You will spends months, maybe years writing, editing, and rewriting your book. When all of that is done, you can release your work into the world with just a few clicks on Lulu.com. For some authors the work stops there, but successful authors know that’s when the real work begins. How will you make your book visible in a marketplace full of books? How will you get your book onto the bestseller lists? Where will you find the time and the money to market your book to your audience?
For most authors, marketing a new book will likely be more challenging than writing it. To help you focus your efforts, we asked 4000 of our bestselling authors how many hours a week they spend marketing their books.
The majority of best selling authors (61%) dedicated five hours or less to book marketing each week. 16% — about one out of every six — said they spent 5-10 hours a week on marketing tasks. Only 25% of these authors said they spend more than ten hours a week marketing their book to their audience.
How much time can you invest?
Let’s face it, authors would rather be writing than marketing. It’s what you are good at, but without a marketing plan, your book will simply gather digital dust on some online bookshelf.
By breaking marketing tasks into small steps, you can make them more manageable, regardless of your time constraints. If you only have five hours a week, work in blocks of one to two hours. Keep plugging away until every item on the list below has been researched and completed:
- Define your audience
- If you aren’t familiar with your audience and their shopping habits, research them to gain that understanding
- Write a one-paragraph description of your target audience – what they like, where they shop, etc.
- Find those people and get your book in front of them
- Write your book’s elevator pitch
- Create a website
- Write a detailed author biography page and include a head shot
- Set up an email opt-in to create a mailing list (see below)
- Add a page for editors and bloggers to request review copies of your book
- Add new articles, transcripts of recent interviews, and reprints of book reviews
- Add a blog to your site. Update it at least weekly. Twice a week is even better
- Add a page with contact information for interviews, events and public speaking opportunities
- Add a page for your coaching or consulting services (if that makes sense for your business and market)
- Get a Facebook business page for your book
- Update your page at least weekly
- Add a way to sign up for your email list (see below)
- Like and follow other Facebook pages in your niche and comment on their pages to expand your audience
- Use Shopify to sell your books directly from your Facebook page.
- Set up an email list with a free email service provider such as mailchimp.com
- Send an email update at least every two weeks
- Use content from your blog or update your readers on your marketing efforts or how your next book is coming along
- Include Lulu coupon codes for reader discounts in your email messaging to encourage shopping
- Identify 20 influential people to whom you can send your book
- Create a promotion package
- Mail the promotion package to those 20 people
- Secure 3-5 speaking gigs
- Bring copies of your book to speaking events for audience members to purchase
- Be on the lookout for other authors targeting the same audience. You can build a relationship with them and cross-promote each other’s books to build audiences and drive sales
- Research 1-2 conferences or book fairs to attend or to sponsor for a booth
- Find 3-5 niche websites where you could advertise or write a guest blog post
- Make your printed book look as good as possible. Does it need a new cover? Better typesetting?
- List your book on eBay
- List your book on Goodreads
- List your book in “Shameless Promotions” in the Lulu forums
- On an ongoing basis, spend one hour on each major bookselling site polishing up your book’s description and appearance
- Reach out to potential reviewers on the big bookselling sites. Aim for at least 20-30 reviews for your book
- Don’t give up. As one author said about marketing, “It’s hard work! But it’s also essential for the author to relentlessly promote a new book for at least 18 months after publication.”
Phew! … Sounds like a lot or work, right? Well, put in just five hours a week and you’ll be further along than you’d think. And – here’s the best part – you’ll also be closer to making enough sales to brag about on your Facebook page.
Schedule one hour every weekday to promote your book.
Once you have everything set up, marketing shouldn’t require as much of your time. The majority of successful independent authors spend 5 hours or less per week on marketing.