Email lists are used widely here at FyreSyde. We use them for our street teams, our blogger list and of course our newsletter. Having email lists can be crucial if social media should suddenly become useless. Where would you find those readers or get in touch with them?
Email. We love it, we hate it. We like to complain we get too much of it, but we’re also addicted to our inboxes. If you’re an author who’d like to build a following, sell more books, and be seen as the go-to person in your industry, then this article will show you how – by using simple emails. Without further ado, here are 5 reasons why every author should market themselves using email:
Conor Kelly, Reasons Authors Should Market Themselves with Email
Over the past few years, content marketing has gained popularity as a marketing strategy. And rightfully so—businesses all over the world are successfully using blog posts and social media to gain customers, clients, and brand fans. In fact, content marketing converts people to paying customers at a rate SIX TIMES higher than other/traditional methods. While it’s becoming a no-brainer for businesses, content marketing and having a content strategy is just as important for solopreneurs, writers, and authors. You might not realize it yet, but if you’re writing full-time or trying to become a published author, you’re running a business and it will greatly benefit you to think of it from that perspective. And that’s why a content strategy is integral to your success as a writer.
Abbie Mood, 3 Reasons Authors Need a Content Strategy Now
Book bloggers are crucial to the writing community. They offer their reviews free of charge (in most cases) and are willing to often take more than they can handle.
However, there is a right and a wrong way to work with book bloggers. Unfortunately many receive backlash for their honest reviews.
Thankfully, NaNoProMo day 25 (founded by Rachel Thompson) brings a book blogger to the table. In her article, Donna Huber offers details how to communicate properly with book bloggers.
Make Friends With Book Bloggers One of the top questions I hear from authors when discussing book discoverability and marketing is “What can I do that doesn’t cost a lot of money?”
My Response Is Always: Make Friends With Bloggers
Unfortunately, I see way too many authors only using bloggers as review generators and failing to make any kind of personal connection with them beyond the review pitch. Bloggers are an awesome resource to have in your toolbox, but one too many authors do not properly know how to incorporate this tactic into their marketing plans. As more and more bloggers close to review requests, it is important for authors to find new ways to leverage the impact a blogger can have on a book’s success. I have a number of publishers and publicists that contact me about traditionally published books. I can almost always tell when an email is from the traditional side of publishing from the first few lines. It is subtle, but it sets them apart from the indie and self-published pitches. Pitches from traditional publishing rarely begin with a request for review. Bloggers are pretty smart and already know that if an author/publisher/publicist is contacting them, they are hoping for a review.
Donna Huber, How to Work With Book Bloggers (By a Book Blogger)
Marketing. We talk about it so much and find so much on the internet but still new authors struggle with how to go about it. It’s intimidating, horrifying and can, at times, be confusing.
NaNoProMo day 30 (founded by Rachel Thompson) offers a great roadmap on how authors can go about their marketing. Beth Barany shares some steps you can take to make marketing your book a bit less daunting.
Why Market Our Books?
We writers want to be read. Otherwise, why would we publish our work? Well, it is so gratifying to hold the book and see it on the shelf. But it’s the readers’ joy in reading is what it’s all about. Otherwise, why publish?
To be read, we must market our books. How to do that can be overwhelming and feel like a big black box you can’t open because: There are so many choices out there on how to market There is so much advice on the “right” way to market that clashes — confusing! and You may be afraid to actually to do the work because of well, many reasons. (I’ll address this aspect more below.) To bring some clarity and offer an overview roadmap, let’s start by defining our terms.
Beth Barany, How to Create a Book Marketing Roadmap
So often we’re terrified of this one little word. It paralyzes us. Keeps us fearful and holds us back from attempting a deeply ingrained dream. It scares us so bad, often we think it’s better not to try than fail altogether. Who knew one little word held so much power?
In this series on failure, our hope is that our readers will learn not to fear failure but embrace it as a step in their journey to success.
What Is Failure?
The best way to start understanding something is to become familiar with what it is.
According to Dictionary.com, failure is defined as:
A lack of success
or an insufficiency
You’ll notice, nowhere in those definitions are the words “impossible”, “Non-attainable” or “unreachable.” The common themes are “a lack” of something. When looked at by entrepreneurs, the art of failing is when one stops (nonperformance) trying to attain their goals (a lack of success).
Why Does It Terrify Us?
Good question. What exactly is it about failure that terrifies someone enough to keep them from even trying? Is it a damaging view of others? Maybe we’re afraid to give our last dimes to obtain something only to have it backfire. Perhaps it’s the idea of wasting time over something which seems silly. Truth is, why failure paralyzes differs from person to person. It often depends on the individual.
History Is Made on Failure
No matter how terrifying, failure is one of the most beautiful things in the history of creation. Every living and non-living thing has experienced a form of failure. The next time you sit down at your laptop, your phone, your game system, the airport, etc, take a solid look. Every inventor of these great technological advances suffered failure! You have your phone because of ridicule and failure! Airplanes are flying on the backs of multiple failures! The books we read were printed on failure. The list goes on! What makes this different is these failures didn’t stop until they made the plane fly. Made the internet work. Made a website where most of the world’s online commerce occurs. History, great and small was built on the backs of failures.
