Tag Archives: branding

Market Your Book Like It’s Your Business

by Zac Workman, Marketing Specialist

Your book is a business….so treat it as such.  Daydreaming about the best-sellers list won’t get you any closer to breaking the top 10.  So how do you market a book like you would a business?  Let’s start with a few simple questions that will help you identify the best way to market your new book.  Like any business, these questions are key to identifying and creating a successful marketing plan for your book.

  1. What are your goals?  What is the purpose of writing your book and what do you want to accomplish?  The case may be that you are just interested in making your book available for family and friends or maybe you are hoping to sell thousands of books.  Whatever the case may be make sure your goals are realistic and achievable.
  2. Who is your target market?  Let’s consider the Christian genre which is vast so you must define who exactly you are targeting and why.  Knowing your audience will help you decide how to sell your book to readers.  Consider the demographics of your audience to determine your marketing focus.  If you find your target to be a very small niche group, marketing will be extremely important and it will need to be very focused.  If this is the case, you may want to consider expanding the appeal of your book by making some changes to increase your customer base.
  3. What makes your product appealing to your target market? Labeling your book “Christian” isn’t enough.  You need to identify what makes your book stand out and use this to your advantage.  Consider the specific characteristics about your book that appeal to your audience.  Maybe you are an expert on the subject matter of your book or you have a unique story or point of view.  Whatever the appeal of your book is, it is essential to identify what separates your book out from the competition and then using it to your advantage.
  4. Where does your product fit within your industry?  The Christian book industry is very large so you need to identify where you fit within that industry.  Start by identifying who your competition is and what their strengths and weaknesses are.  Focus on their weaknesses, because this is where you have an advantage.
  5. Where is the best place to reach the target market?  So how will your reach your audience?  In today’s digital world, start on the Internet, including searching for related websites, and using social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, website reviews, blogs, and e-mail marketing.  The majority of your books will sell through some venue on the Internet, and it makes sense to start your marketing efforts there.

Stay tuned on tips to execute that all important marketing plan!

Valentine’s Day: Books We Adore

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Who knew that a holiday honoring a beheaded saint would turn into such a huge Hallmark event? Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love (whether it’s with a spouse, significant other, your dog, your goldfish…you get the idea).  At AuthorHive, our passion is for books—because whether or not you have someone to cuddle up to this Valentine’s Day, you can always cuddle up with a good read.  It’s getting a little steamy in the AuthorHive office, as staffers share their romantic holiday picks:

 

Shelley’s Pick:  Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah
Sometimes the strongest bond can be between two best friends. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives. For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—-jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac.

Brittani’s Pick:  He’s Just Not that into You: the No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys by Greg Behrendt
Okay, so maybe this book isn’t romantic per se, but it certainly gives women some direction when dealing with the mysteries of men.  Have you ever liked a guy, but he’s given mixed signals? Former executive story editor for Sex and the City provides a simple answer:  He’s just not that into you. If you’re not convinced yet, read this smart, funny and surprisingly upbeat little book.

Jessica’s Pick:  P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern
Who’s up for a bit o’ Irish romance? Holly Kennedy is beautiful, smart and married to the love of her life-a passionate, funny and impetuous Irishman named Gerry. So when Gerry’s life is taken by an illness, it takes the life out of Holly. Before he died, Gerry wrote Holly a series of 10 letters that will guide her, not only through her grief but in rediscovering herself. Each letter sends her on a new adventure, each signed, “P.S. I Love You.”

Kelly’s Pick:  Chasing Harry Winston: A Novel by Lauren Weisberger
Chasing Harry Winston is a fun, flirty novel from the author of The Devil Wears Prada. Three best friend New Yorkers—Emmy, Adriana and Leigh—are facing the horror of turning 30. Recently dumped Emmy promises to make a drastic change and find guys from every continent for casual affairs. Beautiful Brazilian Adriana in turn tries to leave her old lifestyle of sleeping around and living off daddy in order to get a Harry Winston ring on her finger before the first wrinkles start showing. And Leigh, the one with the perfect life, doesn’t know what she needs in order to be happy and to be able to relax.

Sandy’s Pick:  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
What can I say—I’m partial to the old-school kind of romance.  This classic follows the classy Elizabeth Bennet and her family as they deal with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education and marriage in early 19th-century England. Things get saucy when an eligible bachelor and his handsome (but arrogant) friend shack up at a nearby country estate.

Happy reading! Happy Valentine’s Day! Don’t forget the chocolate!

Check out additional recommended reads:

3 Key Benefits to Working with Non-Profit Organizations

by Rebecca Roberts, Customer Support Supervisor

New authors face a common dilemma in building their brand: how to get noticed.  Media and retailers are the obvious targets to try and get an author’s name out to the local and regional community, but the “chicken and egg” scenario of needing a brand name to build a brand can make any author frustrated and weary. Working with non-profits is a mutually beneficial proposition and an often over looked entry into the local consciousness.

