Does your book marketing budget include education? More to the point, do you even have a book marketing budget?
In this post, I'm going to explain why you need to invest in your book marketing. I will also explain why a good proportion of that investment should be in you and your education.
Avoid dabbling in book marketing
I know that self-publishing can get expensive. With editors, formatters, typesetters, designers, the list goes on and on. By the time you publish your book, you're keen to start making some of that money back, rather than plow more of it into marketing.
I get that. With books being low-priced items, it can be difficult to justify investing much money in marketing. But if no one knows your book exists, then you likely will want to invest a little money to start getting the word out.
And this is where I see so many authors going wrong.
Because budgets are tight and the margins are small, authors often dabble in book marketing. So they spend $20 here, $50 there, even $100. But then they see very little to no return on that investment.
It's not that the tool that they're investing in doesn't work, it's that there's no strategy or structure behind it. Investing sporadically in book marketing tactics is rarely going to pay off. That's why I usually recommend to authors that they invest in education first.
It's vital to learn the structure and strategy. If you learn how to use the tools, when you invest $20, $50, or $100 or more, you will know exactly what you're doing and how to get results.
How much will you save?
Now I know that courses and coaching can be expensive. And when you think about how many books you need to sell to make the money back, it can seem foolish to invest in either.
But what if you look instead at how much money you will save because you're not throwing it at tactics you don't understand or know how to use?
Even those cautious $20 Facebook post boosts soon add up. And unfortunately, a boosted post is unlikely to do anything for your book sales, if it's not part of a bigger strategy or campaign. So it is your book marketing budget down the drain.
Another example is book promotions. Those promos where you pay to have your book advertised to a list of people interested in your genre. You're probably doing these as part of a price discount or making your book free. When you do them on their own, they often fall flat. But when they're stacked as part of a campaign and some social media and your email list, then these can work like gangbusters. But for it to pay off, you need to have a strategy behind it and to know what you're doing.
The value in courses and coaching is to tell you what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. This will save you an awful lot of time, money, and heartache in the long run.
Outsource more effectively
Another reason to invest in your marketing education is so that you can manage your own marketing better. Or you can outsource it and know exactly who you're looking to hire and what you're expecting from them.
I know a lot of authors don't enjoy book marketing and they would like to outsource the entire thing. They may hire someone to manage their social media. They may hire someone to manage their promos or their ads. But if you do not understand what it is that you need someone to do for you, then again, you could lose a lot of money.
That person you hire may not be good at what you're asking them to do, but you don't know that because you don't understand it either.
There are also a lot of unscrupulous services out there that are looking to make money from authors. And if you don't understand what it is that you need someone to do, then you could fall victim to one of those services. In short, it's dangerous to hire someone to handle something that you do not understand.
It's also true that a lot of people tell authors that social media marketing, for example, will help them sell books. In my experience, social media does not do well at selling books. There is a role for social media in book marketing, but selling books is not what it's best for. So if you hire someone to post on social media a few times a week for you, that's unlikely to result in book sales.
So again, if you understand the role of social media and what it is that you want someone to do there for you, then you can track its effectiveness. You can watch whether what they're doing is actually helping you raise your profile, grow your audience, and sell more books.
How will you measure success?
If you don't have any understanding of book marketing or of a particular tool, then how will you know if the person you've hired is doing what they promised? How will you measure and track the effectiveness of what they're doing? How do you know whether you should invest more money in what they're doing? Or whether you should scale back or whether you should move to something else? It is far, far safer to learn the basics yourself before you go about hiring someone to do a task for you.
You can outsource your marketing. You don't have to do everything yourself. There are plenty of very skilled people out there that can run ad campaigns. And there are people that can help you with day-to-day tasks, such as managing your blog comments or answering emails. There are lots of things people can help you with and I have no problem with authors outsourcing. But you do want to understand what it is you're outsourcing and what it is you want to get in return, so you can manage your book marketing budget better.
You might enjoy book marketing!
Finally, if you invest in some good book marketing education, whether a course or coaching, you may find you actually enjoy book marketing.
It's possible to learn a structured approach to book marketing and discover a system that helps you grow your readership and sell more books. If you learn a system that doesn't feel sleazy, that isn't time-consuming and doesn't waste your money, I believe you could enjoy book marketing!
Speaking of structured book marketing systems, my free masterclass, ‘How To Sell More Books With Less Stress' is happening next week. I would love to see you there! I will be teaching live and taking Q&As, so please come along and ask your questions. You can find out more and register now at smartauthorslab.com/masterclass.