The economy as we know it has changed entirely. Purchasing patterns and consumer behavior will be radically different from what it was two years ago. Excess and glitz are out. People are staying at home and enjoying the simple things in life – particularly a well-written book. That is the good news for authors. The bad – this means that that the challenge and competition any author faces is more daunting then ever to standout from the rest. The way to do this is through a comprehensive publicity and marketing campaign.
First determine your target market. Too often when asking an author who their target market is, they will answer everyone. Just like a business you need to segment who you think your primary and secondary audiences. Just because you wrote the greatest self-help book on relationships means that everyone in a relationship or looking to be in a relationship will purchase the book. Fact is that most of the buyers of any self-help book will be predominately female, even if they are buying the book for the man in their life.
Determining your target audience is essential for the next part of any media campaign – targeting the media. Once you know the primary audience, you want to begin targeting the media that audience reads, watches, or listens too. For example if your book is on business, you want to target business media, but even more specifically you want to only target the media that covers what is in your book. A book on finance wants coverage by the reports that cover finance not retail. Just like your target audience, segment your media. Don’t overlook online media. In this day and age, more people rely on the online media then traditional media.
Don’t send books outs randomly. The largest cost that authors often incur is by sending books out to every book reviewer or producer tin which they can find a mailing address. Be economical about sending out books. Most unsolicited books sent to reporters go unread and are either returned back to the author, sent to a charity, or tossed in the garbage. With postage on the rise, as well as books, that is too much money to waste unless there is a commitment to review the book or do a story on the book.
Utilize all online tools at your disposal. An author website is critical. It should include a compelling call to action description about the book, an author biography, a contact page, and media page. Utilize social networking websites. Twitter and Facebook are essential. On Facebook make sure that you have a fan page for your book as well as an author page. Use Twitter to get out small messages from your book to a following. The key is creating followers through retweets. A smart way to do this is by creating an online contest. Conduct a blog tour to get your message out. A blog tour is a simple cost efficient way to reach thousands of readers in a cost-efficient manner. It’s quickly becoming the new form of a media tour.
Do as many interviews as is possible. Interviews are what people respond too in purchasing a book. Book reviews are still important but more people view, listen, or read an interview then ever read a book review. Make your interview compelling. The media and public react to authors who speak in black and white terms with a strong inspiring story. Again utilize the social media in repackaging your interviews to reach an even greater audience. Remember no media is too small. Every interview allows you to reach a portion of your target audience. Plus you never know who is listening. For example we had an author on a local station whose interview was heard by key executive at Federal Express who ordered his book as a training manual.
Finally, leave the readers with a reason to purchase your book. Remember in this economy, people want a reason to purchase the book. Demonstrate in your interviews and your blog tours how their lives will be better because they purchased your book. And never give up in getting your message out.
David E. Johnson is the CEO of Strategic Vision, LLC (www.strategicvision.biz)