If not, you’re not alone.
While anything you can do to improve the general visibility and discoverability of your books is a great start, the truth is that unless you deliberately sit down and reverse engineer your marketing plan to figure out what works for your specific audience you could be wasting time and spinning your wheels.
If you revisit a previous post about Pareto’s 80:20 rule, you’ll recall that the theory states that most results (80 percent) usually come from a smaller number of causes (20 percent).
If you apply this rule to how your current readers found your books, you’ll quickly figure out that there’s a handful of sources that produce the lion’s share of your book buying prospects.
Once you know where those prospects are coming from you can focus all of your energy on exploiting those channels for maximum impact.
Popular Book Discovery Paths
Many surveys exist that reveal the major pathways through which the average reader discover new books. Here are some of the most prominent…
- They Know of the Author
A top reason that readers cite for how they choose to read a book is when the book in question is written by a well-known author.
So obvious, but easy to miss.
Think of the John Grisham’s, J.K. Rowling’s and Earnest Hemmingway’s of the world.
They are so famously known for their books that by virtue of their names alone new readers come flocking to consume their work and usually remaining avid fans and pass the love of these books down through generations.
Building up your brand and reputation as a valued author is an important part of your marketing strategy.
Set up your author blog and website, schedule blog tours, develop a strong social media presence and make yourself available for as many interviews as possible.
Becoming more well-known automatically improves the discoverability of your books.
- Personal Recommendations
Another major way for readers find out about new books they want to explore is by getting personal recommendations from people they know.
Word of mouth is still the number one way that businesses get new customers. A recommendation from someone whose opinion you trust is better than any other marketing tool.
Because of the power of recommendations, you should always strive to inspire your fans and readers to share your work with their friends, relatives and associates.
Members of your core readership are your biggest advocates and the best marketing team to get the word out about your offers.
If you’ve been grinding away at a newsletter or Ezine for a while and aren’t sure if the time invested is worth the effort, it may surprise you to know that another prominent way that readers discover new books is through offers shared through lists they’ve joined.
Newsletters sent out on a consistent and regular basis are one of the most powerful marketing tools available because the simple act of a prospect signing up for your list means they actually want to hear from you and are eager to discover the things you have to share.
As your prospect continues to receive your newsletter that is packed with lots of valuable, entertaining and free content, chances are they will grow to view you as a credible source of information.
When the time comes for you to make an offer, the odds of them moving from prospect to customer increase exponentially.
If you haven’t already established a regular newsletter the time to start is now.
Nothing is more valuable than a list of people who are eager to hear from you and hungry to consume what you have to offer.
- Book Clubs
Ever heard of Oprah’s book club?
I guarantee you that if you ever have your book come up as one of her selections you will have an instant best seller on your hands.
Whether you self-publish fiction or non-fiction books, there are likely at least a hand full of reading clubs around the world that are looking for books on the topic that is your focus.
But, how do you take advantage of book clubs?
To start with, always remember that Google is your friend. Do a search for book clubs in your area, or if you feel like going international right away, search for book clubs located anywhere.
Contact the group organizer and make your pitch describing what your book is about and why it would be a good fit for the club. You can even offer the group leader a free copy of your book so they can take a look and see if it’s something they would want to add to their reading list.
Bookstores are popular spots that readers frequent when they want to discover new titles.
This is particularly true if the book store in question is one of the more progressive types that host book signings and other author involved events that can really help you to showcase your work and engage new audiences.
Contact the book stores near you to inquire about opportunities for you to market your books and discuss related topics with an interested audience.
Libraries have always been a place for prospective readers to discover new books, however in recent times their popularity is surging dramatically.
When it comes to looking for books in a library, prospective readers often don’t know the name of the book they will end up reading, however they always know what kind of information or entertainment they’re looking for.
Make the most of this fact by offering several copies of your books to libraries you approach so they can be catalogued in categories where they have the best chances of being discovered by your target audience.
With what started out as an online book store in 1994, Amazon is now one of the biggest online retailers of everything from office stationery to industrial tools.
Today more than 300 million people flock to Amazon every year to buy toilet paper, home décor and, yes…books!
While there are many pros and cons to making your book available for purchase on Amazon, the bottom line is that simply having it listed there and optimized for search makes it highly discoverable by your audience. This is especially true if you write in a highly specialized niche.
Along with the fact that Amazon is one of the most visited and searched book buying platforms, another big plus for using them to enhance the discoverability of your books is their feedback system of reviews and referrals.
By building up a stable of customer reviews and having Amazon recommend your book to readers interested in your specific topic, your book gains more readership and credibility on autopilot.
- Author Website
Setting up an author website is one of the most critical things that every self-publisher should do.
A good author website acts as a base camp and is the center of your marketing strategy.
After all, even if you went out and told the whole world about your books, would it really matter if you didn’t also have somewhere to send them to get more information and provide a way to stay in touch with you?
Your website should connect all the dots of your marketing universe.
All trails should lead to “home” where you can present your prospects with links to your social media hubs, ways to sign up for your newsletter, access to read your blog and portals through which to purchase your books.
Your author website should focus on building your brand and establishing a solid fan base so that all subsequent marketing efforts become that much more effective.
Follow your trail of breadcrumbs and you will quickly discover the major paths that your readers use to find your books so that you can make the most of them.
Want to Stand Out? First, Choose the Right Niche…
And that begins with understanding your audience, uncovering their most common search queries, and what really plays a role in their buying decisions. The answers are in this free guide.