7 Helpful Marketing Tips for Authors (and Those with Something to Say or Sell)

A while back I posted an article that gained a good bit of attention from authors and those in the publishing space.

10 Awful Truths About Book Publishing… and 7 Ways to Overcome Them

It’s a great post (I think) that outlines many of the challenges authors face but what I really wanted to emphasize today is the last part of the post. The “ways to overcome” part. That’s where the real benefit is. Knowing the mountain is going to require an uphill climb is important but MORE IMPORTANT is knowing HOW to dig in an actually get to the top (because YOU CAN!).

Are you with me?

By the way, these tips may be geared towards authors but they really apply to so much more…

7 Helpful Marketing Tips for Authors (and Those with Something to Say or Sell)

1. Think About Pass-Along Sales Opportunities: If you aren’t sure what “Pass-Along Sales” are… “Pass-along sales” mean that people are not buying books for themselves as much; instead they are buying books for others and passing along the books to them. Parents are buying books for their children; group leaders are buying books for group members; CEOs buying for their staff, etc. Huge market and potential here.

2. Events/Immersion Experiences Can Replace Traditional Publicity in Moving the Needle: It’s getting harder and harder to be heard by traditional PR methods. Instead, focusing on doing events, speaking engagements, etc where participants hear your message and buy your book as a result is a key strategy to take.

3. Leverage the Authors’ and Publishers’ Communities: No brainer here. Every author hears about “Platform” which is just another way to talk about your own following. Build a community (before you need it) and you have qualified buyers. It’s simple to know, harder to achieve but with hard work you can. Put your community first. Serve them. Build into them. Add value and they will respond.

Note: I’d suggest you pick up a copy of “Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World” by Michael Hyatt. It’s a great book with a step-by-step guide for building a platform from someone who has done it. I can’t say enough about the practical benefits of it. I did helped Michael launch the book (which became a New York Times bestseller) and we did utilize many of the tips he teaches. 

4. In a Crowded Market, Great Brands Stand Out: Be unique. Be identifiable. Have a value promise (or value proposition) that you can deliver on and that people come to trust. Brands are not built overnight. Stay the course, be strong and be true to who you need to be.

5. Master New Sales and Marketing Channels: This doesn’t just mean being active on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn (although those are helpful). It means looking for new markets and new ways to distribute your book/content. Identify niche opportunities such as selling your book in bulk to a specialized industry or group. Look for creative packaging ideas where your book is included as part of XYZ purchase, etc. Create study guides or activity guides that encourage people to read or go through the  books in groups. Get creative. Think BIG and go after it.

6. Build Books Around a Big New Idea: This has more to do with nonfiction but… Don’t regurgitate what everyone else is saying. Say it in a new way. You can speak truth or a core foundational principle but you have to find a unique way to do it, a “Big Idea” that others can grasp a hold of. You’ve heard it said that people buy the sizzle before they buy the steak, same goes here. It’s your HOOK, your big idea that reels them in.

7. Front-load the Main Ideas in Books and Keep Books Short: Again, more so a nonfiction point but… So many authors miss this. They try to build their content and back load the juicy stuff so what happens is most books start out dry and not that interesting. What happens? Readers don’t make it past the first chapter but had they made it to chapter 2 and beyond they would have been blown away. Give them the good stuff up front. Don’t make them wait because guess what… they won’t. Attention spans have changed and how people engage with content has as well.

There’s a lot more but these 7 tips will hopefully ignite a few ideas. : )

Question: Are you an author? What advice would you share with others? Leave a comment below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.