Balboa Press - FAQ Book Marketing Strategies

Book Marketing Strategies FAQ

What happens after I self-publish my book? 
What is distribution?
I canceled my book with distribution, but my book is still listed on Web sites like Amazon. Does this mean it is still available through retailers?
How do I get started marketing my book to increase book sales?
What should be considered when creating a marketing plan?
Are there any tips or guidelines to follow when contacting the media?
How can I market my book so that brick-and-mortar book shops will shelve the book?
How can I market my book using the Internet?
What are some basic tips for setting up a website?
Can I get involved in large marketing events, such as trade shows and conventions? 

What happens after I self-publish my book? 

When Balboa Press finishes publishing your book it will be available for purchase in our online Bookstore. Anyone can purchase a copy of your book through our Bookstore or through the thousands of retailers who use the Ingram Book Network (in the United States) or Phoenix Distribution (in Australia). 

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What is distribution?

Distribution means that your book can be purchased by thousands of retailers through Ingram Book Network (in the United States) or Phoenix Distribution (in Australia) and made available on their websites or in their book shops.

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I canceled my book, but my book is still listed on Web sites like Amazon. Does this mean it is still available through retailers?

No. Retailers are responsible to update their Web sites when changes with books they’ve purchased are made. We cannot do anything about the listings on their Web site. If a customer attempted to purchase an expired title, the order would be rejected and not filled. In rare cases, there will sometimes be one or two physical, printed copies of your book in storage. In this case, a customer could technically order the book after the title is expired. If you are concerned about this happening with your book you should order the remaining copies yourself after the distribution is canceled to insure that your book is truly sold out.

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How do I get started marketing my book to increase book sales?

A marketing plan can be written at any stage of your writing and publishing process. A marketing plan is a written document that lists the actions necessary for you to achieve your marketing goals. It is important to write down several specifics in this plan including identifying your target readers, defining your market, identifying your competitors and laying out a strategy to attract readers.

Here is a deeper look into how to clarify and define those parts of your marketing plan.

1. Clearly identify your target readers, or the people who are most likely going to purchase and read your book. Some aspects to consider about this group include: age, sex, career, income, residence/location and education.
2. Identify the competition. You can use the competitive book market to your advantage by studying readily available information such as which books are selling the most within your genre, top writers in your genre, the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the selling price of most books in your genre and research on the market demand.
3. Find out the best way to reach your target readers. Consider which magazines they read, which Web sites they visit, which geographic publications they read, etc. Knowing this information can help you decide if any of the marketing services Balboa Press offers are good for you.
4. Develop a position statement about your book designed to reach your target readers. This statement should highlight what separates your book from the crowd.
5. Set a budget for your marketing plan. How much can you realistically spend on marketing over the next year? Over the next two years? Consider which media and marketing materials you will use as well as all the other costs associated with marketing your book.

Once you have gathered the information to answer these questions and others, you are ready to take the next step and fully develop your marketing strategy based on the information you found.

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What should be considered when creating a marketing plan?  

A marketing strategy should answer the “Four P’s of Marketing”: Product, Price, Place and Promotion.

PRODUCT:
The Product is your book. Your first step is to write a book you are proud of and that is error free. Secondly, you will want to write a persuasive and impressive product description that tells enough about your book to pique a reader’s interest, but not give the whole plot line away. How do you want to position your book within your target market? Use your description to shape how the customer will read your book.

Another part of Product is to consider how the front cover will look. An attractive and engaging front cover will draw readers in. For assistance in designing a cover don’t forget that Balboa Press has professional cover designers and illustrators ready to assist you.

PRICE:
Price is where you develop a general pricing strategy for your book. With Balboa Press, the final selling price of your book is based on book type (softcover, hardcover or color), book size and page count.

PLACE:
Place is important to think about in your marketing plan because it takes into consideration where you will distribute your book. It is especially important to keep your target audience in mind when thinking about place because you want your book to be available where your readers live. Place includes physical locations like various cities and bookstores as well as online availability. Seriously consider the advantages and disadvantages of each place distribution before going forward. A good place to start is at a local bookstore near your home. By placing your book in this store you can use the local author connection to your advantage. Trying to get your book in a Chicago bookstore when you live in Florida may not work to your advantage because your work will get lost in the crowd.

Selling your book online means it has the potential to reach a global audience. Balboa Press offers an ISBN and Channel Distribution through both Phoenix Distribution and Ingram Book Network, which means your book will be available to online retailers and physical book shops throughout the United States and Australia. We work with two of the leading online booksellers, Amazon.com and Barnes&Noble.com, to ensure your book is available for purchase to a worldwide audience online.

PROMOTION:
Promotion is the specific way you plan to use advertising to work to your advantage to sell books. This is where various media outlets, promotional materials, marketing products and networking truly come into play. Don’t limit yourself to one type of promotion; consider many different ones always keeping your target audience in mind. Options to consider are: having a professional reviewer write a review about your book, setting up a social media presence, running an ad in a local newspaper or magazine, sending out a press release, conducting a radio or television interview and sending out postcards to loyal readers. Balboa Press offers many marketing services that can help your promotional efforts.

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Are there any tips or guidelines to follow when contacting the media?

