When we talk about book marketing, fiction authors are always asking, “Will this work for me too?
And I don’t blame them. Nonfiction authors may just have it easier, at least at the beginning. On the other hand, nonfiction sales don’t always reach the stratospheric levels of popular novels.
This whole topic came up recently while preparing for a presentation on how to navigate the varied and confusing publishing paths now available for authors.
I thought about the many authors I’ve talked to recently, and what’s happened for them once they finished the publishing process and got their books into the market.
Looking back, it’s often easier to see where you could have done something different, something that might have made a difference. Yes, we all have “20/20 hindsight.”
To “cook down” the advice I put together for these authors, I separated it into separate lists, and here they are.
Top Tips for Fiction authors
- The main obstacle for new fiction authors is obscurity. You can publish, but who will know?
- That means you need to get your book in front of as many people as possible
- The only people who count are people who *don’t know you*
- Don’t be afraid to give books away to as many people as possible
- Consider publishing an excerpt, short story, novella, prequel or other short work to help prepare your audience, one that will help sell the book
- The tools of digital publishing (direct to ebook) allow you to experiment with genres and styles
- Remember that Kindle accounts for about 60% of ebook sales; that leaves 40% available through distribution
- One of your best options is networking and bundling books with other, better-known authors (find them in social media)
- Packaging (your book cover) will be critical to tell readers you have a high-quality book worth their time
- If you think of yourself as a brand, express that brand throughout your promotion and communication with readers
Top Tips for Nonfiction Authors
- The biggest challenge for nonfiction authors is identifying their readers
- Unlike fiction, nonfiction is sold to a targeted segment of the market
- Nonfiction authors should concentrate on building an author platform before publishing
- One of the best tools to demonstrate your expertise, authority, and likability today is the blog
- Packaging (cover design) is still important, but putting together an effective pitch, and working on discoverability are primary
- Don’t forget that nonfiction authors have abundant opportunities to monetize their content in many ways. Learn to “think outside the book.”
- The best way to do that is by building an email list of prequalified people within your target market
5 Things to Think About
No matter what kind of books you write, thinking about what will happen once they have been published can be a great exercise. Think about:
- Who will want to buy my book?
- Where can I find those people?
- How would I quickly describe what’s great about my book?
- What’s unique about it, what does it have that other books don’t?
- What offer does my book make to a prospective reader?
I’m 100% confident that if more authors put serious thought into these questions, there would be a lot more successful publications and fewer frustrated authors.
How about you, do you have tips for fiction or nonfiction authors you’d like to add? I’d love to hear in the comments.