Want to grow your influence and reach as an author and thought leader?
There’s no question that marketing plays a big role in your success as an author. It’s very rare that you’ll come across a successful author without marketing having played some part in the process.
To help you navigate this process, we sat down with Laurence O’Bryan, founder of book marketing agency GoBooksSocial.com to hear his strategies for success.
In addition to his 30 years of experience as a marketer, Laurence has been published by Harper Collins around the world 3 times, and self-published 4 additional books on Amazon.
Suffice to say, we were quite excited to hear what he had to share about book marketing and building a community fan base.
For all the details, watch this video to learn Laurence’s 7-step marketing system to supercharge your success as an author:
Laurence’s 7 Pillar Digital Marketing Plan For Authors And Course Creators
1) Define your objectives
Without a target to hit, you’ll be shooting aimlessly.
So the first step is to define your objective – whether that’s selling more books, growing your business through the use of your books, creating online courses, or simply expanding your reach in helping others.
Laurence is a firm advocate of helping people through marketing. His underlying philosophy behind all his work is:
“If your clients are winning, then you’re going to win.”
– Laurence O’Bryan
Ideally, you want your objectives to link to something personal. Something that you resonate with on a deep level, that continues to drive you forward when things get difficult. Something that you’re passionate about.
As Laurence mentions, “if you’re simply in it for the money, it’s going to be difficult”, because one of the challenges with all types of content development is the ability to keep going when it seems like nothing is working.
To set your objectives, you can set yourself stretch goals – goals that challenge you to push yourself a little further. But remember to break down your long-term goals into smaller, manageable, short-term goals and only focus on one step at a time.
2) Integrate content creation with online marketing efforts
As a reader, you might think that books finish on the last page.
Laurence believes otherwise.
The second pillar is all about integrating your content creation and marketing efforts so you don’t have to wait for content to be finished before you start marketing your book.
And the key strategy that Laurence recommends here is to extend your book online.
What does that mean?
For fiction writers, it means extending the universe you’ve created in your novel by putting up your research online or creating additional material.
For example, if you’ve written a romance novel set in New York City, you might have maps of New York City on your website from your trip. If you’ve written a mystery novel based in New Orleans, you might write a blog post about police procedures and your interviews with people in New Orleans.
By doing so, you reach a wider audience of people who are interested the subject. And by adding a link to your book at the end of each piece of extended content (e.g. a blog post, YouTube video, Instagram post), you can increase book sales.
For nonfiction writers, it’s a similar process.
In addition to writing blog posts and extending concepts from each chapter of your book, you can create an online course that elaborates on the implementation of those concepts.
For example, if you’ve written a book about fire safety, you might have follow-on implementation videos about fire safety hosted on an online course platform like Thinkific.
Related Article: Want a more in-depth guide on how to create and sell online courses? Check out this step-by-step guide we created.
3) Be resourceful to maximize your output
Now that you have a rough plan of how to integrate content creation with your marketing efforts, it’s time to really zone in and focus.
With so many marketing options available in today’s age, it’s important to be considerate of what resources you have available, and how you can use those to maximize your output.
Laurence mentions 4 types of resources to consider:
- Financial resources – do you have the monetary means to invest?
- Time – do you have time to learn and sustain your chosen marketing strategy?
- Skillset – do you have the skills to carry out what’s needed effectively, or would you be better off outsourcing?
- Personal preference – what do you enjoy doing? (e.g. do you like shooting videos for YouTube?)
The most important thing is to do your own research – what are others doing in your space? What suits your industry? As an example, if your book is about photography and fashion, then Pinterest may be a better suited tool for you.
Related Article: Not sure what marketing medium suits you most? Here’s 55 Ways To Market Your Online Course & Increase Sales
4) Develop brand guidelines for your content and marketing
This pillar is all about the ‘voice’ behind everything you do.
- What you post
- When you post
- What tone you decide to take
- How you approach customer service
And as an author, you have free rein to express yourself however you see fit.
For example, Laurence mentions that he himself speaks with an upbeat and positive tone, coming from a place of helping people. Other authors however, may have a range of tones that vary from romantic, mysterious or funny.
Here are some places you can look at to discover your personal voice:
- Who you are
- Your background story
- Your passions and interests
- The difficulties you’ve been through in life
- What you’re trying to accomplish
Related Article: For more tips on discovering your personal guidelines, check out our complete guide on How To Build A Personal Brand
5) Plan how your content will be generated
What if you could have your marketing done for you at no cost?
As part of his marketing strategy, Laurence invites guests to contribute content to his blog and online courses.
And by doing so, he leverages the efforts and expertise of others.
If you want to supercharge your marketing success as author, you can do the same. However, finding content creation partners is no easy task, and it’s important to get it right.
To pick the best content creation partners, reach out to:
- People with a similar niche / genre
- People you can relate to
You can generally filter them out by looking at their website and seeing the type of content they produce.
In approaching people to contribute to your content, Laurence recommends contacting them via Twitter, as there is less social risk than other media such as Facebook, where people are not as open to receiving messages from people outside of their network.
To hear more about how Laurence uses Twitter as his strategy to reach out to content partners, watch the video above!
This pillar is all about getting things done.
And there are a variety of tools you can use to implement your digital marketing plan as a newly published author.
- WordPress is a great option to get started with your website for free. Just pick the free option and get started with creating blog posts to promote your book and online courses.
- Thinkific is a user-friendly platform to create your own online course to sell that you can start using for free
- Twitter is a very low-cost medium to build up your following and approach potential content creation partners
“Perfect is the enemy of done.”
– Laurence O’Bryan
7) Decide how you will monitor the results
As you move along your marketing journey as an author, it’s important to ensure that you’re progressing towards your objectives.
And the only way to do that is to monitor your results such as:
- How many people you’ve helped
- How far you’ve reached in terms of monetary objectives
A good way to do this is to set milestones at regular intervals, whether it be monthly, quarterly or every 6 months.
The important thing to keep in mind is to be open to constant change if things aren’t working out the way you hoped.
Like Laurence mentioned in his conversation with us, it’s important to constantly look at new things, try them, and persevere until you reach success.
“The people who didn’t succeed at writing knew I knew from 15 or 20 years ago were simply the people who gave up.”
– Laurence O’Bryan
Common Pitfalls That Sabotage Authors’ Successes
The most common pitfall of authors is presentation.
There are so many authors out there whose books may be wonderful, but because they don’t get their book covers right, end up sabotaging all the hard work they’ve poured into writing it in the first place.
Here are some book presentation tips Laurence has from his years of experience:
- Hire a professional cover designer that understands typography (i.e. knowing which fonts are appropriate for your book genre)
- Make sure your books look as good as, if not better than, the best books
- Make sure your book has a single line break between paragraphs that are short
- Ensure you have book reviews – an easy way is to join review groups such as the one on the Books Go Social Facebook group
- Have your book edited at least twice – there’s nothing worse than to have your book trashed with poor reviews simply from people who leave a comment saying something like, “no editing and can’t spell”
Applied digital marketing strategies can really skyrocket your success as an author. We hope you’ve found Laurence’s tips useful in clarifying what you can do to achieve success with marketing your book or course. Remember, perfect is the enemy of done, so don’t get too caught up with getting everything right on the first go.