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Welcome to The Book Marketing Action Podcast with Becky Robinson and Christy Kirk. One of the most important considerations when you’re crafting your book marketing strategy, is to think about your available resources. In this episode, Becky and Christy dive into the importance of being clear about what recourses you have for marketing your book, and when, if, and how you might want to outsource your book marketing work to others.
One of the most important things to do as you’re crafting your book marketing strategy is to take stock of your current resources. If you’re an author, you understand the pain of having a ton of great ideas for marketing your book in the world and the strategies you want to implement; however, eventually, you face the reality of only having a certain amount of time, money, and energy, and you have to reevaluate your initiatives you are planning.
What are the three types of resources?
You have probably noticed there are at least three types of resources that you might have to market your book. You have your own individual time as the author, you have money, and you might have existing staff or other human resources to contribute to your project. So start with identifying how much time you or your team has, and how much money you have to outsource. You also want to ask yourself, which resource do I have more of right now? Do I have more money? Or do I have more time?
Once you ask yourself those questions, you can take a hard look at your strategy and identify where you might need to get additional help. So, what are the different types of help or outsourcing you can do when you’re looking at a book marketing initiative? Free help usually comes from your family or friends. Your friends and family can help you prep for the launch team, identify people for target outreach, and package and ship books. If you have kids in your life, whether they are your kids or nieces and nephews, you’ll want to enlist their help as it relates to getting your book out into the world.
The other thing we often talk to clients about is identifying some lower-cost resources. Especially when clients are coming to an agency like ours if their available budget is low, you have to think creatively about whether you have a lower cost resource available. Some of our clients have paid interns or entry-level assistants. These types of positions are great for writing or posting content on social media, email marketing, and scheduling and responding to correspondence. You want to think about things that need to get done that you don’t have the time or interest to do and can easily train someone else to do them.
A lot of times clients will come to our agency and want us to price this type of work out for them. While we can certainly do that, your marketing dollars will stretch a lot farther if you can identify a lower cost assistant to contribute to your book marketing initiatives.
What is the value of hiring an agency vs. an individual?
The number one reason for choosing an agency is that they can develop a strategy and a plan for you. You can certainly do that on your own, but an agency is experienced in doing it. They can look at your resources and develop a plan based on your resources and the resources the agency has as well. Agencies often have contacts and networks that an individual usually doesn’t have, so they can get your book in front of more people.
Agencies also can do multiple layers of work. They can write and launch emails, create websites, public relations outreach, build larger launch teams, and have graphic designers on hand for your social media and other book-related projects. There is a lot an agency can do on your behalf during the process, and an agency will take the burden off your shoulders of overseeing everything.
One of the things our clients say about the value of working with our team is that we shepherd them through the process. We’ve been there and done that on dozens of book launches, so we can really be a helpful partner and coach through the process. If an author is new to launching a book and they hire an assistant, there are so many unknowns. It’s also hard to find an individual with all of the varied skills necessary for launching a book. When hiring an individual you also have to keep in mind that although the hourly rate might be lower, if they go on vacation, become sick, or if there is turnover, you’ll have to spend more time and money to train a new person.
What are places to avoid cutting corners?
We cannot stress enough how critical the visual branding of your work is for your marketing efforts. Although we recommend using Canva for creating graphics for social, when it comes to the real visual branding for your website, book cover, and collateral don’t think you can do this on your own. It’s critical to have a professional look, especially for your book cover, because people are visual. So many of our buying decisions are based on the look of the book. So if you have a strong book cover, people might be more willing to read your book, even if they are unfamiliar with your work.
You cannot cut corners showing up, or trying to outsource showing up. You are the author for a reason. No one knows your subject matter the same way you do. You are the expert. You want to make sure whatever you outsource, you don’t outsource showing up. Now that doesn’t mean you can’t get help with ghostwriting articles, but it does mean you need to review those articles to make sure your voice shines through and your expertise is heard.
To recap, every author likely has ambitious strategies and plans to get their book out into the world, and the reality is no one has enough time to implement all of their amazing ideas. So, it is critically important to identify those areas you can outsource to others, have the right resource at the right time, and have it fit within your budget. Here are a few actions steps for today:
- Make a list of your resources. Create a list of resources you have for marketing your book. Write down the time, energy, money, and human resources you have for marketing your book.
- Take a look at your visual branding. Try to step outside of your work and look at your work the way an outsider might. Is there cohesion with the colors and images you’re using? Do you show up professionally? Is your online presence matching your real-life expertise brand? Don’t be afraid to ask others for feedback!
If you missed the episode where we talk all about book covers and their importance, you can listen to that podcast here.