Tag: young adult

10 tips for authors to up their book marketing skills

rachel-thompson-225x300-225x300Rachel Thompson is a bestselling author, and a social media and author marketing/branding consultant (BadRedheadMedia). Here she shares her top 10 tips for author self-marketing.

Many authors are intimidated by the thought of marketing their books. As I mention in a post on my blog recently, the concept of an author platform makes most writers run away or start talking to the dust bunnies in the corner.

The basic premise of book marketing is this: write great books that people want to read, then effectively market them. If you’re self-published, use professional editors, designers, and formatters so your book looks amazing. I self-published my first three books and invested in those services through scrimping and saving. Now you can crowdfund. It’s doable.

If you’re traditionally published, you will still be doing the majority of your own marketing. I have an agent now and am published by a boutique literary agency out of NYC. While they do a small bit of marketing, I do 90%. My BadRedhead Media clients are a mix of NYTimes bestsellers and successful indie authors, and they too are doing all their own marketing.

You must market your books so people can find them. Here are my top ten tips:

1) Know your demographic

Who is your ideal reader? Most authors have no clue (I know I didn’t at first either). The best place to start: Pew Research Center. Tip: Everyone is not your demographic.

2) Where is your ideal reader spending time online?

That’s where you need to be. Most authors spend their time on Facebook, whining about how their books aren’t selling. Facebook is the largest social media channel in the world – but is it where your readers are? If your books are YA, you need to be on Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube, which skews younger.

3) Be social on social media

Too many authors blast and spam, with little to no interaction, which is not only ineffective, it also violates almost every social media channel’s rules. Listen, retweet and share, interact and reply. It’s not all about you. And for all that’s holy, cancel that automated welcome on Twitter. Newbie mistake.

4) Blog at least once weekly

This is effective for your SEO. Not sure what to blog about? Focus on your branding and keywords. What are you most excited about? Remember, we brand the author not the book. Write about what you are authentically passionate about or an expert in (Hint: it doesn’t have to be writing!).

5) Add your social media icons to your website and blog

This is seems so obvious, but so many authors don’t do it. If you make people search for ways to find you, they’re out.

6) Add your books to your site/blog

One author complained recently that nobody was purchasing her books. I looked at her site and you couldn’t find a single purchase link anywhere! Lesson: add your books and link to Amazon (and other purchase sites).

7) Be authentic

Not sure what to tweet/post/blog about? It’s really easy: what interests you? Share that, even if it’s not at all about your book. So what? Unclear about your branding? Read more here: Branding 101.

8) Use tools to manage it all

I love tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, ManageFlitter, and content aggregators (there are many) that shorten and organize my online time. Most offer free options and are zombie-easy to use.

9) Have a plan, work the plan

I find most authors will flit from here to there, trying a bit of this and a bit of that, with no strategy or clear goals in place. Create a marketing plan, have goals, and measure those goals. Reset as needed.

10) Above all else, write a damn great book

None of the above will matter if your book is awful. Learn your craft. Spend the time and effort to work with a professional editor, formatter, and graphic designer. Use betareaders. Send out ARCs. Make sure your book is as close to perfect before release to have the best possible chance at success!

nielsen

Free Nielsen key findings report: The UK Children’s & YA Book Consumer

Since 2012, Nielsen Book UK has undertaken a Children’s Deep-Dive Study each summer to investigate children’s book reading and buying habits in the context of other leisure and entertainment pursuits.

For the first time in 2015, in addition to the nationally representative sample of 1,500 parents of 0-13 year olds and 500 young adults aged 14-17, the survey included 1,000 book buyers aged 18-25 to help investigate the phenomenon of adults buying ‘YA’ books for themselves. The research was undertaken in July 2015.

The 2015 research measured a drop in book reading on a weekly basis both among those aged 3-7 and 14-17 – though since 2012, the biggest decrease overall has been among 3-10 year olds. Books, however, still rank as the most popular activity for 0-10 year olds – but are in fifth position for 11-13s and drop out of the top 8 activities for those aged 14+.

