Author Amber hated public speaking. She’d written a great nonfiction book that was ready to launch her coaching business to the next level, and she wanted to get out there to support the book launch. But the idea of standing in front of a crowd left her feeling panicked.
Speaking can be terrifying. Especially in front of live audiences.
But there is one way to speak to a big crowd – the biggest you can imagine, in fact – without breaking a sweat: podcasts.
Why should authors seek out podcasts?
You don’t have to stand up there with a few hundred (or thousand!) eyes on you. You can just sit in the comfort of your own home and record a podcast interview. Not one person needs to be staring at you while you try and keep the message on your book.
Many podcasts are audio only – so you truly can do this with ZERO EYES ON YOU.
Podcasts are edited before they are broadcast. You get the chance to take your time. Even to mess up a little. Of course, you’ll need to talk to the host about how much they edit, but you have the chance to clean up any major gaffes during podcasts in a way you can’t in a live interview.
Your podcast is recorded. Sure, that sounds obvious, but this means that you not only are speaking to the audience of TODAY, but you’re speaking to all the people who are going to discover that podcast down the road. It’s time invested in your book not just for today, but for the months – and years! – to come.
One podcast that is targeted to the right audience has the possibility to reach so many more people than any one talk or conference appearance would.
Podcasts are just simply great ways to reach a big, targeted audience without the stress of public speaking.
If learning how to get on podcasts sounds like the marketing opportunity for your book that you need, (and it's such a great tool because it costs you nothing to be on 90% of podcasts!) check out our ON DEMAND premium workshop with Kim Eley and Nakita Rowell-Stevens, hosts of the Sociable Scribes podcast. We’re going to dig into how to use podcasts to get results for your book.
As for what to say, we’ll dig into it at the workshop, but here’s some quick tips if you just can’t wait to get started!
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST FIRST! I am putting that in all-caps because it sounds obvious…but you’d be surprised how many people forget to do it! Listening to a few episodes, minimum, gives you a sense of the rhythm of the show and lets you understand the way the host interviews. And as you listen, make a note of what a successful guest on this particular podcast does. Are jokes a hit? Do they speak formally or casually? Knowing all of this ahead of time will make you more comfortable and more successful.
Come up with book-focused stories ahead of time. You’re there to promote your book. Decide on a few really tight anecdotes you can pull out that relate to your book, your writing process, or that otherwise directly target your ideal reader. You want to be interesting, sure, but you want to be interesting about your book. The goal is book marketing! It can be easy to get sidetracked once you’re talking, but don’t be afraid of prepping notes and even writing small reminders to yourself to stay on topic!
Have a call to action. In the same vein as keeping the focus on your book, be sure you have an ask for listeners. Since many podcasts have a long timeline before they’ll air, be sure you’re also thinking ahead about what your ask could be at air time! You can (and should) record before your book has been released, as well as keep pursuing other podcast opportunities after your launch. The best, easiest call to action is to buy your book. Let them know when it’s out and where they can buy it. Say the title clearly and slowly so listeners catch it, and don’t be afraid to repeat it!
Amber’s experience appearing on podcasts was a huge success – she spoke to new members of her target audience, and it helped her push her book, and her career, to the next level! And I want this for you and your book, too!
In our premium podcast workshop we'll cover how to:
Research the right podcasts & audience
Craft a pitch that stands out
Create a media sheet that makes you shine (using the template Kim & Nakita give you!)
How to be a standout guest so people share (and you get invited on more podcasts!)
Secrets to leveraging the podcasts to sell more books!
We’ll take questions at the end, and you’ll get a recording sent your way after the event, so you can rewatch it for more tips.
PLUS, you’ll get two great bonuses with this workshop…
My Pitching Podcasts course, a $47 value, to supplement and add to everything you learned at the workshop
A template to create your own media sheet that will help you stand out from the pitch pile from Kim and Nakia, a $25 value
But times have changed since the times of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife living in the Ritz on an author’s salary. Millions of books are added to the marketplace each year. But I think we can all agree that it’s good to dream about what can happen.
And, even with the publishing industry changes, let me assure you that there are plenty of authors making big dollars in royalties each month.
How do you make money as an author?
But selling books is HARD WORK. I don’t want to be a Negative Nelly – but I look at stats every day. And I can tell you this: social media can help you grow your audience, but if you’re relying on your social media to get it done for you in terms of book sales, it’s a road that takes time and lots of energy to build. Social media is one tool in the toolbox, but it can’t be your only tool.
That’s where ads come in. (Register now for our upcoming Ads for Authors workshop – it’s on Monday July 12th!)
I wrote my first book in 2013. I know I often say that earning money as an indie author is a marathon not a sprint, but most authors would be forgiven for not expecting a book published nearly 10 years ago to still be bringing in much money every month.
