Recently I attended a talk by Kathryn Kemp Guylay, owner of MakePublishingFun.com. It was fun and engaging, which I think are the trademarks of how she exists in this world. I learned a variety of ways to market books—just what the doctor ordered. I don’t know about you but marketing seems to be the scourge of my existence, but this time it’s too important for me not to succeed. I was excited to learn more about marketing and intrigued at the promise of marketing being fun : )
I can do lots of things well, but marketing is so essential I’m going to have to roll up my sleeves and finally conquer it. Do you have the same problem, or do you suffer from other business obstacles that keep getting in your way?
It’s not that I haven’t tried to improve my marketing, but so much is resting on finalizing my book before I feel like I can launch full bore. Good news to share — I just turned in my edits and soon I’ll be taking my final steps to having “Blasted from Complacency: A Journey from Terror to Transformation in Israel,” published. WOOHOO!
As many of you know, writing about our experience made me realize it’s more than a book. The impact of having missiles coming toward us as we hid in bomb shelters changed my life profoundly and working on Peace feels like it’s become my life’s mission. Really, taking my son to a war zone was his Bar Mitzvah present?
Let me take a brief moment to take a deep breath and enjoy the accomplishment of having reached this milestone. It’s been a long 4 ½ years since I decided to take a leap of faith and record the account of our family vacation touring incredible sites and being human targets.
Of course there was the main book, but then there were many other parts as well such as the Dedication, Preface, Author’s Notes, Bio, Acknowledgements, Endnotes, Bibliography and Glossary.
Additionally, I included Resources for those who might want to know all the various teachers, coaches, books and classes I’ve attended that helped lead to my transformation. Not of interest for some so we kept that for the back of the book, but nonetheless it’s a hearty section and one after which I took a sigh and thought to myself, you’ve come a long way baby! Of course there’s a long road ahead finalizing the cover, interior design, proofs and gathering testimonials, which I’m sure will have their own twists and turns.
One titillating commitment from Kathryn was that we would identify our marketing superpower—time to get out those tights : ) We were going to be taught to understand how to budget time and energy for the marketing phase, and employ unique and cost-saving techniques to reach more readers. Kathryn, a self-confessed numbers geek had collected data for a survey. She was going to give us access to unbiased, unwashed data collected from authors across self-publishing, hybrid-publishing and traditional publishing to learn what works and what doesn’t work to sell more books in today’s marketplace. I was looking forward to what she had to say!
Kathryn comes to the publishing industry with a background in management consulting and nonprofit management. Her six books have won ten awards and several have reached #1 bestseller status on Amazon. As a publishing coach, Kathryn offers live classes several times a year to help authors reach “Happy Author Land” through fun and actionable teaching. So what did she have to say?
Kathryn is all about fun AND talking about marketing your book. She’s knows her stuff, but beyond that she’s a warm person who is well-read, keeps mental and physical health in mind and likes to share what’s she’s learned. Whether skiing up and down the slopes which she does as often as possible or going up and down the marketing trail for your book, she believes having fun is the key to life and the key to doing a great job.
In her talk she spoke about the four things that will make marketing your book fun:
- Identify your marketing superpower.
- Budget time and energy for the marketing phase.
- Embrace the power of podcasting.
- Be a tree hugger.
Now if you are like me, I was curious what in the world does hugging trees have to do with marketing books? Just wait.
Identifying your marketing superpower
Kathryn has identified 3 marketing superpower profiles: World Traveller, Social Butterfly and the Brand Name Builder.
It’s important to identify which one feels right in your skin and go with it. In marketing and publishing your book as in life when you know what you like to do and can find a way to fit that into your “have tos,” well that’s a way to get the job done and have fun— sounds great already and we haven’t even started.
The World Traveller emphasizes conferences, speaking and holding court at retreats…do you like cruising? She even had ideas for how you might fit cruising into your marketing world if you like to sail the ocean blue.
Example? Daniel Hall. He has lots of fun. He does a real fast results presentation. Daniel goes to many conferences, enjoys public speaking and attends retreats—many he puts together himself. An entire segment of his business is dedicated to doing his marketing on cruise ships. Since I’ve been on over a dozen cruises, my mouth began to water getting ready for the buffet line and potentially having someone pay for my cabin! He recruits authors and book marketers to do programs on cruise ships and viola, you are selling your book and picking up that Grecian vase at the same time!
