If you’re an author, marketing books to sell more copies is probably one of your top goals. Learning how to position your book to stand out among the competition takes time, discipline, and planning.
That’s why we spoke with Crystal Paine to learn how you can sell more copies of your own books, even if you think you don’t have time. She knows how to move books—even with an over-packed schedule.
Crystal Paine is a wife, busy mom of three, New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and founder of the popular blog MoneySavingMom.com.
Over the course of her career as an author, Crystal has written many best-selling books about discipline and budgeting, including Money Saving Mom, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode, 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life and Money Making Mom (sign-up for her free 5-day course).
Crystal was one of the highlighted pros at our 2016 Self-Publishing School Summit. During her presentation Crystal shared invaluable ideas for creating value and excitement for the launch of a book instead of only focusing on selling.
Crystal shares her clutch ideas for marketing your book so it will be a hit. Read on for her insider pro tips on taking your first book from just-published to best seller …
1. Keep Marketing in Mind as You Write
It’s a mistake to think that marketing is this magical thing that happens once you have completed your first draft. This is a fallacy; successful authors will share that it’s vital to keep marketing ideas in mind as you write your book.
One of the best ways to keep marketing at the forefront of your writing is by writing to your avatar. Before you write a single word, you should identify your unique avatar. By identifying your specific avatar, you know who you’re writing to, and it becomes that much easier to write to your target market.
Once you determine your specific audience, you should find out where your target market congregates online. This information will help you tailor your marketing plan to those specific topics and platforms.
Your social media platform and blog play a vital role in reaching your target market. Leverage your social media the right way to reach your intended audience and you can exponentially grow your fan base.
An effective social media campaign doesn’t happen overnight. A social media strategy for self-published authors requires forethought. What does this mean? In plain English, it means you need to plan. While writing your book make note of “hot topics” to blog about. Set aside sentences you can use as tweets or turn into Instagram quotes as you promote your book.
Plan out your marketing efforts by the day, week, and month. If you lay out your social media strategy a few months in advance, then you won’t have to scramble to come up with new posts daily or weekly. Strive to generate these posts when you are at your most creative, and you’ll have a roster of social media posts to share with your fans.
2. Create Awareness
Any marketing pro will tell you that drumming up audience anticipation is a savvy marketing ploy. Just look at the film industry, they use movie trailers to peak audience interest before the release of the film. The same concepts apply to drumming up interest about your book.
Your blog is a fabulous way to peak interest without giving too much away. As you blog about other topics, pepper your blog with phrases such as, “As I write my book …” to generate curiosity. By intriguing your audience about the project you’re working on, you create an awareness without overtly asking fans to buy your product.
Another smart way to peak interest is by sharing glimpses of your pending book cover. Remember, many people respond to visual images, so maximize a gorgeous cover to show your audience what is to come. Again, the goal here is not to ask people to buy, but to create awareness and excitement about your soon-to-be-published (going to be fabulous!) book.
Generate buzz by focusing on sharing how much your readers will benefit from your book. Again, the game plan here is not a hard sell. Don’t ask your audience to buy your book, but do tell them how much it will change their lives. Tell them exactly how much they will learn and how their lives will be better after they read your book. By making your book powerfully attractive to your followers, your audience will clamor to make their purchase by the time your publication date rolls around.
3. Your Launch Team is Vital
Your launch team is vital to a successful sales and marketing plan. Your launch team can help you plan and execute an out-of-this-world launch, so your book will sell like hot cakes.
People love to feel as though they are in on something hot and exclusive. Use your launch team to help create a feeling of exclusivity by offering pre-release copies to your loyal blog readers. In exchange for the pre-release copy, ask your blog readers for a few commitments.
Briefly, in exchange for a free copy, you should request that fans interested in being part of your “launch team”:
- Review your book on Amazon.
- Read your book and give input.
- Be active in your book’s Facebook group.
- Help get the word out about publication and upcoming events.
- Share marketing ideas and tips to reach others.
Crystal’s launch team boosted her marketing with their enthusiasm and stellar marketing ideas. Her team created compelling social media graphics, as well as shared stories and excitement on social media. During the launch and promotion of the book, Crystal’s marketing message focused on how people would benefit from the book.
4. Use a Freebie to Get Pre-orders
People love free stuff! Across the board, all of us like to feel as though we are getting a deal.
Use the “free stuff” ploy so that readers pre-order your book in return for a free gift. Tell them that in exchange for a receipt of the pre-order of your book, you’ll send a free digital product via email. In order to make this offer as attractive as you can, make sure the freebie resonates with your brand and audience.
The temptation may be to give away a ton of different freebies, but that becomes confusing. It’s a far better marketing move to focus your time and energy on offering your audience one high-quality, high-value freebie.
5. Grow Your Email List
Your book is an amazing tool to grow your email list! Use your book as a tool to increase the number of people on your email list. Once you have your email list, you can use it to sell other products, such as audiobooks, courses, etc.
If you want to generate a substantial income while building your business, you should view your book as a small segment of your income stream among many profitable assets.
Here’s your “Grow Your Income Plan” in a quick 4-step nutshell:
- Grow your e-email list.
- Create digital products (audiobooks, courses, etc).
- Promote affiliate products.
- Push all products to sell on your email list (judiciously*—see #6 below.)
Voila—you’ve just created several streams of passive income using one published book and one email list! How cool is that?
6. Be YOU
Who else would you be? This tip may seem intuitive, but it can be a tricky thing for a new author. Finding your unique voice, tone, and style of communication will take some practice.
Write or communicate like you’re talking to a friend. When you are authentic and real with your audience, they’ll recognize that. Share with them the things that you’re learning because you’re growing as a person. People will appreciate your authenticity. When you find that people start to follow you, you can then take them wherever you want to go.
For example, Crystal started out showing people how to clip coupons. From there, her writing took her on a different path. Her branding and her message evolved as she became more intentional with her life. As Crystal’s business grew and changed, her audience willingly came along with her on that transformative journey.
In order to show your true, authentic self, you need to show that you’re human. Show what mistakes you’ve made, what you’re learning, what you’re trying, and what articles and books you’re reading. All of these tactics build trust and rapport with your audience.
*Once you’ve earned trust, don’t squander it. Only rarely should you ask your audience to buy something from you. But when you do make the “ask,” hopefully they will respond in kind because of your on-going relationship.
Writing your book is just the first step to becoming a successful self-published author. Once you’ve hit publish, you’re going to need to sell books, or else you’re not going to make any money. Our pro tips can help you develop your own savvy marketing tactics to sell more copies and make more money from your book.
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