In this episode, I want to take a step back and discuss what modern book marketing looks like in today’s age and how this affects us both self-publishers as well as published authors.
In 2007, Amazon created Kindle Direct Publishing or KDP. This changed the industry in two major ways:
- We no longer need to land a publishing deal in order to publish our works
- We can go on our own and take a larger cut of the profits. Famous authors like Hugh Howey have even turned down big time publishing deals because he can make more money on his own thanks to KDP. Also, not going to lie, but Hugh is sort of the Amazon poster boy.
- Now, while this sounds great, because of the freedom to publish, the rate at which books are entering the market has increased dramatically over the years. There’s now more competition.
- By Allowing authors to enter the market on their own, Publishers increasingly looking at an author's record as an indication of whether or not to sign someone. Imagine this: two authors go into a publishing company with a book in a similar niche.
Author A: Has never published before, but the book is very good.
Author B’s book isn’t as good as Author A’s, but still decent.
However, Author B has self-published a couple of times and has sold over 40,000 units as well as collected an email list of over 30,000 people.
So, now that we know we need to improve our marketing capability, how do we do that? Well there are two methods to book marketing:
Method 1: Market your book to an existing buyers market
Method 2: Find the market and turn them into a buyers market
Now, method 1 is the easier of the two. This is about understanding what it is that people want, what genres are hot right now, and what phrases people are typing into Amazon when shopping for their next book. Once you know this, it’s just about getting your book in front of this market while they’re shopping on Amazon, itunes, and other book markets. This is through things like keywords, category selection, AMS ads and more.
Basically, method 1 Is about understanding what the market wants, and creating a book for that market – then just using that market to sell it to.
Method 2 is a lot harder. It’s finding a market somewhere else that is a good fit for your book, getting their attention, and then bringing them to your book. This is a lot harder than it sounds because it takes some kind of marketing skill in order to do those three parts effectively (find them, get their attention and then convince them to stop doing what they were doing and buy).
Method 2 consists of things like Facebook ads, forums, social media, and other things. Also, this works out for those authors who already have a large following and email list. They just create their next book and then inform their fans through email of where to go to purchase the book. Get it: Find them, get their attention and then convince them.
Book Marketing Method 1 Example:
To give you an example of how these two work, let’s start with Method 1.
Back when I first started writing, I was doing market research. I had been using Evernote for a long time and wanted to write a book on how to use the program. Because I was doing Method 1, I realized, i wasn’t the only one who had thought about writing that book. There were hundreds of books.
The competition was TOO great and a new author like me, without the tools of method 2 by my side, could never beat out the others. So, I did more research and found out that there were a significant amount of people going to Amazon and typing in phrases into the search bar like “Evernote for students” “Evernote for project managers” and “Evernote for Lawyers.”
When looking to see if there were books on Amazon that addressed these three different markets, I found out…nope. Not one. So, I could have written just another book on Evernote and then compete against all the hundreds of others. Or, I could write three books specifically for those three markets and be the only book in town to address those market’s needs.
Maybe if I had had the skills or assets of Method 2, like say a website that brought in a lot of traffic of people who wanted to learn how to use Evernote, I could have competed and beaten the other authors competing for the Highly Searched for but Highly competitive term of just “Evernote.” But I didn’t. So I find a way to tailor my potential book to an existing market that didn’t find what they were wanting to buy. (on a side note, this was research I had done years ago and never got around to writing those book – I totally missed my opportunity because well…the market changed).
So, that’s method 1, let’s look at an example of Method 2.
Book Marketing Method 2 Example:
When I was working with Pat Flynn of SmartPassiveIncome.com, he was about to launch his book, Will It Fly. For Pat, his greatest marketing strength was Method 2. I don’t know his exact numbers but I’d be SUPER surprised if he didn’t have over 100k email subscribers.
Honestly, Pat could have written a book about how he puts his pants one leg at a time, and I, someone who’s on his email list and buys all of his stuff, would have totally bought it. Pat, through his podcast, email, website, and social media, has the ability to grab the attention of his followers and fans, and easily point them to his latest book, and most importantly, convince them to buy. He has the skills and assets that he built over YEARS of working.
But this isn’t to say that Pat didn’t focus on Method 1 at all. Instead, it was also important that his book gets discovered by shoppers on Amazon – of which many Amazon book buyers haven’t ever heard of him.
By doing this, Pat would benefit in two ways:
- He’d find new fans of his content
- He’d continue sales even after his launch
So, Pat could have been successful with just using Method 2, but he also worked method 1 in as well. And even after it’s been almost 2 years since he published it, Pat’s still selling just about 30 copies on average daily.
So, now that you have the understanding of the two methods to book marketing, in the next episodes, I’m going to show you specific tactics to book marketing and I hope you’ll refer back to this lesson so that you have a clear picture how each tactic helps in the grand scheme of things.