Here are a few key benefits from an author / non-profit relationship:

1) Non-profits are looking for volunteers and partners to support their message. As with any sales or marketing plan, the most important step is showing up.  A literacy group will need hours of relevant programming for a fundraiser, and who better than a local author to spend the time and effort to put together a community presentation on the role of creative writing in schools or volunteer to run a writing workshop at a prison? Always keep in mind the types of non-profits that are a good fit for you and your work. Partnering with a non-profit is most effective when the author has something to bring to the table, so being selective in whom you approach by finding causes that match with your skills, background, or subject matter is important if you want your brand to be consistent.

2) An author with a professional networking attitude might just gain access to a non-profit’s often substantial network. Non-profits function by building crucial relationships with the media,  retailers, schools, and other non-profits for space, community postings, and group gatherings.  Helpful authors with a volunteer mindset will often get a chance to meet other partners in a non-profit’s networking base. Being prepared in these situations is key, so make sure to have your press release, business cards, and a one sentence explanation of you and your book ready for those impromptu conversations.

3) Promote your brand by promoting a cause you believe in. Building relationships with non-profits is not just about getting to relationships that would be more difficult to gain on one’s own, but an opportunity to really help with causes near and dear to an author’s heart: literacy, the arts, education, and science, whatever your forte may be.  This isn’t just good marketing, it is also good citizenry, and who – author or book buyer – doesn’t like that?

Eat That Frog!

by Shelley Rogers, Marketing Manager

While visiting with my sister and brother-in-law over the holiday, I tripped on a book called, Eat That Frog!  21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done In Less Time by Brian Tracy.  I hate to admit it but some of my favorite and most memorable marketing and self help book finds have been discovered in their “library” located in the downstairs guest bathroom.  Eat That Frog! is one of those fun bathroom reads that have inspired me to get organized and stay focused in 2011.

So what does, Eat That Frog!, mean and how does it relate to what you want to accomplish?  Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, you can go through the day with the satisfaction of knowing that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day long.  Your “frog” is the biggest and most important task, the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don’t plan for and tackle first.

For me personally, I am a list maker and I get a thrill out marking items off my list that I’ve completed in a day.  But I am a huge offender of taking out the easy tasks first and often find that at the end of day, the hardest, most time consuming and important tasks are left to roll over until the next day which means I am facing those same “frogs” the next morning.

According to Eat That Frog!, the key to reaching high levels of performance and productivity is to develop a habit of tackling your major task at the start of your day.  You must develop a routine of “eating your frog” at the start of each day or face the reality of never getting those high level tasks moved over to your “complete” column. Here are a handful of suggestions when tackling your “frog:”

  1. Torn between two frogs?  If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest frog first
  2. Take action immediately.  If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it very long
  3. Think on paper.  Only three percent of adults have clear, written goals.  These people accomplish five to ten times as much as people of equal or better education that have no written goals
  4. Learn to say, “no.”  Say “no” to anything that is not a high-value use of your time
  5. Technological time sinks.  Technology can be your best friend or your worst enemy.  As a society, we feel compelled to communicate incessantly via email (work/personal), text, blogs, Twitter and the mother-of-all time sinks, Facebook.  Technology should act as your “servant,” not your “master.”

So if your “frog” is getting that all important marketing plan together for your book, let’s get started!  Here is your checklist for eating THAT “frog” today:

  1. Organize.  Order Eat That Frog! to get yourself inspired
  2. Educate.  Check out authorhive.com to start putting together a general marketing plan
  3. Plan.  Call 1.866.697.5289 to talk with an AuthorHive Marketing Consultant to get specific advice and start strategic planning for 2011  

Earning Trust with Social Media: How to Use Social Media Beyond “Hawking Wares”

by Sandy Dunwoody, Literary Publicist

Anyone who has ever been a social media skeptic—particularly in relation to marketing products and building brand awareness—is now painfully aware of the powerful impact that an online presence can have. Through social media, users are finding jobs, products are finding fans and media members are even finding stories (a national survey conducted earlier this year by Cision found that an “overwhelming majority of reporters and editors now depend on social media sources when researching their stories”).

In all of the aforementioned cases, networkers have gained interest, trust and loyalty through social media—which is no easy feat.  A rookie mistake is to just set up social media sites and desperately hope on a wing and a prayer it will take off on its own.  Another mistake is to send into cyberspace repetitive and impersonal posts that boast “Check out Billy Bob’s (insert product here) –It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE!”

Imagine yourself as a consumer:  Would you take an interest in this person or product?  In order to generate interest, you must put effort and work into the relationship-building aspect of social media beyond simply “hawking wares.”

The Enlightened Consumer
In part due to social media and the age of instant communication and information sharing, businesses are quickly adopting an even stronger customer-centric approach in order to be recognized among all the noise and build a fan base. Consumers today have the power to spread support for or veto products instantaneously; therefore, it’s more common now for the consumer’s interests to be represented and feedback listened to.

After all, if every consumer’s opinion is broadcasted to a forum of millions of potential readers, wouldn’t you want comments to be positive rather than negative?

