If you want to market successfully, you need to be smart. Why reinvent the wheel if there are more effective ways to promote yourself and your books? If you take the time to see what your competitors are doing, you’ll discover plenty of ideas and inspiration to keep you going – without resorting to only imitating what others do.
You’re simply being a smart marketer, and that means keeping
your finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Understanding your market means
being aware of who else is in the space. What books have they written? How do
they price their books? How do they reach their audience? When you learn these
things, you’ll have a better understanding of your market, and you’ll be in the
perfect position to set yourself apart from your competitors.
about copying anyone. Imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery
in this case. But you should know who else is in your market. You’ll gain so
many insights from keeping tabs on your competitors. You’ll also learn some
valuable marketing tips, and if you’re ever wondering how to get your message
out more effectively you may find the answers from observing what your peers say
and do to keep their fans engaged.
Here are some ways you can keep up
with the competition:
1. Google search and alerts: You
start by looking for others in your market. You’ll find names and book titles,
but you’ll also discover ways to touch base with your fans. No matter your
topic, search for authors and books, but ignore the big names and titles. At
their level, they can do just about anything and they’ll succeed – that’s one of
the bonuses of their success, they are now their own brands (think Stephen King,
Nora Roberts, Deepak Chopra). Look for the level below this supergroup because
these are the authors who are working hard to break through.
list of competitors and sign up for their newsletters and follow them on social
media. This is how you’ll learn what they do to market themselves, but you’ll
also support another author. You’ll learn a lot from this stage of your
research, starting with the best social media sites for your market. Then take a
closer look at what they do, what they share, how frequently they blog. You’ll
save a lot of time down the road by doing this research and using the results to
help you focus your own marketing efforts.
You can also set up Google
Alerts, and use sites like talkwalker.com and mention.net to monitor their
activity. You’ll also see where they've been featured, and you can use that
information when it’s time to pitch yourself.
2. Go to the
bookstore: A significant portion of book awareness still comes from
brick and mortar stores, and knowing what’s selling well in your market is
important. Bookstores will only stock books they believe will sell. Check out
your genre and see what’s in stock, but once again, focus not on the big names
but on the authors you don’t know. The big names get shelf space easily, but
it’s much more of a challenge for lesser-known authors. You should buy copies of
those books, too, as part of your research. Then you can see how they handled
their topic, and you can discover ways to address the issues more effectively.
Or, you’ll learn how you can make your book different from
3. Look for reviews: Find the books on Amazon
and then read the reviews. See what readers say; what did they like? What did
they feel was missing? You can discover issues and trends that haven’t been
covered, or realize you can address the issues from a new perspective that meets
4. Attend author presentations: If
you’re lucky, at least one of the authors you’re following will have an event in
your area that you can attend. This is a great way to network, meet people in
your market, and support another author. If the author has a speaking event make
note of the questions attendees ask because they can be fodder for topics you
can cover – in your blog, in a new book, etc.
5. Check out
conferences: This is an opportunity for you to learn from others in
your field. You’ll get to meet people, network, and gain new ideas. You’ll get
stale if you remain stuck in your office. You’ll also find it easier to remain
motivated when you keep up with your industry.
A big component of success
is getting to know your market and keeping up with what’s going on. The benefits
are manifold: you’ll learn, get new ideas, make contacts, and build connections
with colleagues (they aren't just competition) as well as fans. That’s what all
the research, learning, and sharing is ultimately about: helping you grow your
Reprinted from "The Book Marketing Expert newsletter," a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com