Members of Texas Authors, Inc., are welcome to post on our blog for other fellow members, or for the general public.
Each blog post will be approved by the website administrator and must not contain promotion of ones book. This is meant as an educational posting program.
As the song says, the times they are a-changin’ and that certainly applies to book marketing trends. We read a lot about what’s working, how it’s working and why, but I see very few articles about what’s not working because I mean, don’t you want to know what to stop doing? I’ve found it’s best for my business to stay on top of the hottest marketing trends so I can make solid recommendations to indie authors. After countless client conversations, I’ve found some really common practices that you’ll be best to stay away from, as well as ideas for how you can improve existing book promotion efforts. Here’s my assessment on some of the strongest switches you can make in your game plan.
1. Generic Anything We live in a world that slams us with thousands of impersonal messages and ads to us each day. Each of us is beyond saturated with messages that are not on target, emails that don’t pique our interests, and phones that fill with thousands of generic missives, just waiting for us to respond. The thing is, we don’t. Attention – both getting it and keeping it – is the new currency and in order to do that, you have to personalize. Instead: Personalize Everything
Personalization, in anything, always takes longer and considerably more effort but in the end they can pay off in big ways. We’ve all gotten the emails that say “Dear Sir” if you’re a woman, or “Dear Madam” if you’re a guy. These emails always feel lazy and they very rarely get our attention. However, emails that are personalized (“Dear Penny”), or even start off by attempting to connect go a long way. For example, they might say something about a blog post you wrote that the sender enjoyed, or maybe you’ve connected on Facebook or Instagram and they loved your recent vacation pictures. Whatever it is and whatever you’re doing: don’t be generic. This works even in pitching – and especially if you’re pitching bloggers or the media. Make a comment on a recent story they did, or blog they posted. Just a small, thoughtful addition like that will make your pitch stand out amidst the thousands of other pitches they’ve gotten that week.
2. Print Ads An author recently told me they were holding off doing any marketing until their ad ran in the New York Times. He had bought a $5,000 ad in the book section and was eager to see how it worked. Turns out, it didn’t work at all. Print ads, unless you’ve already got a platform, are best to avoid. And even if you do have a platform, it’s still sketchy unless you’re Nora Roberts or someone equally well-known. Instead, try ebook ads
Ads, like the kind you buy to promote your eBook, work well, but I am beginning to see the effect of these fading – you actually have to do more ads now to get the same amount of bounce. Thankfully most eBook ads are cheap, so you can still do a lot of them and spend far less $5,000.
3. Generic Blog Tours It’s a sad truth that you used to be able to host a blog tour and see the momentum for your book kick in almost immediately. That’s not really the case anymore. Blog tours that are more generic in nature are a complete waste of your time and money. Instead, try Genre-based Blog Tours
Blog tours that are focused on your book topic, specifically, and are far more effective and a better use of your time and money. They tend to be more work, but they are absolutely worth it in the long-run. Even if that means getting your book featured on 10 blogs, instead of 100 (which some tour companies offer) your focus should be much more to the niche blogs. This is not just because you want to stay away from generalized topics, but because the audience for most ‘general’ blogs is lower and less focused than for the niche ones.
4. Press releases Unless you’re well-known or have something major to announce, you’re far better off saving your time and money on a press release and spreading the word via social media and your mailing list. But before you announce anything – even your new book, ask yourself why anyone would care. Yes I know, you wrote a book and that, in and of itself, is a grand achievement. But no one, perhaps beyond your immediate family and friends, may care enough to click over and buy it. So save your big announcements, and big drum rolls, for something that really matters. Instead, try a newsletter.
According to Experian,“Transactional emails have 8x more opens and clicks than any other type of email, and can generate 6x more revenue.” Why do I love a newsletter so much? Because with all of the noise on social media, you really want to have a way to get in front of your readers with specials, promotions, or new information on your topic! And speaking of newsletters, I always recommend that your website features a way for your visitors to sign up. A newsletter is a great tool even if you don’t plan on using it for a while.
5. Expecting Social Media to Sell Books There was a time when you could actually sell a lot of books on Facebook without having to buy any ads. Amazing, isn’t it? Well that’s not the case anymore. In fact, that’s not the case for any social site, even Pinterest which has a history of being a good buying haven. Instead, Use Social Media for Exposure
Social media should be looked at as exposure and even then, you’ve got to be careful how much time you throw into your social media because not all exposure is created equally. I always like to say that you don’t have to be everywhere, just everywhere that matters. What I mean by this is that you don’t need to be on every social media sites, but you should be on at least one that has a strong tie to your industry. Then, make the time to create personal connections with your followers. Much like the generic blog tours and generic anything I addressed earlier on in this piece, the more personal you can get with your social media, the stronger your connections will be – even without buying ads.
