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In building a marketing strategy, you need to develop your marketing assets. And the first step in developing your assets is to take inventory of what you already have. You may have more assets than you think, and some of those may be able to compensate for your liabilities.
This principle is demonstrated humorously in the movie “The Princess Bride.” After Wesley is revived from being “mostly dead,” he didn’t know what was going on. So his comrades explained that his true love was begin forced to marry in 30 minutes, and they needed to break into the castle.
When they took inventory of their assets, they counted strength, steel, and Wesley’s brain. Sixty men guarding the castle stood in their way as a liability.
Wesley lamented, “If only we had a wheelbarrow.” Suddenly they remembered they did have a wheelbarrow. They had just forgotten to list it among the assets.
It turns out, the wheelbarrow was the piece that made the plan work.
Many authors are like that team. They have assets they don’t realize. As you learn what your assets are and how to develop more of them, you’ll be equipped to plan a solid marketing strategy to sell more books.
You start by making a thorough list of every asset and liability you can think of.
While you probably don’t have to contend with 60 guards, you should list your liabilities. What keeps you from being able to sell more books?
Book Marketing Liability Examples
When you don’t make time to market your book, it’s a liability. Maybe you spend time binge-watching your Netflix show. But you may also need to spend time on important priorities. Many authors have a day job and families. It takes time to learn when to write, when to market, and when to tend to other priorities.
Tracking where you spend your time can provide insight. Android and Apple provide weekly reports that track how much time you spend on your phone. If you look at your calendar and your bank book, you can see what your priorities are.
If you want to be successful with marketing and writing, you must make it a priority. No one accidentally became successful at writing and marketing by doing something else.
Writers struggle with many aspects of fear.
- I don’t have anything new to say, so I’m not going to promote my book.
- I wrote it, but I don’t believe in it that much.
- If I promote my book, people might be offended by me.
You may also struggle with the fear of success. If you’re an introvert, you may not want to be in the spotlight, and fear of ending up there may keep you from writing and marketing.
Even authors who have written and released multiple books struggle with the fear that the next book might not be as good as the last or that readers will be disappointed. No matter how long you’ve done it, fear will be there.
But you can overcome it.
Fear is an indication that you’re heading in the right direction. If you’re not facing fear, you may not be doing art.
Plain old credit card debt or a car loan can be liabilities to your writing. The more debt you have, the harder it is to build your other assets. In accounting, debt and assets pull against each other. If you have $100,000 in cash but $80,000 in debt, you only have $20,000 in equity. Getting out of debt will provide a strong foundation on which to build your assets.
Dave Ramsey is the guru for getting out of debt. If you’re struggling with debt, he offers an extremely workable plan. He also has a podcast.
If you tell yourself, “I’m not a techy person,” that’s a liability. Taking on the identity of “not a techy person” keeps you from learning technology. Instead say, “I’m someone who has a lot to learn about technology.” That’s empowering self-talk. Suddenly you can learn and change.
The world is digital now, and you can learn to navigate it. My 89-year-old grandmother is on Facebook. She sends email, and she plays candy crush. If she can learn to do it, so can you.
If you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re probably right.
What we believe in our minds is manifested in our lives. The placebo effect proves it.
Change your self-talk to eliminate the liability.
- I can be great at marketing.
- I can learn and understand marketing.
- I can learn how to use technology.
That will shape your degree of success. Banish that negative belief and self-talk.
Sales 101 tells us we must believe in what we’re selling. If you’re selling a car and don’t believe it is good, a customer will pick up on that and won’t buy from you. You must believe in your product to be convincing and authentic.
You must believe your book is valuable. If you don’t, that’s a huge liability.
Toxic people in your life can be a liability. If you’re worried your memoir will hurt a relative’s feelings, that’s a huge liability. It will be hard to make your book successful if that is holding you back.
Health challenges make things harder, but It doesn’t mean you can’t succeed. Many authors deal with various health concerns, and they figure out ways to adapt so they can write and market. While your physical health may present hurdles, they can be overcome.
You may have assets in your pocket that can help you overcome any of these liabilities.
Book Marketing Assets Examples
Position of Influence
If you’re a pastor, CEO, or president of a company, you have an asset called influence. Every President of the United States has written a book, and it’s always a New York Times bestseller simply because the president had a position of influence.
Consider your community leadership roles. Maybe you have a position of influence as the leader of a writers group, a nonprofit organization that pertains to your topic, or a meet-up group on your nonfiction topic.
Positive Relationships with Influential People
Even if you’re not in an influential position, you probably know people who are. Authors often think that endorsements can only come from famous authors. But well-known musicians or professionals from fields related to your book’s topic can also be great endorsers and influencers.
No one knew who Tom Clancy was until Ronald Regan let it slip that he was reading Tom Clancy. You don’t have to be in a position of influence yourself.
