Marketing, Part 2 {Pratical tips for smaller platforms}

I’m no expert on marketing and I didn’t have a big enough platform for my book to go viral. But my book has enjoyed a measure of success and continues to sell 1 1/2 years after its first release. Here are my 3 best marketing strategies…

Friends

As I said in my post on timing your launch, I didn’t have a very big platform to rely on when I planned my release. But I did have a few online friends who were willing to read the book pre-release and write up reviews for me. These I posted on my sales page so viewers could see that I wasn’t the only one who thought my book was amazing. :)

When I re-launched a year later with a new cover, my network had grown, including the 12 wonderful women I connected with in my mastermind group. Many of them committed to do a review on their blog around the time of my re-launch, and connected me to some of their readers and bloggy friends who they thought would be interested.

In the six weeks following my re-launch there were several dozen reviews and giveaways featuring my book, all of which were written by friends or friends of friends. This circle of online connections is often referred to as a tribe, and in my experience, tribes are effective, even when they’re small. (<–Tweet this if you’ve experienced the same!) Your tribe is your best friend in marketing.

Free

I’ll betcha I’ve given away as many of copies of the PDF version of the book as I’ve sold. My policy from the beginning was “If you’re willing to talk about my book, you get your copy for free”. Some would consider this too generous, but it was my compromise for not taking the experts advice to prepare my platform by giving away my first product for free to everyone. Even if someone didn’t have a blog on which to post a review, I told them they could tell friends IRL or post about it on their facebook page.

This has been one of the best aspects of creating an ebook—the opportunity the bless people with a free resource. Because it literally costs me nothing to give away a PDF file (takes 1 minute to log into Ejunkie and send the free download link), I’ve given it away over and over and over. Each time has been an opportunity to invest in people I care about, and edge my book further and further outside of my own reach.

As far as the type of reviewer you want, size does not matter as much as spirit. The best reviews are when someone shares their story, and how the book intersected with their journey (in my case, people sharing their personal real food journey and how my book helped them along). If the reader identifies with something in the reviewer’s story, they may feel the book could be the next chapter in their own journey. So just ask your reviewers to tell their story. Then thank them profusely.

These were a few of my favorite ‘my story’ type reviews:

  • Cole –was so excited about the recipes in the book, she was posting photos on instagram of her homemade hamburger buns!
  • Gretchen–found success in areas of homemaking (like homemade bread!) that she’d previously been discouraged in.
  • Amy–told how the book got her back on track after a set back on her real food journey

These were not *huge* blogs, but their personal stories were so intriguing, their posts actually resulted in as many sales as some of the larger blogs who have featured me.

Follow-Up

Having a terrific launch is great because the momentum will guarantee continued sales even when you don’t have time to market. But if you’re virtually platform-less like I was at first launch, then you will have to look at your marketing strategy as an on-going project–a part-time job, if you will.

There are lots of little ways to keep your book in the public eye:

  • Keep on asking for reviews.It’s not too hard to send out a few emails a week to prospective bloggers who may be interested in sharing your book with their readers. You can also tweet or facebook asking for people willing to review your book. Remind them review copies are free!
  • Create a facebook page, and keep it current.Keep in mind that Facebook is image-driven: statuses that contain images get the most attention. This works great for a promoting a cook book ‘cause I simply post a photo of what I’m cooking nearly every day, and when my fans like or comment it, their friends notice, and often come by to see what’s going on. If your topic isn’t image related to begin with, you could create images with quotes from the book (try picmonkey for this). You can also share links when a review goes live, or post discussion questions.
  • Continue to look for ways to invest in your readers. Regularly post quality content that corresponds with your book–for me that involves sharing new recipes as I incorporating them into my routine. Give stuff away–I made a printable from a section of the book “Ten Tips For Fighting Kitchen Combat Fatigue” and I give it away to anyone who subscribes to my newsletter (want yours?). Be willing to answer emails and give your readers one-on-one time. People love to share when they find something great. Keep being great and your audience will grow through word-of-mouth, bringing you new customers every day.

Through my marketing journey, I’ve found that serving and generosity opened more doors for me and my book than traditional marketing (such as running ads or paying an agent) and it has filled the experience with joy and satisfaction.

Do you have marketing advice to add? What strategies do you plan to employ when you launch your book?  Would you like a free copy of my book? *wink*

This post is 8th in a series detailing my self-publishing story! All posts in the series can be found via this tag: Path to Publishing.

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Comments

  1. says

    Ah…YES! I would like a copy of your book! :-) I would totally be willing to post about it on Facebook and Tweet about it as well as talking about it in real life! :-)