What I'm about to do right now, not many writers and authors would be willing to do or say. I am going to take this moment to become as transparent as possible.
I wrote my first physical book in July of 2014, and unbelievably, it was not as successful as I hoped. Want to know why? It was because I rushed it. I wrote the book and tossed it outside into the ether expecting it do something magical.
Remember what I said in the introduction? “Dreamers fantasize but thinkers materialize.”
Well, with that first book, I did more fantasizing than I did thinking and materializing. I had no book-marketing plan, no plan to put to work at all.
Since the day of the publication of that first book I have been studying sales and marketing, copywriting, which is essentially sales in print, and most specifically how to use the skills of salesmanship to sell more books.
I've studied how some of the most famous and most successful authors have marketed their work (and bear in mind, much of their marketing is done by the marketing departments or teams at their traditional publishers, of which they can afford).
As a self-published author, the chances of you having those kinds of resources are very slim.
So what is a self-published writer and author to do?
Well, you need a plan, you need not just any ole kind of marketing message, you need the right marketing message for your book.
Not to mention, a team of supports and word-of-mouth evangelist to get the message of your book out there, but we will cover that last part a little later in this blog series.
You see, as an author, regardless if you are writer of non-fiction or fiction, chances are you are not passionate about sales and marketing or copywriting, but the truth is: to be successful in this line of work it is going to require you to suck-it-up and be willing to do the hard things.
I am talking about the things that other self-published authors aren’t willing to do. That is the only way you will leave them in the dust and be able to be added to the list of greats, such as Stephen King, J.K Rowling, Mary Kubica, David Baldacci (one of my favs), John Grisham, Stephenie Meyer, and the list goes on and on.
One of the greatest public speakers, Cavett Robert, said to Dan Kennedy when he was first getting into the public speaking and seminar business was these kick-you-in-the-butt words, “Don’t be too much in hurry to promote (or throw your book into the ether, like I did), until you get good. Otherwise you speed up the rate at which the world finds out you’re no good.”
Pretty rough advice to listen to, but worth listening to nonetheless. And it applies to authors and our books as well. With that said, it has been my observation that many self-published writers and authors rush to promote their newly published book without stopping long enough to really make sure they have a book worth promoting and worthy of readers diving into.
In today’s incredibly over cluttered, competitive book market, your book needs a truly great marketing message more than any time before in this industry. Moreover, your book had better truthfully represent what your marketing message says about it.
Another way of articulating this point is by this anonymous poem for advertisers:
A lion met a tiger
As they drank beside a pool
Said the tiger, “Tell my why
You’re roaring like a fool.”
“That’s not foolish”, said the lion
With a twinkle in his eyes
“They call me king of the beast
Because I advertise!”
A rabbit heard them talking
And ran home like a streak
He thought he’d try the lions plan
But his roar was just a squeak.
A fox came to investigate –
Had luncheon in the woods.
Moral: when you advertise, my friends,
Be sure you’ve got the goods
The Ultimate Book Marketing Plan for Self-Published Authors does not start with any particular media or strategy (we get to those things later); it starts with putting together the best, promotable and profitable marketing message possible that truthfully and specifically represents “the goods” you’ve got, or the desired outcome you want your readers to have.