As I decorate my Christmas tree, I find myself exploring the reasons I do the things I do. Why do I decorate my house, sprinkle twinkle lights everywhere, cook delicious meals for family and friends? Why do I (attempt to) bake cookies? Why wrap the gifts? Why throw parties? Well, there are several reasons for it, and all of them tie directly into why I do the things I do in other parts of my life, like, for example, my author life.
My author life is as exciting and beautiful as the holidays, and when marketing is intertwined with the glitter and glow, things really pop and sales make me happy. Here are a few holiday gift tips from me to you on how marketing can keep the holiday spirit in your day-to-day all year round.
Too often I hear authors softly state that they don’t want to attract attention, that it seems bold or too grand for the book they wrote. Honestly, if you don’t toot your horn, who will toot it for you? If fans don’t know your book exists, they can’t love it as much as you do. And if you don’t already know how extraordinary you are for having written the book, no one else can show you.
It’s time to learn how to attract attention without being embarrassed by it. Time to take ownership of the wonderful book you wrote and tell the world.
This tip is to tell them in the same way you became inspired to write that book. You didn’t wake one day and have a whole book in your head. It was a spark, a twinkle, a glow that called you closer and closer to the story until you could put your fingers on the keyboard and make I real. This is how you need to connect with readers.
To simply shout “Buy my book!” is not enough, mainly because everyone else is doing that. Start where you started, with that tiny idea. Connect with your prospective book buyer the same way the story called to you. Instead of posting “Buy my book!” post something like “The ocean’s waves hide so much, and delving into its depths bring clarity to young Genevieve.” Follow that statement with the book’s buy link and you’ve done something magical! You have drawn your prospective book buyer into your story. There’s a big difference between “Buy my book!” and something as beautiful and powerful as that. Try it. You’ll be amazed at the response.
DON’T HIDE YOUR LIGHT
I turn on the Holiday lights, even during the daytime, because I want to enjoy them as long as I can—before it’s over and I need to pack it all away. It’s important to keep the lights glowing all year round, even if it’s just in our hearts.
I’m always sad when an author tells me that they haven’t marketed in months because they think marketing doesn’t work. Everything they’ve done seems to fall on deaf ears. I always ask what they’ve done and the solution is easy as plum pudding. All these authors need is a little light!
There are three critical elements to great marketing—and money, or time-eating hours on Twitter are not among them. This is the secret behind real, effective marketing:
Talk to the RIGHT people
- Make sure your social networks and Facebook groups are loaded with people who already love the unique elements in your book
Say something THEY care to hear
- And “My book is FREE today” isn’t it. After all, what is the perceived value of “free?” Yep, not so much.
Make connections through THEIR interests
- Stop talking about your book. Instead, talk about the things inside your book that your gathered audience loves. It could be the horses in your story, or baking, or farming, or antiques, etc. Connect this way in social media posts, with Pinterest and Instagram pictures, in your blogs. It will always lead to your book with a simple book buy link. This is how an author builds more than sales, they build loyal FANS!
So, by following these three critical elements of effective marketing, you can start shining again. Why? Because you’ve created the correct audience for your book, and you are connecting with them!
MAKE A FEEL-GOOD PLAN
In keeping with the Holiday spirit of giving, I’d like to offer a really cool gift—a strategy that not only brings sales, but makes us feel really good, too.
Is there a topic inside your story that relates to a charity? Is a character recovering from cancer? Are there dogs or cats in your book? Does your book focus on wildlife, or the military, or children? There are charities that direct help to causes related to these topics, and donating a portion of your book sales to that charity can make you and your readers feel great. State the charity on your website and blog, occasionally post about the charity on your social networks, wear a button showing your charity when you do a book signing or speaking event. Donate a gift basket (a few books, some coffee and a few nice mugs) to that charity’s local event for the silent auction, or imagine creating an event yourself to help the charity. You can even state your support inside your book or on the back cover.
Make a plan for next year that supports an appropriate book-related charity and enjoy the good feeling when you send off your donation each quarter.
BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF!
While decorating my house, I have to repeatedly remind myself to be gentle with me. Otherwise, I would be moving ornaments around until the day I take the tree down. Perfection is so elusive!
It’s the same when marketing. Take risks, but remember, you do not have to be perfect! Finding the seamless mix of marketing activity is a work in progress, just keep track of what worked and what didn’t.
Don’t try to be strictly professional all the time. Learn to laugh at yourself. When someone points out a typo in your Facebook post, simply reply, “Ah, well, it’s why we writers need editors, LOL.” Letting your hair down once in a while is a good thing! It will let your fans in, let them see that you’re a nice person, and create stronger ties with them. We authors need to learn how to embrace our flaws, celebrate them, and revel in the connection those flaws have with the people we write for.
And finally, be gentle with yourself during marketing. You are a magnificent, creative being, worthwhile and bringing your talent to others. Have a hot chocolate, or maybe an Irish coffee this season. Celebrate with a glass of Champagne. 2019 will be a new world of connecting with the right audience and creating sales you can be proud of.
Join me in February, March, and April for the PRISM MARKETING SYSTEM Webinar workshops series right here at SavvyAuthors! Check out the first class in the series:
[box]Bridging the Gap between Creative Writer and Marketing Author
Marketing is a very scary prospect for authors. It seems like a foreign language meant to be spoken in a far off land without an embassy to help explain the culture. None of this is true. It isn’t marketing that’s the issue—it’s a fear and general misunderstanding of marketing in relation to an author’s talents and skill set.
Authors are creative people who solve problems within their imagination. Just because they’ve never been creative within the marketing universe does not mean they can’t. In fact, the more creative a marketing author is, the further they step away from the competition, and the more book sales success they will find.
Write Brain/Left Brain is the goose with the golden egg. These pages open doors to thinking outside the box and away from the noisy competition. It encourages authors to see the bigger book buying world, imaginatively seek out broader audiences, and always trust their creative nose to accomplish their book sales goals. This book is designed to remove an author’s fear of marketing and replace it with the inventive possibilities specific to the book marketed.
Authors, open your mind and take the empowering leap into the astonishing, imaginative marketing playground.[/box]
Awesome, heart-centered help from someone who really knows what she’s doing.
Demi Stevens, owner, Year of The Book Press
Before spending time with Deborah Riley-Magnus, I thought marketing was the devil—or at least beyond my capabilities—so I did little to promote my books. The proof was in my sales which were great with my friends, and friends of friends, but did little more than that. After working with Deb, I have a whole new outlook, realize there are many creative ways of marketing, and am excited about my next steps. I write books I know my readers will love… now I’m ready to go find my audience.
Gloria Baer Bostic, Author
Deb’s marketing advice made a world of difference in how I described a book I was querying. Using what she taught me in my query letter got agent attention immediately. I started getting requests for my manuscript where before I wouldn’t hear anything. I’ll always consult with Deb before querying. She’s a treasure!
Jen Sako, Author