ou’ve written a book. Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment. But now, as you may already know, the real work begins. What are you going to do about marketing and promotion…those necessary little evils that actually sell your book? Take the Book Marketing Quiz below to test your ideas about book marketing and promotion.
Your book is hot off the press. What are your marketing plans?
a) As one of the lucky few to be published by a traditional publisher, sit back, relax and not worry about it, assuming that your publisher will take care of these details, and within a few months you will receive a big, fat royalty check?
b) As a self-published author, aware that you are the “marketing and promotional department,” as well as the author, hit the road in a mini-van filled with a few thousand books, and a plan to stop at every bookstore between Vancouver and Albuquerque to personally pitch your book?
c) Create a killer website for your book and wait for your PayPal account to quickly fill up with orders and dollars?
d) Get yourself booked as a speaker at every Rotary, Kiwanis and Garden Club within 100 miles of your home, and so dazzle the members with your wit and wisdom that each and every club member will not only buy a copy of your book for themselves, they will also each purchase several copies as a gifts?
If you answered “yes” to “a” above, you are likely to be in for a rude awakening. As most authors are aware these days, traditional publishers do little to promote a new or mid-list author’s book. The bulk of the work of getting the word out and finding an audience is left up to the author. Not only is it left up to you, it is now expected of you. Option “a” is probably not going to work. You’ll need to re-think that strategy.
If you answered “b,” you are at least showing an awareness of the realities of the book publishing business and a willingness to do some hard work. But going door to door, pitching to individual bookstores can be a costly venture, with no guarantee that your efforts will pay off. You may want to find other less costly, less time-consuming options that have better potential for success.
A “c” answer indicates a good start at a marketing strategy. But even a killer website is not an end unto itself. How will you get potential book buyers to view your site? Obviously, your site can’t sell your books if no one goes there. So the key is to get them into the door (of your website, that is).
Answer “d” indicates you have an entrepreneurial spirit and a willingness to get out there and make things happen. Good for you! As an author for whom “platform” is not a four-letter word, you’re certainly on the right track. However, as one self-published author lamented, “I ran out of Rotary Clubs long before I ran out of books.” Sadly, this can easily happen to you as well. You’ll need to make sure it doesn’t.
“One way to entice potential book buyers is to provide helpful, useful information and provide it in a format that is both fun and interactive.”
Obviously, the above options are not your best choices for marketing and promotional ideas. But don’t worry. There are other options. You can sell your own book—and do a darn good job of it—if you think creatively and give your reader some incentives to buy your book. One way to entice potential book buyers is to provide helpful, useful information and provide it in a format that is both fun and interactive.
“Quiz” your prospects! Get their input. Then use this input to create a link between the information you are providing and the book you have to sell.
Have you ever taken a “just for fun” type quiz? We’re not talking about a high school “sorry you fell asleep last night and didn’t read the chapter” pop quiz. We’re talking the “I know this is really just made up stuff, but OK you hooked me—I do want to know what kind of holiday shopping personality I have” type quiz. Chances are, you’ve been hooked by one of these little teasers at some point in your life.
“A quiz is a great way to get casual viewers to become more engaged in a website’s content.”
These types of quizzes are fun! They pique our interest because we have to answer questions. In doing so, we hope to discover new information or gain new insights about ourselves (What is Your Holiday Shopping Personality?). Other times, simple information-type quizzes can give us an opportunity to test our knowledge and skills (Do You Know What Your 5th Grader Knows?). We feel smart when we are right—and don’t we all love to be right?
Quizzes have grown in popularity in print and on the internet. Website owners recognize the need for viewer interaction. A quiz is a great way to get casual viewers to become more engaged in a website’s content.
For you, an author with a book to sell, a quiz can be just the ticket to introduce your book and its marketing site to potential customers. It can be the “calling card” that announces the existence and availability of your book to millions of prospective buyers. Here’s how you do that.
Create your quiz so it offers the respondent something of value, and also so it relates in some way to your book and gives the respondent a reason to buy your book. The closer the connection is between your quiz, survey or poll, and your book, the better. The Book Marketing Quiz that opens this article illustrates the type of quiz format I call the “Are You / Do You / Have You Ever?” quiz format. There are several other quiz formats. They are all easy, simple, and fun to create.
“I’d suggest you include between two and five questions in a promotional quiz.”
In my short, simple Book Marketing Quiz, I asked you only one question. That’s all that is necessary. But typically, I’d suggest you include between two and five questions in a promotional quiz. You want to create interest, draw people in, and get them primed for the additional information you will provide at the end of your quiz. But, you don’t want to tax their brains or tire them out. I don’t know about you, but I will give up on a quiz if there are too many questions to answer. It’s like, OK, get to the point here; I don’t have all day. Too many questions can take your quiz from fun to frustrating. So don’t do that!
Following my initial question, I offered you several answer options. So, in some way, the answers themselves became a source of additional questions. For each possible answer the question is inferred: Is this what you do? By reading and considering each answer, I am offering you the opportunity to consider a book marketing option, and to consider how well that marketing option might work for you. In this simple Q&A format, I have given you several things to think about, and perhaps have suggested an option or two you had previously not considered, but may now want to consider. You have received value just by reading the questions.
Of course, once you get to my answers, you soon come to realize that while many of the options mentioned in the questions have the potential to be useful marketing tools, they do have drawbacks. There are other things you’d need to take into consideration, or do, in order to make these options work.
You will probably now have at least some (if not a great deal of) interest in finding out just what those “additional necessities” are which can make the difference between marketing efforts that are costly and non-profitable and those that pay off with greater book sales. You will likely surmise (and of, course, you will be right) that I have the very knowledge you now seek because my Book Marketing Quiz has demonstrated to you that you need it.
Being the kind and generous person I am, I will not leave you wanting. I will tell you exactly how to get the now-more-desperately-needed-with-each-new-sentence-you-read information you desire. It just so happens that I have it ready and waiting for you in a handy little package—my book—that I will tell you about, in a short promotional blurb, like the one you’ll find at the end of this article.
So, now you know a clever, fun way to engage potential readers and interest them in your book. So get going. Create your own quiz. Send it to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll give you a quick critique.
Here’s to your publishing success!
Rita Milios is author of more than 30 books, including How To Create Quizzes, Surveys and Polls to Power-Promote Your Book or Website! She offers unique book promotion services to fellow writers, including hourly “Borrow a Brain” brainstorming sessions.
Find out more at www.ritamilios.com/bookpromotion.