How Busy Authors Can Balance Writing and Book Marketing
When you originally set out to write your book, you probably didn’t think that marketing was going to play such a vital and time consuming roll in your life.
Many authors I work with and talk to are caught off guard by the fact that the bulk of the book marketing responsibility falls squarely on their shoulders - even if they have a publisher.
If this is news to you and the cold wash of, “What am I going to do?” is starting to overwhelm you, take a breath because you’re in the right place.
Back 15 or even 20 years ago, it took a lot of money, time, and connections to get your book sold. The only way you could reach your audience was through the media, spending thousands of dollars on ads, or having the right connections with bookstores and influential gatekeepers.
That isn’t the case now. You aren’t held captive by those limitations anymore.
The great thing is that your marketing “to-do” list doesn’t need to be as long or intense as it used to be. And with some mindset adjustments and focus, you can accomplish a lot more than you might think!
Here are six tips for you to focus on:
Get Some Perspective
One of the biggest roadblocks I see authors face is in the comparison game. They see everything that another author is doing and they feel like they need to do the same thing.
I get it because I’m the same way!
But here’s something you need to remember: every author is at a different stage in the game. You can’t compare your marketing to a veteran author who has 20 books under their belt. What works for them isn’t guaranteed to work for you - their audience is completely different than yours. You have to focus on what will work for you and your ideal reader.
You can certainly be inspired by them and get some ideas, but don’t base your entire plan or marketing strategy based on another author.
Work With What You’ve Got
Ideally, I would encourage you to commit a minimum of two hours per week to your book marketing. You could break that up into half hour increments four days a week or even do a two hour stretch one day a week - whatever works best for you.
But I know many of you are struggling to even find time to write your book. You might have kids, a full time job, or other life demands. I get it - I’ve been in the same position.
So here’s what I want to encourage you to do: work with what you have. If you only have 15 minutes a day, do it! The key is to be consistent. You’ll get into the habit of doing even a little bit of marketing (whether that be social media, working on a blog post, making connections, etc.) and when you have more time, you’ll be able to invest more time into it.
Even doing a little bit a day is better than nothing.
Don’t focus on what you don’t have - focus on what you DO have and work with that.
Get It In Your Calendar
Once you’re aware of how much time you have to work with every week, get that time scheduled into your calendar. Remember, it’s important to be consistent so really guard this time and commit to spending even a few minutes every day to working on your marketing.
And if you look at marketing as a drag, remember that modern marketing is simply connecting with other people who are interested in the same things that you are interested in. Going into it with a positive mindset is half the battle!
Focus On A Few Things And Do Them Really Well
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of things that you’re being told that you have to do to market your book, here’s what I suggest you do:
Take a piece of paper and do a good old brain dump. Get everything down - what you want to do, what you’re being told to do, what marketing experts are telling you to do - on paper and start to assess.
Here are three questions I want you to ask yourself:
Will this help me reach/connect with my ideal reader?
Is this the best way to spend my time/money?
Is this essential to my overall book marketing strategy?
These questions are the filter to pass everything through.
Once you narrow your list down, narrow your list down even further to three tasks. Just three. Make a plan on how you will do those three tasks to the best of your ability and schedule them in your calendar.
If you find yourself with extra time or you completed the tasks, go back to your list and add another to your to-do list.
The key is to focus on a few things at a time.
Spread Your Marketing Throughout the Year
An important point to remember is that you need to continue to promote your book throughout the year. Marketing doesn’t only happen a few months before your book releases - it’s a steady stream of promotion.
Instead of putting all of your marketing pressure on the release of your book, spread it throughout the year.
Remember the list that you just made in the previous point? Take those ideas and spread them out throughout the year. Every month or two, schedule it in your calendar to work on one of those ideas.
It’s a great way to keep the momentum going on your book and it will relieve the pressure of doing everything while you’re still writing your book or before the release.
Tap Into Timesaving Tools
Social media scheduling tools like Buffer, HootSuite, MeetEdgar, and so on are lifesavers for busy authors. Scheduling your social media posts ahead of time not only takes the burden of remembering to post every day, but it helps you to think ahead and be more intentional and strategic with your posts.
Remember, posting just to post on social media isn’t going to get you very far. You have to be intentional and connect with your ideal readers. And tapping into tools like a social media scheduler is a great first step to doing that.
Having the right tools and strategy to actually get things done play a huge part in making your marketing successful. Put these strategies into practice and you will see a big change - not only in your perspective but in your results.