Many people choose the self-publishing model these days, and those authors who do will necessarily need to do all of their own marketing, as there is no publisher to do it for them. Even those authors who use a traditional or hybrid publisher often find it helpful to do some marketing in addition to that done by their publisher, as regrettably these days most publishers will concentrate budgets on books that they know they can sell rather than those of new or unknown authors.
We have found many successful, cost-effective methods of selling books, and we can design bespoke marketing campaigns for pretty much any author or genre that will have a good chance of being successful, but first a few words of warning: most of the money spent by independent authors on marketing and advertising is money which is completely wasted. So first of all, let's cover the basics.
"The first thing any author needs to know about marketing is what it is.
That might sound obvious, but how many people actually understand the difference between Marketing and Advertising?"
"Most people think that
those two words are
synonyms, but they are not."
Learning the difference between marketing and advertising can help you sell more books because you’ll understand the proper place of each practice. Furthermore, you won’t waste money, time, or effort on a strategy that might not produce any book sales.
So, first of all, it’s essential to understand that advertising is a subset of marketing. It’s just one avenue by which to reach potential buyers and convert them to actual buyers of your book.
As a self-published author, you will need to organise marketing and advertising yourself. So let’s look more closely at marketing and advertising, compare them with one another, and check out a few examples of how authors (and publishers) can use marketing and advertising to reach their goals.
So, marketing covers all activities in which you engage to bring customers to your business and convince them to convert. As we mentioned earlier, it’s a large umbrella.
While not a complete list, here are some common marketing strategies that you might use to sell your books:
Social media marketing
SEO and search engine marketing
Loyalty and rewards programs
As you can see, there are plenty of options if you want to spread the word about your book.
To do this effectively, many marketers use the four P’s of marketing:
Each step in the process guides customers toward a purchase decision and helps you position your product more attractively for consumers. We’ll look at each of the four P’s so you can master them for your business’s benefit. It is important to remember that even though in your own mind you may be 'an author', 'a writer', 'a novelist' or even 'a great literary person', you ARE RUNNING A BUSINESS - writing books for sale in order to make money IS A BUSINESS, and you will fail spectacularly if you forget this.
The first thing to decide is: “what your product is.”
Is your product “a” book, “all of your books” or is it you, as “an author”?
The important thing is to use marketing to focus on a product’s benefits rather than its features.
Features tell the customer what the product does or offers. Benefits tell the customer what advantages he or she will gain from the product.
See the distinction? “It’s an exciting book” versus “readers will be excited by the story.”
When you’re marketing your products, you want to focus on connecting with your audience emotionally and psychologically.
The price at which you sell your product will determine whether or not you’re competitive – a paperback novel being sold for £29.99 will seem extremely expensive to buyers, and you will probably sell very few. The same book for £4.99 will seem quite cheap, but will you make any money after considering your printing and marketing costs?
Your price must be low enough to sell, yet still high enough to make a profit. We can guide you on this and work out the “right price”.
You will need to identify the channels by which you’re going to market your product. You have numerous options (see list above), but you don’t have to use all of them. In fact, you shouldn’t.
Why? Because your particular genre might not align well with every marketing channel.
For instance, if you have written a non-fiction book called, ‘The Sarum Rite versus the Roman Rite in Medieval English Liturgical Practice’, as per the example given on the Agency Page, how are you going to use ‘Loyalty and Rewards Programs’ to market such a title? If, on the other hand, you’ve written a book about ‘Reiki’ you could use some form of ‘Loyalty and Rewards Program’ to give buyers of your book say £5 off their first three treatments at your Reiki Practice.
Now we get to the hard work of actually promoting your book, books, or yourself – this the cornerstone of marketing. You want to make as many people as possible aware of what you offer, then convince them to buy your book with minimal cost to you.
It’s harder than it sounds, but it’s also feasible. You just need a sound strategy, and that’s what our experience in doing this can offer you.
What Is Advertising?
Now that we’ve covered marketing in detail, let’s look at advertising in particular. As mentioned above, it’s a subset of marketing.
In some ways, the difference between marketing and advertising is similar to the difference between inbound and outbound marketing.
Instead of attracting the customer to the business through organic means, advertising uses money to target specific consumers. Several different types of advertising exist:
Each of these methods can help you reach more consumers, but they can also drain your budget quickly if you don’t have a strategic plan in place.
Understanding the different modes of advertising can help you pin down that strategy.