6. Bad Blogging We always hear: you need to blog. So many of us (myself included) would just blog for the sake of blogging. There’s a lot of content out there, and much of it isn’t really worth our time. I mean, let’s face it, it’s got to be really good for us to want to spend time reading it, right? Instead, Practice Good Blogging Skills
This sounds perhaps obvious, but it’s SO true! Put out really solid content even if that means reducing the times per month that you blog. I used to blog four and five times a week, but the stuff I put out wasn’t always great. Now I blog just one time a week and I like to think that it’s stronger, better content. Less is more, especially when it comes to content. Not only will your readers appreciate it, but Google loves superb content and will send you more traffic for one great piece, than five so-so blog posts that are only interesting to you, and maybe your cat.
7. Promoting YOUR Book I know, I’m a book marketing person and I’ve got some nerve telling you it’s passé to promote your book, right? Realistically, no one but your mom (and maybe your cat) cares that you wrote a book. But this is one of those marketing trends you’ve got to watch out for! Instead, Promote THEIR Book
By this I mean, focus on what this great book offers readers. What can the book do for THEM? Even years ago I was telling authors to never market your book, always market what your book can do for your readers and that’s true now more than ever. That’s ultimately what readers care about. So promote the benefits, promote how it’ll make the reader feel, what they will learn or how wildly they will be entertained. That’s the key when it comes to creating a sales pitch that will actually sell!
In the end, while the marketing trends I’ve identified as no longer working don’t necessarily hurt (except in the case of the $5,000 NY Times ad that was painful to the author’s pocketbook), they’re not the strongest options available. We’re all incredibly busy, so why spend valuable book promotion time on efforts with the least amount of pay off? Stay flexible, be prepared for what you KNOW to be ever-changing, and focus on the most efficient use of your marketing time and budget.
- - -
Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME), is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book social media marketing, book marketing, and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most leading-edge book marketing campaigns.
For years, we have been working hard getting the public and school libraries to learn about us and the many Texas Authors that work with us. As you know it is not an easy process, but bit by bit we are slowly getting into them for book signings, and other programs.
We now want to help you increase your opportunity by offering you a simple and cost effective way to let them know about you. We have an email list of over 2,400 library contacts and are now opening up ad space in an email blast to those contacts.
Authors who participated with us this year at the Library Conference have already been a part of an email blast as a reminder to the librarians, and now you have a chance to reach out to them as well.
Here is the cost breakdown:
$25 – A picture of your book, and basic information (Cost, ISBN, Genre Listings), plus a short synopsis. Our web link for purchase.
$50.00 – The same as above, but instead of our web link for purchase, it would be a link you select (your website, amazon, etc.)
$75 – Custom Ad – this is an ad that you make and submit for us to include in our email blast.
Texas Authors, Inc., is proud to introduce a new program that will allow you to make more money from not only selling your books but using the services and programs we offer. What a great way to save money and get more marketing opportunities at the same time. Our new POINTS program (TAPS) is very simple.
For every dollar, you spend on a program related to Texas Authors Inc., Dear Texas Inc, or Texas Authors Institute of History, Inc., you will get 1 point.
For every book sold through our website http://Books.TxAuthros.com, the author gets one point for the sale price of the book. (Sale value $15 = 15 points)
We will offer additional programs that give you more opportunities to earn points and achieve special rewards.
At the end of the year, you can turn in the points for use on programs, membership renewal, events, etc.
Here is an example of one person earning points:
I pay my membership renewal at $100, I would get 100 points
I purchase a table at Wimberley book festival for $25, I would get 25 points.
I refer a new member to TxAuthors and they join, I would get 125 points.
Readers bought 5 books on the website http://Books.TxAuthors.com at $15.00 each, I would get 75 points.
This example gives me a total of 325 points that can be turned in and used toward table time purchase, Dear Texas Radio Ads and all other programs or events by any of the three participating organizations.
There are endless opportunities to earn points. Grace Allison, for example, has sold over 100 books on Amazon this year. Those 100 books could be 1,000 points she could use if the books were purchased through our website.
One author is attending all of the book festivals we have produced this year, that will equal to over 500 points just for those events.
This program puts more money in YOUR pocket to use on marketing which increases YOUR book sales!
There is no cost to the author for this program. There is no sign-up fee. It’s totally free for TxAuthors members. All points will be calculated annually, from Jan 1st through December 31st. If you choose to participate in the TAPS Program this year, you will receive a formal report of your total point accumulation no later than Jan 31, 2018. These points are not transferrable to any other author or organization. They are only valid for the author who earned them. Unused points will expire by December 31st of the following year they have been awarded. (Example: Points awarded for 2017 will expire December 31. 2018)
As we continue to grow, access to the points accumulated through the program will increase and give you quicker use and turn-in time.
So, jump on board and start driving sales traffic to your books listed in the Texas Authors Book Store. Start accumulating points for every referral you make who joins TxAuthors, every donation, every event purchase and every product purchase starting NOW!