[Podcast] Anne Janzer on Joyful and Successful Book MarketingOct 18, 2023
“The world is changing all the time. We can’t cling to one way of doing things,” Anne Janzer, thought leader and author of The Writer’s Voice, says.
Gone are the days of static strategies and one-size-fits-all solutions for book marketing. Successful book marketing requires authors to adapt and innovate. And as the marketing industry continues to evolve, Anne believes one thing remains constant: creating trust with your audience.
Trust is everything, especially with the rise of AI and a world saturated with book options.
Building trust isn’t about conforming to a prescribed formula. It’s about catering to the needs of your readers. As Anne puts it, writing is “forming a relationship mediated through words.” It’s about authenticity, consistency, and most importantly, valuing the author-reader relationship.
It’s this relationship—the author-reader relationship—that explains how an author should market their book.
The first step to successful book marketing? Finding your audience.
Building Relationships through Servant-Authorship
The mass market is dead. It has been for years. A book marketed to the masses will not sell.
But before we talk about marketing, we need to return to the beginning. To the writing.
“You can’t talk about marketing a book without talking about writing it,” Anne claims. And a major part of the writing journey is determining your ideal audience.
The best way to find your ideal audience is by asking yourself, Who are the people I want to serve? How can I serve them through my book?
Anne refers to this as servant-authorship.
Servant-authorship places the reader at the forefront of both writing and marketing endeavors. It’s not about achieving massive book sales. Instead, it’s about your readers and how you can serve them best.
By putting both writing and marketing into the mindset of servant-authorship, you alleviate the pressure of trying to cater to the masses. This allows you to focus your efforts on those you can serve best. As a result, marketing becomes an extension of your writing.
You’re no longer trying to push a book onto indifferent readers. Instead, you’re ensuring the right book—your book—gets into the right hands.
Successful book marketing, according to Anne, is like a splash in a pond. Think about the ponds in the US: some are interconnected through waterways. If you make a splash in one pond, it spills into an adjacent pond. And so forth. The same is true for your book marketing.
Let’s look at an example.
Marie Kondo, author of The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, wrote her book for a niche audience—people who want to “clean” their lives and are willing to make those dramatic “get rid of everything that doesn’t bring you joy” changes. Kondo marketed her book to this niche audience. Her readers loved her book so much they started recommending it to other groups of people. Soon, Kondo’s book reached new audiences across the world!
Even people who resist minimalism gained new insight into how to streamline belongings.
It's important to note that serving 1-2 distinct audiences isn’t limiting your book to those audiences. Kondo’s book proved this! Her book became a worldwide seller and even led to a Netflix show.
By serving a niche audience you’re serving a community who will find value from your book. And when your book gets in the hands of readers who appreciate its value, those readers will do the marketing you can’t. They will recommend your book.
As you think about your book idea, what niche audience can you serve well? Those people will be instrumental to your book’s marketing.
Marketing as a Servant-Author
Here’s a principle to live by: Don’t market your book for accolades, bestseller tags, or impressive book sales. Do it to serve people.
When it comes to marketing your book as a servant-author, Anne has a few recommendations.
Start by finding the intersection between your comfort with certain marketing activities and where your audience is located.
If you enjoy speaking and your audience can be found through podcasts, then podcasting is your best marketing option. If you prefer in-person events and your audience attends conferences, then speaking engagements are your best marketing tool.
On the flip side, if you’re not comfortable with a marketing avenue—like video, or podcasting, or conferences—don’t do it! You can’t do everything. Decide how much of your creative self, time, and budget you’re willing to put into different marketing avenues.
Remember: Book marketing is an opportunity for growth. You might dip your toe into a marketing area you think you’d hate and find you love it.
When it comes to successful book marketing, Anne says there are four key marketing activities authors can do—and they should be doing three of the four.
- Author website. Every author needs a website. A website allows readers to find you, find your books, and connect with you on a more personable level.
- Email list. The email list is a consistent marketing platform that allows you to build community. Engage and interact with readers and remind them about your book.
- Social media. Determine where your audience is located—LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, etc.—and connect with them there. Social media is also an opportunity to build your legitimacy.
- IRL (in real life) presence. Speaking engagements, conferences, teaching opportunities, etc. are all opportunities to get yourself into the world and share your book.
If you despise social media, you can avoid it. But you need to have an author’s website, email list, and IRL presence. If you dislike speaking engagements, that’s okay! But you need to focus your efforts on an author’s website, email list, and social media presence.
A final piece of marketing advice: Your book has to be good. It must have purpose and be well-written.
The combination of quality writing and servant-author marketing ensures your book doesn’t just reach readers but resonates with them.
Each author’s marketing journey will look different. But if you focus on serving your readership, building trust with your readership, then your book marketing will be successful.