How to Market Your Book

WestbowPress Resources

Your book is much like a business and marketing is no exception. Daydreaming about the best-sellers list won’t get you any closer to breaking the top 10. So how do you market a book like a business? Let’s start with a few simple questions that will help you identify the best way to market your new book. Like any business, these questions are key to identifying and creating a successful marketing plan for your book.

1. What are your goals?

What is the purpose of writing your book and what do you want to accomplish? The case may be that you are just interested in making your book available for family and friends or maybe you are hoping to sell thousands of books. Whatever the case may be make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.

2. Who is your target market?

The Christian genre is vast so you must define who exactly you are targeting and why. Knowing your audience will help you decide how to sell your book to readers. Consider the demographics of your audience to determine your marketing focus. If you find your target to be a very small niche group, marketing will be extremely important and it will need to be very focused. If this is the case, you may want to consider expanding the appeal of your book by making some changes to increase your customer base.

3. What makes your product appealing to your target market?

Labeling your book “Christian” isn’t enough. You need to identify what makes your book stand out and use this to your advantage. Consider the specific characteristics about your book that appeal to your audience. Maybe you are an expert on the subject matter of your book or you have a unique story or point of view. Whatever the appeal of your book is, it is essential to identify what separates your book out from the competition and then using it to your advantage.

4. Where does your product fit within your industry?

The Christian book industry is very large so you need to identify where you fit within that industry. Start by identifying who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Focus on their weaknesses, because this is where you have an advantage.

5. Where is the best place to reach the target market?

So how will your reach your audience? In today's digital world, start on the Internet, including searching for related websites, and using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, website reviews, blogs, and e-mail marketing. The majority of your books will sell through some venue on the Internet, and it makes sense to start your marketing efforts there.

So you’ve got a great product and you’ve done your homework, now it’s time to execute your new plan. Start with the basics.

Know your product:
We have all experienced the awful sales pitch of someone who knows nothing about what they are selling; many times, you actually know more about the product than they do. This is a sure path to a failed marketing plan. If you don’t fully intend to know your product like the back of your hand, then stop here, because without product knowledge there is no product. Know your product and be comfortable talking about it and selling it. The book market is extremely competitive so you have to be aggressive – your book won’t sell itself that’s why companies have marketing departments. If you want to move copies, you have to market your book.

Keep it short:
I’m sure you have heard of an elevator speech. Do you know why it is called that? It’s because people don’t have time for you to tell your life story when pitching something to them – so keep it brief. Everyone knows a friend or an acquaintance who is a poor story teller and you know how unbearable it is as they just drag on and on; let that be a lesson. Many people have difficulty with summarizing something they are extremely passionate about, but you must stay on track, keep it short, and stick to the key points. If you can do this, then there will be light at the end of the tunnel, but be warned that it may be a long and dark tunnel.

Tell your story:
People love stories, so know your story and tell it every chance you get. Stories are what can make or break a marketing campaign. Your product needs to illustrate or tell a story to its audience; so tell your story. The key to effective story telling is something that has evaded many for centuries, but a well crafted and well versed story, your story and your book, can be the best marketing tool you will ever use.

Stay persistent:
If it were easy everyone would be on the best-sellers list, but it’s not easy and many give up to soon. That’s where you can have an advantage over your competition – you’re persistent. Rome wasn’t built in a day and you won’t sell 1,000 copies in the first day. It will take some serious effort on your part, but if you put in the effort you will find success in persistence.

Take advantage of free publicity:
Do you remember a time when you read something in a newspaper about someone who got into trouble and what it did to their career? They were on the wrong end of free publicity. However, you can use free publicity to market your product and yourself. Ads are expensive and often overlooked by consumers, but everyone likes a front page article about the author who lost it all only to find hope in their faith and perseverance. So why not shop your story around for some free publicity. Many newspapers, magazines, news stations, and Internet venues may take interest in your story and your new product.

Whatever your purpose for writing your book, following these steps will start you in the right direction to a successful marketing campaign and hopefully get you one step closer to the best-sellers list. The key is to tell your story often and to be persistent. With those tools in your belt, you will stay one step ahead of the competition. Marketing isn’t easy, but looking at your book as a business will do wonders for your book. If you have a great product and you work at it, success will find you.

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