Having a sustainable career as a writer is challenging. You cannot be a successful author if you don’t have any readers. There are many ways to reach your audience even without a publicist and this can only happen by implementing a good strategy.
Did you know that you can also use the art of warfare in business situations like book promotion? The goal of military strategy is to win over the opponent and conquer territory. Similarly, your goal is to gain a share in the market amidst all the competition.
These are the four basic marketing military strategies:
Defensive – This strategy is important for the current market leader by addressing how it will continuously satisfy consumers and prevent them from going over other competitors.
Offensive – Strategies used by challengers to shake the market leader’s hold.
Flanking – Methods that focus on entering a territory that hasn’t been touched by the market leader. For example, offering alternative products and services or catering only to a specific group within the market.
Guerilla – The primary objective of this strategy is to create a buzz by challenging the status quo. This mainly involves unconventional marketing schemes to catch people’s attention and get them talking.
What strategy suits you? Here’s a simple guide:
Identify your market – What kind of book will you be publishing? Is it fiction or non-fiction? What genre are you writing? Who are your intended readers? By answering these questions, you can pinpoint your market and address their demand.
Know your position in that market – After targeting a market, study the key players who have found relative success in it. These are the publishers or authors whom you are competing with. Read and study their material and find out why they have so much following. Most probably, there are already leaders and challengers within that market. Know your strengths and weaknesses against them.
Choose what you will offer – Why should consumers choose you over other authors? Do your materials offer the same experience but sold at cheaper prices? Are your narratives totally distinct from other published books? Is the message that you’re bringing relevant to your target audience? Basically, there should be something about your book that will convince people to buy it.
Set specific success indicators – How many sales are you targeting? Are positive reviews enough to make you say that your book is successful? Does your book need to be a bestseller? Having measurable goals is a good motivation and helps you identify what you need to improve on.
If you’re thinking of self-publishing a book, the guerilla strategy may come in handy. In this military strategy, creativity will be your biggest capital.
There are three main objectives when using the guerilla strategy. Below are some tips on how to achieve each one of them.
To establish the brand by word-of-mouth and cause a stir in the market
Early on, find potential readers by talking about your plans for writing a book. These could be resource persons, fellow writers, friends and family.
Build strong connections with your potential readers. While writing your book, you will come across people who are interested on how it pans out. Keep them in the loop of your progress and build up their anticipation.
Be active in social media. Institute your presence by writing blogs, being active in web forums and posting contents that are relevant to your writing process.
Allow your manuscript to be reviewed by peers or in a workshop. It will give you an idea on how the book will be received. People who have also read it in advance may like it so much that they will begin talking about it.
To exceed consumer expectations, preserve patronage and make a good name
Be the best person to promote your book. Some creative people are afraid to be labelled as sell-outs, but pitching for what you believe people should read is not necessarily degrading.
Make a website for your book. It should have the effect of keeping people excited about your work. The contents could be excerpts, blogs, reviews and promotional videos.
Give incentives to people who promote your book like freebies, discounts and added benefits. If you’re publishing an eBook, you can also allow people to read the first few chapters for free.
To remain in contact with the market and maintain relevance
Keep a strong presence in the literary scene by not just focusing on writing books. You can also produce other works like essays, reviews, articles and short stories. These could be interim outputs while working on another book.
Post videos online telling your readers how you developed your book, the backstory behind the characters, or what you’re planning to do next. Keep them on their toes for more.
Go to writers’ workshops and conferences and improve your craft.
Relate to your readers. Read their comments and suggestions. Reply to some of their messages. Make them feel that their ideas are important to you.
Thinking outside the box is not just useful in writing, but also in marketing. It’s important to capitalize on your strengths to promote your book successfully.
The Sales Pitch
Here’s my newest book in which I’ve used these techniques to help promote. It’s a memoir about my return home from Iraq.
“I wont soon forget this book.” -Mary Roach
“A must read.” -Colby Buzzell