Authors frequently ask me some variation of the question, “When should I start marketing my book?”
My first book is coming out in one month (…or one week… or one day). When should I start marketing it?
My book was published 3 months ago but no one is buying it. What should I do to market it?
My book is coming out in a year. Is it time to create an author website?
While these are valid questions, each of them is missing two critical elements:
1. The questions separate the writing and editing of a book from the marketing.
Writing and marketing a book are not separate entities; they are publishing partners.
2. The questions assume that “marketing” is all about selling.
Marketing is not just about getting people to buy your book; it’s about relationships.
Today, we’ll explore the nuances of the terms, “branding,” “platform building,” and “marketing,” which many authors lump under the umbrella term, “marketing.”
I firmly believe that authors should never separate writing from branding, platform building, and marketing. These activities are not intended be viewed in a linear fashion, where writing comes first, followed by branding, platform building, and marketing.
Rather, they’re done in concert, much like a choir in which individual voices blend together to create a unified, harmonious sound.
Word Nerd Moment
Branding – The promise you make to your ideal reader and the way in which you consistently deliver on your promise.
Platform Building – the ways you reach the ideal readers who may buy your book. Agents and editors often refer to your “platform” as the number of followers or rabid fans you have.
Marketing – the things you do to sell or promote your book.
The strategic plan I use for my own writing projects, as well as with my clients:
- Identify your ideal reader.
- Determine a specific challenge or need they have that you can guide them through.
- Do market research to realistically estimate how many of them are likely to buy your book.
- Craft the core message you will consistently deliver.
- Create a website that includes a way for your reader to subscribe to your email list.
- Offer your reader a valuable gift that relates closely to your core message.
- Initiate a relationship with your reader.
- Serve your reader relentlessly.
- Motivate thousands of people who don’t know that you exist to buy your book.
Need guidance implementing these steps?
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Check out our additional email list-building services.
More on Branding
Episode 9: Being True to Yourself
Episode 32: 7 Tips to Create a Memorable Brand Identity
Episode 44: Simplify Your Areas of Influence
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