...And minimize your expenses.
Here’s a cost-effective marketing plan for aspiring best-selling authors to create a sustainable community of evangelists for your book, your blog your message. It maximizes:
- a free resource: Google Alerts
- a relatively free resource: your time
- your limited resource: cash
- your plentiful resource: writing and creativity.
It will work on its own as your only proactive push-marketing program.
It will work in conjunction with a more traditional marketing campaign using PR agencies, and/or publishers and their marketing campaigns. By in conjunction, I mean it will likely serve to accelerate their results.
First, a few assumptions:
* You have a blog. You’re an author; you’re a writer. You should have a blog. What kind of author doesn’t have a blog? Your blog served as your daily writing exercise while you wrote your book. Now you have your book. And now your blog serves as your marketing platform.
Even if you are mentally exhausted from finishing your book, and let’s say on top of that you’re a new mom with your first born child only a few weeks old. So there’s no real expectation that you’ll refill mental energy reserves within the next 25 years...(but you’re a mom, so you’ll find those secret mom energy stores...today.) You have content you can easily organize into a series of posts by cutting and pasting from your book. And you can do a series of 5 - 10 posts, scheduled to be published in the future on a later date, within 1-2 hours of your precious time (when the stars align and baby falls asleep after you’ve found those secret energy reserves only Mom’s possess.)
* You have access to a computer. Unless you drank the organic kool-aid and decided to live off the grid, completely off the grid in a yurt deep in a forest where jet contrails even can’t be seen...this shouldn’t be a problem. Right? Trick question. You’re reading this post.
* You’re not a martyr. Some artists are martyrs. Think Chopin, Van Gogh, the crazy guy at the bistro whose caffeine levels now should help create his own jet contrails...as environmental art.
But, you're not. Why should you be a martyr? ( I’ll wait a minute and let you adjust that thing on your back. Some people call it a cross. You call it your burden as an author...) That means you’re willing to engage in the mundane world of...engaging with your readers in their communities.
Here’s the plan.
1. Create a Series of Google Alerts. What are they? Google will email you when they see an important term (company name, your name, phrase, topic, names, titles, words...) published. You provide Google the term; they alert you when it’s published online in an article, a blog, a website. For this exercise you want to Google to alert you when it sees your book title or your name published online.
2. Go to the Blogs (or articles with comments available). Go to the blogs that mention you or your book.
- Read the blog post.
- Comment on the blog post.
Now you’re engaging with your audience. More importantly, you’re engaging with the most important members of your audience: those who are talking, and talking online, about you. They are talking about you to THEIR audience...of prospective buyers of your book.
And you’re all engaging authentically:
- they in their blog post
- you in your comments
- their readers with their attention
- maybe they, in their comments
3. Thank them for their favorable review. This is the key. Those who’ve written a favorable review deserve at least a thank you. An author leaving a thank-you comment on a blog post review of their book thrills the blog’s author. Vanity, thy name is bloggers.
And, it serves another purpose. Your comment shows the blog’s reader you are
- cool, maybe.
( Definitely, one and two, maybe three. )
Now you’re in a conversation. Now make that conversation meaningful.
4. Offer to send them a signed copy of your book. Or two or three copies. Here's why:
- They can give to their friends. You can personalize the signature to their friends.
- Now they should be wowed. The blogger and their friends.
- Now, you've made that blogger stand out as...cool, connected, important. You've boosted their street cred in their community.
- Now, you’ve made yourself stand out as an expert resource and great person.
That third part is the personal connection that builds loyalty, word-of-mouth, testimonials and ultimately sales.
Now some, me sometimes, say sales is the most important. But without readers and testimonials (that’s why you have them on your book jacket, right?) you have no sales. It’s the author’s conundrum. Which comes first readers or sales?
Now let’s say their blog post isn’t a testimonial for you and your book. Baby still needs new shoes, right? ( Regardless of Baby’s definition including ‘squeeze’, spouse, pet, yourself or even your newborn child)
4 A. Thank them for their rant. Why? They read your book. They took the time to share their thoughts about what you wrote.
Now you can engage with them.
Thank the blogger for their thoughts. Don’t argue. Don’t get into a flame war. As tempting as it may be to create your own burning man festival on their site (or yours)...don’t.
Ask if they would publish a guest post from you to discuss your differences more fully. Now you have an interesting conversation to bring more readers to THEIR blog from THEIR community to discuss..what? YOU. You and your book. Discussions lead to sales. (Flame wars lead to cinders...)
BUDGET: The other b-word we can use here.
- You’ve built a website (and the publisher didn’t help).
- You quit your job to write, to pursue your passion.
- Cash is tight.
Maximize your budget with these options:
- Buy your own book from your publisher at their wholesale cost. That saves you money.
- Self-publish using an on-demand publishing site like Lulu.com.
- You could create ebooks for each chapter. And share that with your audience in lieu of a hard copy from either of the above publishing sources.
- You could create ebooks with distinct content, add-on, more detail, future books and share that with your audience.
Either way, either option, word-of-mouth testimonials with online blogs and comments are a powerful resource to incite, excite, build-on, grow in order to drive book sales, feed Baby and let you rest easy knowing people love you enough to buy your book.