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5 steps for book marketing success

An author asked me this week, “Why is the marketing so much harder than writing the book?”

You know the answer to that, right? There’s a good chance you feel the same way she does.

If you’re like most authors, you’d much rather be doing just about anything other than trying to figure out how to market your book. While book marketing comes easily and intuitively for some, it’s a struggle for many because they don’t have experience marketing anything — let alone a book.

Follow these 5 steps

Actually, book marketing  isn’t as hard as you might think. And once you understand the basics, it gets even easier. To publicize, promote, and market your book, you need to know five basic steps. Following them, and taking as much time as you need to do so, will help you make sure that you’re using your book marketing time wisely and effectively.

Here they are:

Step 1. Know your audience.

Who is really and truly most likely to buy your book? Many authors are overly optimistic about the size of their book’s target audience. In reality, the more specific you can be about your target audience, the more successful you will be.

For example, the audience for a book about how to select a long-term care facility isn’t going to appeal to all baby boomers, but it will appeal to baby boomers with elderly parents who are struggling to live independently.

Step 2. Figure out where to find your book’s audience.

You can’t find them if you don’t know who they are, so it’s important to take Step 1 first. Then, do the research to find out how they get their news and information and where it comes from. Do they watch TV news or read a daily newspaper? Are they on Pinterest or do they use Twitter?

Step 3. Know how to reach your audience.

If your research tells you that the people most likely to buy your book are using Twitter, do you know how to use it effectively and appropriately? What if they enjoy getting advice from blogs — do you know how to connect with them through your blog or those of others?

Step 4. Understand what to say to your book’s target audience.

You probably know already that constantly repeating, “Buy my book! Buy my book!” is only useful for alienating potential book buyers. It’s important to know how to use the best communications tactics for book marketing — and the messages to share when you’re using them.

Step 5. Be certain which marketing tactics will work best for your book, not anyone else’s.

The tools and tactics you’ll use to reach the YA market won’t be the same as those you’ll use to reach retirees, right? If you’re trying to reach young adult readers, you’ll want to be posting the right kinds of video clips on YouTube. If you want to reach retirees, you’ll want to make sure your book marketing plan includes snagging newspaper publicity.

Need a little help?

If you’re ready to discover how to market your specific book, register for one of my three “Book Publicity 101 Premium E-courses” starting next week and running for four weeks. The courses are taught in a group forum format, but I provide a great deal of individual and personalized instruction. You’ll get lots of great how-to content (including demographics of social media networks so you know where to find your audience online), feedback on your homework, guidance and advice, and answers to your questions whenever you have them.

Ready for some personalized guidance? Take a look at the curriculum for each course:

  • Traditionally published nonfiction authors: http://bit.ly/qOJErA
  • Self-published nonfiction authors: http://bit.ly/10CVqWv
  • Both types of fiction authors: http://bit.ly/14iGEJF

Your book deserves to reach the people you wrote it for. Let’s work on that together.

What’s keeping your from doing more to market your book? What’s holding you back? Please tell me by commenting here. 

Subscribe to the free Build Book Buzz newsletter and get the free special report, “Top 5 Free Book Promotion Resources,” immediately!

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  1. How can you determine your target audience if you write a multi-genre book? The first two books in my Accidental Series are a time travel slip and a flip, romance, historical/contemporary, with mysteries and some light humor. (The historical settings are: 1886 Wyoming in Bk # 1 and 1880’s Ireland in Bk 2.
    I’ve been reviewed as having a’twist’ on my genre in Bk 2. My inspiration is Diana Gabaldon and her Outlander series which also has a genre mix.


    1. This is why many successful authors stick to one genre, CJ. It allows them to build a following that likes a certain type of book.

      If you’ve got one book that crosses genres, you’ll want to market to both genre audiences.


  2. It is gracious of you spending time and efforts writing all the good information for authors.

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