Last week I did an interview with a journalist who was writing a white paper on marketing books in the new world of publishing. He called me because he wanted to ask some specific questions about self published authors. That did not surprise me. I get asked that question quite often when I do a webinar or make a presentation. However, he did ask me a question I thought was was very interesting. He wanted to know what I thought were the three biggest mistakes self published authors make when marketing their book. I had to think about them for a moment and I debated in my own mind which were the three biggest, but here was my answer.
- They do not have a clear picture of their audience. The longer I work with authors, the more important I think this is because it drives almost every tactic in the marketing plan. If you don’t know who a potential reader is for your book, you won’t know where to find them, what information they are looking for and how to make your marketing message relevant to them. I tell authors all the time. Create a picture of who you wrote the book and who might be most interested in the content of the book. Also, think through whether the reader and the buyer are two different people. For example, lots of children’s books are purchased by parents or grandparents even though they are not the reader. So while you write for a particular aged child, your marketing strategy must include adults.
- They don’t give enough attention to the cover as a marketing tool. The old adage says you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the fact is, book buyers do. Self published authors often give great care to the writing of the book, but don’t pay enough attention to how the book is packaged for sale. In other words, they give into personal preference for cover treatments, rather than making an assessment of the competition and taking the advice of professionals. I always recommend that authors spend some time in a bookstore before they design their cover so they can see what are the common elements of good covers and use that for their book cover.
- They don’t have a pitch about their book. One of the keys to getting publicity and doing well at book signings is having a pitch about your book. What do I mean by a pitch. I mean a few statements about why someone should be interested in reading your book. One thing I tell authors all the time, is the fact that you published a book is interesting but that is not news. You need to have a few statements that will hook reporters when you speak with them or draw people as they walk by at a book signing. I have seen too many authors sit at book signings and have nothing to say to those passing by.
I always recommend that authors spend some time in a bookstore before they design their cover so they can see what are the common elements of good covers
So those are the three I settled on. I am sure there are others. What do you think? Do you agree with the three I have highlighted? Are there others you think are more significant? Use the comment section to let me know what you think.