Rock Star Marketing for Indie Authors

by Dayna Steele
July 25, 2011

Hi, my name is Dayna and I’m a self-published author.

It wasn't too long ago that saying something like that sounded like the beginning of a twelve-step meeting. Now, however, we can hold our heads high knowing that we were on the cusp of the publishing revolution.

There's only one problem.

We forged such a successful trail, now everyone has a book. So what do you do to stand out in the crowd and sell your masterpiece like Mick Jagger?

First, know that everyone wants to be a rock star but not everyone wants to do the work it takes to be a rock star. The same can be said for being a successful author. You can write the best book in the world but if no one knows about it, what’s the point?

Here is a list of things you can do to rock the world with your book / eBook:

  Have a Tagline
– Three to four words that sum up your book or genre. When I tell someone or sign my name "Creates Rock Stars", more often than not, they want to know more.

  Compose your elevator speech
– Once you've hooked them with your tagline, be prepared with one compelling sentence when they do ask for more. "I grow businesses with my Rock Star Principles of Success, based on the years I spent with the greatest rock stars in the world." Gets'em to ask for more every time!

  Materials on hand
– ALWAYS have a copy of your book and a clean, professional not crinkled business card on hand. If you only have an eBook, then make sure the link is on that card.

– Things to keep in mind for your site: more images, less copy, keep it updated, free book excerpt, link to the buy page, contact info, social media links, check spelling, add short, positive review snippets. My husband, Charlie Justiz, once had an awful review for his thriller Specific Impulse; the review ended with "if you like Clive Cussler, you'll like this book." Believe me, we used that snippet!

  Social Media
– You must have a social media presence. Share interesting and informative information, links, pictures and videos. DO NOT use these accounts as ongoing, never letting up, advertising for your book. Do use them to show what a fun, interesting, smart – whatever you want to convey – person you are and then let the follower decide they really should check out your book. Make sure you have an updated, short, interesting profile on each social media account with the name of your latest book and a link to either your website or the buy page. Social media is ever changing but right now you HAVE to be on Facebook, Twitter and, if you are a professional or expert, LinkedIn.

Bonus tip: You can lose a potential reader/buyer in a flash by commenting on religion, politics or cats. Unless you write about one of the three, leave the subjects alone!

  YouTube and Podcasts
– First you need a book trailer. It can be as simple as the cover, images and words with a voiceover and/or music soundtrack. We live in a short attention span/visual world these days. You have to show them what they will be reading. Also post videos of book signings, readings, fan comments, anything related. Make them short, interesting and relevant (just like your social media posts). You can also offer free audio chapters, record a few (or get someone with a good voice to do it).

  Be the Expert
– whether you write fiction or non-fiction, you have to be an expert at something before you can write about it. Create an eNewsletter around your area of expertise and include interesting information that makes the reader feel like they are getting something – not just another ad for your book. Also, introduce yourself to the relevant media along with your credentials and contact info, invite them to contact you if they ever need a quote or research information. There is nothing like free publicity! Last, offer to be a free speaker for relevant groups and gatherings, always ask if you can sell your book after the speech.

The list can be daunting so take it slow, one thing at a time. Again, everyone wants to be a rock star but not everyone wants to do the work it takes to be a rock star. You can have all the publicists and marketing gurus in the world but know that ultimately, it is solely up to you to do the work it takes to be a rock star author. Rock on!

About Dayna Steele
Dayna Steele is a serial entrepreneur, popular business speaker, a media marketing strategist, Fast Company Expert Blogger and is the author of Rock to the Top: What I Learned about Success from the World's Greatest Rock Stars. She travels the world helping grow businesses with her presentation "Find Your Inner Rock Star" and is currently working on her next book I'm With the Band: Networking Rock Star (Network Your Way into Anything Anywhere Anytime!).

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