The Everyday Author

For authors who can't quit their day jobs...yet

Month: April 2017

Guest Post: 7 Priceless Content Marketing Tips for eBook Promotion

Book promotion involves more than landing interviews with authorities in your niche. Today, content is king. 70% of marketing professionals plan to create more content this year than last; this is because it’s the least expensive, most effective promotional method.

So, if you ever want to be able to quit your day job, you need to create a content marketing strategy. Here are seven tips to formulate a plan that will optimize your ebook sales this year.

1. Know Your Target Reader

The first and most important action to take when brainstorming is to get to know your target reader – truly understand them. Note that your target readers are not likely other authors, so writing for this market isn’t going to provide much in the way of establishing a fanbase. Instead, zero-in your efforts on a group of people who are likely to go bananas over your work and focus on them.

Once you have an idea who to target, find out where these readers hang out online. After you discover where they are, join them. You are there to interact naturally as well as find out what their pain points are. By solving their problems with your online content (blog, YouTube videos, etc.), you will provide value and draw positive attention to yourself.

2. Set Realistic, Measurable Goals

Once you know the pain points of your readers (these are the topics you want to cover in your content), set your objectives that you can measure. Every promotional strategy has goals – you use them to stay on point and measure the effectiveness of your overall strategy.  

3. Leverage Social Media to Promote Everything

If you create a new video, send it out across Facebook and twitter. When you post an infographic on your blog, share it on Pinterest as well. You want all of your content to be seen across the web, in as many places as possible. The trick is to direct people to your content online, then have a trail that they can follow to discover your ebook.

4. Brand Your Images and Infographics

Your ebooks and website are branded, right? Well, all of your promotional materials should be. This doesn’t mean that you need to include your logo on every single blog image. You should use a color-scheme, fonts, and image filters that are in alignment with your brand. As followers get to know you, they will recognize your brand in a sea of information, bringing you one step closer to a successful career as an author.

5. Host Your eBook on the Right Platform

If you’re planning on leveraging the millions of members on Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing or NOOK press, then you already trust that these sites are setup for ecommerce – it’s all they do. But you may have been building a following with your Blogger or WordPress account, until this point. If that’s the case, and you plan to host your ebook on your own website, use a platform that’s designed for ebook sales. This will save you a ton of effort later, and you can easily import all of your old blog posts and images.

6. Utilize Email Marketing

If you’re not already using email marketing, that may signal that you’re not interested in creating a weekly or monthly newsletter. That’s fine; though it’s helpful, you don’t have to. Technology allows you to automate your email marketing to become a nearly hands-off tactic for building relationships with your fans. Even free and inexpensive email marketing platforms allow you to create RSS campaigns that automatically send subscribers your new blog posts.

7. Be Prepared to Alter Your Plan

If I’ve learned anything working in the marketing industry, it’s that testing your promotional tactics is critical for success. Sometimes, something as seemingly trivial as the color of you call to action buttons will improve book sales. So, take some time, every couple weeks or so, to measure your campaigns and see if you’re close to meeting your goals or not. If not, adjust your tactics until you find what works.

Conclusion

Now you have a small arsenal of knowledge to help power your ebook promotional strategy online. Learn everything you can about your target reader and set goals that help you solve their problems. Use social media to promote your ebook with recognizable, branded content. Make sure your website is set up for book sales and generate leads while you build relationships through email marketing. Make changes to your plan as needed. What other content marketing tips have you used to promote your work? Share your experience in the comments.

Ashley Kimler is a full-time communications specialist and content marketing dynamo at Heroic Search. She is also a part-time, aspiring authorpreneur with one children’s picture book title currently available on Amazon KDP. Follow @ashleykimler on Twitter to see what she and her team get into next.

Bestseller Quest Part V: Market Research

Welcome back to another entry into Bestseller Quest! If you’d like to check out the full series, go here. Or, if you just want to freshen up on the previous entry, go here.

Now that we’ve got the process mapped out, it’s time to delve into market research. Much of the information in this post is stuff I learned from reading Chris Fox’s book, Write to Market (affiliate link). If you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest doing so.  You can also listen to Chris explain the basic principles in this Self Publishing Podcast episode if you want a preview first. To bring you up to speed for our purposes, here’s the basic premise:

  1. Find a genre and sub-genre you enjoy writing in that is underserved (Chris explains in detail how to identify these in his book, but basically you look at the balance between the top 100 books in that category compared to their overall sales ranking on Amazon).
  2. Identify the tropes in said genre and include a number of these tropes in your book. (This doesn’t mean you still don’t include our own flavor and spin on things, just that you choose and follow some conventions as well).

