Can you reach readers without actually ‘doing’ marketing?

Most authors write for a living, to make cash. But the creative process is equally important, as is the simple recognition of your skills and talents. There’s no point churning out masterpieces if nobody reads them. But social media marketing is so complicated.

Where do you start?

What do you want your book to do?

Whatever your creative intention, it gives you valuable clues about how to deliver the right messages to readers and potential fans. In other words hit the people who share your deepest needs and desires with exactly what they want to hear.

Three key questions to ask yourself  
    1. It sounds pretty bald and businesslike, but it’s true. Most authors write to inform, inspire and entertain, the top three motivators. Your book might do all three if you’re shit hot. But which does it focus hardest on?
    2. Now you’ve pinned that down, think about who you want to interest, inspire or entertain. What do they look like from a demographic perspective? Are they mostly under twelve or over forty? Where do they live? What’s their average income? Are they male, female or something in between? What are their interests? And what else do they read – which other authors in your genre do they swear by?
    3. Where do the kind of people who like your work hang out? If you’re an indie author like most of our clients, your readers probably buy ebooks. They could live all over the world but the internet is a great leveler. Is there anywhere they enjoy in particular? Are they on Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or Pinterest? As an independent author with a budget to watch, you should focus on the places where you’ll make the most impact
Getting to grips with social media

Social media marketing is pretty vital these days. Search engines use shares, likes and so on to help them decide the popularity of a website, so you’d be mad not to join in. But you can choose your weapons to suit your temperament as well as going where your customers are.

Assuming you’ve done a good job of analyzing who reads your work, they should hang out in the same networks as you. Which, if you’re not exactly the social type, takes the pain out of the whole thing.

Do you have to ‘do’ marketing on social media? No. While it’s called ‘social media marketing’ in reality it’s more about networking and being your lovely self: engaging, exciting, thought provoking, interesting, relevant and so on. The mechanics of social media are easy enough to grasp. Once you’ve learned them, feel free to simply have fun.

Top tips for author social network success
      • If you feel farty at first, listen in for a while and see what people are talking about. Then join in when you feel confident
      • Take time to hone your understanding of what makes your audience tick. You should be more than half way there already, since your research has identified them as people on your wavelength
      • Think about ways to help, inspire, entertain, amuse and inform them
      • At the same time, think about your book. How can you get the message across to the people who, if they only knew about you, would love you forever?
      • Remember to be you, a real person with feelings and everything. You aren’t a selling machine and people don’t like being constantly badgered to buy stuff
      • Link to your book or website or your latest blog post now and again, so people know where to find what you’ve inspired them to look for

Get the picture? When you take the time to find out who your potential readers are, where they hang out and what they like you can gradually reach out to them person-to-person.

Given time, once they trust you, they’ll want to share with you, learn from you, hear from you and join you on your journey to fame, riches and an endless supply of fine champagne… or whatever ambitions float your boat.

Give it a bit more time and you’ll develop a strong, popular, respected and lively profile and generate sales perfectly naturally.

Closing the circle…

Obviously social networks are only the tip of the online marketing iceberg but when you apply the same principles and practices to whatever you do to promote your work, it’ll bear fruit: know your audience, interact with them where they hang out, give them what they want.

What do you do that sells the most books?

What about you? Have you hit on a way to sell books through non-marketing?

Mike is CEO of PML Media Limited, a virtual agency staffed by 14 independent marketing professionals, copywriters and technical geniuses. PML helps authors build and manage their Author Platforms, social media channels, build email lists and create ongoing strategies to help boost their brand, get noticed and sell more books.

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