Let's just take a second to acknowledge that this year, 2020, has been the craziest of crazy years. However the events of this year have affected you personally it's been pretty much impossible for any of us to really focus on our goals or do any consistent book marketing.
If you found it difficult to make progress towards your goals this year, with all the valid reasons why, do you have a plan for how you're going to get more done next year even if the world is just as mad?
I'm going to share with you three strategies that will allow you to show up consistently in 2021 and make more time for consistent book marketing, so you can sell more books.
Consistency is key
All sorts of things way out of our control have come up this year. Some of those things have impacted us for the better, but for the large part they've been distracting; they've made it difficult to focus and they have caused a lot of anxiety. And with all that going on in the background, it's very difficult to settle down and continue moving towards your personal goals.
So I want you to go into 2021 with a rock-solid strategy that means you know how you're going to show up and keep moving towards your goals, no matter what's going on in the wider world.
That key strategy that I want to share with you is consistent book marketing.
Making a commitment to show up consistently, whether that's every day, every week, every month, you will need a plan for how you're going to show up so that you can continue growing your audience and growing your author business.
Make consistency a priority
Consistency is the most important element when it comes to marketing your book and growing your audience. But there is one challenge that always comes into play when it comes to consistent book marketing, and that is time.
Now, time is one of those strange things that none of us ever seem to have enough of and yet when we want to find time to do something that is important to us, however unhelpful it is, such as binge-watching Netflix, we seem to be able to find that time.
So what does this mean for consistent book marketing? It means that you need to move it up your list of priorities.
If you struggle with being consistent then here are my top three tips for developing consistency that you're going to want to take with you into 2021.
Tip #1: Figure Out Your Why
Why do you do what you do? Why are you getting up every day and writing and publishing and marketing your books? Now, you may be able to figure out why you write more easily than why you want to market your books. But if you only want to write then why don't you just put those writings away in a drawer?
Why does it matter to you that you publish? Why does it matter to you that those books then get into the hands of people? And why are you bothering with book marketing?
When so many authors tell me how much they dislike book marketing, there must be a really good reason why they're bothering. So get clear on that reason. Why does it matter to you? When you are struggling to be consistent and to show up, think about that why and that is going to motivate you to keep going.
What's your altruistic why?
Sometimes it's easier to keep promises that we make to other people rather than ourselves. So don't just think about your why for you, for example, making money or because you want your characters to live in other people's minds, think about why it matters to your target readers. Think about an altruistic why.
Why does it matter that your books reach people? If you're writing non-fiction, often it's easier to figure out that altruistic why. Maybe you're answering a question or you're solving a problem for people, and it's important to you that you help more people.
But when you're writing fiction it can be difficult to know why does it matter to anybody? So you need to get clear. Is it to do with the characters? Is it to do with the escapism that you provide for people?
Why does it matter that you write? Why does it matter that you publish? And why does it matter that you market your books and get them into the hands of more readers? Get clear on that, and that's really going to help you show up.
And remember, if you're not sure who your target readers are and therefore don't know who wants to read your books and why it matters to them that they get hold of your books, download my free target reader checklist and that's going to help you get started.
FREE Target Reader Checklist
Identify your readers for more effective book marketing!
Tip #2: Think Minimum Viable
So the reason why it's often difficult to maintain consistent book marketing is because we're doing too much. If we take on too much then we start with a lot of enthusiasm, we rush through, we think, “Yes, I'm doing this. I'm doing 101 things, I'm going to make it. I'm going to be successful really soon.” And then we burn ourselves out and say, “I don't want to do any of it anymore ever again.”
So the important thing is to do the bare minimum that you need to do to be able to move the needle. If you keep things simple then it's going to be easier to be consistent and to stick with it.
Avoid thinking, “I need to do Facebook ads, I need to be on Facebook running a Facebook group, I need to be on Instagram, I need to be on Twitter, I need to be booking some promos, and I need to be writing my next book, and I need to be emailing my list, and I need to be doing this, and I need to be doing that, and I need to…”
You're just going to burn out. You're going to crash and burn and not be able to keep up with all those things. So keep it minimum viable. Think, “What is the minimum I need to do?”
Keep things simple
Remember, your goal is to get in front of your target readers, and you only need one way to do that, and then entice them back to your mailing list with a really good reader magnet, then nurture those new subscribers with regular emails.
And that's pretty much it, that is the minimum viable that you need to do. You don't need to be doing 101 things. You can always add more in, but think of the minimum so that you can be consistent and show up daily and weekly for your readers.
When you strip out all the extra stuff that you don't need, you're going to find it easier to show up consistently with more energy and enthusiasm, and you're going to take more joy in your book marketing.
Tip #3: Put It On Your Calendar
Many of the authors that I work with only have a small amount of time for writing each week. And that time doesn't just include writing, it includes all their marketing and publishing time as well. It's probably the same for you.
This is not ideal for a couple of reasons. Number one, you will always attend to the most pressing task. So if you've received edits back from your editor then you're going to focus on those even if you'd set aside time for marketing. If you don't have a looming deadline then you're simply going to pick the thing that you fancy, whether that's writing another chapter or looking at cover ideas. You're not necessarily going to do the thing that you need to do, you're going to do the thing that you want to do.
The second reason why this is not ideal is because when you do attend to book marketing, you resent it. You think, “This is eating up writing time. I'd rather be writing and now I'm having to market and I don't enjoy marketing.” So you always have that resentment when you think about book marketing. That makes it hard the next time around to focus on the marketing because you've built up this bad feeling about it.
Create a schedule
To deal with this I recommend scheduling your marketing time. Make it completely separate from your writing time, make it completely separate from your publishing time. So that's dealing with things like editor's notes and cover design and things like that. Make it separate and when that time rolls around that's what you do. You need to focus on that time, whether it's one hour a week, two hours a day, whatever time you give it, that's what you commit to.
Now, I'll be honest, just because it's on your calendar it doesn't mean that you'll actually do the work. I speak from experience here. I've tried all sorts of things to make myself do the things that I put on my calendar, and I'm just not very good at doing that. I'm a work in progress! But if we only do the work that we feel like doing, then we don't really deserve success. We have to commit to the work that needs doing if we want to see the success that we are looking for.
This is when we have to loop back to tip number one and think about our why. Why are we doing this? Why does it matter? When you keep that why very clear, front and center in your mind, then it's easier to commit to doing the work.
Value Your Work
And the other thing that I always like to remember is what if I was a brain surgeon? The work that we do as authors doesn't always feel important. Well, it is important. It's important to you and it's important to your target readers.
Just as if you were a brain surgeon, your work is important. What if you needed brain surgery and your surgeon said, “I don't fancy it today, I just don't. I'm not really feeling brain surgery today.” And they don't bother showing up? That is going to have serious consequences. We need to take our work as seriously as that. Yes, we may be artists, but our work matters, it is important and we need to take it seriously.
So value your work and give it the time and the attention and the respect that it deserves. Remember, your readers need your work now more than ever. If you're still not sure who they are, don't forget to download my free target reader checklist in the description below. Now go out there, be consistent, value your work, work hard, work smart.