How to sell your back-catalogue to your reader database

You’ve written it. You’ve published it on Amazon or wherever. Now you have to spread the word and sell it. It’s down to you.

Enter the author/marketer, a new player on the self-publishing and ebooks scene. If you’re a self-published (SP) author, you’ll already know you need to wear a marketing hat as well as a writer hat.

What does it mean to be an author / marketer?

The author / marketer role is a mixed blessing. On the upside, you don’t need to worry about the restrictions and complexities of traditional publishing contracts. Which is great – it means the world is your oyster and you’re in control of your own destiny. But the down side is this: you don’t get all the marketing and promotion support that comes with a traditional contract.

How to get your name known and sell books

If you want to get your name known and sell books, you need to embrace self-marketing with gusto or get someone to do it for you. Otherwise you’ll probably sink without a trace, a lone voice amongst millions of other SP authors.

There are countless ways to market your wares and skills, including email marketing, blogging, social networking, SEO (on-site and off) and Pay Per Click promotion. Today I’m looking at email marketing.

Marketing your back catalogue via email

You’ve gathered contact details for a bunch of people who have read and enjoyed your latest book. There’s no reason why they won’t enjoy the rest of your stuff, unless it’s crap! So why not approach them and see?

Simple, right? Hold your horses. There’s more to a successful email marketing campaign than jotting off a quick message and pressing the ‘send’ button.

A writer’s advantage

Luckily your writing skills deliver an advantage. You can maximize the likelihood of people opening, reading, enjoying and responding to your message. You can weave that spell!

But there’s another side to it. You might be a talented author. But what do you know about marketing? Then there’s blowing your own trumpet. Marketing is no place for modesty. Can you write about your own work in glowing terms to entice readers to try more?

Brush up on marketing knowledge

You need to get people to open your message in the first place, which is an art in itself. There are tried, tested and proven ways to communicate by email, and just as many ways not to.

You need to know how to create and structure a cohesive sales-driven message that persuades people to act, whether it’s responding with information or buying something. In other words, you need to know about direct marketing.

Direct marketing involves attracting responses, persuading people to take action. Once you ‘get’ the basic principles you’ll know what to do and why you need to do it, whatever the medium; email, social, blogging, your website itself, outreach campaigns, you name it.

You can learn the specifics of digital marketing from the bottom up. Or you can take an easily-digestible and entertaining short cut into the wonderful world of Drayton Bird, one of the original Mad Men and author of some of the best-selling and best-loved ‘how to’ direct marketing books.  You’ll find him on Amazon.

It’s a steep learning curve but if you’re really serious about SP email marketing success, you need to get the basics under your belt.

The technical side of email marketing

You also want to run your campaigns smoothly, quickly and efficiently, otherwise you won’t have time to write. You need stats because otherwise you won’t know whether your campaign hit target or the whole thing nosedived.

There are plenty of excellent email marketing systems available, including follow-ups and autoresponder campaigns, stats and analysis as well as exciting stuff like data segmentation and targeting. It’s another thing you need to learn, and the more familiar you are with the system you’ve chosen, the more time you’ll have spare for writing that best-seller.

A big ‘ask’

Yes, you can sell your back catalogue to your reader database. The more you know about the hows, whens and wheres of digital marketing, the better. But it’s a big ask. If the whole thing makes you feel like lying down and crying, you can always get a bunch of experts on board who can handle it for you in a fraction of the time.

Sounds good? Give us a call.

Image source: slimmer_jimmer

 

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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