There is so much information available on tactics which authors can use to promote their books – including all the great advice here during #NaNoProMo – it’s easy to get overwhelmed. This can lead to you spreading your efforts too thinly and not being effective in any of your methods. Or, even worse, you’ll slump into decision paralysis, where it all seems too baffling and you end up doing nothing.
To succeed in book promotion, while leaving time for writing and the rest of your life, it’s essential to focus your efforts. My favorite way of doing this is with the Quadrant Method. It’s a simple but effective technique you can apply to narrow down choices in many areas of your life.
For book promotion, draw a sketch that looks like this:
For each idea you’re considering, write it on the chart roughly where it belongs in terms of Resources (vertical axis) and Impact on Sales (horizontal axis). Don’t get hung up about exact positions, just go with a placement which feels reasonable.
Let’s say, for example, I want to approach an independent bookstore about an author event. It will take me several hours to land and deliver the gig, but I believe I can generate healthy in-person sales and reader connections as a result. I’d place that one high on both resources and impact:
Resources represent both time and money. If, like many authors, both are precious to you, then measure the cost of your efforts as a combination. But, if you have a robust marketing budget and not much time, mark items as high in resources if they consume lots of time, with less consideration of money. And vice versa: if you have next to nothing to spend, but decent time to invest, then costly tactics score higher.
You’re unlikely to be able to forecast Impact on Sales accurately, and you may be okay with either a short-term sales boost or longer-term awareness building. You can use gut feel here, according to where your ideal readers hang out, the nature of your books, and things you’ve heard are effective for other authors in your genre.
Don’t confuse reaching people with conversion to sales: a tweet, for example, may be seen by hundreds of eyes, but if they don’t buy your book (or take some other valuable action, like subscribing to your email newsletter), the impact is low.
Let’s fill in the chart now with a few example items, using the scenario of an author who writes historical fiction with a strong, local setting:
Continue to place your other promotional ideas on your chart. When you’re done, circle any which look especially fun or appealing to you. Then pause to consider your quadrants:
High resources, low impact (top left quadrant): Stay away from these. Don’t invest heavily if you don’t expect a strong outcome.
High resources, high impact (top right quadrant): Worth considering, but be sure to measure your results carefully.
Low resources, low impact (bottom left quadrant): These might be worth pursuing, especially if you have times when your energy is too low for writing, or if you have a few marketing dollars left at the end of the month. The ideas you circled are particularly worth noting.
Low resources, high impact (bottom right quadrant): These are your ideal activities to focus on. If any are circled, even better. Get started on them today!
You can come back to your quadrant chart whenever a new idea presents itself, and/or to adjust placements once you’ve tried a few ideas. The trick is to narrow your focus and give a few tactics your full attention. You’ll enjoy your promotional efforts more and your sales will reflect your judicious choices.
Pauline Wiles is offering a 30-minute coaching call to one winner to apply the quadrant method to your own book promotion options. (Value: $150)
Don't forget to comment below to enter to win!
#NaNoProMo Day 4: Learn More on Focusing Your Promotional Efforts with the Four Quadrant Method by guest @PaulineWiles
…is an author, speaker, and creator of The Serenity Project, a year-long personal experiment in techniques to juggle author responsibilities and boost creative enjoyment. With 4 self-published books under her belt, she mentors other writers in the benefits of pragmatic self-care to promote both well-being and long-term career success.
Rachel Thompson is the author of newly released BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge: How to energize your book sales in a month - created to help authors market their book. She is also the author of Broken Places (one of IndieReader's "Best of 2015" top books and 2015 Honorable Mention Winner in the San Francisco Book Festival), and the multi award-winning Broken Pieces, as well as two additional humor books, A Walk In The Snark and Mancode: Exposed. She owns BadRedhead Media, creating effective social media and book marketing campaigns for authors. Her articles appear regularly in The Huffington Post, IndieReader.com, The San Francisco Book Review (BadRedhead Says…), 12Most.com, BookPromotion.com, and Self-Publishers Monthly. Not just an advocate for sexual abuse survivors, Rachel is the creator and founder of the hashtag phenomenon #MondayBlogs and two live Twitter chats: #BookMarketingChat (co-hosted with TheRuralVA, Emilie Rabitoy) and #SexAbuseChat, co-hosted with C. Streetlights and Judith Staff. She hates walks in the rain, running out of coffee, and coconut. She lives in California with her family.
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