Have you ever found yourself wondering whether you need an audio book? Or which social media platform you should be on? Or how often you really need to email your subscribers? These are just three common book marketing dilemmas!
In my blog post How to market a book even if you HATE marketing!, I explained that book marketing is about knowing your readers and giving them what they want. In this post, I’m going to dig deeper into this and reveal how knowing your target reader can help solve most book marketing dilemmas.
When you don’t know who you’re trying to reach with your book marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of trying a little bit of everything. But when you know your readers, most things start to fall into place and you no longer need to guess of what to do for the best results. Instead you can ask yourself, “What would my reader want or expect?”
Let’s go through some common book marketing dilemmas and see how knowing your target reader can help you solve them.
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Dilemma 1: Should I be wide or exclusive?
What this means is are you exclusive to Amazon? If you want your book to be part of the Kindle Unlimited program, you will need to agree to be exclusive to Amazon. That means your ebook is only available there.
If you want to be available on other retail platforms, such as iBooks or Kobo, you will need to be wide.
So should you enroll in Kindle Unlimited? I encourage you to do what your readers want and expect. If your readers have a Kindle Unlimited subscription, they’ll want to get your book as part of that. If you choose not to be part of the program, what will entice readers to pay for your book on top of their subscription?
What are your competitor titles doing? If all your competitors appear to be part of KU, then it’s a good idea that you are there too. If your competitor titles are not part of KU, then it may not make sense for you to be there. When your readers don’t have a KU subscription, they’re not going to enjoy your book being free as part of KU.
It comes down to knowing your competitor titles and knowing your readers, as well as the type of book you have. For example, genre fiction often does well in KU.
If you’re not sure if your readers have a KU subscription, ask them. Grow your platform and mailing list so that you can ask your readers whether they have Kindle Unlimited.
Dilemma 2: How should I price my book?
This is another hotly debated topic. Book pricing comes down to a few things, including your costs – you want to cover those. But I would encourage you to look at the price of your competitor titles and what your readers are willing to pay.
You should experiment with your price. If you’re self-publishing, setting your own price is one of the advantages. Try raising and lowering your price to see where the sweet spot is. When do people choose to buy your book?
Again, look at your competitor titles and what the norm is for your type of book. If you’re much above or below that price point, then that can put readers off. It’s also useful to be familiar with your readers and the type of reader they are. Thinking about their age and other demographics can give you an indicator of things like their income level and whether they are likely to be KU subscribers. Information like that can help you decide on an appropriate price.
If you have a mailing list, you can ask your readers what their preferred price point is. But quite often people will say less than what they might actually be willing to pay. So your best bet is to experiment with your price and see the results.
Dilemma 3: Should I have an audiobook?
In an ideal world, you would have all formats of your book available: print book; ebook; and audiobook. Because different readers consume books in different ways.
There’s also a preferred way of reading for different groups of readers. So again, if you know your readers, you know what they prefer.
The current norm is to have an ebook and a print book. It’s only certain authors that are embracing the audiobook. But you may find that you can skip the print side and have ebook and audiobook only if this works better for you and your readers.
The reason why people don’t have all formats available is of course, due to cost and time. With an audiobook you need to hire a voice artist to record your book; there are production costs. There are lots of services available to help you create an audiobook, but it still requires more time and financial investment. So you may decide you don’t want to do that. But audiobooks are booming and you could be missing out on a huge chunk of income by not creating one, so should you do it or not?
Again, this comes down to knowing your readers, what do they want to consume? What is their preferred option? If your readers are Kindle Unlimited subscribers – they love eBooks, they race through them and keep loading up their Kindle with more books – then you may be best sticking with ebooks. There’s no point bothering with a print book because your target readers don’t buy them.
But if you’re writing literary fiction or non-fiction, a print book may be the preferred format for your reader. It comes down to knowing who your reader is and how they consume books.
There are other factors that will play a part, such as age and income. Print books usually cost more than ebooks, for example. But certain readers prefer print books because they think that’s what a book should be.
Are your readers falling out of love with ebooks?
On the other hand, ebooks have lost some of their popularity because people want non-screen time. In the beginning, getting a Kindle and loading it up with lots of books was a popular choice. But people have started to turn away from ebooks because they’re spending so much time on screens. They want time with a print book, a physical book, where they can enjoy reading away from their screen.
Audiobooks offer that too, but you can get more done at the same time. You can be on a walk or run, you can be in the car or at the gym and consuming your favorite book. So audio books are becoming popular with people that have on-the-go lifestyles. They may have given up reading because they didn’t have time to fit it into their life, now they’re finding they can.
So, ideally you’d have all book formats available and you could see what was most popular. And that could help you make a decision for future titles you publish.
But you may not have the luxury of time and budget to do that. In which case, ask your readers and look at what your competitors are doing. What formats do they have available?
You can also ask on social media to try and gauge what is the norm for your particular niche. Look too at the demographics of your readers and the demographics of audiobook readers, print book readers and ebook readers. Is there a clear match?
Dilemma 4: How often should I email my list?
This is a great question and regardless of who your readers are, you need to be emailing your author email list at least once a month. This is the minimum to ensure they don’t forget about you and don’t forget why they signed up.
Whether you should email more often than monthly is down to what you can commit to, whether you have something to say and how much your subscribers want to hear from you.
If you can, I recommend you email once a week. This could be a round-up of things you’ve been up to or things that you’re working on. It could be inspiring or motivational, a humorous story or something else you think appropriate for your audience. It should also feel right for you. I would only suggest you email more often than once a week if you have an audience that is keen to hear from you that often. You must also have something of value to provide in every single email.
Again it’s important to know your readers and what they expect, and how much they want to hear from you. You can gauge that by looking at your analytics. Are people unsubscribing when you send an email? Look to see if it was the content of the email, or how often you emailed.
Beware only emailing to sell
Some people tell me that they don’t want to email even once a month because they don’t have anything to say. They only want to email their readers when they have something to announce or tell them. Quite often that is having a new book out. But whoever your reader is, they most likely don’t want to hear from you only when you have something to sell them. So it’s important to keep engaging with them on a regular basis. This will help them remember who you are and develop a deeper relationship with you.
Dilemma 5: Which social media platforms should I be on?
This one is pretty easy to answer. You should be on the platform that your readers are on. So if your readers are all on Facebook, that’s where you should be. That said, I would suggest that you start with the social channel you are most comfortable with. So if your readers are on Facebook but you hate Facebook, it’s okay to start with Instagram. You should start with the platform you feel most confident with so you start getting used to posting regularly. Being consistent on social media is important. So start with the social platform where you can be consistent. But I recommend that at some point, you make sure you go to the platform where most of your readers are hanging out.
If you’re not sure where your readers are hanging out online, which social channels they’re using then ask them if you have a mailing list. If you don’t, you can look at the demographics of the typical users of the different platforms. The typical Facebook user is different to the typical Instagram user, for example. So you can look at those typical users and see which one matches up best with your target reader.
Your target reader checklist
It should be clear by now that if you want to make book marketing easier, it helps if you know who you’re trying to reach. Knowing who your target readers are will help solve all book marketing dilemmas.
But if you’re still struggling to know who your reader is then I have a checklist that will help you figure it out. Download your free checklist here.