How to use your Story to Market your Book
Do you have a great story to tell, but have a problem finding an audience? Then this article is written for storytellers just like you. We’ve put together some tips based on story and marketing principles to help build your confidence as an author and a marketer. So here they are:
#1 — Marketing Begins with your Story
Believe it or not, marketing starts with you. Whenever you think of a character, a premise, a theme, a fictional world, an idea you want to express, and if you intend to make that idea known and enjoyed by an audience, you’ve just started marketing. This is because to Marketers, advertising and marketing are not the same. Advertising is a part of marketing, but so is the product. In your case, the product is alive, dynamic, and full of meaning. Your product is your story.
Before anyone can start launching ads, marketers need an idea. The advertising revolves around that idea. In fact, the idea is crucial. The idea has to be unique if it will ever be useful to anyone. That is where innovation meets story. Sure, you have to deal with advertising down the road, but crafting your work to create a unique experience for your readers is a crucial and rewarding part of the process. The meaning behind your story, it’s characters, the world, the message… it all comes into play when your promote your book. So if you’re intimidated by marketing, don’t be. You’ve already started.
#2 — Think like a Reader
Both authors and marketers must consider their customers. In other words, you must step into your readers shoes to refine your story and make the best possible version. By taking story principles and finding out how to best use them to engage an audience, you are already doing this. When doing so, ask yourself:
- Why are my characters interesting? How do they create empathy with readers?
- What about my fictional world engages readers?
- How do my themes and messages touch the heart of my readers?
- What kind of events make my plot interesting? Do the challenges they bring make my characters engaging?
- Overall, why is my story worth buying and reading?
Believe it or not, crafting a good story and considering the the needs of readers is part of marketing.
#3 — Use your Story to Craft an Engaging Brand
The purpose of the last 2 tips is to help you use storytelling to begin the marketing process. Once you’ve come up with a great idea that readers will love, you can build a brand around it. Brand is the perception, the thoughts and emotions evoked by a company, product, or person. Popular stories like the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Game of Thrones have very strong brands.
When crafting a brand, ask yourself: “when readers think of my book, how do I want them to see it? When they hear about my book, what do I want them to think and feel? If you’re writing an action-thriller, you want them to feel like they’re in for a wild ride when they read it. If you’re writing a sci-fi novel, you want them to think about grand technology, space travel, science, etc.
Odds are that you already have a brand around your story and what it’s about. The key is to be conscious of that brand so you can leverage it and engage readers.
Branding also has to do with differentiation. You must know what makes your story unique, what makes it stand out. For example: The Song of Ice & Fire (or Game of Thrones TV series) is a fantasy novel series in which the classic noble, purehearted heroes don’t always win. The fans want them to win, but a lot of times, the good people die, and those remaining won’t win out so easily.
In short, know what makes your story different and what you want your readers to think and feel when they find out about your book.
#4 — Use your Story and Brand to craft your Message
Your message is what you tell readers to get them interested about your story. This is what makes or breaks an advertising campaign.
Your story and the brand you want to convey helps a lot when crafting your message. In a way, advertising a book is a form of storytelling. You are telling the story of a story. Every word and image used to advertise your book should convey the brand. You know and feel the brand when you make it. Messaging is about making readers know and feel that brand.
#5 —Don’t Create One-Time Customers; Build Relationships
Companies like Apple put great effort into branding in order to build customer loyalty. This contributed to Apple’s long term popularity and success. Renowned authors like C.S. Lewis and G.R.R Martin did this as well. They built a long-term relationship with their readers. This led them to write and sell multiple books to their readers, which promoted their books via word of mouth, allowing more people to enjoy their work.
In short: don’t sell a book to one-time customers; sell multiple books (if not a series) by creating a loyal fanbase who enjoy your stories and respect you as a writer.
Upliterate is a self-publishing platform dedicated to helping authors make a living doing what they love by building an online community where readers can purchase, enjoy, and share stories with each other. We at Upliterate are storytellers ourselves. Overall, we are dedicated to fostering the craft of storytelling by help authors and readers alike.
If you would like to use our platform to create a fanbase for your story, find out more at Upliterate.com. Contact us at our site if you have any questions.