A Marketing Strategy for Authors that Actually Works

Marketing your book is no joke.

You are vying for the limited attention and dollars of readers within an extremely crowded marketplace.

In 2013, there were nearly 1.5 million books (new titles and non-traditional) published. And this doesn’t include the number of books currently in circulation. That’s a lot of books.

Not only are there numerous books in circulation, the median number of books the average adult reads are four. This means you are striving to have your book considered as one of the four chosen by the average adult consumer among a sea of options.

But hey, look on the bright side.

Your chances of selling a book are better than being killed by a lightning strike.

As an author, convincing someone to purchase—let alone read—your book is a challenge. My aim in telling you this isn’t to dash your dreams of book publishing against the rocks. Think of it more like me waving smelling salts under your nose to wake you up after being knocked out.

A Marketing Strategy for Authors

Reality checks are important.

Clearly seeing the current publishing landscape will help you to best prepare, write, and market your book.

Though I just painted a dark picture, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And the light you see is not an oncoming train—it’s hope.

You can rise above the noise, cut through the clutter, and connect with people who will read your book. And it doesn’t include paying for a television ad during the Super Bowl, a billboard in Time Square, or a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign.

There are multiple tactics you can consider when marketing your book. But there is one marketing strategy for authors that will enable you to place your book into the hands of the people who need it most.

Enter Email Marketing

Email marketing isn’t new and it’s definitely not dead.

It may not boast the glamor of social media, but email marketing is arguably the best marketing strategy you can use to get the attention of people, build their trust, and compel them to action.

When compared to other digital marketing tactics, such as sending a tweet, writing a blog post, purchasing multiple web banners, and more, email marketing will outperform them all every time for five reasons:

  • Email is regularly checked
  • Email is quiet (It’s only you and your email recipient.)
  • Email is direct
  • Email is laser-focused
  • Email is personal

Unlike your social media accounts, your email list is the only direct connection to your audience you can own. Think about it. You don’t own your Facebook likes. You don’t own your Twitter followers. And you don’t own your YouTube subscribers. Though building an audience on these platforms is helpful, it’s similar to building a house on someone else’s land. You don’t own the information—someone else does. But this isn’t the case with your email list. You can take it with you wherever you go.

This marketing strategy for authors isn’t new. The advice I’m going to share below has been built upon by the work of multiple people and organizations. And it’s a proven strategy that can be easily adapted.

1. Choose an Email Service Provider

The first thing you need to do to implement this marketing strategy is to choose an email service provider. Here are options to get you started:

  • MailChimp
  • Aweber
  • ConvertKit

At Lucid Books, we use MailChimp. But any of the options above will help you get started with building an email list.

2. Create an Offer

Let me ask you a question: Do you provide your email address to anyone? Probably not.

Let me ask you another question: Do you think people will simply give you their email address? Again, probably not.

You will need to give people a compelling reason to sign up for your email list by making them an offer they can’t refuse.

Your offer will need to be a free, and add value to your audience.

Your free offer can take the form of countless things, such as an:

  • Email series
  • Audio book
  • Toolkit
  • eBook
  • Webinar
  • And more…

For my personal website, I provide a free eBook for people when they opt-in to my email list. This gesture led to over a 100% increase in my email subscribers for two consecutive months without even taking out an ad!

3. Nurture Your Email List

Don’t leave people hanging after signing up for your email list. The goal is to build trust with your audience by consistently providing them with a high-level of value. The best way to do this is to consistently provide free content through your blog, podcast, or video blog.

The keyword here is consistency.

For you, consistency can be creating new content on a weekly or monthly basis. If you create weekly content, you can get away with producing shorter material. On the other hand, if you create something monthly, it’s best to provide your audience with something more robust.

Regardless of your approach, the key to this strategy working is to consistently deliver value to your audience. By doing this you’ll build trust with your audience and place yourself in a position to easily make offers to them, such as the release of a new book.   

4. Create Awareness for Your Offer

With your system in place, your goal now is to lead people to sign up for your email list.

There are multiple ways you can draw attention to your offer. Here are some suggestions for you to consider online and offline:

Online

  • Blog posts
  • Social media updates and ads
  • Email signatures
  • About page
  • Guest posts
  •  Pop-ups
  • Sidebar
  • Content upgrades
  • Landing page
  • Pay per click ads

Offline

  • Speaking engagements
  • Business cards
  • Books
  • Newspaper and magazine articles

If you’re getting started, don’t worry about doing everything at once. I suggest choosing 1-3 options from this list and get to work! From there you can expand the tactics you use to create awareness for your email list.

Making this Work for You

Do you think you could sell a few hundred books or more if you built an engaged email list of 100, 500, or more than 1,000 people?

An email list of people who said, “Yes, I like you, what you say, and what you have to offer.”

I think you can.

Building an engaged email list of people who give you permission to send them messages and promotional offers is the single most powerful tool you can wield when it comes to marketing your book.