Obviously, there’s more to it than that, but that will get us started.

Actually, let me emphasize something: it’s vital to choose a genre you’ll actually enjoy writing in (surprise, surprise). Chasing what’s hot just for the money is a bad idea. If you don’t know/enjoy the genre you’re writing in and it will show in the quality of your book.

My focus for this project will be New Adult Fantasy, while also including elements of Young Adult Fantasy and “Dragon” books. Now, full disclosure upfront: since I started this project, New Adult Fantasy has grown until it definitely isn’t undeserved anymore. That being said, I believe my premise of gryphon riders also fits well into dragon books, specifically those about dragon riders (The Inheritance Cycle, Dragonriders of Pern, etc.) which is a much smaller niche that I can take advantage of. My launch time tactics will focus heavily on marketing to fans of dragon books.

YA Fantasy and Coming of Age fantasy obviously aren’t underserved markets (Harry Potter or Hunger Games?) BUT I believe that my books will also sell well there, even if they aren’t as competitive in the rankings. Here’s a few points that will aid in the crossover:

  • The trilogy begins with my protagonist at 17 and then progresses to her in her early 20s. I chose 17 because it places our heroine at a sort of crossover age between being a teen and adult. I wanted to capture the younger audience while still satisfying the conventions of New Adult later on, which is why she’ll end the trilogy at 20-21.
  • There is a small romance in the story. It’s definitely a subplot, but still important. Many New Adult Fantasy books ARE romances, but that’s not me. I recognized, however, that I couldn’t omit romance and worked to include it throughout the trilogy outline in a small capacity.
  • Thematically, the heroine deals with New Adult issues such as understanding and progressing into adulthood, navigating through relationships and increased responsibilities and answered the question of “who am I and what do I stand for?” She also is faced with YA themes earlier on like fitting in, succeeding in school-type environment, etc.

With my genre in mind, I began my research by reading books in said genres and getting lost in the equally wonderful and infinite TV Tropes website. (BEWARE: TV Tropes is the ultimate rabbit hole. One wrong step and you’ll find yourself sucked into the void for hours, nay — years! When I finally extracted myself, here were some of the big takeaways:

When I started reading, I chose a mix of both YA and New Adult titles. In addition to books I was already familiar with, I used the KindleSpy tool to take a look at several fantasy sub-genres, providing me information on how many copies each book is selling as well as some category information and rough sales numbers. Here’s a sample screenshot taken from New Adult & College Fantasy Top 20 list  to show what this looks like:

Here’s a short sampling, including the specific reason why I chose THAT book:

  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (link goes to TV tropes page): I will be using a similar structure to kick off book one: regular girl learns she is part of a special community, leaves her homes to train and become a part of this community.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (link goes to the TV Tropes page): Tied in with why I read Sorcerer’s Stone, but the main reason for this was to examine how Rowling handled the darker issues found in Chamber of Secrets and to also study how she deftly recaps the previous book in the series without losing reader interest.
  • There’s one other reason I studied the early Harry Potter books: Rowling’s masterful use of foreshadowing and seeding future plot points. Since I’m writing all three books at once, I wanted to take extensive advantage of this. Here’s a huge list of examples in the Harry Potter series, also known as the Chekhovs Gun device.
  • The Shattered Sea Trilogy: I am a huge fan of Joe Abercrombie and love his author voice. I chose this series because of the diverse YA/NA characters. Abercrombie also presents his characters with real-life adult issues — nothing sugar coated. This was the sort of tone I aimed for with Gryphon Riders: hold back the language and sex, but throw in all the challenges readers in these age groups face.
  • Enchantress: This is a constant bestseller on Amazon in the NA and YA genres. I studied this for character but also to see how the author developed a high-concept magic system that plays a heavy part throughout the book/series. James Maxwell nails the tropes.

UP NEXT: Part VI – With a foundation down, I actually had to arrange all of these tropes into a familiar yet unique story.

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