Mixed messages about the book in the marketing pieces can sabotage sales by confusing readers and clouding what the book is about. This is why it is imperative that everything used to market a book sends a clear message of what the book is about. Following are a few examples of marketing mistakes and ways an author can make their book’s message clear.
· Biggest Marketing Tool - The front cover of your book is your biggest marketing tool. No one is going to read the back cover, or anything else you write about your book, unless the front cover hooks them. With one image, the cover has to reflect what the book is about, and show that the book’s subject is interesting. Mixed messages from book covers can badly hurt book sales. For example, if your book is about overcoming fear, a photo of something scary is not enough, as the book is not about the fear, but of conquering it.
· Second Biggest Marketing Tool is the Back Cover - Once the front cover hooks the reader, the back cover has to convince the person to buy the book. It must also deliver the book’s message in a short sentence or better yet a sound bite. Author biographies and book endorsements can help, but the back cover should not be limited to these because they don’t tell you what the book is about. An effective back cover will have at least one paragraph making the book’s subject clear, or in the case of fiction, what the book’s plot is, to avoid any confusion. A reader who buys a book thinking it is about something different will backfire into a bad review.
· Author Photo - The author needs to tell a professional photographer what his book is about and that he wants that message conveyed in his photo in order to create the right image to complement the marketing story. That doesn’t mean you need a gimmick in your photo. It may just be a straight headshot, but the pose should have dignity if you want your book taken seriously, or you should be smiling or even laughing if your book is humorous. Why would a writer of murder mysteries want a cat in her photo? The book isn’t about cats, so this type of picture could convey mixed messages.
· Websites - People do not read websites. They browse them, meaning authors only have a few seconds to let people know what their site is about and why they should look at it in more detail. If your message isn’t clear from the start, visitors won’t stay. The book cover or covers with a clear message about what they are about should be on the home page with visible links to the other pages and a clear call to action to the reader on how to purchase that message in the form of your book.
· Other Marketing Pieces - Anything that the author will give away as marketing to potential readers needs to have a clear message about their book. If you’re a dog groomer, and also an author, a business card with dog grooming information on it is not going to work. You need separate business cards to promote you as a romance author. Whenever possible, put the book cover on the business card to present a clear message that you are an author and this is your book.
· Promoting Your Book in Public - When promoting a book in public, mixed messages must also be avoided. A suit probably won’t sell a cookbook, but a chef’s outfit might help. When giving interviews present a clear message by steering the interviewer in the right direction and having a few sound bites ready. The book’s message needs to be determined early on (early on means before writing the book or at least when writing it), to be able to figure out ways to convey that message with images, in a few words, in a sentence, and in a paragraph. Make sure the message is clear each time you present it to people, whether online, on paper, or in person. For more information on how we help authors visit www.readerviews.com