Another fantastic guest post, this time, from Scott Allen, of Big Number 9. Wielding his fifteen years’ experience in content and product management for major digital projects, Scott succumbed to my pleas for a post to specifically help my author readership understand and appreciate their digital stance.
How important is it for authors to understand ‘marketing’ when promoting their book?
It’s vital. If you don’t understand marketing, or put any marketing theories into practice, you might as well lock your books in a garage and throw away the key. Yes, it’s a noisy world. It doesn’t matter how good your work is – if it’s not put in the right places no one will it see it.
How can a first-time author gain any visibility in a flooded market?
It’s true the market is flooded with authors and wannabe authors; however, a good chunk of them will have little or no idea about the basics of digital marketing. Mobile friendly sites/blogs and social media accounts are essential weapons, whilst producing unique content (eg: blogs, articles, video, etc.) will help you rank better on search engines and get you noticed by your potential audience.
What should an author do online as an absolute minimum?
A mobile friendly website/blog is crucial. Websites that don’t work on a handheld device are a huge no-no. Google hates them and your potential audiences, 60% of whom will visit your site via a mobile device, will hate it also. Depending on your audience, some form of social media is a big plus. Just having a Facebook account is not enough anymore – younger audiences have already moved on to other things. Use your website/blog as the hub to direct all your potential traffic towards. You own your website. Facebook owns your Facebook account, Twitter owns your Twitter account, Instagram owns your Instagram account, etc. etc. If they disappear tomorrow, so will all your stuff.
Can authors outsource the promotion of their book to a third party? What are the benefits of doing so?
Outsourcing digital marketing is an option, especially as it can be a very time consuming and stressful process. Beware: there are a great deal of snake oil merchants in this sector. It’s a relatively new industry that’s rapidly expanding and where the rules keep changing (mainly, thanks to Google). It attracts people who think they “know digital” and will happily take your money on flimsy claims they can sort your SEO. I’ve even seen big businesses fall into this trap, with little success. If you go down this route, do your research on the agency and pick the one you feel a personal connection with. Ten bearded hipsters with a super flashy website and a huge client list might not be the right agency for you. (Unless they give you free ice-cream and let you play on their table football game.) 😉
What other tips can you give first-time authors regarding online promotion?
Content is king. If you’re producing a blog, consistency beats frequency. Don’t burn-out firing as many posts as possible in a short space of time…play the long game.
How important is offline marketing?
Depending on your potential audience, offline marketing does have its place, but it can be costly and it’s very hard to track success rate. If you’re going to do offline marketing make sure you balance this with digital marketing. The current ‘i-want’ generation, as it’s been dubbed, are very fickle, have a very short attention span, and will rarely read anything that isn’t digital. I know 24-year-old digital journalists whose only use for a print newspaper is for wrapping fish and chips.
Though an offline audience might enjoy your five-hour workshop on a Wednesday, they may have forgotten you by the time they’re surfing the web in their pants on Sunday night. Make them aware of your digital presence at the end of the workshop so they can follow your progress and so you don’t become a distant memory.
Scott Allen has over fifteen years’ experience in content and product management for major digital projects. After writing his first published article at the age of fifteen, he went on to become a business and sport journalist with the Press Association. As the twenty-first century dawned, he found himself on the front line of digital revolution with Orange, before everyone had worked out that digital was a thing. During that time he built the first mobile sites for some of the biggest football clubs in England, managed UK top ten web/mobile sites, curated Orange Wednesdays, and much more. He is now co-founder of Leeds-based digital consultants Big Number 9, and a great deal greyer.
Developmental editor and publishing consultant Diane Hall is the author of three books; she has also ghost-written books for others and created a plethora of content, on more subjects than you could care to imagine, for numerous clients since the beginning of her career. She is proud to have fundamentally shaped series of books and more than a hundred individual titles over the last decade with various authors, nationally and internationally.
Among her editing qualifications, she holds a linguistics diploma, which involves the study of language and speech. Diane employs this knowledge in the forensic linguistic work she sometimes undertakes.
Diane has seen the introduction and subsequent rise of self-publishing, and passionately keeps abreast of its disruption of the publishing industry. She is a thought leader when it comes to the future of book marketing, fuelled by the poor results authors see when employing traditional techniques.
Thanks to Kromkrathog at freedigitalphotos.net for use of the main image.