June 25, 2013

Two Tips to Market Your Book

By Susan Reichert, Editor-in-Chief for Southern Writers Magazine

Let’s face it, if you are an author you eventually will have to market your books.

So where do you start? Here are two tips to get you started on this fun journey. You are probably saying, “Yeah, right!” But it’s true. It is a fun journey because you get to meet many nice people who are going to become fans of your books.

First - you need to define who your market is. It would be great if the ‘whole’ world was your market, but it isn’t.  Therefore, it is important to figure out just who is your market. Who are the people that are going to want to buy your book?

In sales terms, this is defining your target market. They are your customer – your reader. It is also important that they have a need for your book. Oh, and you will want them to be able to afford your book and make the decision to buy your book. Every salesperson had to learn this lesson when they took their first job in a sales career. It has been around a long time.

Next, make a list. Describe this person. Put down the characteristics that make a person a good prospect for wanting to buy your book.

An example would be:
Your book- a planned program on how to lose 50 pounds in one year; laid out for easy follow.  The title indicates book is to help you have a healthy life style.

Let’s build a profile of the buyer for this book.
·         Overweight
·         Wanting to get their bodies  back in shape
·         Want to fit in smaller sized clothes (which means shopping-Yea!)
·         Want to make sure they have a healthy plan to follow
·         Look Better
·         Feel Better
·         Be able to do activities with family and/or friends

We could add many more reasons to that list in defining our reader, but these will give you an idea of how to make your list based on your book. 

One of the tips given sales people is, don’t use a shotgun approach, use a rifle approach. A shotgun splatters. You aim a rifle. You have a better chance of hitting your target.

Second - you need to know where to find your target market.
People who have things in common tend to spend time with each other, shop at the same shops. Read similar books, magazines, websites, and read the same blogs.

This brings us to making another list based on our sample in the beginning.
·         Websites
·         Blogs
·         Book stores
·         Gyms
·         Clinics/doctor's offices
·         Retail stores
·         Magazines
·         Libraries
·         Bulletin boards
·         Newspapers

Offer useful information in magazines and newspapers, and guest post on blogs of that subject. You will gain credibility, which is helpful in selling your book.

With some places, you would need to ask permission to put bookmarkers. You may have to offer some of them a free autographed copy of your book. Explain what the book is about…this is the limit of the elevator pitch…nothing more, unless asked.

I will add, depending on your topic in the book, there are companies that will give you thirty minutes to donate your time and talk to their employees. They just need to know it’s good for their company and employees.  Be sure and tell them you would like to bring a few books in the event someone wanted to buy an autographed copy.  Also, gift them with an autographed copy for letting you speak.

Don’t forget, your local organizations and associations are always looking for speakers. This is another opportunity to build credibility, experience and exposure for you as an author and for the sale of your book. Happy sales!

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