Remember the phrase “monkey see, monkey do?”
It refers to blind imitation – copying what others do without thinking about whether doing so is appropriate or makes sense.
It’s a problem with authors.
Focus, focus, focus
When you just mimic others because you don’t know which book marketing tactics you can ignore, you lose focus. You also waste your time.
Your book marketing goal is to get the right message to the right people at the right time and in the right place. If you’re copying someone who’s a successful business book author and you write cozy mysteries, you’re probably using the wrong tactics for your audience.
To help you find your focus, I’ve identified three popular tactics that aren’t going to work for most authors. There are exceptions, of course. But for most, these are book marketing tactics you can ignore when you see others using them.
1. Amazon pre-orders
A successful pre-order campaign takes almost as much work as a book launch because the goal is the same: to generate orders. That doesn’t happen simply by enabling pre-orders on Amazon.
Curious about how much work is involved? Read Diana Urban’s excellent guest post, “How to run a successful book preorder campaign.”
It works best for authors with a strong platform – a large and enthusiastic following that can’t wait to read the book.
Is that you? If not, skip it.
2. Running Amazon ads as soon as you launch
I’ve got a couple of reasons to wait a bit before paying to advertise on Amazon.
First, readers don’t want to buy a book from an author they’re not familiar with if it doesn’t have an unofficial reader seal of approval. Those review stars at the top of your book’s sales page are that seal of approval.
Because of that, spending money on ads until you have that reader validation is pointless. Make getting reader reviews a priority; wait until they’re in place before advertising.
For more on this, read “Get reader reviews before advertising on Amazon.”
Use the Build Book Buzz Reader Book Review Form to help get those reviews.
In addition, many authors discover after publishing that there are issues with the book. They might be spelling or grammar mistakes that weren’t caught, a cover that doesn’t cut it, or a book description that needs a refresh.
Give it a little time to see if any of these challenges surface so you can fix them before advertising. Your book really needs to be top notch before you spend on ads.
3. Jumping on the latest “it” thing
Right now, it’s Clubhouse, a social network for “casual, drop-in audio conversations – with friends and other interesting people around the world.”
To participate, you need to add yourself to a waiting list or snag an invitation from someone already using it.
This “not everybody can use it right now” approach creates a sense of what marketers call “scarcity.” It suggests that only the cool kids are using it, which can make it more appealing for some.
Is this particular “it” thing a good fit for your book marketing plan? It is if your ideal readers are using it. Consider it, too, if your author brand relies on you being a trendsetter and early adopter.
If neither applies to you, let it go.
Whether it’s Clubhouse or something else, be careful about investing time in new and untested social networks or resources for book marketing purposes. Make sure it’s a good fit for your book, your audience, and your goals.
You do you
Book marketing isn’t one size fits all.
What works for one book might not work for another.
Do the work to figure out where you’ll find your readers and what resonates with them.
Then determine what tactics will help you reach them while also making the best use of your time and skills — and therefore what book marketing tactics you can ignore.
While playing follow the leader can work with the right situations, these three tactics might be a waste of time, energy, and money. Be thoughtful about each before using them simply because you see others doing it.
What tactics do you see others using that won’t work for your book? Please tell us in a comment!
Tip of the Month
If you’re a Twitter user, you’ll appreciate Hashtagify, a Twitter hashtag tracking tool. It allows you to find the best hashtags to reach your audience, gives you custom suggestions, and helps you analyze your influencers and your competitors’ strategies.
To evaluate the hashtag you use the most and find others related to it, type it into the search box on the Hashtagify home page. After clicking on the “search” button, scroll down to get data related to the hashtag, suggestions for similar hashtags, and tweets using it, as well.
If you’re a power Tweeter, consider subscribing to the premium level for more hashtag suggestions and insights into influencers and trends. The free version is probably enough for casual Twitter users.
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