Whether you call yourself a self-publisher or an indie author, you know that your book won't sell on its own, regardless of the quality. Although book branding and marketing is so well-researched, the majority of information on how to sell your book focuses on online advertising.
After all, books mainly sell online nowadays, whether it's eBooks or prints. But, offline marketing is equally important for self-publisher brands, and this article will help you understand why.
Why Create YOUR Offline Self-Publishing Brand?
Your publishing brand is a style that you create to make you and your work memorable. Building a brand is necessary for both fiction and non-fiction authors. It provides the right type of representation that you wish your work to have. As such, it consists of the following crucial elements:
Message and Values
Think about the philosophy that guides your work. What are your beliefs? What are the goals of your writing? What sort of difference do you want to make in the literary world? Having your brand philosophy explicitly written helps coordinate your writing, titles, ads, and visuals in a cohesive system that will reel in just the right audience.
Colors and Visuals
Think about color schemes and visual styles that align well with your personality and philosophy. In publishing, visual branding reflects on your choice of fonts, cover style, and colors used for print and digital copies.
When aligned with the visuals that you wish to attach to your work, your personal style contributes to creating a visual identity that the readers will associate with your name, appearance, and work. As such, your personal style in public appearances should reflect your literary philosophy when it comes to color and style.
How Your Self-Publishing Brand Helps With Offline Marketing
Although subconsciously, a reader will associate the ‘vibe’ that they get from your visual representation to the experience that they expect to have with the book, and will decide on their purchase based on that.
For example, we know that the majority of horror readers have a proclivity for gothic themes. As such, the overwhelming majority of authors use ornamental fonts and combinations of deep, earthy colors, as well haunting visuals to appeal to readers.
So, what do you do to entice the reader? Here’s how to use branding to better market your book:
Discover Your Literary Philosophy
Have your book cover reflect the type of visual experience that's attractive to your targeted reader base. Finding this out isn't difficult. All you need to do is look at the titles of other popular books similar to yours, and then add unique elements to the design for an authentic effect. You still want to stand out from the crowd.
Create a Personal Brand Identity
Take everything that you outlined about the philosophy and messages behind your writing, and translate it into a matching personal style. There should be cohesion, but not too much. You want to avoid having your appearance turn into a gimmicky reminder of your book.
Create Uniform Advertising Materials
Make sure that all of your promotional materials reflect all the elements mentioned above. Your flyers, posters, brands you associate with, speeches, and photos should all have a uniform style that sends a subliminal message about your book.
Keep The Reader In Mind
Add a (not-so) secret ingredient to the mix: what the reader wants to see. Representing the style and philosophy that readers enjoy proves to them that you're like-minded, and that convinces them that their purchase will yield a reading experience that they'll enjoy over and over again.
Why Should You Value Offline Marketing For Self-Publishers?
Regardless of your book's niche and genre, offline marketing provides several important resources to add value to your publication and drive sales:
Before the audience learns about the quality of your content, they need to value your name. Nowadays, the author sells the art more than the art sells itself. You may have the most compelling book title and a price-worthy book cover, but you are competing in an extremely saturated market.
Publishing has become an industry that anyone can enter, and readers can access countless compelling titles at little to no expense. So, what makes them choose yours? The answer is- YOU. When readers browse for books to read, one of the first things they want to know is the author’s credibility.
Unlike many things that you can do on your own, like creating a stellar written piece, credibility is a form of recognition gained from others.
When publishing authority figures ‘verify’ your reputation as an author through appearances and interviews, it creates a chain of offline and online mentions that add value to your title.
#2: Live Contact With Your Readers
Meeting your readers in person gives you a chance to hear their feedback, speak about your work, and sign the reader’s copies. Even better, in-person events are always good for publicity.
In the era of social media and instant networking, count on a minimum few passionate fans recording snippets and posting about their positive impressions. Book events are a great opportunity to not only gain publicity, but also have readers spread the word about your work, both online and offline, for free.
In the area of literary hyperproduction, readers fear shady authors. They dread purchasing well-designed books only to be disappointed by the content, and they’re also afraid of following advice from people who later prove to have zero expertise in the topic of their publication.
While the internet is a place where anyone can design a persona they wish, offline events, like panels, seminars, and others, are also a great opportunity for you to spread the word about your career, education, experiences, and the journey that led to writing your book.
When a reader is able to verify that your work is genuine, it gradually builds up your reputation, leading to more sales.
Promotions, meeting readers, sharing your views, and engaging with groups and organizations that are relevant to your niche are a source for testimonials that eventually sell the book.
Top 5 Offline Marketing Strategies for Self Publishers
Strategy #1: Local Publicity
Every artist needs roots. Whatever is unique about the town you live in becomes a part of your online brand and the sort of personal information that devoted readers want to know. Plus, local marketing provides the initial readers for your book, which is very difficult to achieve with online marketing alone.
The first thing to do, and for many, the easiest and most cost-effective, is to connect your title with its closest community.
Think about stores that would and could promote your book efficiently, and places and organizations that align with its topic and message. Then, talk to their owners and management about opportunities to post ads and posters, and eventually throw in-person events.
All too often self-published authors dream of global success, forgetting that their small town can help jump-start the publicity and readership needed for their title to break through large markets.
Strategy #2: Discount Deals
You can make arrangements with store owners to promote your book with a discount in exchange for complementary goods, run a giveaway with a prize draw, or offer a significant discount for a certain number of buyers.
Strategy #3: Collaborations
Why not team up with a store or a brand that works well with the topic of your book, and arrange for them to sell it at a discount alongside their product?
Strategy #4: Printed Material
There are many promo products that you can obtain at a reasonable cost, like calendars, planners, office supplies, and home decor themed after your book. Then, you can either distribute these products for free for anyone who buys a copy or simply use the products to promote the book.
Strategy #5: Contribute With a Sponsorship
There are many organizations, groups, and clubs that will gladly advertise your book in exchange for a donation. The amounts required are often reasonable and within the average author's ability to fund, but they can efficiently spread the word about your title to potentially thousands of new readers.
The rule of thumb is that an average buyer needs to see or be reminded of a product multiple times before it imprints in their memory. For example, at TUW, we don’t stop at book writing. We also provide expertly made book descriptions, cover designs, and book illustrations!
Your readers will most likely consider purchasing the book once they've formed a sort of emotional or cognitive attachment to it.
For this to happen, you need to make your title visible, memorable, and catchy. Considering that the book needs to compel a like-minded person, your branding must also align with the book and the reader's taste.
In its various forms, offline marketing is a chance for you to connect, network, and present your work to readers, communities, and relevant personalities.
Although online marketing sells the bulk of literary publishing, it’s the offline marketing that provides the substance for your advertising strategy and eventually proves your credibility to readers.