In one of our latest articles, we talked about the importance of quality in publishing. A complex concept that, in our opinion, has two corresponding sides: that of the content, meaning your stories, and that of the container, the book or the ebook and audiobook files.
Today, we'll shift our attention to another important stage of the editorial production, the last step for independent publishers and authors: promotion. Every book is a commercial product that must be distributed and sold. The success of your work will depend on the quality of the work but also on the marketing actions that follow the release.
Side note: we talked about the last step, which is not completely true. In terms of time, most promotional activities start once a new title is published but, at a logistical level, the strategy should be defined before the launch of the book. We'll soon find out why…
The approach to book promotion, especially online, often brings with it the same problems that characterise the publishing stage: haste, approximation, and improvisation. In marketing, surrendering to the call of the White Rabbit and its "Soon, that's late!" approach can have serious consequences on the sale and distribution of the book that in turn can jeopardize the launch and life of a new title. A book, like any other product placed on the market, doesn't sell itself. The work of the author is not just writing, as the work of the publisher is not concluded with the publication.
Digitalization and increased internet access have revolutionised and amplified the publishing processes, that is the distribution, sale, and promotion of books. Often, the more options you have the more difficult it becomes to choose and act. The best solution to deal with these "obstacles", should be to gain awareness, knowledge, and plan accordingly before taking any action. This is because in editorial marketing much of the success of the product is a matter of strategy!
But let me give you some points. Before publishing and thinking about how to engage the readers (who by the way, according to the statistics are becoming increasingly rare) it's important to stop and make some assessments.
First of all, analysis!
Where and how will the book be distributed? Who are and, most importantly, “where are” my potential readers? What are my sales goals? The answers to these questions are necessary to structure and define the promotional actions that need to be taken. But not only that. This awareness can be of great help in some important stages of production, such as the ideation of the cover, the drafting of the synopsis, and the definition of the metadata, which is necessary to improve placement and classification of the book in the distribution channels. To summarise: in order to be effective, you need to know your shit!
You have to know how to choose
Start by identifying the target market and the target reader, then you'll have a foundation on which to build your promotional ecosystem. Then analyse the various channels and tools available (blogs, social media, advertising, groups, and so on) and choose the most suitable for the story and/or promotion of your book. It’s important to understand that there is no universally recognized way to publishing, only channels and tools that are right and suitable for your book and your target reader. Learning how to filter and manage the peculiarities of your editorial product and your sales objectives, will allow you to maximise your time and energy, avoiding unnecessary and counterproductive spamming activities, or wasteful investments in unprofitable ads.
Strategy, that Jane Doe!
So you’ve taken care of every detail of the production, you have chosen the distribution and promotional channels, you know your target readers and where to find them. Now, finally, you have an overview of your assets that allow you to plan a real strategy, meaning the set of activities that will be carried out online to promote and sell your book. You will know in advance how to prepare and manage the launch, what channels you should use to communicate, how much to invest, and when. Everything must be defined in time, in a coordinated and planned action strategy. This is the only possible way to achieve tangible and lasting results, ensuring a qualitatively high perception of your product and work as a writer, or editor, in the eyes of the reader.
Therefore, in publishing, success is a question of quality but also strategy, and defining a strategy is a complex work that requires time and skill.
We’ll touch again on promotion, we promise!
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