When authors stay on top of trends, they can use the information to develop more effective online marketing strategies. Your author platform is your ability to reach your readers and build a community. Here are 12 trends to note for authors:
- Content is still king. Content marketing will be the single most important investment an author can make in their careers. This means blogging and social media are must haves. Having an editorial plan is the secret sauce to be effective with your online strategy. Think about themes for your blogs and social media posts. Try and think like a producer or a magazine publisher.
- Yes, you need a website. Make sure it's mobile-friendly and connected to your social media. Consider the experience of your readers and make it easy to share your content on social media from your website.
- Images matter. Images are more important than ever. Take out that camera on your phone and start taking pictures and videos for social media. According to SocialSorted, Photos on Facebook generate 53% more likes.
- Think mobile. New research from Nielsen shows a growing number of people read on their phones. Reading on the phone is expected to surpass reading on a tablet or e-reading device. For publishers this means thinking about how front cover design will look when it's smaller on mobile and making sure the print is easy to read on mobile. For authors it means connecting with readers through platforms typically accessed on mobile, such as your website, email, Facebook and Twitter.
- Sales of audiobooks are increasing. Audio editions of books are becoming more the norm. Consider an audiobook for your book or talk you're your publisher about the possibility. The American Association of Publishers released a report that downloadable audiobooks are the fastest growing format with a 26.2 percent growth rate in 2013 and an increase in sales in 2014 of 28 percent.
- Interactive storytelling is gaining ground. Picture a full movie-like media experience for your book. Author Wally Lamb, of five best-selling novels including, She's Come Undone, will be releasing his latest novel, I'll Take You There on the multimedia platform Metabook this spring. Viewers will get full immersion into an interactive, multimedia storytelling experience. Readers will hear and watch a story unfold, see interviews with authors and characters in the story, hear original music, receive social media content and photos to share, as well as get user guides and 3D re-imagining.
- Think about where people download. According to media consultant, Jane Friedman, "Emerging marketing strategies focus on places where people might download something while in transit -- such as airports, hotels and trains."
- Print books look promising. In December, Nielsen BookScan reported that 571 million print books were sold in 2015, 17 million more than the year before.
- Take a look at book sales. The American Association of Publishers report that adult trade paperbacks are the main growth area, with sales of913.6 million up over111 million, or 14 percent. Adult hardcovers are down 4.9 percent; mass market paperbacks are down 13.9 percent; and adult ebooks are down 4.5 percent. Note that adult digital audio is up39 million through August -- which exactly matches the decline in adult ebook dollars -- so that could be seen as just a shift in digital expenditures.
- Yes, to getting a Facebook page. Facebook is becoming even more important to book marketing with more than a billion people on Facebook and using this social media platform every day. This means that 19 percent of the world is on Facebook, 40 percent of Internet users, according to PublishingTrends.com. Include Facebook ads in your overall digital strategy.
- Establish a social media presence. While book signings used to be a central way to market your book, today establishing an online presence is the most effective way to build your community, establish your brand and sell books. My new book coming out this April, Online Marketing for Busy Authors can help you learn how to effectively connect on social media, gain publicity for your book and establish your online presence.
- Use data to light your way. Use data (Google Analytics; Facebook Insights, Bitly, Hootsuite reports) to make decisions about how best to use your time and money.
Do you have a question about marketing your book and building your audience? Leave a question in the comments or ask on my Facebook page and let's start a conversation.
© 2016 Fauzia Burke. All Rights Reserved.
Fauzia Burke is the founder and president of FSB Associates, an online publicity and marketing firm specializing in creating awareness for books and authors. She's the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors (Berrett-Koehler, Spring 2016). Fauzia has promoted the books of authors such as Alan Alda, Arianna Huffington, Deepak Chopra, Melissa Francis, S. C. Gwynne, Mika Brzezinski, Charles Spencer and many more. A nationally recognized speaker and online branding expert, Fauzia writes regularly for the Huffington Post. For online publicity, book publishing and social media advice, follow Fauzia on Twitter (@FauziaBurke) and Facebook (Fauzia S. Burke). For more information on the book, please visit: www.FauziaBurke.com.