Industry experts are already claiming 2016 as the year of individualized marketing. With their unique ability to fit into small niches, non-fiction authors are in a great position to benefit from this trend in the coming year. Build your readership and solidify your fan base with these five predicted marketing trends this year.
Don't Be All Things for All People
It's better to have a smaller fanatical fan base than a large casual readership. In the coming year it will pay to narrow your focus and tighten your niche. Generalists will be in trouble in the coming months. Readers are more trusting of someone who claims to know a lot about something focused, giving you an edge if you specialize in one small corner of your genre. If you write on a wide basis right now, you'd do well to choose a smaller niche and narrow your focus for the coming year.
Social media will continue to be a huge area for book promotion, but authors who join in conversations trying to sell their books are likely to be shut down in droves. Readers' sensitivities are stronger than ever, and their patience for advertorials is running thin. Join in groups that join with your writing niche, but only join conversations when you have something useful to add. Let readers know you as a person before they ever discover you're an author. They'll trust you much more.
Use Continuing Education
The independent publishing business has built up a backlash against poorly written and edited books. Readers may have forgiven sloppy proofreading or awkward sentences before, looking for content instead. Not any more. The larger numbers of books they have available make readers more choosy in what they buy. Make sure your skills are up to speed by taking classes in grammar, writing, marketing, or anywhere else you feel a need for new information.
Personalization Will Rise
Readers like to know they're a part of a small, exclusive group. You may not be able to reach every single reader on a daily basis, but you need to make an effort to make each one feel special. Answer every comment (tactfully) on social media. Break your mailing list up into small sub-lists and write different posts for each one. Ask for birthdays and other personal info during mailing list signups and send out personalized ecards on their special days. Make your readers feel as if you value them as individuals.
Authority Will Become Even More Valuable
It's no longer good enough to write a book or series about a topic. You have to prove you have the knowledge to talk about the subject. Submit your work to awards committees. Talk up your experience in the industry on your book jacket or blurb. Become a regular on multiple industry chat boards, giving out tons of great advice for free. When you become the go-to expert for questions in your niche, readers will naturally gravitate toward your books.
Keep the Faith and may the Force be with You!