Of all the questions I have been asked, the most common is how can I market my book? And following hot on its heels is how can I market my book on a budget?
This question does not have a ‘one Band Aid fits all’ answer. Why? Because everyone has a different perspective on what a budget is and it is difficult to determine how much someone is prepared to invest.
Nevertheless, I will attempt to share some tips that I think you, as an author, can manage on your own and for those with which I think you will need help, I will provide a cost range so you can have an idea of the cost involved if it is above your skill set and you wish to outsource.
Let’s start with the easiest and the most common:
1. Social Media: This includes the huge guns such as Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter and, for you authors, I highly recommend spending time with the first two since that is where the professionals are and groups emerge. Pinterest is also one to keep a close eye on. These platforms have become the most intrusive of all platforms, in that they reach a wide audience, are interactive and can be used in a matter of minutes. No techie skills involved here like HTML or CSS; all you will need is dedicated time and effort, but if you want to go huge with it, you may need to bring in a social media expert who knows how to help you to strategise to get the biggest returns for your dollar. If you are taking this route, be prepared to pay between US$25-$50 an hour or work out a monthly package which may be cheaper.
2. Virtual events: These include webinars and teleseminars. There are various technologies that can be used to facilitate these events which are effectively used to have greater interaction with your audience usually conducted for one hour. Conversion rates are high when you conduct a webinar because you get the opportunity to convince your attendees to take up your offer (product or service). There are some technical skills needed and some cost involved which varies from one application to another. The most common is gotowebinar (bit.ly/S6dkw3) which offers a 30-day free trial and Instant teleseminar (bit.ly/NmPz2u) which offers a three-week trial for US$1. Detailed preparation is needed to have a smooth and trouble-free virtual event. You will definitely need assistance on this one for it is not recommended to be the presenter and the moderator at the same time. Your audience will be able to tell and they will not return. Hiring trained help will cost around US$35-$50 per hour or a customised packaged can be worked out based on the number of virtual events you desire and its frequency.
3. Guest blogging: This one is super simple and all it takes is your dedicated time, just like social media and your love of writing. One more thing, you must have a website and social media in place before you begin. Guest blogging involves posting your blogs on a scheduled, consistent basis on other websites that are synonymous with your message and target audience. It takes time to source others who would be willing to host your blogs, and you need to decide early what they will be getting in return because no one does something for nothing these days. This is a great way to increase your visibility and promote your message, while subtly promoting your product and service by redirecting visitors to your website.
5. Live book signing: You need to balance your marketing by doing live events as well. Check your local listing for bookstores, libraries, charitable organisations, or any entity that fits your message and target audience and approach them to conduct a book signing, reading and even a giveaway or contest. Be creative with this one and make sure you have an objective and outcome in mind that is backed by a strategy or else the event will be a disappointing one.
6. Virtual blog tour/Virtual book tour: Similar to guest blogging, this requires you to find hosts, that is, someone who is willing to host your blog tour on their website. The number of hosts recommended is based on the duration of the tour which can either be 10-, 15- or 30-day tour and supported by a carefully planned social-media campaign. Dedicated time and effort on your part is a must and you will definitely need some support for it is a stressful venture that requires detailed planning, implementation and execution and most of all follow up. Cost ranges between US$50-$100 per hour or a packaged price can be worked out. This may seem pricey, but what you save is thousands more in travel cost, set up and refreshments to name a few of the expenses involved when you conduct a live book tour.
The above just represents six of the many creative ways a book can be marketed using either the do-it-yourself approach or with support. It’s up to you to make the informed choice. What are you willing and prepared to sacrifice to market your book?
In the next instalment, two weeks from today, I will feature ‘Creative ways to market poetry’.
Submited at Sunday, August 12th, 2012 at 5:00 pm on Uncategorized by chuck
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