PUBLISHED JUNE 2016
by Kimberly A. Edwards
Promotion is all about results, and publishers are always searching for innovative ideas that reverberate in the market. Here, four top publishing marketing experts offer some number-driven strategies.
Create Super Fans
Penny Sansevieri of Author Marketing Experts (amarketingexpert.com), suggests building super fans. “A super fan is someone who adores everything you do, reads all your books, and reviews them. With the right number of super fans, you can launch a book on Amazon and get, almost instantly, 50 new reviews just from super fans.
“You can build by giving away the book for free for a day or two. When you do a giveaway, insert a letter inviting fans to contact the author. This is a step in turning fans into super fans. They don’t start out as super fans; they come to you as readers. You have to deliver your content to them and then keep them interested with special promotions, like a VIP group on Facebook that’s closed, early review copies, or deleted scenes.”
Do Giveways and Sell More
David Kudler of Stillpoint Digital Press (stillpointdigital.com) likes Goodreads giveaways. “Starting six months before release, I give away one advance review copy a month. Just one copy, as I’ve found that the same number of people enter whether you offer one copy or 15. Each month the number of requests has gone up—the first month, I had about 800 entrants. Last month, it was over 2,500, and this month’s raffle looks to surpass that.” Kudler believes that this strategy is effective because many people will add his book to their to-be-read shelf. “When my book popped up on their feed, their friends saw it, which got more people to add the book. My book doesn’t come out for another two months and it’s already been earmarked by over 3,000 people.”
Find Them on Facebook
Scott Lorenz of Westwind Communications (book-marketing-expert.com) believes in Facebook advertising. “While previously you could target age, interests, place of work, gender, and so on, now you can list authors and their books. Let’s say you’d like to put an ad for your book in front of readers who read James Patterson. You can do that now with paid ads on Facebook. You can list authors in your targeted audience group. Take Tom Clancy or John Grisham. Facebook helps you create the ad online and it’s served up only to those who are fans of the authors you select. Ever wonder how some of the ads you see on Facebook seem to hit you at a perfect time about a perfect item? This is how they do it.”
Stephanie Chandler of the Nonfiction Authors Association (stephaniechandler.com) encourages podcasts. “It could be 15 minutes, an hour, once a week, three times a week, or daily. Post each episode on your blog and share it across social media and your mailing list.” Theme and a target audience are important. “If you write books set in the South, your podcast could be about tips for Southern living. If you write for children, you could host a parenting podcast. Start listening to podcasts so you get a feel for formats. Are you going to interview people? Share tips or conduct Q&A? Host a weekly program or daily? While there are no hard and fast rules, podcasts are intended to run by subscription, so over time your subscribership will build if people like what you’re offering.”
Kimberly A. Edwards (email@example.com), a long-time writer and a contributor to IBPA Independent, leads a memoir seminar in Sacramento, California, and writes creative nonfiction when time permits. She is a member of Northern California Publishers and Authors, the California Writers Club, American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association.