It’s time to get ready: Prep Work

When you’re ready to cook a fine dinner, you don’t just walk into the kitchen, throw a bunch of ingredients together and hope for the best. Or maybe you do at times (I certainly have), but let’s suppose in this case you have company coming over and you want to create something scrumptious and lovely. You plan. You shop. You prep.

Promoting your book takes time as well. You’ve planned it, you’ve done your research, and you’ve spent plenty of time writing it or developing your proposal. Now it’s time to decide how you’re going to publicize and promote it. What kind of marketing and publicity campaign are you going to put together? You don’t just throw something together willy nilly at the last moment. You plan. You research. You prep. 

Whether you have a publisher or you’re going to self publish, you have to prepare, and that means before you approach any media or go after any kind of publicity, here are four things you need to have in place:

 

Website

Authors. You must have a website. I have been promoting books for a long time, and it’s  surprising how often I am asked about this. If you have a book, you have to have a website. It isn’t optional anymore. 

When is the last time you heard of a book and ran out to the library or a bookstore to learn more about it? Most likely, you went online to have a look. That’s what we all do. When someone hears of you and your book they will look for you online and if you’re not there, it will look like you don’t exist. 

Besides giving you credibility, a website does so much more. Others can link back to you, you’ll have an opt-in offer so they can learn more about you and stay in touch with you (more on this later), you can post any press materials that media may need, and more. The list of reasons is long, but you get the idea. It also shows editors, producers, and reviewers that you’re savvy, you know what you’re doing and you know about promotion.

 

Mailing list

There is an argument that email marketing is dead, but that is not the case, at least not yet. If it was, no one would be doing it. Email marketing works, although you have to do it well, and that’s another blog post. Having some kind of opt-in gift on your website allows your audience, tribe, followers, those who love you, or whatever you want to call them to have a way to hear more from you on a regular basis. It allows you to continue to market to them, although not in a salesy way. It allows you to stay in touch until they finally buy the book or one of your other programs and beyond. Rather than finding an audience every time you release a product, you have a group of interested buyers right at your fingertips. What could be better?

You must have a mailing list, and a way to capture people who are interested in what you are doing. They may not be ready to buy the first time they hear of you. Before the digital revolution there was a Rule of 7 in the advertising industry that said it took a minimum of 7 impressions for people to buy something. In the digital world, a recent study of sales development organizations from 900+ companies found the average number of impressions is 59. With social media in the mix it becomes easier to reach those kinds of numbers, and it’s  that’s a great way for people to become aware of you and your book, but your mailing list is often where the magic happens.

 

Social Media

Some people love social media, and some people hate it. Either way, most realize that it is a force that is here to stay that can be very valuable for you. It’s another way to talk to the people who are interested in you, and allow others who don’t know you yet to get to know you. It’s also where editors, producers, reviewers, podcasters, and other media can see that you use it, and that if they cover you, you know how to spread the word about them too. This is key.

Media is looking for you to extend their reach into your networks. It isn’t only authors using them to be seen by more people. (I’ve talked about this extensively in the Big Media Shift audio series of interviews that I conducted.) 

When I hear some authors express how they don’t like promoting themselves, well, it’s beyond that. It’s beyond one’s own personal feelings. Now it’s a way to demonstrate that you’re a professional, and it’s how you extend your reach. If feelings about not wanting to “toot your own horn” is causing you to repel from social media, then that’s another matter and probably another blog post down the road.

I remember attending Book Expo America one year when social media was just beginning to take hold, and I was sharing with a group of industry professionals that social media was going to be big and they and their authors needed to get into it. I literally watched people’s eyes glaze over, but that does not happen anymore because pretty much everyone gets it. It’s a funny memory though. Things change. 

Which social media platforms make the most sense for you to be on, both in terms of those that support your kind of book, where your audience hangs out, and where you like to hang out? You get to decide what platform you use, but you want to ask yourself that question to be clear on what makes the most sense. Evaluate your results and make changes when necessary.

 

Book sellers 

This point is short and sweet. If you’re selling a book, you need to at least be in the online bookstores. When people hear of you and your book, you want to make it super easy for them to buy from you. At minimum, this  includes Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Indiebound. The latter is a network of independent bookstores. Let’s support the independents as well! 

 

 

Bottom Line

When it comes to prepping a delicious meal, it often takes more than four ingredients. It’s the same with book publicity. However, it’s amazing what you can create with the four most important ingredients. Be sure you have these in place, and if you already do, review them and update where necessary. 

 

To your success!

Joanne

 

P.S. Speaking of websites and updates, I am doing a reboot of mine and plan to unveil it for the New Year. The look will be different. Websites, like fashion, move in trends, and while there are some classical elements, it’s time to get into 2020. I will be unveiling it here first!

 

#bookprep

#cookingmetaphor

#bookpublicity

#bookmarketing

#planning