When authors go through my Book Marketing Master Class, one of the first points that I teach is how to break down a complex book launch into a simple plan.
That’s because the vast majority of authors view a book launch as an attempt to get their writing to readers around the world. That goal sounds nice, but it becomes quite daunting when you consider how to actually do it.
How do you get thousands of people to purchase your book, especially on your timetable? The answer is to identify where readers exist in large numbers who are most likely to buy. I teach authors how to identify these buying groups by explaining the “4 Buckets of Book Sales.” These “buckets” represent the different audiences you can pursue to drive purchases, both short-term and long-term.
When you understand the four buckets of book sales that are available to authors, it’s much easier to execute a successful book launch campaign. Let’s look at each of the four sales buckets in more detail:
Bucket 1 – Your own audience
The first bucket of book sales is always to your own audience. These are your fans who love your writing. The best way to create this “bucket” is to build an email list of readers. You can also amass an audience using social media, but the results almost always lag behind the power of email.
Your own audience represents book buyers who are the cheapest to reach and the most likely to buy. However, creating your own audience can take the longest to build. It requires a consistent focus over time to generate an email list over 25,000 – 100,000 subscribers. But, it is always worth it. The larger this bucket grows, the more control you gain over your book sales and author revenue.
Obviously, you should make building your own audience one of the top priorities of your marketing plan. Since that objective takes time, though, how can reach millions of readers in a shorter timeframe? That’s where the other three buckets come into play.
Bucket 2 – Influencer audiences
If you want to sell a ton of books, you’ve got to beyond your own audience. You also need to access other people’s audiences. The best people to pursue are “influencers” who have already built their own large audiences. These other audiences represent Bucket #2.
An “influencer” is a person who gives you the chance to “piggy-back” on his or her large audience and promote your book for a limited time. Examples of connecting with an influencer include being interviewed on a popular podcast, getting your book reviewed on a well-known blog or email newsletter, speaking at a conference, or participating in an online summit.
Influencers are inexpensive to reach, provide a vetted recommendation for your book, and enable you to reach good-sized audiences. It’s the fastest way to expand your reach without spending a lot of money. Besides building your own audience, connecting with book influencers is the smartest marketing tactic you can employ.
Bucket 3 – Online audiences
If you want to sell thousands of books, you must reach millions of readers. But, even the most successful authors average a conversion rate of less than 10%. How do you reach millions of book buyers? Look to the online giants, such as Amazon, Facebook, Google, and even BookBub.
These companies represent Bucket #3, and they offer the ability to reach massive audiences of people who buy books. They will let you promote a book to their audience, but it comes with a price. You can purchase targeted advertising to get your book in front of likely readers. The upside of Amazon ads, Facebook ads, and BookBub ads is their performance over time can improve as their algorithms “learn” how to showcase your book. Buying ads may cost $500 – $5,000 per month, but they work.
Advertising your book online is a guaranteed way to make sure your book is seen by millions.
Bucket 4 – Publicity audiences
Traditional publicity, such as television and radio interviews, represents the “X factor” of book marketing. Every author dreams of appearing on Good Morning America, getting featured on NPR Radio, or having their novel selected for Oprah’s book club. But, those dreams rarely come true.
That’s why publicity is saved for Bucket #4, because it’s the hardest tactic to control and the most expensive option to pursue. Good PR firms usually cost well over $10,000 for any meaningful campaign. And, their results are never guaranteed. It can be a crap-shoot that’s no different than gambling with your marketing budget.
However, traditional publicity can still work. Millions of book readers tune-in to the national programs on a daily basis. If you can lineup several high-profile interviews, your book sales can skyrocket overnight.
These four buckets enable you to see the big picture of book marketing. If your own audience is small, then you must rely on the other three buckets. If your budget is tight, then you must rely on connecting with influencers and affordable advertising. If money isn’t a problem, then build all four buckets into your launch campaign.
Want to sell more books? Examine what you’re doing to reach readers in each of the four buckets. When you master marketing your book to these groups, your sales will overflow.
Ready to take the next step?
Click here to learn more about my Book Marketing Master Class.