How to Get Noticed as an Author
A book is a perfect positioning tool to bolster your authority, but just because you have a book, and even if you’re already recognized as an expert in your space, getting noticed as an author won’t magically happen overnight.
To be noticed as an author, you need two things:
1) A quality book with a unique salable concept, and
2) A marketing strategy that sells books.
One without the other won’t get you very far. But combine a great book with a great marketing strategy, and you’ll be more than noticed as an author; you’ll be known, as an expert and an author.
You Can’t Do it All
Before I go any further, an important note: you can’t do it all. You don’t need to be strong in all of these areas to land a book deal, or garner book sales. In fact, you can’t be.
Choose the strategies that you know you can sustain long term and are aligned with you, your business, and your goals. It takes time to gain momentum. You need to be willing and able to carry out these strategies for months (even years).
Before you jump into any of these efforts, ask yourself: why do I need to be noticed as an author? How will being noticed help me achieve my larger goals? The answers to these questions will help you determine which areas you should focus on.
Now, let’s get into the three components of a good marketing strategy. In no particular order, they are: general media presence, SEO, and the speaking/bulk buys combo.
#1: General Media Presence
Media presence is important to any author’s platform. But it doesn’t necessarily compute into direct sales. If you’re building your platform in the right places, being visible will help get you and your book in front of your ideal reader, which can facilitate sales. But it’s rare for media presence alone to do the heavy lifting for book sales.
Social media is an interesting animal, because despite some very expensive assumptions that publishers have made in the past, a large social media following doesn’t necessarily mean a large pool of book buyers. Still, big numbers on social media do make you visible and impress agents and publishers, so if you enjoy posting and building community online, do it!
Similar to social media presence, whether or not a media appearance leads to significant book sales is hit or miss. But it will get you noticed as an author.
To grow your traditional media presence, you can: book TV and radio interviews, write articles, be quoted in articles, and/or appear on podcasts. If you’re going for a traditional publishing deal, and you don’t have a strong social media presence, be sure to bolster these. You can secure bookings on a few impressive outlets a lot faster than you can attract 100,000 followers on Instagram.
Wherever you post or appear, the goal is to present yourself as an authority and gain visibility for your mission. These activities raise awareness and bring attention to you as a thought leader, and by extension, your book.
Remember: it takes time, effort, and, if you’re doing it right, investment. I tell my clients to hire a PR firm that has experience booking guests in their arena (health, business, etc.). If you want access to national media without spending $5,000+ a month for your own PR specialist, I recommend the National Publicity Summit. There you will get the training, guidance, and access to help you get pitching to all the top shows and freelancers who write for national magazines and newspapers. (For more information, check out my interview with the director of NPS, Steve Harrison, on my podcast, The Author’s Corner!)
I’m no SEO expert. I’m sure there are lots of experts who can tell you exactly how to use SEO strategies to boost your platform and your book sales much better than I can. However, I can tell you about one SEO strategy that I’ve seen lead to book sales: reviews.
Amazon is the world’s biggest bookstore. You can hire people to optimize your Amazon page and help you reach #1 bestseller status (although ‘bestseller’ doesn’t mean what it used to), but you can also DIY an SEO boost by asking people to buy and to review your book. By people, I mean dozens, if not hundreds. Ask anyone and everyone you know who is an ideal reader for your book. Make a huge push to get authentic reviews for your book, preferably from people who have actually read it.
Lots of positive reviews will help the Amazon algorithm pick up on your book. It will push it out to even more of your ideal audience, which directly stimulates sales. Caution: don’t ask your Aunt Millie or anyone else who is not an ideal reader for your book. If you do, you’ll lose the benefit of the algorithm helping you find more readers.
#3: Speaking/Bulk Sales Combo
Some efforts help you get noticed as an author, and some also help you sell books. Now, I’ll tell you about the one strategy that has a clear cause-and-effect relationship with book sales: speaking gigs with bulk book sales.
I love this strategy, because it puts you in the room (or on the Zoom), face-to-face, providing real value to each and every person. Done right, your speaking engagement is a preamble for a larger, longer conversation. You can turn one speaking gig into a 6-figure consulting gig with the organization that hired you.
The Bottom Line is This:
The worst thing you can do is try to get noticed as an author in every way, everywhere. Put your time and energy into a few activities that also will help you achieve your most ambitious goals.