Why It Is More Valuable Than Success
This is most likely going to sound like the most absurd of ideas but it holds true. Bishop T.D. Jakes states, “we learn more from our failures, than our successes.” Why does he say this? Because once you’ve reached your success, whatever it may be, you are beginning something anew. You reach failure again and again when you work to brand and market that success. Failures are teachers. They beat us down, they hurt, they ache but in the end, we can choose to get up or we can stay down. Failure is the best learning tool. When Charles Darwin wrote his Origin of Species, he witnessed one the most elaborate examples of failure. Nature.
Why We Need Failure
We wouldn’t grow without it. Our characters wouldn’t build to become something stronger. Our intellects wouldn’t be pushed to solve the problems caused by failure to become success. Bishop Jakes offers a story about his father, who began a business with only a mop and a bucket in a difficult time in history. However, he persevered and built a truly flourishing enterprise.
The Truth Is, Your Dream Has to Sound Insane
Going back to Bishop Jakes. In his most recent appearance at the Global Leadership Summit, he states “your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” It has to sound like it’ll hurt or is it worth your failure? For avid viewers of the popular Food Network show, Chopped, one cannot watch an episode without hearing stories of people who gave everything to obtain their culinary dreams. Did they think they’d get as much back as they did? No! Not at all but they took a risk and landed in one of the most viewed shows on television.
“Your dream has to sound unattainable for it to be worth it.” — T.D Jakes, Founder of the Potter’s House
Ultimately, failure is terrifying. There’s no escaping the fact. The trick is to look it in the eyes and push through to make your dream a reality. Ask yourself, what have I really got to lose? Then ask – What have I honestly got to gain?
Some great resources for when you need some reassurance:
Soar by T.D Jakes, Potter’s House
Creativity, Inc by Ed Catmull, Pixar
Power of Your Potential by John Maxwell, author, pastor
How many times has this happened to you? A customer or potential customer walks up to you in something as large as ReaperCon to something as small as the grocery store line, the two of you strike up a conversation and it leads to what it is you do. This could be an author, an artist, maybe an Avon agent, whatever your specialty.
Anyway, they ask you, “Do you have a website I can go to?” You happen to respond with anything from an “I’m working on one” or “I use Facebook” and all of a sudden you find yourself locked in this awkward silent moment.
Believe me dear readers, it does happen. More often than you may expect.
The moral is, you must have a website. Nowadays, a website is a company’s first go to in order to find out just how serious you are about your craft.
Now, this also happens. You may have a website that has the domain name in it and to many this is perfectly fine as far as hubs like WordPress and Weebly but trust me, nothing bothers a potential client more than not have the old .com, .org, etc.
As hard as it is to accept, if you wish to define yourself as a professional, you must invest in your website.
Think of it as your central hub. Your social media can be seen as spider threads. They branch out and reach potential customers and contacts but ultimately lead them back to your website.
Forbes magazine offers three powerful reasons as to why your website is vital to growing your small business.
Your website is important in building first impressions
Your website is your “shopping window”
If your website is “sloppy” or “missing”, then you are losing business
To quote them:
“They’re likely to dismiss you entirely, as well, should they believe your website doesn’t reflect the kind of experience your business – or a business like yours – should offer.” — Forbes Magazine
The truth is, with sites offering low rates on hosting such as godaddy.com, hostgator.com, and bluehost.com, just to name a few, there really isn’t much of an excuse to not have a professional website. Even WordPress has two different venues you may use to construct your professionally designed website.
A question you may ask then is, “what if I don’t know how to set a site up?”
To this, the reply would be to invest the money to have it made the best it can be or to utilize sites with pre-made templates like weebly.com, squarespace.com, tyepad.com or wix.com. You may also use blogger which may be easier for those just beginning to get their feet wet in site design.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to cover all of your options in this blog post but that’s where search engines like google are your best friend. Do some research to find which is best for you. Check their pros and cons, maybe try them since sites like Squarespace and Typead often offer trial periods.
Some closing thoughts…
Whichever you choose and however you choose to go about it, make sure it’s the best you can make it, shows off your brand and highlights the products or services you plan to promote the most.
Remember!People are more likely to purchase from a brand they learn to trust and see as professional. Your website should tell your story, have a product/service page, etc. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at fyresydepublishing.com and subscribe to learn what’s coming down the pike!
When you hear the names Harley Davidson, Ed Catmull, J.K Rowling, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, what do you think of?
Do you think of motorcycles? How about Pixar? Harry Potter? Amazon or of course, Facebook?
What do all these success stories have in common? Yes, they have overwhelmingly popular brands making thousands of dollars every day. BUT! What is it they all have in common? What gave them the appeal? Did they just wake up and have these massive empires?
The answer is an all over resounding, NO!
These people had something they wanted to share with the world. Something they dreamed of and wanted to see successful. But how were they going to do this? Just post it up and wish or hope people would find their product if they decided to do no marketing whatsoever?
