When I started marketing books about 17 years ago, the landscape looked a lot different. At that time, media alone was enough to propel a book to the New York Times Bestsellers list. Get a few great shows—you were golden! Today, marketing a book is a whole different ballgame.

The truth is that book deals in 2020 mean true partnership. Publishing houses are looking to authors to assume an equal, or dare I say, majority of the responsibility when it comes to the promotion of their book. It’s why you hear the word “platform” thrown around.

The direct community an author has (think social media, email list, branded podcast) = $$ and Impact. We know that the first people to buy books are the existing fans of the author or teacher. Partnering with an author who has an existing following lessens the financial risk for Publishers.

But creating winning strategy and effective platforms isn’t just for the benefit of the Publisher. These techniques are important whether you are self publishing or hybrid publishing, too. Spending time nurturing these channels is also a pathway to growing your overall business. So, while it’s an important element to getting published and selling books, it will also have a direct impact on your other offerings and programs.

Along with thriving platforms, comes the “know how” on how to successfully market a book. It’s not as simple as book signings and a few interviews anymore. It’s much more about teaching with an expert voice and continuing to offer value. And I just want to throw it out there that if the word “marketing” makes you cringe—I’m with you. There’s a lot of pressure and ick factor that comes along with that word…but stick with me.

I’m happy to report that what I’m seeing for 2020 is a trend towards community…and that’s something I can get behind. As I write this, I’m preparing to head up to Kripalu to speak at Gabby Bernstein’s Bestseller Day. I love this event because it’s an intimate group of people gathered to help propel their dreams of becoming an author forward. Again—there’s such benefit and strength in community learning.

OK, back to the business of it all… Book purists will ask “why can’t the content alone be enough to sell a book?” And the answer is simply: If you don’t get the content in front of people through various channels, they won’t even know your book is there. And without the community, you can’t create the impact you want to.

There are 5 main buckets that will be important for marketing books in 2020.

1) Robust Pre-Sales

2) Extended or Complimentary Learning

3) Immediate Added Value

4) Access (to you!)

5) Community + Platform

Let’s break them down.

The fact that presales matter isn’t necessarily new. But it becomes an even bigger importance as retailers continue to place more conservative orders. Not wanting to have excess unsold units or warehousing, retailers are waiting to see actual orders coming in before committing large buys. So, it’s a win-win-win for author, publisher and bookseller for authors to be focusing on the 3-6 months before the launch date. Show them proof of market interest, get more visibility in stores and more stock online.

Sales and landing pages are leaning towards clean, simple, pointed—If we’ve got to scroll 8 times to get to the offer—you’ve lost them. Address their pain point, tell them how you can make it better, invite them to buy.

That leads to critical component #2 and #3. How DO you get your community, and others, to commit to buying a book months before they’ll receive it in the mail or it hits shelves?

Consumers want more than just the book. They want to know how to apply the lessons, they want to know how to cook the recipes, they want videos on how to get started immediately. That’s where extended or complimentary learning and added value come in.

What can you create that gets people immersed in your content months before they can actually read the book? They’ve pre-ordered and paid, so what perk can you deliver to their inbox that offers support? The older model of book marketing would tell you that you need 5 bonus offers and they need to be staggered in their release. But as people have caught on to that style of marketing, I see a shift towards two really great added-value offerings. One they get immediately, and one they get at launch. Just think about how you can be of SERVICE.

People don’t want more stuff. They want connection, support, intimacy. Blame it on the digital age, but we now need to think about how to create offline experiences or at least personal connection online. Which leads me to point #4—Access.

What do people want most from authors, experts and teachers? Access! Think live webinars with Q&A. Think exclusive Facebook groups where you pop in on live video. Think meet-ups, livestreams, and retreats. They want to learn and immerse and be a part of your world. (Yes, I just had The Little Mermaid pop into my head).

And after they’ve had exclusive access to you, they want to support each other and have a community. ( point #5 )  Provide a place on your platforms for people to discuss your content, share their wins and challenges, and perhaps commit to your other business offerings. This would be a great opportunity to think about a Facebook group, a membership community, etc.

While the list might look overwhelming, each piece goes hand in hand with the next. These buckets work for people whether they have a community of 500 or 500,000. And the benefit is that each of these steps actually builds your overall following and business—no effort is wasted. I invite you to look at your book, platform and business and see where you could be creating more community.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes!

Xx

Richelle