Writing a book is a huge accomplishment. Getting that book published is an even bigger achievement! It’s tempting to look at your pub date as the finish line, but consider this: did you write your book for it simply to exist, or do you want people to actually read it? We’re guessing the latter!
That’s where marketing your book comes into the picture. As you’re planning your book publicity strategy, there are many to-dos… and also not-to-dos. Below we’re sharing four common mistakes authors make that detract from the overall goal of getting their book noticed, and how you can avoid making them.
1. They don’t go where their audience is
Sure, a mention of your book in a major magazine or on a hit radio show seems great! However, a mistake that authors make all too often is getting hung up on what they perceive to be the “best” and “biggest” outlets without considering whether that’s where their readers are. Though positive publicity for your book is welcomed in almost any outlet, it’s important for authors to focus on a thoughtfully planned and targeted approach where they are connecting with their ideal audience. Getting caught up on the idea of media attention that only “looks good” won’t actually do much good if the viewers of that content aren’t interested in what you have to offer.
Instead, think like a reader – and not just any reader, your reader. What types of media outlets do they consume? Are there a few podcasts that, though niche, would be the perfect place to reach them? Do they read blogs more than they read newspapers? Perhaps you know you’ll capture their attention as they review a specific trade journal.
The point is this: keep an open mind when it comes to the types of media outlets that might be best to cover your book, even if they aren’t the flashiest. The goal is to reach and connect with your audience.
2. They don’t have a professional website
When you want to find out more about someone or something, what is usually the first thing you do? Visit their website! Don’t underestimate the power of a professional, clean, and updated website. It should be a hub where potential readers can go to find out everything about your brand and should include, at the minimum, the following:
• An “about me” page (with image)
• A page all about your book (with image)
• A press page
• A contact page
• Your social media links
• An events page
If you’ve authored other books, it’s a good idea to have a page that lists your other work, as well. Just make sure that your most recent book – the one you’re publicizing – stands out as such. If you don’t already have a blog, it can be a great place to showcase your expertise and a smart way to get your readers to keep coming back to your website to read new posts.
Keep your website as uncluttered as possible, with clean lines, proofread text, and clear images. Incorporate your logo, if you have one, or your book cover colors as part of the overall design. A professional website will only add to your legitimacy as an author.
3. They don’t engage with their followers
Some authors are so focused on getting followers for their social media accounts that they forget that after they get them, they need to keep them! Followers can just as easily click the “unfollow” button if they don’t feel like they’re valued or getting anything of value from following along with you.
Posting quality, value-rich content as regularly as possible is important, but once you post, don’t forget to engage with your readers. Respond to each comment on your posts if you can. Doing so will give you an opportunity to really connect with your followers, making them feel like an important and recognized part of your community!
Another idea for engaging with your followers is to ask them questions. Generally, people love answering questions, sharing their thoughts, opinions, and stories, and weighing in on things they’re interested in. Ask your followers what they think about a topic related to your book, or for their feedback on what they’d like to see and hear about.
4. They don’t delegate
Authors have a lot on their plates, and the truth is: nobody can do it all themselves! Savvy authors figure out the parts of the process they need help with and delegate those tasks to other professionals. For instance, you might be a phenomenal writer, but perhaps your social media skills aren’t up to par; that’s where a social media expert could come in handy. Or maybe you need help staying on track with your to-do list; a virtual assistant might be a great investment. Does your website need an update? Enlist the help of a professional website designer for best results. And, of course, if you’re overwhelmed at the thought of reaching the most and best media contacts to cover your book – Smith Publicity would be honored to be part of your team!
Now that you know a few of the most notorious mistakes authors make and what you can do to avoid making them yourself, you are on the path to enjoying the success you have worked so hard for.