Book Marketing Predictions for 2014, Part 1 of 2
* Today's article was a bit large so I've chosen to split it into two installments here on our blog. The article was written by: Penny C. Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. She is the author of five books, including Book to Bestseller, which has been called the "road map to publishing success." To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, you can visit her website at http://www.amarketingexpert.com.
For those of us who market authors for a living, we know that 2013, more than any other year, saw bigger changes in marketing books. More in fact, than any prior year. The changes are largely due to the number of books that have come online both in print and digital and, in some cases, in digital only. In fact, the latest figures for books published daily are staggering. Bowker reported that in 2012 there were 3,500 books published each day in the US; this number does not include eBooks since many of them are often published straight to Amazon without ISBN numbers or other means of tracking. It’s a perfect storm for change.
What this does for the industry is it forces new marketing models in place, while pushing others to the back-burner. So, what’s the biggest change I’ve seen in 2013? Well, pretty much all things traditional flew out the window. Reviews are still important, but reader reviews took precedence over that. Engagement is still key, but direct reader engagement is even more crucial. What does this mean for you in 2014? Have a look.
More is better: For most of us, the days of writing a book a year, or a book every two years have long since passed. Readers want more content and one of the best ways to engage with them is to keep your books in front of them - and the best way to do that is to keep pushing new books out the door. Keep in mind that when it comes to marketing, content really is king and good content, in the form of a book, can really help to keep you out there. Also, something that I’ve noticed in the testing that I’ve done is that the more content you have out there, the more you sell just in general. What I mean by this is that (book) content elevates all of your sales. When an author releases a second book within a short 6-9 month window, they’ll often see higher sales of prior books, just because the new title is pushing the others to the forefront. Though if you do this, you should use the back matter of your book to cross-promote all of your titles. The new year will see more of this being done; pushing out more books for marketing reasons will be a big game-changer for many.
Short is the new long: The good news with pushing out tons of content is you don’t have to be writing 500-page tomes. We’ve seen this already in 2013, but the coming year will bring this so much more to the forefront. My recommendation is to create one or two full length books a year and then additional micro-content such as novellas or shorter books that focus on one topic or tackle just one problem. You’ll see more on this in a minute. Suffice it to say that pushing a ton of books out is great, but they don’t all have to be full-length books. Supplement your writing with shorter pieces but keep in mind that whatever you do has to be of equal quality. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity, ever. I predict that in the new year you’re going to see a lot of authors pushing out books like this. One full-length and several shorter. It’s a great way to gain visibility and stay in front of your readers.
Micro-Topics Rule: Your readers are busy, really busy. They want a problem solved or they want to be entertained, quickly. And sometimes they only want to able to pick up a book and read it in one sitting. That’s where micro-content comes in. Focused topics solving one specific problem. For example, if you have a book on starting a business, you may decide to create a focused topic on how to create and execute a solid social media strategy. Or if you’ve written on parenting, you may write one shorter book on easy and inexpensive ways to ‘green’ your house. The point is that if you can isolate a reader problem and address it, you can win their loyalty. Own a niche, and I mean really own it. If finance is your topic, dig into all of the potential challenges and address them in shorter books. For fiction writers, you’ll see a lot more situational romance. Meaning stories that are just short and sweet, focused on a few characters and one main issue they overcome to have their happy ending.
Readers are key: In the intro paragraph I mentioned the importance of readers. Now, more than ever, you must connect with your readers, you must take the time to reach out to them. I’ve addressed this a few times in other pieces, too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/discovery-another-buzzwor_b_3800283.html; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/how-to-become-a-goodreads_b_3719161.html) But the point is that you want to encourage readers to review your book by including a (polite) request for this in your book, you want to engage directly with them on social sites like Goodreads, and you want to communicate directly with them. If you get a review from a reader, thank them. If you have readers who reviewed your other books, reach out to them and ask them to review your latest one. Also, readers don’t just want engagement from you, they want it from your book. Do not, under any circumstances, end your book without giving readers a chance to engage with you, your other material, or your characters.
* Part 2 of this article will be published on February 3rd.
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