Book Marketing Strategies

What should I consider when creating a marketing plan?
How can I tailor my marketing approach for my book's genre and target audience?
What guidelines should I follow when contacting the media?
What marketing approaches can I take to get my book on the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores?
How can I promote my book at trade shows, conventions and other industry events?
How can I use the Internet to market my book?
What are some basic tips for setting up an author website?
How does e-book marketing differ from marketing for print books?
 

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What should I consider when creating a marketing plan?

You can create a marketing plan at any stage of your writing and publishing process (the earlier, the better). A marketing plan is a document that lists the actions necessary for you to achieve your marketing goals. It is important to write down several specifics in this plan. This includes identifying your target audience, defining your objectives, identifying your competitors, and laying out a strategy to attract readers.

Here's a quick breakdown of how to clarify and define a few essential pieces of your marketing plan:

  1. Identifying your target audience. What types of people are most likely to purchase and read your book? For whom did you write it? Consider the age, sex, career, income, residence/location and education level of each group of readers who might be interested in and benefit from your book.
  2. Attracting readers. Once you've determined who you want to reach, consider which magazines and publications they read, which websites they visit, etc. Knowing this information can help you decide which Archway Publishing marketing services might be good options for your book.
  3. Identifying the competition. You can use the competitive book market to your advantage. See which books are selling the most within your genre, study top writers in your genre, identify the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and research the selling price of books that are similar to yours. Research market trends and study competing book covers. Learn what's expected, what works and what you can do to stand out.
  4. Developing a position statement. Determine what separates your book from the crowd, and develop a statement that highlights those qualities and speaks to your target readers. Use this when you talk to interested readers or contact media outlets and professionals.
  5. Setting a budget. How much can you realistically spend on book marketing over the next year? Over the next two years? Consider which media and marketing materials you will use as well as all the other costs associated with marketing your book.

Once you have gathered the information to answer these questions and others, you are ready to take the next step and fully develop your marketing strategy based on these specifics. Talk through your plan with an Archway publishing consultant to learn how our publishing packages and marketing services might help you reach your goals. 

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How can I tailor my marketing approach for my book's genre and target audience?

The first step to reaching your target audience is to have a solid understand of what types of readers make up that audience and what exactly your book has to offer them. Once you are certain of your intended audience, Archway Publishing can help you select a category-specific publishing package with marketing services designed to meet your needs.

Our professional publishing staff can guide you toward selecting the right marketing services and approach for your book.

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What guidelines should I follow when contacting the media?

When dealing with the media, remember to be professional, polite and direct. Be considerate of their time, and get your point across in a succinct and pleasant manner. 

Always follow up with the contacts you’ve made. If you distribute a press release, follow up within a week or two at the most. It is your responsibility to contact the media, not their responsibility to contact you. To get results you must be consistent in following up. When conducting your follow-up phone call with the person to whom you sent your press release, remember to state your name and remind the person that you sent him or her a press release. Do not ask for an interview, a story or a review. Explain that you are calling to provide further information about yourself and your book and that you would like to send him or her a free review copy of your book. Make sure to mention any events related to your book that have occurred since you sent the press release. The media professional you speak with has the right to turn you down, and you must respect that and move on to the next person.

If you are granted an interview, consider these questions to help you prepare and deliver important points:

  • How did you come up with the idea for the book?
  • What is your background, education, and/or other interests?
  • Is there anything interesting about research you conducted for your book, such as interesting facts, or the mode of research collection?
  • How does your book connect with local interests in the area your interview will be broadcast?
  • What other works or authors have inspired you?

Work on answering these and other questions with confidence. Practice speaking in front of a mirror so you can watch your gestures and body language if the interview is in person.

It is crucial to always have promotional material on hand wherever you go. You never know who you may meet. Archway Publishing can help you with promotional material such as business cards, bookmarks, postcards and book-signing kits.

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What marketing approaches can I take to get my book on the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores?

