Click here to listen on your device and subscribe!
Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson and Christy Kirk. In this episode, we are joined with special guest Lynne Golodner. Lynne was a journalist for 15 years and now works in marketing and public relations. She is an author of eight published books with a ninth book coming out in February 2021.
Becky: I’m thrilled you are going to take the time to share with us what you’ve learned along your journey. The first question I’d love you to share with our audience is, what has worked well for you in marketing your books?
Lynne: That’s a great question. With every book, they each had a specific topic or focus and I knew the audience pretty well and what I was trying to put out into the world. That helped to build a strategy for marketing that was successful.
For example, my last book that came out in 2013 was about bread and how it’s important in religious and ethnic communities. We had specific communities we featured, but we definitely looked for different communities where interfaith relations were really important, because we did cover a lot of different faiths in the book. That way, they were communities that were interested in learning from each other, sharing recipes, and coming together. So, those were the communities we targeted with the book because they already had a disposition to come together and learn about one another.
Understanding who your audience is, who’s going to be interested in what you have to say, and then speaking directly to them and building those relationships, has worked pretty well in getting my book into the right hands.
Becky: That’s very important. So one of the things I’m hearing you say is that it’s important to be strategic. Can you talk a little bit more about how you approach a book launch or book marketing and how you make sure it’s strategic?
Lynne: Yeah, absolutely. I coach a lot of authors writing their book, so I start from the beginning. What is your goal? Why do you want to write this book? Why do you want to get this out there? And then we outline the book with that in mind. So there is a goal for the audience, and not just storytelling, but there is a purpose and you want to educate people and inform and inspire them in some way. That should guide the writing of the book, which then makes it easier to market.
If it starts at the beginning with strategic outlining or structure as you’re writing, then you’re speaking with your audience in mind. Then hopefully it resonates with them when they grab that cover and then it can help with the marketing later on. I think it starts with the writing in the beginning.
Becky: Can you tell me more about why knowing your audience is so critical?
Lynne: Yes, so this is true with any marketing endeavor that you’re going to do. If you think everyone is your customer then really nobody is. The more narrow you can define an audience and build a relationship with them, the more likely they are to do business with you.
When you have a narrow topic that is going to appeal to a specific niche audience, you’re likely to be able to reach out to them one on one, build up authentic relationships, and create mutually beneficial relationships. That way, it’s a win-win for everyone.
When you have too broad of an audience, it’s really hard to be anywhere. For example, with my bread book, I knew there were churches, synagogues, and mosques that were interested in having these conversations and there were only certain denominations interested. They were the more interfaith minded or congregations that already had relationships, and so those were the ones we would target. We didn’t target communities that were homogeneous or weren’t interested in learning about one another. When you have that niche, then you can market to them, and it doesn’t take as much work as pulling a needle out of a haystack.
Becky: That’s helpful. Let’s shift a little bit, Lynne. I know that you’ve written eight books with a ninth one in the works; obviously what you’re doing is working for you in your life and business. Can you tell us what you think has contributed the most to your book marketing success?
Lynne: Yes, I think the key is really that the author needs to be willing to interact and show up. When I’ve had the ability to do speaking engagements, events, seminars, and to show up, that has really helped with book marketing and book sales. I think it’s hard to do from afar when it’s not person-to-person, but there needs to be that interaction, so whenever I’ve had an opportunity to speak, I’ve sold tons of books.
Whenever someone takes a course I offer, or in some way I show up with them and there is that connection, I see a spike in book sales. You have to be willing to do the work and offer opportunities, whether that’s creating a class or finding opportunities to speak in your niche so you’re expanding your reach, which can help your business as well. When the book becomes the first interaction they have with you, that can lead to a deeper relationship, which then can lead to bigger transactions later on.
Becky: That’s really helpful. It’s always interesting for me to hear the many different metrics for success that authors use and it seems like almost every author I meet has a different way of deciding whether their book was successful or not. So could you share with us how you personally measure book marketing success?
Lynne: Yes, that’s an interesting question. So, I started out as a journalist, and when I was in my twenties, I set a goal of publishing a book by the time I was 30. I was very lucky, because my master’s thesis, which was a collection of poems, was published when I was 25. So I got to come to graduation with a box of books, which was really cool. My goal was putting the book into the world at that time; it wasn’t necessarily building business from it. That has changed over the years, but I have found that book sales are not my measure of success, it’s more building brand awareness and leading to a deeper relationship.
When I write a book now, like my ninth book that is coming out next year is about the make meaning matrix, which comes out of my podcast, The Make Meaning podcast, and it’s really how people can figure out their personal meaning and use it to make career choices, so they are living and working purposefully. For me, to sell that book is more about building the brand of the podcast and building a pipeline for the courses that I teach. I want book sales to happen, but I want the bigger relationships to happen. My hope is that success will come from first having that initial connection and then leading to a deeper relationship.
Again it comes back to the planning: why are you writing this book? Is it just to sell copies? Or do you want this book to be a launching pad for something bigger? Most times you want it to be a launching pad.
Becky: That’s very helpful. You’re echoing a lot of ideas that we’ve shared before. It’s great to have some reinforcement! As we wrap up this episode, do you have any action steps to challenge our authors to implement?
Lynne: I do!
- Think about your brand. Your brand as an author may be different from your brand in business or your personal brand. I want you to think very clearly about how you can brand yourself as an author and build some traction with it. Take a look at your social media platforms: how are you putting yourself out there? Is the word author part of it? Is your writing process part of it? I think the whole process of getting your book to fruition and then putting the marketing behind it needs to be documented step-by-step in little snippets in your social media. Start this as early as you can in the process.
- Align yourself with partners. You can’t do this by yourself. You need someone to help you book media interviews, events, and help you curate your brand in a way that is going to position you to meet your goals and to be successful with your book.
Becky: Lynne, thank you so much for those action steps! If you’re listening, I hope you take some time today to implement these action steps.