Your phone rings; your best friend is calling. You answer and the congratulations and celebratory cheers pour in. The day has come, the daydreams have become reality. You’ve made the Globe and Mail’s bestseller list! The book you spent months crafting has gone viral and new readers are multiplying by the second! You’ve reached celebrity author status.
It may seem far-fetched, but it’s certainly possible. The question is: how did you get to that unforgettable milestone?
As an author, whether you’re self-published or not, one of the most important things you’ll need to do to work towards that bestseller status is build an audience of readers who would be most interested in your book. But, growing a target market is no easy feat, and it definitely takes time and committed engagement.
And, if you want to hit the ground running when your book is launched, you’re going to need to get started sooner rather than later. Enter pre-marketing.
Having and executing a pre-marketing strategy is extremely important to build initial momentum – whether it’s your first book, or your sixth. Here are Tellwell’s top ten tips to consider when putting together your pre-marketing strategy:
- Think like your target readers. The first thing you should do when putting together a marketing strategy is think like the people you’re trying to reach. Who are they really? What are their interests and hobbies? What are they spending their time doing? Where are they looking to discover new books? You may not know the answers to these questions right away, but you’ll want to have an idea so you can experiment when implementing your strategy.
- Know your genre. The more specifically you can define your book’s genre, the more easily you’ll be able to define your readers and your marketing approach. Do some research on the varying genres, especially if your book is fiction, to know the subtle differences in sub-genres.
- Get beta readers. These are people other than close friends or family, who will read your book and provide feedback before or during your editing stage. They’re not editors, but rather target readers who will constructively critique your book’s plot, character arcs, and style as it pertains to your readership. To find beta readers, check out Scribophile, Wattpad, or this Goodreads Group.
- Don’t rush the production process. While it may be tempting, especially when self-publishing, to get your product on the market ASAP, take your time in writing, editing and designing your book to ensure you’re allowing room for feedback, creativity and improvement. Sure, you can revise later, but you still want to give your book the best possible shot at success right?
- Get going on social media! Just because your book isn’t available for purchase, doesn’t mean you can’t begin to connect with the people who will eventually make up your readership. In fact, the sooner you begin to engage, the more loyal your following will become. Start by selecting the top two social media platforms where your audience interacts, set up author pages or accounts on those platforms, and begin to seek out your following through pages and content that relate to the themes in your book.
- Share your progress with your audience. Readers will feel a lot more vested in your project if they’re being carried along in the process with you. So, when your editing has been completed, share an excerpt of the book on your blog and/or your social media accounts.
- Get involved in writing communities. Once of the best resources for new authors is writing networks. They can provide a wealth of knowledge and support – whether you join a local writer’s group, attend a writer’s conference, or become a member of a writer’s association.
- Create your author brand. Think about how you want to portray yourself to your readers and use it to put together a strong author bio, content for your social media channels, and even some promotional materials. It’s important that readers become not only interested with the contents of your book, but also with you the author – especially if you plan to publish another book.
- Start getting reviews. Once you’ve undergone the beta and editing phases, it will be important to send copies of your book to some of your target readers to get some positive preliminary reviews. Having these reviews in advance allows you to use them to launch your book when it’s ready.
- Have fun and be creative! Marketing your work can be intimidating, but if you pursue enjoyable techniques to get the word out, you’re much more likely to keep the momentum going as it begins to take off. Remember, this is not your ‘day job’ and there’s no cookie cutter approach to connecting with your readership. Use the pre-marketing phase to experiment with new tactics!
It may be tempting to set marketing aside to focus on getting the book written and produced. However, the build it and they will come attitude can create additional challenges once your book is published. So, try setting some marketing habits right from the beginning!