I came across a post in a book marketing group recently. It read:
Hello, fellow authors. I have a question. I just published my 1st children’s book using CreateSpace. I was wondering how do you market your book? What helps you get your book out there? New to all the marketing stuff. Thank you for your help and advice.
The members of this particular group are extremely helpful. They advised her to have a website, start a mailing list, create a Facebook page, sign up for a monthly newsletter that offers free marketing tips each month, etc.
It’s human nature to dive right into the “doing.” So much so that we tend to avoid the planning.
The problem is, strategic planning is what minimizes the amount of “doing” we have to do. Consider it the lazy person’s way out of out working too hard.
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend a few minutes planning so that I can reduce my workload in that one area, and apply the time and effort to another project. What about you?
First things first
I believe the first piece of advice anyone new to marketing needs to hear is this:
The first step is to figure out two things. Who would be buying your book? And who would be reading your book?
For children’s books, that may be two completely separate people. As the reader gets older, it’s often the same person.
Once you know those two things, start figuring out what they typically do online. (You can often find that information through Google searches.) Which sites do they frequent? What social media platform do they use most? Which apps are they using?
Then start strategizing your approach from there.
Plan your marketing efforts accordingly
Yes, you’ll need a website and a mailing list. Those are givens, in my book. However, don’t waste your time on a Facebook page if your buyers and readers aren’t on Facebook!
(Given Facebook’s TOS, I’m sure the readers of this person’s illustrated children’s book aren’t. However, you may find many of those readers watching YouTube videos. So, how about strategically placing a short ad at the beginning of content they’re likely to watch?)
Instead, spend your time and effort wisely by focusing your marketing efforts where your readers already are. Don’t pull readers away from one place so that they can come where you are. Go to where they already are and introduce yourself to them there.
That means providing content on sites that are already popular with your readers and buyers. You’ll need to experiment with whether a guest blog post, a strategically place ad, or a joint venture makes the most sense. But as you build out these relationships, that decision-making process will become an easier one to navigate. You’ll start recognizing those things that work for you, and those that don’t, much more quickly once you get going.
Every book is unique
So each book’s marketing plan has to be unique to them. But that’s what makes them so fun to create!
Taking the time to learn about the entertainment and buying habits of your readers gives you greater insight into them, sparking further creative ideas for later books you can write or products you can make.
So if you’re just starting out and you don’t even know what options to consider or how to get started, you may find my DIY guide on creating your book marketing plan useful to you as you figure things out.