Three words to keep in mind when dealing with the media are professional, polite and direct. Get your point across, but be considerate of their time – they do not always need to talk to you for long periods of time.

Another thing to keep in mind when dealing with the media is to follow up with the contacts you’ve made. If you distribute a press release, follow up within a week or two at the most. It is your responsibility to contact the media, not theirs. To get results you must be consistent in following up. When conducting your follow up phone call with the person you sent your press release to, take charge of the conversation. Do not expect them to remember you or remember receiving your press release. He or she will most likely say “no” and hang up on you. Rather, state your name and remind the person that you sent him or her a press release. Do not ask for an interview, a storey or a review. Explain that you are calling to provide further information about yourself and your book and that you would like to send him or her a free review copy of your book. Make sure to mention any events related to your book that have occurred since you sent the press release. The media person you speak with has the right to turn you down and you must respect that and move on to the next person.

If you are granted an interview some questions to consider are: How did you come up with the idea for the book? What is your background, education, and/or other interests? Is there anything interesting about research you conducted for your book, such as interesting facts, or the mode of research collection? How does your book connect with local interests in the area your interview will be broadcast? What other works or authors have inspired you? Work on answering these and other questions with confidence. Practice speaking in front of a mirror so you can watch your gestures and body language if the interview is in person not over the phone.

It is crucial to always have promotional material on hand wherever you go. You never know who you may meet somewhere. Balboa Press can help you with promotional material such as business cards, bookmarks, postcards and book signing kits.

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How can I market my book so brick-and-mortar bookstores will shelve the book? 

We suggest you do not start marketing your book to physical book shops until you have the following necessary book features: a well designed cover and interior, edited content, retail distribution through Phoenix Distribution and a Balboa Press ISBN. These features are necessary for your book to be seriously considered by a retailer.

Once your book is published, start by contacting a local librarian or book shop manager to set up a book signing, speaking event or reading to build local interest. Next, try to organise a book selling event with a smaller, independent book shop to gain experience and local interest. When you move on to approaching larger chains, you can provide examples of your success and will have more local support. When visiting with managers and/or librarians, be courteous, have business cards, a sample copy of the book and a press kit on hand. If the manager or librarian cannot give you a concrete answer always follow up at a later date.

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How can I market my book using the Internet? 

The Internet is becoming a more popular place for authors to market and sell their books. Setting up a web page and/or a blog is a great way to take your share of the Internet traffic. You are welcome to set up your own personal Web site or have Balboa Press guide you in setting one up for yourself. Balboa Press offers services that can help guide you in establishing a social media presence online through popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, a WordPress blogging platform and more. Once you have one or more Internet sites established you can include that information on your marketing material to drive more traffic to your Web and social media sites.

Another way to promote your book on the Internet is to establish it with various popular retail sites such as amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, Google book search and others. You don’t want to miss out as more and more customers conduct their shopping online.

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What are some basic tips for setting up a Web site?

When setting up a Web site consider some of your favorite Web sites. Think about how they reach out to you, what pages they include, what information is listed there, what colours and designs they use, etc. Typically, most simple Web sites include a home page, a book-detail page (one for each book you’ve published), book reviews or other media appearances, events calendar, a blog and a links page.

More than almost anything else your domain name says the most about you and your Web site. Choose your domain name wisely. First, choose a name that is logical, such as the title of your book or your name. The domain name should also be short, so if the title of your book is long, only use part of the title. Second, use words that are easy and simple to spell. Don't use your last name if you usually have to tell people how to spell it, or if it's an uncommon spelling; just use an initial instead. Third, consider registering more than one domain name with different suffixes (.com or .net) and different spellings if there are multiple for a word you are using (such as grey and gray) or if the word is commonly misspelled (in which case, you may want to reconsider your choice). Lastly, your choice must be available. If someone else already registered your top pick, unfortunately, you're out of luck.

Keywords are also important to your Web site because you want it to be found through search engines. If you are unfamiliar with keywords, think about how you use the Internet and what words you would use when searching for your book or another product. How would your target audience search for your book? Think about them as well when selecting keywords. Try to incorporate various keywords into the text of your Web site, specifically on the home page and opening paragraphs of other pages. Advanced users can utilize the metadata, or keywords, about your Web site on each Web page, which search engines use to organise their search results.

No one likes to visit a Web site with outdated or irrelevant information. Make your visitors come back again and again by keeping your Web site up to date and making it easy to navigate. Information you may want to post on your Web site includes: upcoming events, appearances and signings, an interactive blog, book reviews and contact information. Never post anything that you are not comfortable disclosing to the general public.

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Can I get involved in large marketing events, such as trade shows and conventions?

We have no restrictions against you attending large marketing events such as book trade shows, book fairs, conferences, conventions and book festivals. If you would like to attend any such events it is your responsibility to thoroughly research the event and make all the arrangements for attending. Before you sign up for a book event, consider the cost/benefit balance, your marketing goals, how much exposure and/or book sales can you realistically gain, the total cost for the event (don’t forget to include the cost of a booth, an attractive display, food, travel expenses and lodging) and if the event will truly reach your target audience. Once you've fully researched an event, you'll be able to make an informed decision whether or not to attend.  

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