Today’s authors can just write about anything under the sun – the opportunities are endless, the ideas are bountiful, and online tools like Google and Grammarly are free and easy to use (unless they want to access advanced features, they will have to sign up for premium accounts). Potential readership for every genre or niche continues to expand, and it has become easy for both aspiring and veteran writers to self-publish and market their own material – all thanks to technology.
But still, when it comes to attaining commercial and critical acclaim under the increasingly digitally connected literary atmosphere, authors will have to work harder and smarter or else they will not get their share of success and readership. So when writing or marketing their book, authors should mind their M’s:
Every author, whether new or old, should know the difference between their target market and their niche (or genre, depending on term used by authors). They are not synonymous as there is an important distinction between the two: target market is the group of readers the author serves (or aims to serve), and niche (or genre) is the service the author offers to their target market.
To have a market is to serve. When choosing what market to write for, an author should:
- Determine where to find readers who are looking for what they are writing about.
- Let the readers in that target market know they are offering them something brand new and that they are dedicating their work to them.
Every author ought to have something new or unique to share with their target readers or else they would just saturate the bookshelves or Amazon with boring books and ordinary stories. Authors need not to have a fancy cover – it’s the message that matters. Authors need to ponder:
- What is the message or lesson they want to impart?
- Do they offer a new interpretation, discovery or angle of common storylines or subjects? Do they create something new or just rehash old stuff?
- What makes their book – autobiography, memoir, thriller, sci-fi, romance, children’s, young adult, spirituality, etc. – different from the rest?
- What makes them think readers should or will buy their book?
Authors should mind what they offer to their readers. It is their obligation to get or help their readers understand and experience the message and not just buy the book.
Not only the Internet has made it possible for millions of people all over the world to self-publish and market their book, but it has also made the competition intense. But authors should not feel overwhelmed by the competition. By using the right tools in the right way, they can position themselves better in the marketplace.
There are different forms of media that authors could utilize to their advantage according to their expertise, time and budget. Social media, such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, are free and easy to use, but to maximize their marketing potential or unlock their advertising features, they will need to sign up for a business account or pay for a premium account.
Authors should also make use of book trailers, which they could upload to YouTube or share on their social accounts. They should also consider creating their own website or blog where they can create articles on topics related to their book. They could either create their own trailer and website or else hire an expert to do it for them.
What does an author want to accomplish with their book in terms of commercial and critical aspects? It depends if media outlets like The New York Times and Time magazine feature the book in their lists of bestsellers or tops books. That seems to be an ambitious goal for most authors, but digital tools and social media provide metrics authors could track for themselves.
Maximizing the features of Facebook Insights, authors could track how many page views they get or how many people have seen their ads. With Twitter Analytics, they could track the number of times people saw their tweets and how many people have engaged with it. Whatever the author wants to measure, their desired digital tool or social media could provide them the appropriate metric.
It is amazing technology has provided authors opportunities to market their own book and measure their chance of success.