It’s important to remember you don’t have to do all these things or develop all these assets. I could tell you stories of authors who used only one of these assets.
For instance, I worked with a pastor to put together a launch plan for his traditionally published book. We reached out to his pastor friends and asked them all to recommend his book to their congregations on the same day. We sold out the first print run by using that one asset.
A website is a home for your blog, podcast, or email list—all of which are assets. A website helps generate other assets. If you’re a farmer, your website is the cow that has calves, provides milk, and fertilizes the field. Almost every author needs a website.
Social Media Following
Many authors say their biggest marketing pet peeve is social media. Truthfully, you don’t need to do social media. You can be a New York Times bestselling author without doing social media. Neither Apple nor the Queen of England has a Twitter account. The real way to do social media is to live your life in such a way that other people do social media on your behalf.
That being said, if you have a following on some of the more valuable platforms like Instagram or Reddit, you can build on that asset. If 500 people retweet you every day, they can help you sell books. An active, engaged following is an asset.
If you don’t already have a social media following, I wouldn’t recommend starting there to build your assets. It’s not as valuable as it used to be. Some people are naturally good at social media and enjoy it, and those people can build the asset and enjoy it.
Many authors have tried to build a following on social media because someone told them they “should.” After a short time, their enthusiasm wanes, and they drop the effort because it’s not enjoyable.
A YouTube channel is a powerful asset if you enjoy being on camera. When I was at the physical Amazon bookstore, some of the books displayed there were authored by famous YouTubers.
Statistics show that readers choose an author’s book because they read a previous book by that author. If you have published as an indie author, you have a lot of control over what you include in your backmatter. In the back matter, you can send people to sign up for your email list, promote your website, or advertise your other books.
James Scott Bell, a former guest on the podcast, has urged people to keep creating quality content. That is his marketing strategy.
Write your next book. Write another short story. Continue to develop content. The more books you have out there, the more they will promote each other.
Think about how you discovered the Novel Marketing podcast. Did you just download the most recent episode, or did you listen to several older episodes too? Your books are the same way. Once a reader discovers she likes your books, she’ll go looking for another book from you.
Your books are your allies. Why go to war by yourself when you can go to war with allies. The more books you write, the more books you’ll sell.
If you’ve only written one book, write another one. Publishing is a game where the longer you play it, the more you win. People with assets tend to get more assets.
Health and Energy
A healthy, energetic body will fuel the development of all the other assets. You’ll be able to get up early or stay up late to finish that blog or chapter. You’ll have the stamina for travel and speaking engagements. Do the things that you know will promote your good health.
An unreliable computer is a huge liability. But do you realize with a reliable laptop, you can create YouTube videos, podcasts, and blogs? It’s a really useful asset. If you need to go to the library to write your book, it’s much harder. Part of developing assets is appreciating what you already have.
Your smartphone is a powerful asset. I live-streamed a political rally I attended, and I was able to reach hundreds of people live. It was like I had a news station in my pocket. People from all over the country were watching, and I realized how powerful it was.
It’s also a tremendous help in educating yourself about writing and marketing. With your phone, you can listen to book-marketing podcasts like the Novel Marketing show and others.
Speaking Abilities & Opportunities
Nonfiction authors typically have more speaking opportunities than novelists, but you will sell more books anytime you are on stage.
Novelists can speak about themes and topics they’ve woven into their stories. In this way, your speaking promotes your books, and your books promote your speaking. Interviewers prefer guests who can discuss the themes in their book rather than the story because themes apply to readers and non-readers. A discussion about the theme of your book has a wider appeal with the interviewer’s listening audience.
If you enjoy speaking or think you might, then go ahead and pursue it. It’s one of the most powerful ways to sell books. Even your enthusiasm for a certain asset is an asset.
Cash is the king of all assets. There’s a sense that wealthy people have an advantage in publishing, and they do. They can buy assistance, advertising, and better websites.
One of their liabilities might be time. Maybe they’re not wasting time on Netflix, but they may be so busy in their profession that they don’t have time to market their book. To quote my dad, “Only do what only you can do. Delegate the rest.”
Almost all of these assets come down to whether you have more cash or time. If you have none of either, you need to revisit your priorities. A part-time job might be the best thing to get your writing off the ground in some cases. Deliver some pizzas, and you’ll have some cash to develop these other assets. It might not be glamorous, but the money is useful.
Whether you’re developing a YouTube following or positive relationships with influencers, you need to have a long-term mindset. Cash will help you develop your assets for the long term.
Don’t “sort of” do all of this. Begin by building on the assets you have, and concentrate on building what you enjoy. One by one, your assets will grow, and over time you’ll sell more books.
The TimeDrifter Series (Affiliate Link) by Lauren Lynch
Explore ancient civilizations from a Christian worldview in the historical fantasy TimeDrifter Series. Appropriate for readers of all ages.