For the first time Nielsen segmented the 0-25 book market into groups. ‘Superfans’ – the very heaviest readers – tend to be female, with an average age of 12. ‘Distractable’ and the ‘Anti’ groups are more likely to be males, with the ‘Anti’ group being older (14 on average) and the ‘Distractables’ younger (11 on average), whilst the ‘Potential’ group is as likely to be boys as girls.

This latter group are the ones reading e-books and magazines, and they too like adaptations; with the right content, format and messaging, this is a market that publishers can grow.

Download a free extract of the report here. Or you can purchase the full report via Nielsen here.

social

The business of books: social selling

At the London Book Fair’s Quantum conference last month I listened to Aissetou Ngom talk about Penguin Platform, the young adult brand which she manages. She revealed that market research on the design of the new website had produced something of a surprise: there shouldn’t be a ‘website’ in the traditional sense at all. ‘That feels kind of old-fashioned,’ was the general response from the teens they talked to. So Penguin Platform inhabits the social web: Tumblr is its main home, with offshoots on YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. (And if you’re a publisher and you’ve been congratulating yourself on finally getting your website sorted, I’m sorry.)

Might online bookstores one day become equally passé? The social web is where we share ideas and consume content, and increasingly it’s where we purchase, too.

In the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast this week I talk to Marcus Woodburn, Vice President Digital Products at Ingram Content Group, about Aer.io, their new social selling tool (Ingram was an early investor in Aerbook, which became Aer.io, and acquired the start-up at the end of 2015). I am hugely excited about this, and I don’t think most publishers have quite realized how it could revolutionize the book supply chain.

Aer.io makes any touchpoint on the web a sales opportunity. An author can embed a buy button in a tweet, for example. Yes, we’ve had Amazon ‘buy now’ widgets for years, but an Amazon widget sends your customer straight to Amazon. Aer.io’s button keeps the ownership of the transaction with you, which means you get your customer’s data. Which means if you’re smart you can sell more stuff to them in future. This is game-changing.

Publishers large and small are queuing up for this (it’s live in the US but delayed in the UK and Europe owing to our Byzantine tax and data protection laws – Marcus promises it should be live here by the middle of the year), as are independent authors and retailers. Authors I understand, I say, but retailers? Sure they must hate this? No, says Marcus: they see an opportunity to carry vastly more inventory than they can stack on their shelves, and to sell ebooks, which has always been problematic.

That makes sense: when I was building a direct-to-consumer model in traditional publishing years ago, ebook fulfilment was a huge problem: for most publishers it was easier simply to point customers in the direction of Amazon or other ebook retailers to deal with the nitty gritty of different formats, different devices, DRM and technical support. But with Ingram’s massive ebook and print infrastructure behind it, Aer.io can deliver print and any ebook format in the same basket. Nice. Basically if a book is in the Lightning Source print-on-demand catalogue (which includes IngramSpark for indies), it’s deliverable via Aer.io.

The possibilities are infinite – you can create a custom button for a channel (a promotional link from a speaker biography page, or an email to course participants) to deliver a bespoke version of a book. You can also customize how much of the book is included in the preview, so if your aim is visibility rather than revenue, you can be generous in what’s discoverable and viewable before purchase.

I should make it clear I have no financial interest here, and I’m not acting as an affiliate. I’m just genuinely excited about a technology that can help readers discover and buy books more easily, and which creates a more interesting and diverse book retail ecosystem.

As Marcus says: ‘Every time we sit down with a publisher they have a different way they’re thinking of using it.’

I’ve got some ideas of my own, and I can’t wait to try them out.

Alison Jones (@bookstothesky) is a publishing partner for businesses and organizations writing world-changing books. She also provides executive coaching, consultancy and training services to publishers. www.alisonjones.com. 

2017 in review

All the facts and stats from the UK Children’s Summit

For the first time this year, Nielsen Book held a UK Children’s Summit at London Book Fair, covering the incredible growth we’ve seen in Children’s sales worldwide over the past two years, and will hopefully continue to see. As someone who spends a lot of time thinking and talking about book sales data, I couldn’t pick a better subject to present on right now than the children’s market.

