-help books? Check with natural healing societies, fitness groups, business net-workers, etc. You may be able to attend their events to feature your work.
Community Centers- Some cities and towns offer low-cost classes to residents. You may consider teaching a small writing class for people. Having copies of your books available shows that you are professional and published! You can offer your students a discount or another freebie if they want to buy a copy. Or you can include a copy of your book as part of the class fee.
Book Groups- Try to find a group of readers that gravitate toward your genre. If nothing else, by attending these groups you will make friends who may be happy to not only buy your book, but also help you spread the word about your work.
Libraries- You can ask to get your book included in the library’s online e-book catalogs- or ask if they sponsor workshops where you can speak to inspiring writers and feature your book for sale.
Indie bookstores- Similar to libraries, independent bookstores often have reader groups or classes for hopeful writers that you can volunteer for, or hold a class with a small fee. Again, your class fee can include a copy of your book. You can also ask the manager if you can sign simply sell and sign your books for customers there.
Book and Craft Fairs, Holiday Bazaars, etc.- You may have to pay a fee for a table so make sure it will be worth the investment.
Look for events for children, seniors, fitness gurus, meditation and healing… you name it. If your book fits it, you can be creative in ways to approach the event managers. Be sure to research it thoroughly so you can explain how your book/class/signing will benefit their event. Be professional and respectful of their time. Have a detailed plan or media kit available.
Not all of these approaches will work for all books. This is where trial and error come in. You won’t know unless you really put yourself out there. At best, you will gain exposure and sell more books. At worst, you will get a no thanks, and if that happens, well, just move on to the next thing. The point is to leverage your book for the most exposure and the highest potential readership.
Remember, define your niche and find where your kindred spirits hang out.
And here’s a bonus book marketing tip: Always have business cards or a media sales copy page to hand out to potential readers/buyers. This does two things. First, if the person you are talking to does not want to buy your book right away, you can let them know where to find you. Make sure this sales page or card has all of the places to find you- your author website, your Good Reads profile, your Amazon profile, etc. You can also include a discount coupon if you desire. Secondly, if the wonderfully awesome person did buy your book, you can entice them to future purchases by suggesting that they follow you via email subscription or social media. If they are happy with their purchase, they are more likely to buy from you again- but only if they know where to FIND you! Don’t forget to send a personal thank you email to that buyer when they give you their email address.
There are millions of books out there and selling yours is hard. The good news is, there are millions of readers too. That means that there is enough room in this world for your book. Find your ideal reader by defining who they are and where they hang out. Then go for it!
Whew! This post was long. Thanks for staying with me. I hope you found some new ideas to keep selling your books. Remember that writing is also an author’s business, and you have to work on the marketing yourself.
So, Stick Your Neck Out . Never give up. Keep trying new ways to reach your people.
Now go find your ideal readers!
P.S. Have you tried getting out there to sell your books in person? What tips do you have to add?