My partner and I decided we needed to learn, understand, and implement a marketing and promotion program to create and execute campaigns to give our books and those of our clients the best opportunity to become a #1 bestselling new release and/or #1 best seller.
Why did we do this? After writing books that did not achieve what we hoped, we invested time, effort, and money to first understand the publishing/distribution/marketing business and second to develop a sustainable and repeatable program. We interviewed authors who had experienced success and disappointment. We learned how to identify and overcome the landmines, myths, and obstacles that negatively impact authors.
We tested the program on ourselves before offering it to clients. We now have multiple bestselling books. In May of 2021, our Trust the Process – Book Marketing Program was offered to clients. How has that worked?
In the 22-month window from May 2021 to March 2023, our campaigns have produced 11 consecutive Amazon #1 bestselling new releases in multiple categories and two award-winning books.
Our message to authors
So, you want to write a book. As hard as that is marketing/promoting and selling your book is even harder. The average for book sales is 250 copies. The author makes on average $500. Did you pour your heart and soul into writing a book for this? Don’t you want more? What are you doing to make your book stand out? Do you have a marketing/promotion plan BEFORE your book is finished? The sad fact is most authors do not have any type of marketing/promotion plan.
Let’s look at the facts:
- 200 million Americans say they want to publish a book.
- Somewhere between 600,000 and 1,000,000 books are published every year in the US alone. That is at least 11,500 books published each week.
Let’s look at the myths:
As stated above, the sad fact is that most authors do not have any type of marketing/promotion plan. They mistakenly assume the publisher or editor or illustrator or writing coach will do the marketing. Publishers publish. Their job is to get the book finished and ready to be released. They do not run marketing campaigns. It is up to the author to market their book. Most do not have the expertise or the time to create and execute a comprehensive marketing and promotion campaign.
Most authors do not understand all the steps for a book to go from an idea to a finished product. Initially, I didn’t understand the process and was misled or completely misunderstood the marketing & promotion process. Here are the eight common steps to get a book from idea to a product. Note: none of the eight include marketing and promotion of the book.
- Write the book: Start with an idea or a concept. It is best to start with something you know. Try to visualize how you see the book flowing. Write your thoughts and arrange them in the order according to the flow in your mind. This is the creative part of the process. Most authors think this is the hardest part. It’s not. This is just step one.
- Edit the book: The author makes their best effort to edit the book, but as we all know editing what you wrote does not usually go well. Authors tend to see what they intended to write not what is on the page or computer screen. This is where a publisher usually comes into play. Most books will need a line edit and copy edit.
- Line Editing is focused on the content, style, and language used within the manuscript. A professional line editor may point out sections that can be improved, parts where the style is inconsistent, issues with pacing, or overuse of certain words or phrases throughout the manuscript.
- Copy Editing is focused on making sure a piece of writing is accurate, clear, and correct. For example: checking the facts; checking the math; ensuring that the writing is free from libel, plagiarism and conforms to the ethical standards of the publication and the profession.
- Proofreading: Review the manuscript for corrections. This may require two or more rounds of editing for a manuscript of 60,000 words.
- Final Proofreading: Review the entire manuscript plus interior formatting review and confirm proof. Final edits are made as needed.
- Manuscript Review: Author approval or comments and corrections. This may occur two or more times.
- Book Design and Cover: Design of front and back cover with author’s approval
- Publishing the book: Self-publish or contract publishing
- Distribution of the book: This is order fulfillment not marketing or promotion. The author can do it themselves. Contract with a publisher or use Amazon for order fulfillment.
The publisher will market the book myth:
We just went through the eight common steps in the publishing process. None of them include marketing and promotion. The publisher may write a press release or social media post. The burden of marketing a book falls directly on the author, not the publisher. Publishers publish they do not market or promote. We do.
In Penguin Random House/S&S antitrust trial it was revealed that out of 58,000 trade titles published per year, half of those sell fewer than one dozen books. LESS THAN 12 BOOKS!!!
I will post to my social media myth:
Large social media alone is not enough. While becoming a published author is a major ego boost, very few receive income or effectively leverage their book to expand their brand and business. Far too many authors equate likes, followers, and social media connections with increased revenue. Nothing is further from the truth. Never confuse activity with results.
“The pop star Billie Eilish, who now has 102 million Instagram followers and 6.7 million on Twitter, sold just 64,000 copies of her self-titled memoir from May 2021 to December, according to the New York Times. Justin Timberlake, who now has 64.5 million followers on Instagram, only managed to sell 100,000 copies of his autobiographical collection of observations, Hindsight, in the first three years. And the media personality Piers Morgan, who has 7.9 million Twitter followers and 1.8 million on Instagram, managed to move just 5,650 U.S. copies of his book, Wake Up: Why the World Has Gone Nuts, from September to December.”
“If being a celebrity with millions of followers does not guarantee high book sales, what does? Is there any hope for the rest of us?”
~ The Enigma of Book Sales May 9, 2022, By Alesha Brown
Trust the Process – Book Marketing Program
While no campaign can guarantee a #1 bestseller, our campaigns dramatically improve the odds. They are a proven layered multi-step process to build a brand that will significantly increase exposure, awareness, authority, credibility and ultimately create multiple streams of revenue.
Consistency and frequency of the message matter. One post, email, letter, or Facebook live is not effective. For example, everyone knows Coca-Cola and Mcdonald’s, yet every day we see ads, commercials, etc. for these products. Our campaigns keep your message in front of the target market.
The key is to surround yourself with people who have been where you want to go. Keep in mind, many people, friends, family, colleagues, associates, etc. will offer their opinions and ideas on how the author should release and or promote their book. Most have never created and executed such campaigns. The secret to walking on water is to know where the rocks are! We will show you where the rocks are!
Executing a successful marketing/promotion strategy requires the cooperation of all parties including but not limited to; the author, writing coach, adviser, and publisher, who must agree to follow the steps listed in the Trust the Process Statement of Work and take subsequent instructions from.
When does a campaign start
We start our campaigns before the book is finished. The best campaigns build a groundswell of demand before the book is released.
Three stage campaign
Our base-level campaigns have three stages.
- “Priming the pump” in anticipation of the book(s) launch.
- Launch campaign
- Post-launch follow-up
The investment will vary depending on the level of depth.
Are you ready to take control of your marketing/promotion? Let’s see.
- Why are you writing this book?
- Have you written a book before? If yes, What were the results? Did it achieve #1 bestselling status in any category?
- Are you looking to leverage the book to create multiple revenue streams?
- Are you willing to invest in your marketing, and promotion campaign?
- Are you willing to be coached?
- What genre is your book?
- Are you willing and able to commit to and follow the campaign – prelaunch, launch, post-launch – potential multiple-month contract?
- Are you willing to invest in your book’s success?
- Will you put in the time and effort to do the tasks assigned to the author?
- Do you have an email list and an email program (MailChimp, Constant Contact, etc.)?
- What organizations do you belong to as a member, adviser, volunteer, etc.?
- Who is your publisher? They must be willing to follow our plan (post the book where and when per the plan). We can suggest a publisher if needed.
- Do you need someone to assist you with the writing, formatting, and editing?
As you move through the decision process to write a book, you will hear many stories and claims from publishers, editors, illustrators, friends, and associates. Ask yourself this question, who has created and executed marketing and promotional campaigns that have achieved 11 consecutive #1 bestselling titles and two award-winning books in 22 months?
Magic happens when people Trust the Process. Message Melissa Van Oss or Frank Zaccari on LinkedIn. Let’s talk.