Converting Visitors to Followers
Let’s assume you have a finished product and you’re ready to promote it online. Your Twitter page, Facebook Fan page, official blog, and other sites have been set up, but now what? Before you dive into social media, consider things from the average consumer’s vantage:

 –“And WHY should I care?”  Your focus is on your product, but resist the urge to post about it only. Give visitors a reason to be interested beyond your own product, and you’ll reach a wider audience and earn followers. Keep posts personal and varied—more people will become engaged if they know the sites aren’t maintained by a single-focused robot.

 –“You’ve got to give love to get love.”  As cliché as it may sound, you must give due attention to other products and related services to receive attention in return. If you’re an author, support other authors when possible. When interacting with potential followers, take an interest in and comment on what they are reading, writing or involved with.

 —What Can I Get Out of This?  Providing posts of value to consumers is a must. Make it a priority to dispense valuable tips, previews, photos and thought-provoking questions as often as possible. Research and share interesting statistics, articles or videos related to your genre, and make sure to supply interactive options like email subscriptions and applications.  

By taking the consumer into consideration, you’re more likely to build relationships that yield positive results (a win-win situation). As a consumer, what would you like to see done more often with social media?

Check out the books below to learn more about social media marketing:

The Role of an Author in a Successful Book Marketing/PR Campaign

by Brittani Hensel, Project Coordinator

Authors often ask me what the secret is to having a truly successful publicity campaign. I always give the same answer. “It’s as successful as you’d like it to be. But we’re on your side and we’ll give you 110%.”  The reason for my answer is very simple.  The amount of engagement an author is willing to provide often can make or break a campaign.  That means that it might help to wait until after that vacation or family cruise to have your publicist start pitching to the media.  As publicists, we’ll pitch as hard as we can to persuade the media to cover your book, but the author can help too!  Some of the best results have come from authors leveraging their publicist’s deliverables, like press releases and interview opportunity releases, to garner their success.  Even just having a publicist helps!

1)   Start with your local bookstores. By having a local tie-in, those bookstores will often be more likely to cover you immediately. Everyone loves that small town feel, and by getting to know your local bookstore, they can help the indie author network to larger chains.  

2)   Pay attention to festivals and trade shows in your area.  If your book is about Leonardo da Vinci, and there is a Renaissance festival in your home state every year, think about contacting the festival coordinators to participate.  Whether you’re in the expo tent or dressed in period clothing in your own booth, posing as da Vinci and teaching young kids, it’s a perfect opportunity to get your book noticed.  If you’re not sure it works, throw the idea to your publicist. A little creativity can go a long way.

3)   Learn social media.  Participating in social media is one of the best things an author can do for their book.  By actively reading, commenting, posting, blogging and participating online about your book will help garner success and results. If you don’t know anything about social media, find someone who does.  Even if you’re not a professional social media guru, every little bit helps. Post about your book. Blog about your book. Talk about your book.

4)   Communication is vital. Talk to your publicist and ask lots of questions. When your publicist knows the things you’re doing to leverage success, they can use it too!  Pitching strategically often comes from author suggestion about travel plans, social media engagement, bookstore engagement, and author activities—like trade shows.

So when authors ask me that question, you can bet my answer starts with these four tips. Your publicist isn’t just working for you, they are collaborating with you.  Your publicist should be your friend, guiding you along the way, and giving you tips to get your name noticed not only in the media, but the general public as well.  Be the change you wish to see in your publicity campaign!

To learn more about AuthorHive publicity campaigns, check out the video link below:

http://www.authorhive.com/Video/PublicityServices.aspx

5 Ways to Build Your Brand

by Maggie Hames, Social Media Specialist

Recently during a conversation with an author, I was asked an interesting question: Are we focusing on my book or me as an author?

While you do want to promote your book, the larger plan is to build your personal brand. Think of Stephen King or Danielle Steele. Their household names bring to mind a certain genre and automatically you know what type of book to expect. Their fans are drawn to every book they produce, not just one particular title.

This is the type of following every author dreams of.

Here are 5 ways to get started:

  1. Elevator Speech – Develop a short pitch outlining who you are as an author and what you write about. Focus on what makes you different. Be well rehearsed and able to deliver this pitch on the spot. You never know when you’ll have the opportunity to spread the word.
  2. Headshot & Bio – Have a quality headshot and bio. Make this available to your readers and for use in promotional materials. A good headshot gives you instant recognition. And it could make the difference between respect and skepticism.
  3. Online ­– Begin building your network online. Whether you write about medieval times or Caribbean art, there’s a community out there. Get involved. Share relevant information. If you can, host a domain name (your name or your subject matter).
  4. Be Unique ­– Find an angle that makes you different. Don’t just be another cook book author. Why are your recipes special? Why are you special? Focus on that.
  5. Stay Positive – Building your brand can be a long journey. And you may experience rejection along the way. But focus on why you wrote your book in the first place. After all, even J.K. Rowling was rejected 12 times before Harry Potter made it big.