But a few years ago, after learning more about Amazon ads, I decided to make this long-languishing, but deeply personal book my guinea pig for testing my new knowledge. I tweaked and adjusted, and over time I built a pretty decent Amazon ad. It was so good that I’ve kept running it for 4 years. I’ve not promoted or marketed this book in any other way since this ad started running.
And because this book is getting in front of not just readers but the RIGHT readers in the place where they’re already ready to make a purchase (Amazon), it’s selling. Consistently.
Every month, I get a check from Amazon for about $250 for this book alone. WITH NO OTHER MARKETING. I’m not blogging, Instagramming, podcasting, or promoting this book in any other way except Amazon ads.
And even when I deduct my ad expenses, I’m clearing about $150 a month from one book that I don’t do a single other thing to promote. That may not sound like a lot, but it’s $1800 a year that I didn’t have to work for.
(And, more importantly, this book about coping with child and infant loss is reaching the grieving families who need it. Making a lot of money was never my goal, to be clear, but I do want it to show up in the search results when someone needs it.)
No, it won’t pay my mortgage or for braces. But it goes towards family vacations and dinners out and creating memorable times together. Having that income helps me create something special in my life that wouldn’t be possible without it.
Ads for Authors: A Live Workshop
If you are ready to do the same for your book – whether it’s a book you’re still writing, or a book you launched a while ago – join me and bestselling indie author Kirsten Oliphant for my brand new premium workshop on Ads for Authors on July 12 at 12:30 pm EDT. (Click here to register.)
We’ll spend 90 minutes talking about…
How to run ads on Facebook and Amazon
Whether ads on either platform are right for your book (or not)
The timing and strategy for running effective ads that get results
I’ll tell you up front that Kirsten is not from a marketing company – she’s an indie author who is literally supporting her family with 5 figures in Amazon royalties every month. And that’s just her Amazon revenue.
And she did it by building smart Amazon and Facebook ads.
Kirsten has grown her career by writing great books and pairing them with great ads. If you’re ready to do the same, I recommend you join us. (The workshop will be recorded to make sure it’s accessible to everyone who’s ready to take this step!)
As a special bonus, everyone who registers will get a recording of the fantastic webinar Kirsten did about writing to market. If you want to take your author earning to the next level, writing books that speak to what the audience is seeking is vital!
They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, and I’m here to tell you that a book about Rome wasn’t either! It takes more than just raw talent and passion to launch your book. You need a plan.
Do you have a plan for your book launch?
One of the hardest things for some creative spirits out there is the launch planning process. When I talk about this challenge, I always think of my friend Deandra. The raw material for a great launch was all there for her – a great book, a gorgeous cover and she was passionate about getting this book to the people who needed it. But she didn’t have a launch strategy. It was overwhelming, and she found herself throwing her hands up and thinking, “Well, if the book is good, people will find it.”
Over coffee one afternoon, we had some real talk: it’s not about doing everything. It’s about doing the RIGHT things. And it’s also about knowing how MANY right things you need to do to meet your goals.
Sorry, but there’s going to be MATH with this! You are finally going to have a chance to use your high school algebra!
It's time to set some goals for your book launch.
It starts with your goals. Sit down and ask yourself, HOW MANY BOOKS DO YOU WANT TO SELL?
I bet a bunch of you reading are hesitating when I ask the question. You want to be “reasonable,” and you want to give the “right” answer. You might be embarrassed that your goal is too big, or maybe too small.
But sit with the question and really think about it.
Once you’ve set your goal, know that the only way to get there is with a real, concrete, actionable, metrics-based strategy for your book launch (and beyond). Without a Big 5 publishing marketing machine behind you, be honest about what you can reasonably dedicate to this effort, in time, money or a combination of the two. This might change your goal.
Next, you have to do the math.
Once you’ve established your goal for sales, you need to figure out how to get there. Start with your email list: look at your total list number and your typical open rate. That’s your real average audience for each email. Only a small percentage of the people who open and read each email are going to make a purchase – likely somewhere between 1 to 10%, depending on how engaged your audience is. What does that number look like right now? And how many people would you need to get on your mailing list to reach your goal?
This is just one piece of your launch prep calculation, though – you also have social media (a much lower conversion rate for purchase) to plan, an ad budget to set, and publicity to organize. Your launch planning is like a tree with many branches, all supported by reasonable, concrete goal setting.
Are you ready to smash your book launch?
When Deandra and I planned each branch of her launch using real metrics that reflected what she knew about her audience, we found so many opportunities to grow. And because we had our chat a few months before her book was released, we were able to figure out practical strategies to grow her audience and reach her goals. She actually ended up blowing right past her initial goal, thanks to strategic thinking, good old fashioned math and follow-through.
