The new year is here. If you haven’t already done so, it’s time to create your book marketing plans for this year. I’ve chatted with my indie author friends, and we’re all looking for marketing options which are simple to put into action, free or close to free, FAST, and which get results for indies.
Although we indies lack huge budgets, we make up for that in enthusiasm.
So, we made a list of trends we thought might have potential to help us to sell more books this year.
By the way, when I talk about “books”, I mean ebooks too, of course. In 2017, we indie authors need to be across several formats, most especially print, in addition to digital.
Book marketing to help indie authors sell more books in 2017
We’re all about the book sales, of course, but one of our group pointed out that while sales are lovely, we might get better results if we focused on building our mailing lists, rather than direct sales, because:
- People need to hear about your books more than once before they buy;
- You can build relationships with readers and other authors which helps to make sales down the road;
- Book purchases from your mailing list on publishing day boosts your books in Amazon’s algorithm.
All good points. While building your mailing list isn’t a trend, it’s definitely an essential, going forward.
Now let’s look at the trends.
1. Social media is MEDIA in 2017: make the most of it to get visible and promote your books
Read Heidi Cohen’s excellent article, What Social Media Is Media Means For Your 2017 Marketing:
Underestimate the power of communications links at your peril. Social media platforms use email to encourage members to return.
Social media platforms tap into their audience’s FOMO (aka: Fear of missing out) combined with the power of connections and curated stories to drive repeat visits.
2. Consider book pricing: print books are selling now
Publishers Weekly reports:
Unit sales of print books rose 3.3% in 2016 over the previous year, making it the third-straight year of print growth
If you’re an indie author who still considers free ebooks and 99 cent pricing for ebooks your entire marketing strategy, stop it. Free no longer works, unless it’s the first book in a long series, and 99 cents isn’t viable. Yes, by all means sell the occasional 99 cent ebook, but your general pricing needs to start higher than that.
Haven’t tackled print yet? Make 2017 the year you discover Print on Demand (POD).
3. It’s all about the funnels in 2017
If you’re not up to date on marketing funnels, Kissmetrics has a good introduction: “A funnel is the set of steps a visitor needs to go through before they can reach the conversion.” (A conversion is a sale.)
A funnel isn’t just one thing, it’s many things. You need to think about readers and the stages they’re at: those who’ve had no exposure to your books, those who know your name, those who’ve bought one of your books… 22 Ways to Promote Your E-Book suggests some ways to slice-and-dice content, to make your funnel as wide as possible:
- Post the first chapter on SlideShare.
- Record someone from your team reading the e-book and launch it as an audio book.
- Launch a webinar with the author, featured thought leaders, or brands.
Read the article. A couple of the ideas might be useful, and the concept of funnels is essential in 2017.
4. Eye-catching images sell books: start snapping pics
BookBub has an excellent article, 15 Authors Running Fantastic Book Promotions on Instagram, which makes interesting reading:
If you don’t already have a presence on Instagram, maybe you should — as of September 2015, Instagram hit 400 million monthly active users, more than Twitter’s 316 million monthly active users. Also, according to Socialbakers, the top brands on Instagram have a 50x higher average post engagement rate than on Twitter.
You’ll find some clever ideas for using images to promote your books in the article. Break out your phone camera, or your DSLR, and don’t forget that images are powerful right across the various social media networks.
5. Hijack the buzz: jump onto rising trends to market your books
“Newsjacking” was a hot marketing tactic a few years back. Marketers tied their products to the latest trends. Today, grabbing a hot topic is not only a way to join discussions, it’s also a way to get more visibility for your books.
Trend monitoring is important for any business… joining a conversation in a timely matter means you are able to add something to the conversation. There may be trends within your industry that dictate product development.
Finding these trending topics on social media rather than looking elsewhere is simply the quickest way to discover conversations as they happen, and before they move onto other forms of media.
Enjoy your book marketing this year: you have many powerful options
In my everyday life, I’m a marketer. So I know that the most important rule of marketing is one word: consistency. Many indie authors are either nervous of marketing, or they’re too tentative. They stop their marketing just when it’s starting to take effect.
Keep marketing your books this year, and make 2017 your best indie publishing year so far. 🙂
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