As an author, you may already be aware that the hard work of writing a great book is just the beginning, and promoting it effectively can be quite a real challenge.
This is where Lesley Morrison, a book-marketing consultant for Tellwell, can help you! With years of experience working with authors, Lesley knows how to develop marketing strategies that work and can assist you in standing out in a competitive market. In this meet-the-team interview, we will chat with Lesley about the art of book marketing and how you can use her expertise to promote your book.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background? How did you become interested in book-marketing consulting?
As a published author, I realized the importance of knowing how to market a book in a saturated and competitive market. Having some insider knowledge prompted me to find ways I could help others on the same literary journey and overcome the same challenges I faced.
What does a typical day in the life of a book-marketing consultant look like? Can you walk us through your daily routine?
My day always starts with emails! I like to ensure no one is left hanging for answers. Typically I prioritize tasks that will have the greatest impact for authors in getting marketing underway. I keep close communication with my authors to let them know where things are at, and to get feedback on services I am working on if necessary. I save the most creative tasking (like promotional material design) for the evening when I do my best visual work.
What are some of the biggest challenges that authors face in marketing their books, and how do you help them overcome these obstacles?
A lot of authors seem to struggle with confidence, and that’s totally normal! This “imposter syndrome” can leave authors feeling like they don’t have what it takes to sell their book, so I like to reassure them that by writing their book, they have crossed the biggest hurdle. I also see authors afraid to use social media, and while yes, it is very daunting, I encourage authors to start small and find a comfort zone.
How do you stay up to date with the latest trends and best practices in book marketing, and incorporate them into your work with clients?
I read articles daily on what other authors are doing to market their book. I follow several publishers, editors, agents, and authors on social media, and find these valuable resources for keeping in the loop. I also encourage my authors to do the same, and watch what other successful writers are doing to get results.
Can you share a success story of a book-marketing campaign that you spearheaded, and the impact it had on the book’s success?
I worked with a children’s author recently who had a really great STEM book, but no educational platform. She was also terrified to put herself out there and talk to people. After several phone calls, we worked out a strategy that involved local marketing to start, and the author went on to create (with my advice) a line of merchandise to sell with her books and add to her pitch. She is now working on book 2!
How do you tailor your marketing strategies for different genres of books, and what unique considerations do you take into account for each?
While much of book marketing entails the same level of activity, each genre will have its own audience, and strategies will always be tailored to a book’s target audience. Children’s books must reach kids, educators, and caregivers, while adult fantasy will be unique for another age group and demographic. Knowing who your readers are is the most important aspect in knowing how to get their attention.
What advice do you have for authors who are just starting out and may not have a large budget for marketing their book?
Most of your successful marketing can be done for free! Think about social media strategies, pitching to book reviewers, and doing giveaways, and don’t forget about the power of getting some solid reviews. Keep your initial strategies focused locally to generate buzz about your book, but if you need to invest anything to start, create something physical, like a bookmark or business card, that you can give out.
What role do you believe book marketing plays in the overall success of a book, and how does it fit into the larger publishing ecosystem?
While many authors don’t like this answer, book marketing usually determines a book’s success. Even authors who are published through traditional publishing houses have to get out there and let people know it’s there. It is an extremely competitive industry, and if marketing is not something you can devote time to, you may not see the sales you are hoping for.
What exciting developments or trends do you see on the horizon for book marketing, and how do you anticipate adapting to these changes?
We do see a lot more focus on social media marketing, especially on channels like TikTok. Authors are getting creative in order to stand out, and authors might need to go beyond their comfort zones to get some good traction in the years ahead.
How has your experience working with Tellwell influenced your approach to book-marketing consulting, and what have you learned from working with the team there?
My time with Tellwell has taught me so many things about book marketing, and the self-publishing industry as a whole. I have leaned how important the Indie publishing scene is becoming for authors as traditional houses are becoming more difficult to access. I have taken a much more in-depth approach to marketing consulting and have really learned how all aspects of book marketing weave together to create a great author brand and marketing campaign.