- McCord Cargile
5 Marketing Tools Every Author Should Have
Most people know that when you're starting a new business you need some kind of marketing plan of action. And most people realize that when you’re starting a business that there are tools and resources that you need to ensure you have. What many don't seem to realize is that a lot of these necessary tools and resources apply to authors as well. Just like a business cannot succeed without customers, authors can't succeed without readers. In order to attract readers, typically, you need to market in some way, shape or form, so below are the five resources and/or tools that every author should have.
Number one is a bio.
Actually number one is two bios, one long and one short. The long bio should contain the relevant information about you. So, of course, it needs to have your name, fully spelled out and with any acronyms that you would tack on the end due to degrees earned and certifications attained, etc. It would also contain a listing of any post-secondary education that you received, any degrees earned, as well as any organizations you are affiliated with and any accolades or awards earned.
Typically your long bio would also include where you were born, where you live now and a brief accounting of your immediate family such as partner/spouse and number of children, if applicable. This is also a good place to include any volunteer roles that you have taken on in the last five years. If you held a high-level volunteer position in an organization then include it, even if it was several years past. So, if you were president of the Board of Directors for a not-for-profit organization eight years ago, you would still include that.
The last thing that you want to make sure that you add, is something about what passions and interests. Whether it is writing or horseback riding your bio is about you and so the entire point of your bio is to make people feel like they know something about you, to build that rapport and the best way to do that is for them to feel that you're presenting at least a little of the personal side of yourself.
Your short bio would contain the most relevant pieces of your long bio so clearly it needs your name, ideally it has one or two of the highest awards or acclamations that you have received and it will have a little bit of personal information such as hobbies interests and familial connections. Anything more than that really depends on how much space you have.
When writing your bio, again, please keep in mind that the entire purpose of this is to allow people to get to know a little bit about the author of this work that they are contemplating reading. So if you have a degree in history and you're writing historical romances that helps to build the credibility of the setting that you are writing about. If you have a black belt in Lean Six Sigma and you are writing about continuous improvement then that is definitely something that you want to include in your bio because it builds your credibility.
Multiple headshots are a must to keep your image from getting stale too soon.
After your bio, your headshots are the next most important thing. Truthfully, some people would say your head shots are just as important as your bio and we’re not really going to argue that point too much. You need to have both so which goes first doesn't really matter. To be clear, this is headshots plural not headshot singular. You want to ensure that you have more than one picture. Our recommendation is to have three to five shots to start with. Having more than one will allow you to have options. The more publicity/marketing you plan on doing the more important it is that the same picture isn't being seen over and over (and over) as the only representation of you. The main reason for having more than one headshot is that you really do not want your image to start being subconsciously associated with stale, old, boring content because no matter how dynamic a shot is if it's the only thing that people see of you over and over again, it's eventually going to get boring.
Amazon and Facebook are not substitutes for a website
A website is the next thing on the list, and I know a lot of people think “oh I don't need a website, I'm selling my book on Amazon and that covers me” or “I'm on Facebook, and that works as a substitute for a website” but, no. You want a website. You want a website, because you want to ensure that you have at least one location where you have full control over the narrative around your book and your persona. As wonderful as Amazon and Facebook are, you don't have control there, they do. Your website is the place where you can present your works, your words and your image in the exact way that you want to.
Your site is a place where, if you choose to, you can periodically blog and tell people what you think and you're not constrained by character limits or what is or is not appropriate to say. When you think of your author website you should think of it as your resume and cover letter. As an author it is a place where you can tell why you wrote the book you wrote and what you want people to get from it, how you want them to feel before, during and after reading it and why that's important. It is a place where you get to be completely and fully your "author" self.
For those who are combining their book with their business or with speaking on specific topics and providing knowledge to those who need it, then having a website is even more important. As it allows you to put all that you offer in one location and format of your choice while showcasing your published work(s).
Don’t overlook media one-sheets and sell sheets
Next is a media one sheet or a sell sheet. These aren't exactly the same thing but they're close enough to be lumped together. A media one sheet is about you, the author. A sell sheet is about your book. Both will contain at least a short bio, picture of you and contact information. Your media one sheet may also contain your areas of expertise or topics that you speak on, a list of, or logos for, key organizations that you have worked with, a list of titles you may hold, such as author, innovator, trainer, and a quote from you or a testimonial from someone you've worked with. Your sell sheet will have a description of the book, why you wrote it or what you want people to get from it and a testimonial or review, possibly more than one if they're highly impactful.
Create a simple book marketing plan BEFORE your book launches
The last thing on the list is a simple book marketing plan. Now, you can get more complex with this but my recommendation is to start out and create a very simple marketing plan focused on periodically promoting your book. The first step is the hardest, identifying who the people most likely to read, and benefit from, your book are. Then you want to determine where you’re sharing news about your book, how frequently, and when, you want to post about your book and what exactly it is that you want to say about it, such as when it is releasing, that it's an award winner or it what objective it will help readers achieve. And that’s it, it can really be as simple as that.
The entire point of this is to make sure that you are consistently letting people know, or reminding people about, your book and why they want to read it (or gift it to someone else). We found that the best way to ensure consistency is to have a plan for it.
And that's it folks those are the five resources and tools that every author should have when marketing their book if there's something we missed we welcome you to share it with us via the contact form on mccordandcargile.com.