It was once the case that traditional publishing was the only viable option for authors, but today the rise of self-publishing has allowed authors to take full control of their work. Authors often receive higher royalties by this method and no longer have to wait years until their book is released, and the increase of freelance cover designers and editors means that self-publishing is no longer a last resort after a long process of submissions and rejections. It’s a first choice.
With the rise of self-publishing and the shift of the market to the web, authors have to work hard to build their own platform. They’re no longer just expected to write, but have to sell, and in most instances authors must now be prepared to work harder at marketing than at writing. As a result, writers are no longer just authors, but are becoming ‘authorpreneurs’.
It may feel unnatural at first, especially following such a creative process like writing a book, but it’s becoming essential for authors to adapt to the savvy ways of an entrepreneur, building their book as they would a business. Thinking like an authorpreneur is essential in becoming a success, and will help to make your writing no longer just a hobby, but a full-time living.
1. Determine your audience
Establishing your target audience is essential in becoming an authorpreneur. What is your book about? Who would enjoy reading it? It’s really important to know as much as you possibly can about your potential fans, as this will make it much easier to reach them. Once you narrow down your target audience perfectly, you’ll find sales so much easier.
Marketing to anyone and everyone, posting on social media to anyone who will listen, and advertising your book on Google, etc. can be a very laborious and time-sucking method for finding your buyers. Whereas finding your target audience, as a tiny little niche, and marketing directly to them, means you are hitting that target in one quick, calculated shot. You’ll have a much higher success rate with marketing if you focus on growing a very specific fan base and marketing only to them.
2. Build a brand
When thinking like an authorpreneur, it’s important to keep in mind that you are a business, not just a writer. A key part of this is branding yourself. Focus on building an author brand by establishing how you want to be seen online. Like any successful business, you’ll need a well-designed website and a strong online presence across social media platforms. Sticking to consistent topics, using consistent keywords, and even using consistent colours (e.g. red and yellow – did someone say McDonalds?), can show off a huge level of professionalism, which is invaluable when attracting a readership. So, just as a company has consistent branding, using strong colours, fonts and images, authors should emulate this to give off a professional air.
For help in setting up your own author website, visit our website page.
3. Plan a launch
As with any business, promotion needs to be considered well in advance of release-day. Authors should take advantage of the pre-publication months by planning a launch event in the lead-up to a book release. Launch events can build momentum, excitement and a real buzz around your work at a critical time. Not only do you deserve to do a bit of celebrating after all that hard work, but it will kick-start your marketing campaign in style.
4. Forming a friendship circle
By following step #1, it should be much easier for you to find potential readers online. Let’s use Twitter as an example. Assuming you follow (and receive a follow back) a hundred or so people that come under your target audience on Twitter, you then need to start reading over the tweets from your followers. What you’re looking for here is the potential for conversation, and for a mutual relationship. You don’t need to juggle too many at once – try aiming for a small and comfortable amount of correspondents, and gradually build it up. These friends become your loyal marketing team. They will endlessly promote you – they will be your brand ambassadors – and all because we always love to help out a friend.
Just as businesses gain loyal customers, you have the opportunity to build a loyal following online, and it’s important to remember to give and take. Social media is a conversation, not a lecture, so always be sure to respond to your followers and take an interest in them. Keep your new circle of readers happy by giving them an inside look – run free giveaways and show them sneak peaks of the inner workings of your writing to create a feeling of exclusivity for your followers.
Most important of all – have fun! Enjoying the marketing process will allow you to be a resilient authorpreneur, and you’ll become more proactive, more knowledgeable and more satisfied with your writing.
For help with your book marketing, check out our Marketing Advisor page and learn more about how to use these methods to improve your book sales and become an authorpreneur!