Don’t use outside firm to market your book

You’ve published a book, maybe even two or three, and none of them seem to be selling. You understand books need to be marketed but haven’t got a clue how and sense that even if your did, it would be a time-consuming task taking you away from writing your next novel. You begin to wonder if hiring an outside firm to market your book is the best option.

My advice: Don’t even think about it. Almost no writer ever breaks even by taking that approach.

Yes, the efforts of an outside firm marketing your book probably will net you a few more sales. Any marketing effort, after all, will result in at least a few sales. But a few Kindle ebooks won’t cover the hundreds of dollars you’ll spend on a marketing package.

Why?

Such companies generally use generic templates and approaches. To be successful, though, you’ll want to identify very specific audiences who use very specific platforms that you tailor your marketing efforts for.

Indeed, your marketing effort often needs to extremely targeted when aimed at traditional media or bloggers. If you wrote a book about canoeing routes, a press release sent to a large metro paper likely would focus on the regional appeal of your title to its readers, however, one sent to a local paper would center on the trails from that paper’s circulation effort that appear in your volume. A press release sent to a blogger who writes about the outdoors should have a different emphasis than one sent to a blogger who writes about authors living in your state.

Likewise, with social media, you want to build followers and friends, on Twitter, Facebook and Google+, who are interested in your book. Having 10,000 followers who may never buy your book is pointless (Indeed, many unscrupulous marketing firms create dummy accounts simply to follow and befriend you.). Having 1000 followers who actually like the paranormal romances that you write will result in more interest and sales. Identifying these followers is a lengthy process that often requires your interaction with them.

Improving your author’s website for search engine optimization also requires a very targeted approach. While outside marketing firms may suggest a few words that raise your position on Google or Bing, only through extensive research and some experimentation on what your potential readers use as search engine words will help you. Words like “science fiction” and “western” do help readers find your website about the suite of SF stories you set in the Old West, but potential buyers of your book probably type in words like “alien cowboys” to look for books in the subgenre that you write and that they love to read. You’ll learn what those search engine words only by doing the research and interacting with such readers yourself.

Granted, it’s a lot of work, especially at first, but your time is “free” and will be prove more fruitful. Simply put, learning about marketing your book, building an audience, and creating your own promotional templates that can be modified and reused is worth sacrificing a little writing time.