They skim them. If you have a website and look at your acim you’ll quickly see that the majority of traffic stays less than thirty seconds. You only have a few seconds to let people know what your site is about and why they should look at it in more detail. If your message isn’t clear from the start, visitors won’t stay. You should have your book cover and a clear message about that book on the home page. Avoid the images that take forever to load or the music that when it starts to play makes someone jump out of his seat.
Your book cover and a phrase or paragraph on what your book is about should quickly convey a clear message, and then have clear links to your other pages-About the Author, Buy the Book, a page for more information on the book, your blog-pages that will all convey your message and make it clear to the reader how to purchase that message in the form of your book.
Business Cards and Other Marketing Pieces
Anything you are going to give to potential readers needs to have a clear message about your book. If you’re a dog groomer, but also an author, a business card with dog grooming information on it is not going to work. You need separate business cards to promote you as a romance author. Whenever possible, put your book cover on your business card so you present a clear message that you are an author and here is your book.
All other marketing pieces-brochures, postcards, posters, etc.-also need to convey a straightforward message about your book. If you love Jesus, that’s great, but don’t assume people who want to read your historical novel do. I can’t tell you how many times I have seen Bible quotes on marketing pieces. They isolate your readers and send mixed messages, making people think your Civil War novel is Christian fiction, and they may not want to read Christian fiction. If it is Christian fiction, however, then those Bible quotes will help to make your message clear.
Graphics are great if you can find graphics that convey your message. Don’t use flowers, birds, butterflies, etc. unless they are relevant to your book. If your book is about gardening, the flowers are fine. If it’s a “How to” book about engine repair, a car might be appropriate. Images stick in the mind so make sure they convey your message, and not a message you don’t intend to convey. Somehow pretty butterflies and murder mysteries just don’t mesh.
Promoting Your Book in Public
When promoting your book in public, make sure you don’t convey mixed messages. You can send mixed messages even by wearing inappropriate clothing-for example a beer shirt when you’re marketing your fantasy novel at a Renaissance Festival. Find something “fantasy-like” to wear instead. A suit probably won’t sell a cookbook, but a chef’s outfit will help.
Make sure when giving interviews that you are presenting a clear message. You can’t control what the interviewer may ask, but you can steer the interviewer in the right direction. Most interviewers won’t read your book before the interview, so you need to be prepared to do a little steering. If you get a question that isn’t relevant, it’s fine to say, “Well, I don’t really cover that subject, but I do talk about….” And then move the conversation in the right direction. You don’t have to take control, but if you plan beforehand what are the two or three points you want to make about your book’s message, you’ll have those in the forefront of your mind and work them into your answers so your message is clear to listeners.
Figure out early on what your book’s message is (early on means before writing the book or at least when writing it), and then figure out ways to convey that message with images, and in a few words, in a sentence, and in a paragraph. Make sure the message is clear each time you present it to people, whether online, on paper, or in person. What your book is about is going to determine whether people want to read it, so sending a clear message about your book is the best way to find your readers, and to make sure they are receptive to your message and not expecting something else. In the end, you want your message to hit home with your readers, and then have them convey that message to their friends-your future readers.