But I regularly begrudge the time, energy, and focus it takes to market/promote/publicize. I’d rather be creating, studying scripture, researching, coaching and well, writing.
Yet I’ve promised my publishers, agent and myself that I’ll market so I do—and will continue. It can be fun. But I don’t like that it takes such a huge % of my time. Sometimes it works, books sell and the word gets out. I do love it when people read and partner with God for transformation. Thus the love/hate relationship.
I’m often overwhelmed by all the marketing possibilities, with the myriads of how-to books/workshops/blogs/conferences/advice. None of us can do it all. So here are 10 specific marketing methods that have worked—at times—for me:
- Mail gift-copies of the book (with a personal letter) to strategic ministry and business people that you know. (Yes, it costs. Sometimes pub houses will help.)
- Create a website and start to blog regularly. Share guest blogging with friends and colleagues. It broadens your base.
- Cooperate with your publishers’ team to do interviews (all kinds.) Learn talking points and find a brief story to illustrate each point. Stand up during the interview if possible; increases energy. (Often Amazon sales increased after an interview with larger station.)
- Join social networking like Facebook and others. (When a fellow-author told me that I really needed to “do Twitter”, I cringed. But I started with 0 and grew slowly to 1260 followers. Now I’m told I need 10,000. See the push/pull? Still I’ve gained readers, clients and friends.)
- Consider doing a Blog Book Tour.* You will enlarge your online base.
- Develop a contact list and email regular newsletters (when speaking/teaching, offer a book drawing and ask each person to indicate if they’d like to receive more tips from you.) Constant Contact and Monkey Chimp are two.
- Distribute business cards with the name/cover of your latest book.
- Get a 2-3 minute video (some call it a book trailer.) Use it to market on You-Tube, your website, for prospective speaking events, etc. (Push/pull: Nice to have, yet it hasn’t produced like I’d hoped. Spent bucks, too.)
- Speak/share on your book topics. I beat myself up for “not doing enough marketing” when it dawned on me that speaking, teaching, presenting, and facilitating workshops equals marketing. I love “economy of effort!” You don’t have to speak for mega-audiences. Think outside the box. For example: Offer a 4-6 week lunchtime tele-class based on your book. Free conference.com makes it easy.
- Do book signings. Warning: huge push/pull here. Book signings are often a disappointment (and humiliation) to authors. Except when the book signing is in the same room where you just finished speaking. This works!
THEN last week I read the prayer of Jabez again. “Oh, that you would bless me and expand my territory.” (1 Chronicles 4:9-10) The first time I saw Jabez’ story was when I wrote study notes for 5 O.T. books in the Women of Faith Study Bible. God urged me to pray the prayer, even before Bruce Wilkinson’s book hit the bookshelves. Four weeks later a Christian relief and development organization asked me to travel alone to Kyrgyzstan to work on enlarging their work there. What? Yet since I’d been praying for expansion, I didn’t doubt God’s leading and agreed to go.
Reading the Jabez story again, I had an aha. God saw my marketing resistance/angst. And He gave me a new name for it: EXPANSION. I’m going to change my to-do list categories to expanding instead of marketing. It’s already lessening my inner tug-of-war.
I’m curious: Do you ever experience a similar marketing tug-of-war? What helps you?