Since my first foray to the LBF in 2013, the children’s market has taken a turn for the better – after steadily declining from 2009 to 2013, revenue grew 9.5% in 2014, even as adult fiction and non-fiction continued to decline. Sales in 2015 improved even further, up 5.3% to £309m, marking last year as the highest year for Children’s since BookScan records began. And it wasn’t just one category, or one author, or one publisher. The three largest categories (Children’s Fiction, Picture Books and Novelty & Activity Books) all saw growth, as did the majority of top publishers. Even more impressive, 2016 sales to the end of March are already up 7.4% compared to the first three months of 2015, pointing toward 2016 being another excellent year.

The strength of Children’s Fiction in particular continues to amaze me – value sales grew 11.3% in 2015, and so far in 2016 the category has gone up another 10% in quarter one, topping £20m. Last year, 14 of the top 20 authors were in growth, with the top 20 taking about half of fiction sales. It’s a combination of new and old driving this – David Walliams’ latest Grandpa’s Great Escape was the highest selling children’s title for the last five years, but then we also see J.K. Rowling moving back up the ranks. The new illustrated Harry Potter contributed to her moving from the eighth largest children’s fiction author in 2014 to the third in 2015, and in the first few months of 2016, she’s moved into first.

Contrary to the other large categories, Young Adult Fiction saw a bit of a decline in 2015 (down 5.3%), but there were still some positives – half of the top twenty authors showed increased sales, including Zoe Sugg in first and Terry Pratchett in second. Actually, the top ten YA titles made more money in 2015 than in 2014 (£7.9m vs £7.0m), with 25% of revenue coming from those top ten, led by Girl Online 2: On Tour. We also saw value growth beyond the top 100 titles, and more debut authors earning over £100k than in the previous year, pointing to plenty of future potential in the YA sector.

It’s not just the UK that’s seeing extensive growth in Children’s – of the ten countries we measure through BookScan, only Australia was in decline in 2015, after a really strong 2014. Interestingly, when you look at the breakdown of the market in each country, Australia has the largest share taken by Children’s, at 44% of volume sales, closely followed by New Zealand at 42%. In the UK, Children’s takes about 34% of volume sales and 24% of value, which has grown from only 15% back in 2001, and only 21% as recently as 2012, all pointing to the continuing strength of print in the Children’s market.

Jaclyn Swope is a Publisher Account Manager on the Book Research team at Nielsen BookScan, where she assists a variety of publishers with understanding and utilising both retail sales and consumer data, through training sessions, presentations and bespoke analysis of book industry trends.

Reading via Snapchat? Social media updates you need to know

Social media is always evolving, and that’s why I like it. If you don’t keep up with the latest updates, you’ll get mired in old ways that worked six months ago but have since bit the proverbial dust.

Here are recent changes from 5 of the big players.

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Reaching new audiences with Twitter: The #YAtakeover

In an age of apps and games, of Facebook and Twitter, it seems you’d be more likely to see a teen texting a mate than reading a book. And, in many cases, I fear, you’d be right. I’m a firm believer that there’s a book out there for every reader; it’s just about connecting the right book with the right person. It’s difficult, though, to vie for attention in a world that is becoming increasingly digital. As a blogger, I have often wondered what I can do to encourage teen reading. I was aware that the audience I was targeting wasn’t aware that I existed. So I thought about it repeatedly, trying to work out a way to reach these teenagers and, the simple answer was, I couldn’t, at least not in the way I was thinking. I couldn’t just reach out and expect them to pop to Waterstones the next day and buy a bag load of books or register with their local library.

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5 Questions for Ruth Warburton [INTERVIEW]

Ruth WarburtonRuth Warburton is a job-sharing publicity manager for the Vintage imprints Chatto & Windus and Square Peg at Random House. Having won PPC awards for her campaigns, she now mixes her role as a successful publicist with being a young adult author – The Winter Trilogy is published by Hodder Children’s Books. We catch up with Ruth to find out if variety really is the spice of life in publishing…

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