Most of the time authors—especially new ones—think the focus of marketing is “selling more books.” I know that’s what I believed—that marketing is about me and all of the various ways I could entice people to buy my book.
But over the past year, during the release of my debut book, I’ve realized I had everything backwards. The whole marketing and publicity campaign isn’t so much about how to make MYSELF more appealing. Rather it’s about putting the spotlight on the READER.
The needs of the READER should be at the heart of our marketing and publicity efforts.
One of the first times I realized I was being author-centric was during the development of my website. I had written up content for all of my web pages, spotlighting my books, my news and events, my biography, and my blog. Do you notice a pattern? Everything was about me.
My wonderful web design team gently encouraged me to think about having a couple of pages devoted to the people who visit my site—readers and other writers.
What I began to realize was that I needed a way to reach out and engage people who stopped by my website. I didn’t want them swinging by for a one-time visit, seeing a showcase to myself and my book, and then skipping away never to be seen again.
When a reader landed in my cyber home, I wanted them to feel welcome, to stick around, and to even come back for a future visit. But in order for that to happen, I needed to provide them with content that would meet their needs—whether that was encouragement, helpful information, or just fun things for them to do/learn.
So over time I developed a page devoted to readers where I post pictures of them, have a fun quiz, and other interesting historical tidbits that relate to my book. I also developed a page for writers that list links to helpful writing articles.
But I didn’t stop there. I began to look for other ways to make other marketing and publicity efforts more about the reader. I held a “Reader Appreciation Day” on my blog and gave away a Chocomize gift card. I began to send cards and bookmarks to readers who’d taken the time to write handwritten notes to me. And I worked hard at genuinely interacting with readers on both Facebook and Twitter.
Finally, when I was getting my first newsletter ready to email to those who’d signed up for it, I was reminded once again that I needed to think of the reader. The first version of my letter was—yep, you guessed it—all about ME and my books.
However, rather than focusing all the attention on myself, I realized I needed to find ways to refresh my readers through my newsletter. How could I encourage them? What could I give them to bring joy to their day? How could I show them my appreciation for their support?
With a little tweaking to my letter, I added a fun and easy family recipe, made a point of thanking them for helping my book be successful, and tried to find a quote that could uplift them.
I’m still in the process of learning how to move from being author-centric to reader-centric. I’m still looking for ways I can make my marketing and publicity less about me and more about them. It’s not always easy, but it’s worth the effort every time I hear from a reader who shares how they were touched by something I said or did.
What about you? Are you author-centric or reader-centric? Have you been putting the spotlight mostly on yourself? Or are you thinking about your reader and how to make marketing more about them?