I’ve been involved with the English-language book publishing industry for close to 25 years now. Through my direct experience with trade publishers, vanity (self) publishers, and the hybrid (supported self-publishing) companies, as both an author and a service-provider, I’ve been able to view all facets of this dynamic industry from many different vantage points. This has led me to write a few educational guides for authors on how to navigate this world for themselves and figure out which publishing business model will work best for them and their personal goals. I also provide sales coaching for the authors who wish to sell more copies of their books.
Most writers and authors would define themselves as introverts, and they view this as a conflict of interest with the sales and marketing aspect of the business. Many believe sales and marketing should be left to the extroverts, but that’s untrue. The fact is, it doesn’t matter who you publish your books through. If you want commercial success, then you need to be actively involved in that part of the process. The good news is that it’s possible to enjoy significant commercial success – in the six figures annually – if you’re willing to take the initiative and learn how to sell. Here are three independent authors (two of them self-proclaimed introverts like me) who did just that and are now enjoying greater sales success than many before them thought was possible: [The Proof!] Three Independent Authors Who are Earning $150,000+ Annually.
T-Shaped Marketing for Authors
What is T-shaped marketing, you’re asking yourself? Well, if you click on this next link, you’ll see a diagram that depicts the T-shaped concept really well: The T-Shaped Web Marketer. I also like Rand Fishkin’s succinct description of it: “T-Shaped basically refers to having a light level of knowledge in a broad array of skills, and deep knowledge/ability in a single one (or a few).” In relation to authors, that means your deep knowledge/ability (the stem of the T) is the content you’ve written about in your book(s) whereas the flat, horizontal part at the top represents the various other creative and analytical skills you can learn to best utilize the internet in selling your book(s).
The true T-shaped marketers are doing more than just “thinking outside the box” in the traditional sense of sales and marketing. They are broadening their skills in several online areas: blogging, social media marketing, email marketing, et cetera. You’re more than a writer now. You’re more than a published author. You’re an entrepreneur. The authors who will take the time to educate themselves in these areas will have an advantage over the others who won’t. The result? They may end up earning as much as the three authors mentioned in the above-listed link. We know it’s possible. We now have real-world proof of that.
Blogging and Social Media Marketing
As I discuss in one of my latest books titled Successful Selling Tips for Introverted Authors, blogging and social media marketing are great marketing tools for introverts – for all authors, really. I’m a strong proponent of social media marketing and am always telling my authors to use it in conjunction with blogging so they can sell more books. Why? Because they are free online advertising tools that allow you to really target in on your desired customer base by virtue of key words, and then stay in front of them consistently.
Consistency is key. Regular advertising is all about creating top of mind awareness—staying in front of your prospective readers/customers so that, when they’re in the market to purchase what you’re selling, they’ll recall you (your book, your services) above all the rest. You can read more about that here: Why Do We Use Social Media Marketing? What’s the Point?
Books are perfect for email marketing. They go together well because email marketing is all about sharing, promoting, and selling information… and a book is an information product.
Here is a fantastic resource for you regarding how email marketing can help you to sell more books: The Circle of Profit by Anik Singal. It is a free PDF that you can download, and it contains all the information you will ever need regarding how to run a successful email marketing campaign. I’ve read it three times myself, and I get something new out of it every time. There’s a lot of great information in it!
As I mentioned earlier, these are just three of the many T-marketing strategies you can use to sell more copies of your books. The point is simply that you should be doing something. The other point is that it’s possible. It’s possible to earn a decent living as an author in this day and age!
Kim Staflund is an author, publisher at Polished Publishing Group (PPG), TESOL certified sales coach for authors, and host of the PPG Publisher's Blog where you'll find everything you need to know on how to write, publish, and sell a book.
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