Are you focused on long-game book marketing or short-term results? The marketing strategy you choose will depend on your goals, but have you made the right choice?
In this post, we'll compare long-game book marketing strategies with short-game tactics to ensure you are making the right marketing decisions for your book.
Long-game book marketing vs. short-game
When marketing a book, there are two primary strategies that you can take. You can focus on the long game, or you can focus on short-term results. Or you may use a combination of the two. For example, around the time of a book launch, you may use short-term tactics, but have an ongoing focus on a long-game book marketing strategy.
Long-game book marketing strategies include things like email list building or growing a following for your book. These things are not quick or easy and they don't happen overnight. But the investment in them can pay off as readers get to know, like, and trust you over time. And their numbers will increase in time as well.
Short-term tactics include things like book promos and PR, which can give you a good amount of exposure for a short period of time. This can lead to an increase in book sales or your Amazon ranking.
Short-term tactics can often be expensive. So they're not cost-effective to use long-term. And even if you do have the budget, their effectiveness can diminish over time. So they're not worth using long-term.
Strategies vs. tactics
So when should you use long-game book marketing strategies over short-term tactics?
Platform building activities should be what most authors spend the majority of their marketing time on. These include the activities that help to grow your email list or develop your relationship with readers.
You can start these activities long before you publish and continue them throughout your writing career. They do need time investment, but very little financial investment beyond things like web hosting.
Long-game book marketing strategies are not for everyone. If you only ever intend to publish one book, you may not want to invest time, energy, and money in long-term strategies. Instead, your focus should be on doing all that you can to push your one book. Quite often this will mean investing in short-term tactics.
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Combine strategies with tactics
Any author can use short-term tactics. They can be effective when launching a new book, especially if used in combination with long-game book marketing strategies.
For example, you may run a price promotion and schedule some book promos to drive traffic to a new listing. At the same time, you may run an email campaign to let your loyal subscribers know about the price discount. The combination of marketing to your list and investing in the promo will result in a more successful promotion.
If you want to write long-term, it's important to know the difference between long-game book marketing strategies and short-term tactics.
While it may feel frustratingly slow to grow an email list or create valuable content consistently, it will pay off in time. You may not see an increase in book sales right away, and that could lead you to believe that it's a waste of time and that it's not working for you. And so you decide to quit. I encourage you to keep the faith and stick with it. The authors that do are the ones that see the results in the end. Most will tell you that they did not see results overnight.
How to avoid book marketing overwhelm
The alternative to committing to these long-term strategies is to keep bouncing from one shiny tactic to another. You may see some initial benefit, but it is likely to be short-lived. And that means you need to keep digging into your pocket and investing in more tactics or spending more money on the same tactic.
Many authors without a long-game book marketing strategy find themselves looking for new tactics all the time. This is what leads to overwhelm and exhaustion. And it's another reason why many authors give up on marketing and declare it a waste of time and unenjoyable.
When I work with my private clients, I encourage them to find the long-term strategies that they feel comfortable with and that they can commit to. Because the marketing that works is the marketing that you will do! So find something that you can commit to and be consistent with. I also recommend they sprinkle in a few short-term tactics as well now and again. This could be around the time of a launch or when they want to give their books a bit of a boost.
This is also what I teach in my Target Readers Academy program. I only open the doors a couple of times a year, but you can get on the waitlist here if you're interested in learning more.
Long-game book marketing for long careers
So if you want to write long-term and make writing your business, then be sure to follow a long-game book marketing strategy. It will support you long-term and it won't break the bank. You will need to invest time in long-term strategies, and be patient waiting for a return on your investment. But your efforts will pay off and the results will continue to improve over time.
An email list, for example, may take time to grow. But in a few books' time, that email list will be so, so powerful for you. Whereas short-term tactics, such as book promos, or throwing some money at PR may give you a boost. But, it's not going to grow over time and you will have to dig into your pocket again and again. However, if you do have that money in your pocket, think of the power of combining it with an email list!
So whatever your budget, I encourage you to invest time in long-game book marketing strategies if you want to be an author with a long career. Need help getting started? Download my free 7-step guide to growing an author platform.