Kathryn reminded us that while you’re having fun you are acquiring a renewable source of energy and marketing your book. Fun keeps your ever-ready bunny going.
One of Kathryn’s powers is being a social butterfly which has not only caused her to have lots of fun, but she also has met some great people along the way. The Social Butterfly prefers going to groups, gatherings and parties. Kathryn knows one author whose favorite hangouts are farmers markets where she has activities for children that draw kids to her like bees to honey and Bingo, she sells lots of books. She suggests joining writing and non-writing groups that interest you. Make friends and invest in yourself on your publishing journey.
The Brand Name Builder uses social media extensively for marketing. She embraces the value that you can get from social media, makes a plan or system, repurposes evergreen content, engages and works smarter not harder by using scheduling tools. Do you have a love/hate relationship with marketing? This may not be your profile. But social media today is so important so it’s one area I’m trying to learn more about. How about you? It was great to learn some helpful techniques.
Budget time and energy for the marketing phase.
The purpose of social media is to engage so you must take time to prepare. One way to do this is to use tools like Social Jukebox (for evergreen content), Social Bee, Hootsuite or Buffer. Think of them like using a slow cooker if you are a cook. Prepare your items and use your tools to do the work so you can enjoy other activities.
Kathryn says be sure to plan ahead to spend time marketing your book. Surveys say authors spend just a fraction of the time they should marketing their books. No wonder sales are slow! Jack Canfield, the successful author and marketing expert of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series says you should plan to spend 4X the effort on the marketing and publicity of your book. OMG, let’s see it’s taking me 5 years to produce my book (once it’s finally published), my math’s not very good but, oey, I know what I’m going to be doing for the next decade and more! Be forewarned, your book sales will directly correlate with the amount of time you spend on marketing, so all of you authors, start building that investment account while you’re writing your book!
And don’t get too caught up with lousy hourly rates between time spent and revenue from book sales. An ugly fact is that generally speaking, book sales is not how authors make money…McDonald’s pays a much higher salary by far. Speaking gigs, consulting and courses offered are where you get your return on investment.
Yes, I found that out a while back after already investing years into writing my book and thought, now you tell me! Writing a book is a big investment of time, money and a challenge to how badly you want to get your message out. In my case, I felt my message was too important—what life for Israelis really was like and was from a fresh perspective—an American family on vacation caught up in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Besides if nothing else, my book captures my “ethical will” for my son so if he has any gaps about how mom feels about life and embracing change, it’s all here.
The power of podcasting
In only a year’s time, there are 550,000 podcasts. Forty-four percent of the U.S. population has listened to a podcast and podcasts provide an intimate connection to your tribe.
To find podcasts, search iTunes and look for your particular subject, maybe it’s gardening or diabetes. For me, I speak about several topics—some are related and others, not so much. For instance there is Israel, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Judaism. But unrelated to those topics are my spiritual and transformation types of endeavors and those involving writing and publishing with my Writers4Writers support group.
You can start your own podcast or ask to be a guest. With myriad podcasts out there today, she assured us they are always looking for guests. Be sure you verify that it’s still being produced and check out their ratings and reviews. Kathryn prefers podcasts to television because with a podcast you have 45 minutes to intimately connect with the viewers as opposed to only three minutes on a TV broadcast.
Let the host sell your book and you won’t have to. At the end of the interview if you’ve been a good guest, they’ll ask you where their viewers can go to learn more about your book.
Be a tree hugger
Kathryn emphasized the importance of having your book on non-print formats including ebooks as well as audiobooks. Ebooks particularly appeal to a younger crowd, the next generation of readers, but there are many reasons to consider recording an audiobook and offering it on Amazon’s Audible.
If you can record it yourself, commissions are higher as you are considered the producer and by being both author and producer you can receive as much as 40% commission. Audiobooks cost $20-$30 each which is a great step-up from ebooks. If you need some help, hire a voice coach and with some slight adjustments you’ll be on your way.
Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I know for sure I was grateful to have Kathryn share her vast marketing knowledge in an enjoyable way. It’s challenging to be heard in our competitive world as an author and having someone teach us how to counter the obstacles, understand the marketing nuances and have fun while doing so, was extremely helpful.
As always I invite you to,
Join Me on My Journey…