I saw this quote today and thought it hit squarely on the mark of the catch 22 situation all authors find themselves in. If no one knows about your book, how can they purchase it? However, doing a blitzkrieg marketing assault will most certainly turn off readers to your book. So, how can you maneuver through this situation and find the middle ground?
I truly believe that starts with name recognition. Do you want to be a one hit wonder or make a big splash with your name in the book industry? Obviously, if we want to continue on towards a successful writing career, then we want the latter. When you find an author that you like and you’ve enjoyed one or two books he or she wrote, then it stands to reason that you’ll be going back for more books. That should give hope to new authors. Even if your first or second book doesn’t sell well, keep on writing more books. Eventually with discipline and perseverance, your efforts will pay off and readers will know your name. Once they read your newer works, they’ll check out your backlist. Your fans are not going to always be able to spout off the titles of all your books, but if they like your work and if you’ve become popular, they will remember your name. If they know your name, they can easily find you online or in the bookstores. When they find your website, then they can look up your books. When they go to the bookstores, they can find your specific titles.
As you work on building your platform--your online hub and name recognition—you always need to be mindful of how to keep your readers and fans interested in you and your work and that they continually return to your online hub for more content. The hard sell would be to constantly be talking about your book and where readers can purchase it and how many good reviews you’ve gotten. Yes, I’m an author, but I am also a fellow (avid) reader and I don’t want to constantly be thrown this book info. I like to get to know the authors who wrote the books that I enjoy. What is their daily life like? What are their interests? Whom do they follow? Do they like to know about current events?
The opposite sell that works, is to share the answers to these questions with your readers. You don’t have to be an open book per se—however, share important snippets of your life with your readers. Don’t always shove down their throats the purchase info for your books. Interact with readers. Show them that you really do care and know that without an audience, you don’t have a career. Always be appreciative of your readers—that will bring true loyalty and increase your fan base.
Don’t be afraid to network with other authors. Helping another author will definitely come around to help you out in the future. Create an online hub that is bigger than you. For example, just last year I was praying about naming my blog. I got the name of The Mustard Seed Blog with the tagline of It only takes a mustard seed to make a dream grow. In the Bible when Jesus says we should have faith as a mustard seed, that’s very important. A mustard seed is small, yet grows into something big. In order to accomplish great things, we don’t need an enormous faith--God only asks us to take that one step forward with Him and He will accomplish those miracles in our lives. So, the name of my blog and the tagline mean a great deal to me. It’s my perspective on life—that without God I can do nothing…only in Him will great things be done in my life.
One day I would love for The Mustard Seed Blog to become even bigger than it is—currently in its infancy. I truly want my blog to be a place for readers and authors to interact and grow together in their love of books. I want to help new authors get free publicity and help more accomplished authors as well. This is why I say think of the big picture and all that God can accomplish in and through your life. Don’t put God in a box.
What's your perspective on book marketing and the hard sell? What has worked and what hasn't in your book promotion?