So you’ve decided it is time to get some book marketing help or support. But what kind of help do you need and what is going to be the best match for your budget?
In this post, I’m going to walk you through some available options.
Invest in your education
I always say that the best book marketing investment is an investment in your own education and learning. It is going to be the most cost effective option long term because you will not have to commit to any kind of service for your entire author career and you will learn the dos and don’ts of marketing along the way.
If you want to invest in your own education, here are your options.
First, you have free resources such as blogs, podcasts and videos that you can dip into as you like. You can learn as you go and you don’t have to pay a penny. Then you have paid resources such as books, courses and membership groups. These can vary in price from low-cost books to high ticket long-term membership programs. You should shop around to see what you need and what’s going to be the best fit for your budget. Finally, there are book marketing coaches. Full disclosure: I am a book marketing coach and if you’re interested in learning more about my services, you can do that here.
Let’s look at some pros and cons of each of these options.
Free book marketing resources
Free resources can offer a ton of value, but they’re not tailored to you. There is a lot of information out there; in fact, you can learn pretty much everything that you would like to learn about book marketing online for free. The problem is that you have to piece together the information and decide what’s going to work for you, what order you need to do things in, and whether a piece of information is actually out of date.
Where to spend your time & money for better book sales
Grab your guide to investing your book marketing budget
Paid book marketing resources
Books and courses can also offer good value, but you need to check that they are still relevant. Books and courses can date quick if they’re not kept up to date. Prices for courses and membership groups can vary and don't always represent the value they offer – some are incredible bargains, others less so. You can use Google to search for reviews and see what other people have said about a course. Just keep in mind that some reviewers are affiliate sellers, so will only say good things!
If you are a strong self-starter, then a book or a course may be the perfect solution for you. That means you can take what you learn and put it into action by yourself. If you struggle to take action on things that you read or in courses, then they may not be the best option for you. The other thing to be mindful of is whether a course or book solves your current problem. A course may be amazing value and have great reviews, but if it’s the wrong course for you and your stage of being an author, then it’s going to be a waste of money. For example, if the course is an excellent course on Instagram marketing for authors, but your current problem is building an email list, then it might not be the right course for you because it doesn’t solve your current problem.
Book marketing coaches
A book marketing coach can be the fastest way to see results. A coach offers tailored support and will keep you on track and accountable. Working privately with a coach will without doubt make the biggest difference to your book marketing knowledge and effectiveness compared to any other option here, but it is not right for everyone. The biggest consideration will be the cost. Coaching is one of the more expensive options and if you’re not good at taking direction from somebody else, a coach may not be your best option.
Outsourcing your book marketing
We’ve explored some of your options for investing in your own book marketing education, but what about getting some help with the doing? What are your options there?
There are a few ways that you can outsource your book marketing. You can hire a virtual assistant or a freelancer. You could hire a book marketing agency or you could pay for some ad hoc book marketing services. If you have the budget, you could even hire a publicist. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each of these.
Hire a freelancer or virtual assistant
If you know the book marketing activities that you need to do but you struggle to find the time to actually do them, a freelancer or virtual assistant may be the right fit for you. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you hire the right person for the job. So, if you want help with your social media, make sure you hire someone who is social media savvy. Don’t hire one person to handle everything. Freelancers and virtual assistants usually specialize in particular tasks and if you try to get a one-size-fits-all person to cover everything, then you’re likely to struggle to get the results that you’re looking for. The other thing to keep in mind is if you don’t know what you’re doing with your own book marketing, outsourcing it to somebody else won’t solve your problem.
The person you outsource to needs clear direction from you. And for you to check that they are delivering on what you’re paying for, you need to know what to expect from them. Again, I recommend investing in your own education first. This way you can get a handle on what to expect from book marketing and what should you invest in before handing it over to somebody else who can help you do the work.
My top tip is to only outsource or hire somebody to do something that you already know works. So if you know there are certain things that you do that always bring in more book sales, you can hire someone to help you with that task. For example, if you’ve grown your email list and send regular emails that you know bring in book sales, then you can hire someone to help you. They can schedule your emails or even write them for you.
Book marketing agencies
If you’re looking for help with lots of different tasks, then an agency could be a good fit for you because they can offer lots of specialists under one contract. Just be mindful that these do not come cheap and again they’re going to need clear direction from you about what you want them to do. You will also want to monitor what they do and whether it brings in a return. It’s easy to hire someone to handle your social media, but is what they’re doing bringing in any new followers? Is it bringing in any new book sales? If it’s not, what are you paying for?
Book marketing services
Ad hoc book marketing services can be useful if you need help with a specific task. For example, if you’re doing some outreach and pitching yourself to media outlets, you may want a press release to send out with your pitch. You can hire a book marketing service to write that press release for you. However, services such as press release writing are often offered alongside publishing packages and sold to unwitting authors. If you do not have a well-thought out marketing plan, then these services will probably do nothing for you.
For example, a company may charge you for writing a press release and offer to send it out to their list of, say, 100 or 500 media contacts. That can sound exciting and like it’s definitely going to do something for you. However, these services are easy for a publishing company to carry out as they whip up a press release using a paint by numbers approach and send it out to their list of contacts, who probably receive lots of these all the time. If there’s nothing unique or interesting about them, they will go unread and it will be a waste of your budget. If, however, you use one of these services as part of a wider marketing plan, then it can work well. So, I’m not saying that these services do not work. Just be mindful about how you use them.
Finally, let’s talk about publicists. While costs vary, this is most likely your most expensive option and unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that it will lead to either book exposure or book sales. Traditional media exposure can give your book sales a short-term boost, however, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get that exposure and it also rarely leads to long-term sales. Media exposure can be good for credibility and you can use it on your website and in the editorial review section on Amazon, so it can be useful, but for the costs involved and the risks of not getting any exposure, it may not be a good fit if you have a limited budget.
Take the quiz to find your best fit
So which of these book marketing help options is right for you? There are quite a few things to weigh up. One of the most important aspects is your budget, but your goals and what you’re looking to achieve is also important. To help you decide which option is going to be the best fit for you, download my free guide to investing your book marketing budget and take the quiz at the end of that guide as it will help you make some choices about what’s most important to you and decide what help you need.