As the fourth quarter of the year approaches, how will you handle your book marketing?
It’s important to consider a big push in the final quarter of the year.
First, you’ll be more visible during the gift-giving season. Print books have long been a staple for the gift market, and these days more people are giving ebooks as gifts.
Second, you’ll reduce your annual income tax by writing off any expenses associated with your marketing efforts.
Third, you’ll be in the best time of the year to increase your annual sales numbers.
Marketing plans from Writer’s Resource offer low-cost and zero-cost options for book sales…and have resulted in Amazon bestseller status. They can even give you access to the big bestseller lists from the New York Times and USA Today.
Oyster, an ebook subscription service, recently topped the half-million title mark. Its major competitors, Scribd and Entitle, offer far fewer with 300K on Scribd and 125K on Entitle.
Any of these subscription services can enhance an author’s career. They are focused on discovery, so they help readers find your titles. My own three titles have been available on Scribd for only a few months, and already they have achieved a surprising number of reads…without any additional advertising push.
Subscriptions offer smaller payments than purchases but if you’re looking for eyes on your work, these services can help you enhance your visibility and provide a modest income at the same time.
At the Bologna publishing conference, a panel spoke about children’s publishing. It noted that a “nimble” approach was required…meaning that publishers had to be quick with distributing apps and other digital components to attract and engage readers.
One of the primary points to come out was that branding is a big deal even within juvenile arenas. No one can simply wait for Apple or Amazon to pick their product or app from the slew of incoming projects. Instead, publishers need to grab new opportunities for combining forces.
One of the newest things I’ve noticed lately is groups of authors teaming up to offer package deals on books. For a set price, usually equaling $0.99 for each book in the package, buyers get four, five, six or even twelve books at once. Authors copromote on their social media and often have found themselves achieving bestseller lists.
From 2012 to 2013, legacy publishing grew 7% across the board. Specific categories like YA and fantasy saw, and are still experiencing, much higher rates classified as “hyper-growth” by Adam Gomolin on Book Business. He points out that it’s not about “fixing” a system that clearly isn’t broken. Instead it’s about optimizing the efficiency and effectiveness of the new model.
That includes internet marketing plans for authors, harnessing digital and mobile devices for reading and discovery, and the continuously sticky issue of distribution. Crowdfunding services received a special note from Gomolin because they can provide capital to small presses and indie authors.
If you’re interested in help, contact Writer’s Resource. The DIY marketing plan, which is heavy on free or low-cost digital options, has lifted authors to Amazon bestseller status. A bulk sale program can move 100 copies minimum at a time, and articles and interviews can be created and submitted on your behalf to different outlets.
Take charge of your future. Whether you’re in with a top publisher or going it alone, make your book a success in this time of growth and change.
At the annual London Book Fair, Tom Weldon, CEO of Penguin Random UK, said the last four years have been the best in the company’s financial history (for both companies pre-merger). He also noted that publishers have “managed the digital transition better than any other media or entertainment industry,” which is true. Compared to movies and music, books are actually likely to prosper from digital technologies.
He noted realities like fewer bookstores, of course, before turning back to the critical issue of reaching readers. Penguin UK has 700K Twitter followers and an active email subscription list. He also noted their move to expand related products, which any author can do even without the support of a big heritage publisher. If you need this kind of assistance, Writer’s Resource can help with branding, marketing and promotional plans.
One of the biggest issues facing self-published authors is distribution. IRIS is a new service from IndieReader that helps resolve this problem.
The service gets the books onto the shelves of indie brick-and-mortar stores. In tandem with other marketing efforts, this might be a big step forward for authors of every genre.
Several years ago, Barnes & Noble launched a program that offers exclusive content to readers. Often the project rereleased books with additional content like author comments that were available only through B&N.
Now the program is really taking flight with exclusive content for teen and tween readers. The extra content extends the storyline, provides more backstory, and answers readers’ questions. The books under this banner are receiving exclusive marketing campaigns and in-store signage and enhanced placements.
This is an amusing list of defintions of common marketing buzzwords by Book Business.
Bowker found that most authors looking into self-publishing are going to bring fiction to the market. That makes sense because only 25% of the titles produced by traditional publishers are fiction. When so small a door is open to authors, they have to turn to other avenues if they want to reach readers.
Oddly, though, readers polled by various organizations say they prefer reading fiction at a rate of 77% to 78%, leaving a very small number that prefer reading nonfiction.
It seems that indie publishers are giving readers what they want.
Amazon’s bundling initiative, where purchasers of print books receive the ebook for free or a very low price, has already grown. The launch day offered 10,000 titles. Within a very short period of time, the number grew to 70,000 titles.
Currently, one of the biggest complaints about Matchbook is that most of the titles are backlisted…they are older titles that don’t hold much interest for readers. Try offering your own works now on Matchbook and be one of the few recent titles available. It’s an additional benefit that might help sales.
At the Frankfurt Book Fair, Publisher’s Weekly encapsulated the event by saying “The self-publishing discussion is the only conversation we need to be having today.”
The Virginia Quarterly’s web editor backed that up.
Books on Demand pointed out that 60% of self-published authors see no difference between their efforts and those provided by traditional publishers. At the same time, 75% saw marketing as the biggest advantage offered by traditional publishers.
And that’s no small point. Self-published authors have to take very broad approaches to marketing to see what works for them at that moment in their selected category. Traditional publishers already know what works and are able to focus a team of individuals on those efforts.
VQR pointed out that the element connecting both groups is that they are both reaching out to readers. And that should be key for you no matter which publishing route you take.
The Best American Nonrequired Reading contest finds stories appropriate for young readers that aren’t going to make any required reading lists in school. Selected by a handful of high school students, the collection is published by Houghton-Mifflin. Contact the committee at firstname.lastname@example.org. They read every week, and they read every piece sent in.
USA Today reports that ebooks are changing reading habits. Here are the highlights:
–Readers who buy ebook readers report that the amount of reading they do has increased in a big way, sometimes doubling the number of books read in a year.
— The top genres being read were sci-fi, romance, mystery/crime fiction, and nonfiction.
–Having read a particular author before and word-of-mouth were the top two ways readers made their selections.
It’s long been known in business that 20% of your existing customers generate 80% of your sales. The same can be said of book fans. When someone reads a novel or nonfiction title they enjoy, they will actively seek out additional works by the same author. Keep these tips in mind as you reach out to your fan base.
–Keep in contact through social media or your email lists. Let people know what you’re working on as well as opportunities to find older titles you might not be actively marketing.
–Serve your fans. Why are people reading your novels: for entertainment, for a deeper social message? Is your nonfiction a vehicle for inspiration or concrete tips? Be sure to address these components with every outreach.
–Reward return readers. Find a way to say thank you to fans who keep coming back. Offer to provide free ebooks to anyone who sends in a receipt for a particular printed title. Host a lunchtime Skype session where you chat with readers about their burning questions about your upcoming book.
Keep these ideas in mind and you’ll build loyalty to you, the brand behind your books.
Moody Publishers is looking for an audience development manager. Manager will be responsible for knowing and serving specific audiences with content that helps them know, love and serve Jesus Christ.