It’s a brand new year, which is a great time to get a fresh start on goals. You may already have personal New Year’s resolutions (exercise more, write more, etc.), but you might want to consider setting specific book sales and marketing goals.
Setting annual goals can be overwhelming — Where should you begin? What’s realistic? Are you being ambitious enough? To provide you with some inspiration, we asked a variety of authors to share their book marketing-related New Year’s resolutions! We’d also love to hear from you — share your New Year’s resolutions in the comments below.
We wish all our partners a happy and healthy new year (complete with plentiful book sales).
Create bonus content for readers
“I have always been an author that wanted to do more, something extra above and beyond. In many of my books I have included a recipe used in the book, a knitting pattern or anything to enhance the reader’s experience of connecting to the story while reading the book. Something little, not a lot, but that has garnered big results. I have also built up my reading list by expanding on the experience while reading the books by providing town maps, character lists, and newspaper articles surrounding the series. In today’s digital world, I often offer themed recipe and holiday cards for readers to print and use as well as desktop wallpapers. Each book has a Pinterest page associated with it to help inspire readers to connect to the story in as many ways as possible. Since these efforts have allowed me to engage more with my readers, I’d like to create more of these types of assets in 2018.”
Increase reader engagement
“I’m really excited about my big New Year’s writing resolution. In the past, I haven’t taken adequate advantage of social media to reach out to readers and share our love for books and storytelling. Without my readers, where would I be? I’d like to make sure they know I appreciate them. So, in 2018, I have plans to invite my readers on social media to share our mutual love of story in a way that will be fun for all. I’m planning quizzes, games, and giveaways… and who knows what else my readers will inspire me to do?”
“2017 was the year I put my head down and wrote. Although it was my most prolific year, I missed interacting with my readers. My goal for 2018 is to re-engage with my readers and have more of a dialogue/conversation about their book-reading habits and interests. I’m planning to use my newsletter and social media to ask questions and share ideas, not simply to announce releases. I’m looking forward to making connections with my existing community of readers — and, I hope, plenty of new ones!”
Find new readers via BookBub Ads
“In 2018, one of my biggest marketing goals is to really refine my BookBub Ads strategy to reach as many new readers as possible across all of the retailers. Ideally, I would like to have BookBub Ads running 365 days/year with positive ROI. Based on the ads I ran in 2017, I feel confident that I can accomplish this goal!”
Test a new pricing strategy
“As an author who has touted the power of free ebooks since 2012, I’m reversing course to paid books — while staying wide [on retailers]. It’s a risky strategy, considering many wide authors utilize permafree series starters. Across my four series, I plan to have one first-in-series book on sale and a box set for another series on sale at the same time to continuously goose algorithms and stay on bestseller lists. I’ve created a promotional calendar to remind me when to schedule ads with smaller sites, while still requesting features from BookBub. In between scheduled promotions, I also hope to make use of BookBub Ads to promote full-priced (but still cheap!) ebooks to new readers.”
Increase series sales
“My goal is to improve the trial and repeat rates on my military thriller series. I plan to do this by:
- Rebranding the covers to be more genre-focused. This will attract more of the readers who will like my books, and fewer of the ones who won’t.
- Re-writing the first book in the series to improve reader satisfaction. Since my series is sequential, Book 1 is the main entry-point for my new readers. It was also the first book that I ever wrote, and you can tell. I would like to go back and bring it up to the same level of quality as my other books.
- Creating a short prequel novella as a free giveaway that I can place on all retailers for $0.99 (the series is in Kindle Unlimited right now).
These are each time-consuming projects. But if done well, they will increase the earnings on the entire series.”
Improve series branding
“In 2018, I will focus on solidifying my branding. I’ve written over 50 novels, which I divide into different “franchises.” For example, Requiem is about dragons. Kingdoms of Sand is an epic fantasy series set in ancient Rome. Earthrise is a series of space opera novels.
