Published Authors Can’t Afford to be Shrinking Violets

June 28, 2013 in Articles, Book promotions

There is a natural tendency for many writers to shy away from blowing their own trumpets, but if you are a published author and you want to sell some of your books, then you really cannot afford this luxury. Being a published author and inconspicuous is a contradiction in terms. All the best marketers of books, digital or otherwise will tell you that you need to promote yourself.

Popular recommended strategies for this are:

  • Running your own blog
  • Participating on social media sites, at least one that allows you to engage with people properly
  • If you have a Google account or a Facebook account then there really is no excuse for not having a page to promote your work. If you haven’t got an account, then it couldn’t be easier to get one. This link provides some information on setting up a Facebook page for example
  • Personal videos – that’s a little trickier because you do need to come across professionally, but if you can do it, then it’s definitely worth it
  • Adding a signature to your emails that includes a link to your author page on Amazon for example, this assumes of course you have set up an Author Central Profile. Shame on you if you haven’t and don’t forget there are now 4 Author Central sites where you can add your profile, see below.
  • When joining various online organisations, forums, social media sites etc. include the description ‘Author’ in your user name. At least people will then know you are an author without you ramming it down their throats. It’s subtle but effective
  • On a similar theme, when you are asked to share your biography or to provide a short description of yourself, then don’t forget to mention that you are an author and where possible add that link to your author page or one of your books
  • Remember to join up and register on the most popular book review sites like Goodreads (now an Amazon acquisition), Shelfari and Library Thing
  • Then there are always the Web2.o community websites like HubPages, these are free publishing platforms where you can write and publish articles and even put links to your book pages on Amazon, Smashwords or wherever else you are published. You have to abide by their terms and conditions but they really are a great resource for anyone trying to get a presence on line and come with ready made communities that will typically go out of their way to help you out, especially if you do the same for them

Secret WritersSo are you being too shy and retiring? If you are you could be missing out on well deserved sales. Friends, family, work colleagues and anyone else you communicate with on a regular basis are all potentially promoters of your books. But if they don’t know you have written a book how can they possibly promote it for you.  By not telling them you are taking the decision away from them, why would you do that?

The same applies on social media sites, I think everyone knows that the hard sell does not work with social media, but there is a huge difference between selling and raising awareness.  Treat people fairly and sincereley and that is likely to be reciprocated, if you strike up a genuine relationship then there is a good chance people will genuinely want to help you out. So no it doesn’t work being a one way traffic merchant but making friends, gaining trust and helping people generally does.

Related posts:

Author Central Sites

Creating an author profile on all the Amazon Author Central sites will ensure that potential purchasers on those sites can see your profile and associated information, you would be surprised how many times it is the interest in the author that tips the decision to buy in your favor. No author central profile might just mean a lost sale and will definitely mean no author ranking, a parameter recently introduced by Amazon.

Who Are You Writing For?

June 17, 2013 in Articles, Book Marketing, eBook publishing, Writing & Publishing

To me this seems like a fairly obvious question to ask when planning on writing  a new book. Coming from a technical background involving new product development, the very first thing considered before embarking on a new development is primarily whether there is a market for the product. Then secondly what are the product requirements that will fulfill the customer needs?  In technical terms, the latter is the product specification.

Well clearly there is a market for books, all manner of them, and in both printed or digital formats. Although I sometimes feel when I read a book,  that an author has somehow crossed boundaries and managed to alienate what could have been a significant market sector as a result. In the analogy, they have got the product specification wrong!

Who is your intended audience

Book Markets This then begs the question again  ‘Who Are you Writing For?’

You really do need to consider which genre you are going to write for and then who your target audience is. Are you interested in fiction writing or producing non-fiction books for educational or reference purposes for example. In many ways non-fiction is easier to write than fiction, there are clearer objectives that need to be met and certain criteria that needs to be fulfilled, most of which can come from your own expertise or the research that you do.  That said you do still need to think about your target audience, whether you are trying to communicate with a layman or someone that is already a technical expert. You could be targeting a younger audience or looking to appeal to a more adult and mature sector, maybe you are ambitious and want to target the whole caboodle.

Regarding fictional writing the borders can  become significantly more blurred. As a writer you are just letting your imagination run, once you start the words will appear to materialize from your subconscious mind and whatever pops in there is likely to appear in your story line. This is after all the artistic aspect of writing a book, something that is written completely and entirely from the imagination of the author. Often you will, even for a fictional book, have to research places, times and events to add credibility to a story. Not always, sometimes that can be completely invented as well.

But once you have that first draft down and it is there in black and white for anyone to read, do you then stop and think about your customer requirements. Part of the editing process should include whether you have considered market expectations and more importantly have you met them. Did you just write a book that would be a brilliant story line for children to enjoy and then for some reason go and add a section that included some explicit sexual content. Because if so you could just have alienated a whole customer base that the book may well have had a large appeal to.

This example is intended to illustrate that one small chapter dedicated to explicit sex could rule a book out as an option for children or teenagers but may not have sufficient adult content to keep the interest of a mature population looking for something that is gritty and hard hitting with sexual content i.e. something in an adult reading category. Somehow you may simply have gotten the customer requirements wrong by spanning two completely different sets of requirements that were not compatible with one another.

Don’t take this completely the wrong way, you shouldn’t get so hung up about the requirements that you stifle your artistic flow, rather just give some thought to the direction you would like to go in before starting and just check that you haven’t drifted too far off course when you have a first draft to review. If you do drift off course and prefer the new direction you have taken, then just make sure you have gone far enough in the new direction to engage that new audience.

The bottom line is this, if you are writing a book that you want to appeal to an audience and that you want to sell on a commercial basis, then that is a product and a product typically must have a demand and then must meet certain specifications to fulfill the customer requirements generating that demand.

For many reading this it may seem to be a case of stating the obvious. But it is surprising how easy it is to ignore (or simply forget) about the intended audience and to just hope that the end product appeals to someone, anyone, when it is finished. Truth is that there will always be an element of people a book will appeal to, but with a little thought about who you are writing for, as you follow the process, there could be so many more.

Things to think about

  • Intended genre
  • Book categories
  • Age range of target audience
  • Audience gender
  • Audience intellectual level
  • Audience expertise
  • Search terms that might be used to find your book

These are a few things worth having a think about when you are planning your next book, particularly from a target market perspective.

For more information and help writing a book why not take a look at what this experienced editor and author has to say.


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