By Jennifer S. Wilkov, host of the “Your Book Is Your Hook!” Show on WomensRadio
As authors and writers, we’re always learning about resources and industry tools that we can use to improve our book project performance and the enjoyment of our writing and marketing experiences. Today let’s talk about the fundamentals of advertising your book.
Advertising, by design, is the very mechanism through which you create greater exposure for your book. Through advertising, you find places where your audience and reader are already present and place an ad there to inform them about your book and why they’d want to read it.
Let’s take an example from every day living to demonstrate this. Let’s say, for the purpose of illustration, that instead of a book you had created a food item. You would probably use the advertising strategies that food companies use all the time where they advertise that food item everywhere they think the buyer is going to be: in the grocery store, on television and radio programs directed at their same audience, in magazines that their consumers read and so on.
You know. You see these ads all the time. Yet when it comes to your book, maybe you’re not sure how to apply these very same strategies. So let’s talk about them.
The structure of an advertising strategy is simple: it’s the Who, What, Where, When and Why of your book.
Targeting your audience is fundamental when you are looking to advertise your book. More often than not, you will have to pay for advertising your book in one form or another so it behooves you to pay attention first as to whether or not the venue is really reaching the audience you want to talk to about your book.
By understanding WHO you want to reach with it, you’ll be able to determine the best advertising opportunities for it so you can talk to the right audience filled with your readers.
Now you have tell them WHAT you have. It’s a book. It’s an experience. It’s an adventure, a resource, a guidebook, a thriller or a great bedtime story. That was easy.
Next, you’ll want to be sure to include WHERE they can get a copy of it. Where is it sold? Where can they buy it? Online? In the big booksellers and in the local bookseller down the street from them? Can they get a copy in Costco when they go grocery shopping? Where can they get it?
WHEN is it available? Can they buy it now? Should they reserve their copy before it comes out? Is it available to pre-order? People want to know whether your book is coming out this Fall or whether they can go buy it now.
Finally, you’ve got to hit them with your hook – about WHY they should read your book. Your hook has got to grab them, make them want more and interest them in seeking out your book.
It’s about the benefits of reading your book. Is it a great escape into another world filled with desire, romance, a mystery to solve, a treasure to discover, a lesson to learn or a skill set to acquire?
Why should the reader invest hours of their valuable time and lay down their good money for your book? WHY?
Once you have identified these pieces of the advertising puzzle, it’s time to seek out advertising venues that can help you distribute your message to the audience you want to reach.
Programs like Google AdWords help you to target your audience by using short, effective ads and thoughtfully selected keywords to assist you with reaching the readers who will be interested in your book. By targeting their millions of users and allowing the right people to reveal themselves as your audience as a result of what they’re searching for online, programs like Google AdWords take the guesswork out of where to find the exact people you want to reach and help match your ad with the people who want the kind of experience and expertise you’re providing.
Now let’s face it: Writing advertisements is a lot different than writing a 300-page novel, a 200-page business book or a 32-page children’s book. Advertisements are short, concise and are designed to get to the point, or your hook, quickly. You’ve got to be able to focus the buyer on what you have and why they want it. Then you can tell them where to get it and when.
As an author, you have to be so much more than just a writer. You must become a marketer of your book. Learn to embrace the role of the town crier about your book, shouting “Extra! Extra! Read all about it!” politely to everyone you meet, everyone you email and all those in your social media networks.
One Last Tip:
Every great advertiser knows that just because you think you’ve written a great ad, you’re not necessarily going to sell a boatload of books. The secret you may not realize about advertisers large and small is that we all test and test and test what we’ve created as an ad to see if it will really reach the people we want get the word out to. So just because you feel like you’ve nailed it when you write your ad, understand that your audience will be the final judge and tell you whether you’ve got it right…or not.
So get ready to embrace humility and treat advertising as a puzzle that you can get excited about solving. It’s a game, after all. The person who reaches the right readers and tells them why their book is what they’re looking for in the most effective yet concise way…wins.
If you want to sell more books and you want more people to read it, then you’re going to need to invest your time and effort first in advertising and marketing your book.
It will make it a lot easier for you to generate the success you seek and make it a win for everybody including you, your publisher and your reader.