Let’s face it, most authors would love to hear their book has hit the USA or New York Times Best Seller list.
But in reality, making any romance Best Seller list takes a lot of work and a bit of luck. Of course, this is assuming you have a good book that readers love.
So when Dark Awakening made the top 9% of sales in its category, I counted this as a major win and one that would move me closer to my goal of making the USA or New York Times Best Seller list. And, in true pay-it-forward fashion, I am only too happy to pass along what I did (and what I learned).
Persistence pays off
When I started marketing Dark Awakening, I didn’t have a community, Twitter followers, a Facebook page or any other social outreach. I did have the advantage of working in marketing so I knew that building a community and growing followers would be key to gaining the reach I’d need to sell my book.
But balancing a full-time job, part-time teaching job, family, a move, new home, etc., also meant I had limited time. (Whew! I’m exhausted just writing all this!)
However, as a marketer, I know there are many fantastic tools out there to help streamline my efforts and help me reach my goals. As such, I selected Crowdfire and Hootsuite to help me with my social media efforts. The other thing I did was to set aside time every day to build my audience, write content and schedule posts. This was key. While my outreach grew slowly at first, the efforts later became like a snowball, growing bigger with continued exposure and effort. At this point, my efforts became almost addictive and the increased reach (and sales!) encouraged me to keep going. So my advice to you is don’t stop! You need to continue to build your audience and reach if you want to sell more books. (Of course, you also need to have a solid understanding of who your target audience is, otherwise you are simply adding the wrong people).
Get your side hustle on because you will need money for marketing
I’d love to tell you that I made it to the top 9% position without investing anything in marketing, but sadly, that isn’t the case. While my organic efforts are strong drivers, paid advertising helps supplement those efforts and allows me greater reach than my organic efforts alone. I started slowly at first, and I never spent more than my allotted budget.
So where did I find extra money to spend on advertising and marketing? I teach graduate level marketing courses through the University of Phoenix in the evenings which funds my advertising, design and marketing efforts. I pour nearly every bit of money I make back into advertising and marketing. When I supplement organic efforts with paid efforts, the amount of web traffic triples and sales of my books increase. The point is to find a money-making endeavor you can do in your spare time to fund your book marketing efforts.
Teaching works really well for me because I can select when I am available and take only the teaching contracts that fit into my schedule. This allows me plenty of time between assignments to focus on writing and marketing Dark Awakening and Dark Gathering.
If you don’t have a marketing background or need help marketing your book, consider using services like Guru or Fiverr to help you get your marketing off the ground.
Be sure to track and measure your efforts
Someone once told me, “If it’s measured, it’s managed.” This mantra has served me well in marketing and is applicable in romance book marketing as well!
So if your author site is not yet connected to Google Analytics (or another built-in web traffic analytics tool), you need to get that done. ASAP. Waiting to see your quarterly royalty reports to see how many books you’ve sold means you’ve wasted valuable time that you could have spent refining marketing efforts. Also, by waiting until your quarterly royalty report comes out, you may not understand which of your marketing efforts led to the increase in sales.
For those of you with a book publisher, you may not have a choice but to wait. If this is your case, be sure to map the dates of your marketing efforts to sales of your book. While not a perfect measurement, this will directionally tell you if your efforts are producing results.
For indie authors, the ability to track and measure all the way from web traffic to sales is much easier since you have visibility into your sales through the Amazon KDP platform. Be sure you are logging in at least once a week to track sales. If one of your marketing channels isn’t producing book sales, don’t waste time (or money) on it. Move on to another channel or consider testing a different message or creative concept. Sometimes it’s not the channel that isn’t working, but rather the offer, message or creative output. And keep in mind that what works in one marketing channel doesn’t always work in another. Test, test, test!
What’s working for your romance book marketing efforts? Drop me a line below. I love hearing about new ideas or celebrating with fellow authors who’ve found a winning combination.
February 12, 2018 at 1:04 pm
Not in marketing, and with me looking to launch my first book this year, still trying to figure it out!
February 12, 2018 at 5:06 pm
Feel free to reach out to me if you want to bounce ideas off me or if you need to do a bit of brainstorming. I am happy to share what I’ve done (both the good and the bad!). : )
February 14, 2018 at 5:44 am
Thanks for this post. I’m promoting my new novel Tangled (my third) after six years on hiatus because of school. I’m back in the game right now, with new content, social media campaigns, videos, daily tweets, new Instagram account, etc. It get frustrating at times, but nothing resonates more than “persistence pays off.”
February 16, 2018 at 12:30 am
Hi James! Glad you found the information helpful. Congrats on your third novel! Marketing a novel is certainly not for the faint of heart! I’m glad you are sticking with it. I also think I’ve seen some of your marketing efforts around Tangled — I’m going to check it out!