Question 5: What am I doing now to build my audience?
Don’t wait until your book is published. You need to begin building your audience now, whether it’s through a blog, Social Media, public speaking, church groups or all of the above.
First-time authors often believe the myth that once their book is published, readers will automatically discover it, bookstores will request it and sales will happen, just because the book exists. Myths aren’t reality.
Another myth is that authors and publishers shouldn’t begin marketing until the book is in print. The movie business builds buzz by leaking stories about upcoming films and starts showing trailers months in advance of the premier. If they didn’t, theaters would be empty and the industry would be bankrupt. This buzz-building is simply marketing – telling moviegoers about upcoming films and giving them sneak peeks called “trailers.”
Here’s a fact: the people who will buy your books either already know, like and trust you or they’re following the recommendation of someone they know, like and trust who knows, likes and trusts you.
Very few readers purchase books that just happen to catch their attention without having heard about the author or the book being recommended by someone they know.
Even if your book is the perfect solution to the reader’s problem, and the title and cover perfectly portray that your book is their answer, they’ll never see it unless you’ve done something to make your book rise above the millions of other books available. That “something” is called marketing and it needs to begin way before your book is in print.
You may ask, “How can I market my book if it doesn’t even exist? Aren’t I selling people a pig in a poke?”
Marketing and selling are two different things. Marketing is making others aware of your book (in this case, your upcoming book). Marketing is telling potential readers why they should be interested in your book, the answers it gives for their problem, and why you’re the person to whom they should listen.
Selling is when the reader purchases your book. Unless the reader already knows about your book, believes it holds the answer she’s looking for and trusts that you’re the one to give it to her, she’ll never buy the book.
Marketing comes before selling, and if you’re smart, you’ll be marketing well in advance of your book being available for sale.
Here are two questions to ask (and answer) now, while you’re finishing your manuscript.
1. Do I have an audience now for my book?
2. Have I thought about building my audience now, while I’m still finishing my manuscript?
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