The marketing aspect
By way of giving more credence to my last three articles published in this paper, the focus of this article is to provide more options for the various avenues for marketing your work as a writer for impeccable sales. The marketing ideas shared are not restricted to only people within the book publishing space or writing fraternity. This material gives insights on how to make a massive impact on your brand and business, an indelible mark.
In the first series, it was acknowledged that, for some writers, the thought of having to market and distribute their works can be stressful. In Sabri Suby’s book ‘Sell like Crazy’, he encourages his readers to be marketers and salesmen, real-life representations of their products.
Suby puts a lot of emphasis on the importance of sales for all businesses; it is likened to a beating heart in the body. As sales are being made, the heart pumps steadily and sustains life. Without sales, any business would die; not just any sales, but enough sales to ensure the business is not running at a loss. But how do individuals ensure that their works are being patronised by all? Sales can be made only when people know your product. Having identified that, we can boldly tackle the crème de la crème. How do you create awareness for your products?
As mentioned previously, your publication should be seen as an important and valuable product; just as big brands value and aggressively market their products, you should strive to make your products known, putting them in the face of everybody. Marketing shall always be a great avenue to make noise about your work. It is the preparation for what is to come, just like one would clear a piece of land before building on it. Marketing involves what is being done to pave the way and draw attention to the work even before it is ready for all to see. I highlight these points as additional options you have as a writer or author to generate massive sales for your work:
- Promotions or Freebies: I mentioned this in the previous article, but for more clarity I decided to touch on it again. Another avenue to explore is the use of promotions and freebies. Offering a gift with the purchase of your work could increase awareness and, in effect, sales of your work. Almost everyone likes free things because they don’t have to do much work to get them. It is an effective way of encouraging people to try your work.
The freebies become associated with your work and help customers easily recall your work. Some authors choose to give a free e-book to those who make a purchase of the hardcopy of their book while they await delivery. That way, customers get both the e-book and hardcopy although they paid for just one.
My book ‘31 Days of Inspiration’ is available for free download on Sayda Hub and some other online book platforms. When people get a free copy of your book and they find it relevant, chances are they will look for other materials you have authored which they will gladly purchase. Everybody likes gifts, and you will admit that when someone gives you a gift you feel a responsibility to reciprocate the gesture; and that is the same way customers will feel when they purchase one copy of your book and you give them a complementary one in addition. Although the motive may be different, in most of his crusades bestselling author Bishop Dag gives free copies of his books on Salvation and other relevant topics to new converts.
- Setting up a sales team: Some people do not recognise the importance of a sales team as part of a marketing strategy. Sales and marketing are parts of a whole. They do not stand separately from each other but work harmoniously to produce the desired results; it is important to collaborate with a sales team to do so. Industry research and discussions can be held with a sales team to gain more knowledge of the market to create content that suits them.
The sales team has first-hand information of the field as that is where they work directly, and this should inform your choice of marketing content and strategies. I normally engage students on various campuses to sell copies of my books on commission basis. This can be an extra source of income for a university student. Practically, you cannot visit all locations be it churches, schools or companies in person to talk about your books or to sell them. Having representatives working hand in hand with you on this can be very rewarding.
- Using virtual and in-person launches: In 2020, my friend Albert Kusi launched his book ‘10 Lessons in 33 Years’. This book launch which was virtual on Zoom dominantly, and was streamed live on other social media platforms – garnering participants from various parts of Accra, other parts of Ghana and even beyond. I found that, especially for that period when there were a lot of restrictions and considerations to in-person gatherings, a virtual launch was the best option.
Fast forward, you can appreciate that there may be people in other parts of the world who would be glad to attend your book launch but the boundaries of location will not permit. My suggestion is even when you do an in-person launch, you can benefit from a wider audience base by going live on virtual platforms. Writers can leverage both avenues for their book launches.
This will reach a wider audience as it draws both in-person and virtual participants. Before an actual launch, it is important to have a launch team consisting of individuals interested in you, your work and its success. It is important to have a quality team that can aid you; everyone should be on the same page as to what will be done to promote the book. The use of both launches increases the number of people you will reach, and increase your marketing capacity.
It will have to be announced ahead of time to give people enough time to plan for it. Social media platforms are usually ideal for promoting launches virtually. In the case of virtual launching, a reliable and easy-to-navigate platform will have to be selected for the launch. Viewers may be encouraged to be interactive through the comment section to make the launch lively. YouTube, Instagram Live, Facebook Live, Zoom, etc. are great platforms for virtual launches. Children’s books author, Stuart Gibbs, launched his book ‘Tyrannosaurus Wrecks’ on Facebook Live.
- Multiple launches: This may seem similar to the point above, but this point capitalises on launching the book several times with either the virtual or in-person launch or both. This can be done in several regions to make more people in different vicinities aware of your work. Well-known authors usually go on book tours to present their book to the media and increase their sales.
This can be done either in person or virtually to increase your reach. Quite a number of people argue that it is more cost-effective to do this virtually as a newbie author. However, the promotion game of your launches must be ‘on point’; if people do not know what you are about to do, then there is no point. On 6th July 2019, Gifty Anti launched her maiden book ‘A Bit of Me’. After that, she had several launches of the same book at different locations.
>>>the writer is a corporate trainer and professional ghostwriter assisting busy executives to write and publish their books, articles and speeches. He has served as Head of Protocol at a diplomatic mission, Corporate Affairs Officer at a French multinational agribusiness and as Events and Media Correspondent for a digital ad agency. You can contact the author via: [email protected]