There was no social media when many of these great success stories came to fruition so what did they do to make such monumental impacts?
Simple. They saw the answer in front of them. Something so easily overlooked in a world saturated with desires to be famous and get rich quick goals. It wasn’t about them.
They realized early on… in order to have a successful product, you need to focus on pouring your energy into people. It is people that pass around the news of your product. People who bring awareness. People who spread the word. It’s people that makes a company what it is. And this doesn’t only apply to book marketing!
It’s a universal truth in businesses of all kinds!
For example, in today’s marketing world, there is not a person who would not recognize the name of Amazon. It is a multi-million dollar corporation reaching across a global scale in a variety of products. In the world of eBooks it holds the top slot in self and indie publishing.
Why? Because of people.
“If you make customers unhappy in the physical world, they might each tell 6 friends. If you make customers unhappy on the internet, they can each tell 6,000 friends.” — Jeff Bezos
Jess Bezos recognizes the power of the influence of people. He goes on to say:
“Obsess about customers, not competitors.” Jeff Bezos
Here is a man, a powerhouse in today’s market, humbling himself to the influence of the people his company serves.
Think about it? If no one used Amazon. If they went on with going to Wal-Mart on black Friday or never participated in cyber Monday, would Amazon still hold the place it does in today’s market? No, it wouldn’t. It is the overwhelming power of people that Jeff Bezos utilized to make Amazon what it is. He saw a need; he filled it and now look at what he has?
So often, new marketers and entrepreneurs fall into the trap of “Here’s my product, buy it!.” We flood our social media with constant self-promotion and forget: As marketers and entrepreneurs, we must remember it is about people first, not us!
Here are seven things to think about when you start marketing your product.
People buy from entrepreneurs who have something they want.
Satisfaction leads to word of mouth. Word of mouth spreads awareness.
People like to feel like more than a wallet. Make it about them.
Making it about them leads to repeated visits and customer loyalty
People identify with people who take the time to speak with them
There is no product without the audience
People invest time and effort into something they attach too. You can help create that attachment.
Things to Remember:
Having a great product must always be about something you want to bring into fruition first and foremost! If you are serious, the passion has to continue into marketing and reaching people!
Do NOT see marketing a product as a get rich quick scheme. Many of the companies listed (Amazon, Harley Davidson, Pixar, Harry Potter and Facebook) took years to gain momentum!
Recognize a need/ find your niche/ tribe.
Anyone can bust out information told over and over on blogs and websites. Find something you want to ask but no one seems to have addressed yet.
Anything worth doing is going to take some serious work!
80/20 Rule >> 80% of your engagement must involve your audience; 20% can be you.
Making money doing what you love is a dream many of us have. We long to quit our jobs and make our burning passion our daily job BUT we must remember, in the end, we want people to know we exist. If your passion is more than a hobby, start networking with people now! Whatever you do, never give up. Success is a process, not a sprint.
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That little orange star-bursting banner many authors strive to reach in Amazon’s ever growing sea of book titles. What makes this particular status so appealing? Is it an increase in book sales, reviews or maybe just the notoriety? Does it validate us in a way?
To understand why this status is so sought by authors, we need to know what it is.
This is what Amazon says about its best-seller categories:
“The Amazon Best Sellers calculation is based on Amazon.com sales and is updated hourly to reflect recent and historical sales of every item sold on Amazon.com.”
Basically, it is how well a product is performing as far as sales on an hourly basis. HOWEVER, Amazon goes on to say:
“While the Amazon Best Sellers list is a good indicator of how well a product is selling overall, it doesn’t always indicate how well an item is selling among other similar items. Category and subcategory best seller lists were created to highlight an item’s rank in the categories or subcategories where it really stands out.”
So, while the title “bestseller” is indeed an honor to obtain since it does affect sales, it is not always an accurate indication of how well a product is doing overall.
Why? Well, see what Amazon itself says:
“We choose a few of the most popular subcategories in which the item has a high ranking in relation to other items in that subcategory, and showcase the item’s rank on the product page. As with the main Amazon Best Sellers list, these category rankings are based on Amazon.com sales and are updated hourly.”
This is further complicated to determine just what a bestseller is because of authors who sell most of their titles at live trade shows and events. Many sell multiple copies of their books to readers who attend these events. Some sell hundreds of copies in a year at multiple events.
Since readers are human beings with busy lives, it can often slip their minds to leave a review. Adding their information to email lists can help alleviate these frustrations but it does not always eliminate them since an author’s constant emailing to ask for reviews can come off as begging or annoying.
So, with all of these ever shifting trends in Amazon’s algorithm combined with the understanding that not all authors rely on Amazon reviews to get their books into the hands of anticipatory readers, the status of “Bestseller” can become very obscured.
The hard but also stress-relieving truth is just because it says “Bestseller” it doesn’t have to mean “Bestseller.” Event authors who sell multiple copies of their books and enjoy writing them are the ones who understand that building a loyal readership doesn’t always have to rely on an orange status.
As long as you are building your platform, have loyal readers who look forward to your work, and are buying your books then you are going to reach “bestseller” status. It just might not be according to Amazon or its system.