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Author Self-Marketing Tips that Work

Ah, LinkedIn. It’s a wonderful source of information. I browse author discussion groups regularly to find out what’s working — and what’s not — in terms of author self marketing.

With that in mind, I have amassed a series of comments that authors posted in response to the question: “I’d love to hear feedback on how self-marketing your book is going. Do you find it’s been effective?”

Here are some of the highlights of the responses:

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In my case, my book is a non-fiction how-to on mnemonics, and I wrote and self-published it to build my credentials as a speaker and for back-of-the-room sales. I’m surprised that Amazon sales, which I expected to be zero, are just over a book (or Kindle version) a day. That’s tiny relative to the market, but I love it! As it turns out, I don’t know now if I’m a speaker who has a book, or an author/publisher who does speaking. To more directly speak to your question, if a book can be turned into a speaking topic – and I think that virtually all non-fiction can – it means you will be paid to market your book!

Here’s another idea: Create Google Alerts for key word phrases that hit your topic. I’ve done that for phrases like “how to remember” and “memory training.” At least a few times each week, there’s a blog post or Yahoo Ask posting requesting an answer to a memory-related question. Of course my answer is signed with my name AND book title – just like this one.

Barry Reitman

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What people don’t know is the analytics behind your efforts is very important as well, and reveals some interesting patterns as far as timing of what you market to your audience as well as what we call A, B testing the messages. Obviously times change, so does your audience. Even if you track the marketing behind the sales numbers for a quarter or two, you may find some interesting results that can serve as an input to another strategy. I always say start with a baseline strategy, with tracking so that you can see over time what is effective. For example: Let’s say you find out your sales spike during certain seasons. If yes, allocate a larger budget with an emphasis to complement the seasonal spikes vs. consistently spreading your marketing dollars across the board to see how you yield a return on your investment.

Coretta Yume H.

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I’m doing an Internet version of direct marketing. Our book “Which One Am I?” was always designed both for consumers and as an adjunct text for psychology students. I’ve been working my way through the various psychology schools sending pitch letters and e-versions of the book to those who ask for one. So far, we’re in consideration to be added to the curriculum at 5-6 colleges including Yale, UC Berkeley and the University of Minnesota, all in the Top 10 of psychology schools. They won’t purchase for this semester already underway, but if they like what they read at least “Which One Am I?” will be in consideration for subsequent semesters.

We’re also on an extensive blog tour. A radio tour begins next month and we’ll be doing signings locally. That last we’re doing only as a tool to get print, radio and TV interviews. Because book stores take a percentage of cover price — usually 30-50% — we’d be making, at most, $2 per book sold. However, we won’t get the print without doing the bookings, so we have to view readings as the carrot on a stick.

Tom Kidd

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My biggest advice, what works, is being active. For example, if you are selling at a table or back of the room, it is not enough to have the books just sitting there and hoping people will walk by and notice. You don’t have to be a carnival barker, but even if you see someone with a little interest, if you simply greet them, it can open up more doors to chit chat which can lead to sales.

Cheryl Pickett

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I like the airplane trick… Drop a book off a boo at an airport and write in the front of the book that this a FREE copy from the author and you hope they enjoy your book but please leave behind for someone else to enjoy. Make sure you have your website and email written in the book and drop it off at a local airport chair or table… You’ll be surprised how many emails you get from people all over the states and possibly the world…..

John Weaver

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Marketing that I’ve used includes book reviews from my key markets, social media (twitter, linkedin, and facebook), free book giveway on goodreads.com, blog posts, Amazon author page, and for one of my books a youtube video (house tour). I also believe in the power of press releases in book promotion both locally and online. I find the e-books especially do well with online promotion. Locally, print does well and I’m surprised how many online sales I have with print. I’m always looking at new ways to market books and encourage everyone to have their books in both electronic and print. The Professional Writers Assocation of Canada forums shows 4 to 1 sales on electronic vs print.

Tracey Allen

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I would recommend using social media tools and listening tools would be a good baseline first (both are free if on a tight budget) before spending money on google ads. Then you will know who to target, then when you do have more data, you can then move on to google ads to start targeting better like region, demographics, income, men or women, etc., without feeling you are throwing a dart at the board and not sure where it will land.

Cassandra Martin

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Do you have tips on what’s worked? Share them here! There’s nothing quite like authors helping authors!

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