More and more books are published each year, and the increasing market saturation and competition makes it harder for authors and publishers to effectively market their books.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Lisa Renee Jones is a hybrid author of the Inside Out series, soon to be a TV show. She has either self-published or traditionally published more than 40 books.
Lisa agreed to share her thoughts on the present marketplace and give some insights into how she promotes both her new releases and backlist books despite challenges in the present market.
You’ve published more than 40 books, which is extremely impressive. When you release a new book, how does that impact the sales of your backlist titles?
In my experience, unless my new release is directly related to a series, it doesn’t. If the new release is part of a series, it does impact sales of other books in the series, though any lift outside the series is minimal. I think the more titles you have, the less lift there is for other titles outside the series.
In the past, I saw more lift outside the series than I see today because the market is more and more saturated every single day.
From watching other authors, I don’t see them getting a lift for other titles outside their series when they release a new book either.
What have you found to be the three most effective marketing tactics for selling more copies of your backlist books?
- Running price promotions. I put my books on sale and run a BookBub deal if at all possible.
- Re-covering and re-launching at one time. I did this for Secrets Exposed, which I originally launched on its own. I re-launched it as part my Tall, Dark & Deadly series because there is a small connection. It went from selling a few hundred copies to being a part of a series that has sold close to a million copies. I re-packaged it as a prelude after book one of Tall, Dark & Deadly had done so well. I think the repackaging helped more than simply redesigning the cover.
- Advertising the book in conjunction with the sale. My marketing strategy changes for every single book. Because the book market is so saturated, any marketing tactic that works gets saturated quickly and eventually stops working. Any tactics that worked before for a small price need five times the investment to keep working. Because of this, I’m constantly thinking of new marketing avenues to try and gauging what works and what doesn’t on a daily basis.
How do those tactics compare when promoting a new release? What do you do to generate buzz around a new release?
For each book I release I have a marketing plan, and with each book the plan seems to change. I’m planning a launch for May and am doing almost none of the same things I did for my last book. What was working usually doesn’t work for long because the market is very glutted right now, and so are the advertising venues. So I have a massive, ever-changing list that I evaluate with each release.
You’ve run several BookBub Featured Deals, including one today for your novel Escaping Reality (Simon & Schuster), part of your The Secret Life of Amy Bensen series. How do you choose which books to run and when to promote them?
For The Secret Life of Amy Bensen, book one is being re-launched in print the week of my BookBub deal and leads up to the new release in the series, Forsaken. So I try to plan my BookBub features at a time that supports a new release.
I’ll also run a BookBub deal when I want to pump up my indie work without competing with my traditionally published titles, which is never in my or my publishers’ best interest. I would never compete with myself. I see authors do this and in my humble opinion they are:
A) Making themselves work harder for less money. If you aren’t maximizing every sale for a book and moving on to another, you make less per book and you saturate the market; thus, we all make less.
B) If you aren’t dedicating yourself to making your traditionally published titles succeed, you aren’t going to make your publisher want to invest big money on you.
C) If you put out or promote indie books that are $2.99–$4.99 or even $0.99 close to your traditionally published release that is priced higher, readers could easily choose your indie instead, thus upsetting your publisher. This is true regardless of price.
Keep in mind, I’m talking about situations where your publisher is paying you well and your books are selling well. You have to make a living and you have to balance choices based on how you are being paid and published.
When your Featured Deal runs, what else do you do to amplify your price promotion’s performance? How do you keep the momentum going?
I advertise my price promotion at a variety of places and usually have a plan that will equate it to a new release in terms of performance, rankings, etc. So again, the plan varies, but I never do just the price promotion alone, especially in the present saturated market.
You have a fantastic social media presence, with 137K Facebook fans, 36K Twitter followers, and an active YouTube channel. What is your overall strategy for your social media channels?
I like to keep people engaged. The more they see your name, the more they remember it. So fun things that make people want to stay connected to me drives my decisions.
What is the most creative “campaign” you’ve run, or that you’ve seen other authors run, on social media? Do you run campaigns to drive real book sales?
When I launched If I Were You, I did an extensive social media campaign when it was a less competitive market. Oh how three years makes a difference! Probably my most fun promotion was when I had people make graphics that incorporated my Inside Out series somehow. Once they submitted the graphic, people voted. We had lots of fun with that.
If you expect social media to suddenly impact sales, you’ll be disappointed. Social media is about building a brand and getting people talking rather than generating immediate sales. But let’s face it, Facebook has lowered post reach and Twitter is limited in the first place. None of these outlets are suddenly going to change your world. In the past, less did more. Facebook’s shifting algorithms really had an impact on my social media results. Some of my posts reach only hundreds and some reach two hundred thousand or more. You can’t count on anyone seeing your posts anymore.
Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets:
Click to tweet: How a Bestselling Author Promotes Books in a Saturated Market: Q&A with @LisaReneeJones – http://bit.ly/1ECg3YT #bookmarketing #pubtip
Click to tweet: See hybrid author @LisaReneeJones’ advice for promoting books in such a saturated market – http://bit.ly/1ECg3YT #bookmarketing