In 2018, I will grow and strengthen the Earthrise brand. Throughout the year, I will release five more novels in this universe. Each will feature artwork by Tom Edwards, who also painted the previous 10 Earthrise covers. Each cover will include the brand name. I’m considering hiring a designer to create an Earthrise logo to place on each cover.
In future years, I’ll return to some of my older brands, such as Requiem, and continue to build them too. Always consider your branding, especially if you write in multiple series. I try to build solid, easily-recognizable franchises that can grow for years to come.”
Experiment with new marketing tactics
“Every year I set goals for myself, and I meet them. There’s no negotiation on that. Marketing is always the big dog in the fight of the success of an author, so marketing goals are paramount. With new releases, there has to be a formula to it — i.e, the 90/10 rule. Use 90% of what has worked for you before, and 10% of what you haven’t tried before (new websites, AMS ads, new audiences for your Facebook ads that have been suggested to you). Most of all, don’t let yourself stagnate with your marketing goals — there are always new readers and new ways to reach them, so be smart and savvy — educate yourself — and, most importantly, follow through. Go forth and market!”
Improve mailing list open rates
“I’m so excited for 2018! Not only am I hoping to significantly grow my mailing list, I’m planning to ‘tend’ and ‘prune’ the list by removing anyone who hasn’t interacted with me in the past 12 months in order to increase my open ratio. My goal is to have every name be an avid reader. Think how effective that would be!”
Publish more books
“My goal for 2018 is to exponentially increase my productivity. I’ve learned that while I love ‘discovery drafting’ — writing without an outline and discovering the story as I go — it takes far longer to both find the right story and then revise and rewrite it. Instead, I plan to shift to outlining — but not outlining so in-depth that I kill my own creativity. Creating an abbreviated 3-5 page version of the whole novel is often enough to ensure I don’t get lost in the weeds while writing, but still have fun twists to discover as I go.”
Experiment with new giveaways entry options
“Readers never seem to tire of autographed books, and I have a garage full of legacy paperbacks. I use Rafflecopter for my monthly giveaways. But one winning tactic that I’m going to experiment with more in 2018 is creating customized entry options for extra chances to win.
Here are a few examples:
- Follow me on Amazon. This creates a free email blast from Amazon for my new releases.
- Ask me a question on Goodreads. This requires some follow-up in terms of briefly answering the questions, but it’s a fairly painless way to improve engagement on Goodreads.
- Repost or retweet this message. This gives me a free sales team to spread my custom message.
- Follow me on BookBub. This is the best follow of all! (As proof, I ask a question, i.e. ‘What is the first book listed on my BookBub page?’)”
Use social media scheduling tools
“One of my marketing goals for the coming year is to make my social media presence more active and consistent by using tools like SmarterQueue and Grum. I hope to spend less time on social media, improve my work-life balance, and keep my social presence more consistent instead of hitting it in bursts between book projects.”
Get more international readers
“One of my 2018 goals is to do as much as I can with my backlist, including growing foreign sales. I’ve started with Germany and intend to grow from there. It’s OK if I say I want to take over the world, right?!”
“Next year is all about focusing my efforts where they really count the most. That’s writing AND reading. I want to set aside all of the distractions that keep me away from all the things I really want to do. That means less time on Facebook and other social media. That doesn’t mean I’m dropping out, but I’m going to be more strategic with what I post. I’m also cutting the cord with the news alerts that pop up on my phone. I can’t take it anymore. #EnoughIsEnough”
Hire help to free up time for writing
“We’re already content machines at Sterling & Stone, but in 2018 we expect that to bump up several notches. At this point, the notion of keeping up with marketing and promotions on our own is just crazy. We recently lost our “ads and promotions” person, but hired one of her good friends as a replacement… while also expanding the job from “run ads and promotions” to “manage all launches and back-catalog promotions A to Z.” Having a dedicated person whose job is “to sell the books” in an end-to-end way frees us up to do what we as writers and creators most need to do: strategize, plan, and write more books!”
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