So what’s your book launch goals? What does success look like for you?
Finding the ideal reader for your book can be the difference between a bad review and a good review. Bad reviews can be hard to accept as an author but they can also give you insight into your marketing and who is reading your book. They give you a chance to ask “am I reaching the right readers for my book?”
Every author gets bad reviews.
Imagine you’re a novelist looking through Goodreads at some of your new book’s latest reviews and this is what you come across:
This is not an epic, beautiful tale of a wonderful family’s trials, or whatever. It is a long, poorly written story of a family’s sex life.
How does this author take such an interesting and impactful topic and write it so bland, emotionless and boring?
Was this book well written? No. Did I still enjoy it anyway? Also no.
This is the book that made me ignore other people’s recommendations. I have no idea what anyone sees in this piece of trash.
Yikes. You can imagine how hard that feedback would hit a person. They might think the author should hang up his or her hat and find a nice job in a tea shop or selling timeshares.
What if I told you that these were reviews that were left on the recent critically acclaimed books, respectively, Pachinko by Min Jin Lee, a National Book Award Finalist; The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2020; The Invisible Life of Addie Larue by V.E. Schwab, which made nearly every 2020 “best of” list; and The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, winner of the 2012 Orange Prize?
Showing up in front of your ideal reader matters.
Sometimes the wrong person stumbles on your book, and there are just going to be those people who don't like it. But sometimes these bad reviews come from bad marketing, along with targeting the wrong types of readers. By ensuring you know exactly WHO your reader is, and making a concerted effort to market to that particular audience, you can make sure that reviews like this are far and few between. That they only happen when the wrong reader stumbles across the book.
And it makes sense that most of the reviews are good for these books. Not only are they all great books, they also all have major publishers lined up behind them with loads of expertise in audience targeting. That’s how you know that finding and showing up in front of your ideal reader matters – the big publishers are willing to spend big bucks doing it.
Authors have to know how an ideal reader.
But indie authors and new voices in writing don’t have that luxury. We have to know how to target our ideal reader on our own, and we need to start figuring it out as we are writing, and carry it through our marketing efforts. We need to dig in and do the work early, and constantly check our work! Otherwise, we’ll end up with readers like the ones above who just don’t “get” us. Readers who don’t know why we’re telling this story and hate the way we’re telling it.
I’ve seen reviews like the ones above on books that clients brought to me for relaunches. These books were well-written, urgent, interesting, powerful. And unfortunately, without proper reader targeting, they found an audience who just couldn't connect with them. They left salty reviews. They didn’t check out the back catalog. They didn’t tell a friend, unless it was to tell the friend to “skip this one.”
But when my clients make the small changes needed to their marketing to find and speak to their ideal reader? The great reviews roll in – “I felt like this book was written for me!” – and the sales come, too.
My clients often learn an important (and pretty encouraging) lesson: it wasn’t the quality of the book that was generating the lackluster reviews and sluggish sales. It was merely incorrect targeting in the book marketing.
Getting in Front of Your Target Readers
Click here to join an exclusive workshop with my friend, Belinda Griffin. She’s a book marketing expert who has mastered the art of audience targeting, and she’s coming to share her secrets with us! No matter what your publishing journey looks like, this is the workshop every author needs to connect authentically, leverage publicity and grow their platform! This workshop is now on demand, which means you can watch (rewatch) it anytime!
This month, we were delighted to have one of our favorite people, Cindy Tyler, CEO of Vervante. Cindy presented on options for selling books directly from your website. She also talked about the power of the email list, and why book marketing is an ongoing project. This is our last Women in Publishing webinar for 2019!
Where Inspiration Flows and Business Grows
Vervante offers what no other publisher does – the ability to grow by connecting with your customers. Subscriber email lists are your #1 asset for business growth, so why send your customers to another site to buy? Sell from your site, send us the order from ANY shopping cart, and we'll print and ship to your customers. Whether you need one or thousands we've got the easy, affordable solutions you need.
This month, we had the pleasure of hosting Steven Spatz, President of BookBaby, in our monthly webinar series, featuring sponsors of the 2019 Women in Publishing Summit.
BookBaby has grown to become the nation’s leading self-publishing company. We believe in People Powered Publishing, which means our crew of authors, poets, bloggers, and artists are dedicated to helping all writers self-publish successfully. From first-timers to veterans, novelists to photographers, we’ve helped thousands prove that it doesn’t take a traditional publishing deal to bring a dream to life. You can do it yourself—and BookBaby has the friendly customer service, knowledgeable publishing specialists, and quality book printing you need to get the job done.