We suggest you do not start marketing to physical bookstores until your book has the following:

  • A well designed cover and interior layout
  • Professionally edited content
  • Retail distribution through Ingram Book Distributors
  • An Archway Publishing ISBN

These features are necessary for your book to be seriously considered by any retailer. Another suggested product is the Booksellers Return Program. This tells book retailers they can take a chance on your book and return it if the book doesn’t sell. Sometimes larger bookstore chains cannot purchase books by a new author if the book does not have a Booksellers Return Program.

Once your book is published, start by contacting a local librarian or bookstore manager to set up a book signing, speaking event or reading to gain experience and build local interest. When you move on to approaching larger stores and chains, you can provide examples of your success and will have more local support. When visiting with managers and/or librarians, be courteous and have a business card, a sample copy of your book and a press kit on hand. If the manager or librarian cannot give you a concrete answer, always follow up at a later date.

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How can I promote my book at trade shows, conventions and other industry events?

Large marketing events such as trade shows, book fairs, conferences, conventions and festivals can provide excellent opportunities for authors to network with industry professionals and spread the word about their book(s). If you would like to attend any such event, it is your responsibility to thoroughly research the event and make all the arrangements for attending. Before you sign up for a book event, consider the cost/benefit balance, your marketing goals, how much exposure and/or book sales you can realistically gain, the total cost for the event (don’t forget to include the cost of a booth, an attractive display, food, travel expenses and lodging) and if the event will truly reach your target audience. Once you've fully researched an event, you'll be able to make an informed decision regarding whether or not to attend.

When Archway Publishing attends industry events that we think might bring some benefit to authors, we'll create unique book signing and/or gallery services that extend the opportunity for participation to Archway authors. One such unique offering that Archway Publishing authors are able to take advantage of is the Author Reception at BookExpo America.

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How can I use the Internet to market my book? 

The Internet is now an essential place for authors to market and sell their books. Setting up an author website and/or a blog is a great way to establish an online presence for yourself as an author. Create your own personal website, or have Archway Publishing set one up for you. Archway Publishing also offers services that can help you establish a social media platform through popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, WordPress and more. Once you have one or more Internet sites established, you can include that information on your marketing material to drive more traffic to your website and social media pages.

Another way to promote your book online is to establish it with popular retail sites such as Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Google book search and others. You don’t want to miss out as more and more customers conduct their shopping online.

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What are some basic tips for setting up a website?

Study some of your favorite websites — as well as those of competing authors — before creating your own. Research the types of pages and information that are includes as well as what colors and design elements are used. Most author websites should include a home page, a book details page (one for each book you’ve published), book reviews, media appearances, an events calendar and a blog.

Choose your domain name wisely. The domain name should be short, easy to remember and logical. It's usually better to use your author pen name than the name of your book; you don't want to build a new site and following for each new title you publish. Use words that are easy to remember and simple to spell. If you usually have to tell people how to spell your first or last name, consider using an initial instead. It's possible that your top choice will already be registered by someone else, so be prepared to brainstorm multiple options and to get creative.

It's also important to consider keywords when creating your website. Without making your website's content rich with keywords, it will be less likely that your page will be found through search engines. If you are unfamiliar with keywords, think about how you use the Internet and what words you would use when searching for your book or another product. How would your target audience search for your book? Try to incorporate various keywords into the text of your website, specifically on the home page and opening paragraphs of other pages. Advanced users can utilize the metadata on each page of your website, which search engines use to organize their search results.

Remember, no one likes to visit a website with outdated or irrelevant information. Make your visitors come back again and again by keeping your site up to date and by making it easy to navigate. Information you may want to post on your website includes: upcoming events, appearances and signings; an interactive blog; book reviews; and contact information. Update frequently, keep your content timely, and never post anything that you are not comfortable disclosing to the general public.

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How does e-book marketing differ from marketing for print books?

As e-books are changing the way people read, they are also changing the way authors market their work. Now more than ever, it’s essential to focus your marketing plan on an ever-important online audience.

At Archway Publishing, we’ve thought a lot about how to combine traditional marketing techniques with new technologies, and we offer a few e-book specific promotional services to help our authors successfully promote their e-books. We’re especially excited about BookStubs — small, promotional cards that contain a free e-book download, which authors can sign and hand out at in-person events. You can also move your book signing to the Web, with unique Online Book Signing event services. 

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