The POEM Method of Book Marketing (Part 2)

Author Learning Center

We’re back with Part #2 from the Author Learning Center, digging into a simple and easy way to market better with the POEM method! If you missed Part #1, you can find it here.

Otherwise, let’s get right into it with the second half of POEM, Events and Multimedia.

E Is for Events

Now let’s look at the E, which stands for events. Events is simply defined as face-to-face interaction with potential readers. This can really help fuel a word-of-mouth campaign. Living in a digital age certainly allows us to reach people all over the world, but there is still great opportunity to make an impact when we are face-to-face with prospective readers. Readers love meeting authors. They love to know the person behind the words.

Events can happen in a variety of settings

Setting up or attending events can happen in a variety of places. You can hold book signings at local venues. With the appropriate planning, you can also set up events where you travel. In addition, you can attend some of the major national book fairs such as the Los Angeles Times Book Fair, the Miami Book Fair, or Word on the Street in Canada.

Speaking events are another way you can build awareness for your book. You might not think of yourself as a public speaker, but you should consider and explore any opportunities you have to get in front of people in your community, such as service or school groups. Many such organizations are always looking for speakers. I also suggest you contact your local library. In most cases they welcome presenters, and especially authors from the community.  Many libraries will also let you sell and sign books and you may want to consider donating a portion from each book sale to the library.

You never know who might be in the audience

Now there is a tendency to think you have to have a big audience to make it worth your time, but when it comes to promoting a book, that may not always be true. Some time ago I received an order for fifty books, but I did not recognize the name of the person who purchased them. So I found out a way to contact her and asked how she heard about the book. She let me know she was in the audience when I did a presentation on my book in St. Louis. I doubt there were more than twenty people in that room, but she thought enough of the book and presentation to order copies for everyone in her organization. A few years later I had a similar experience where someone ordered a hundred books to use in his organization after sitting in a presentation I gave to about twenty people.

My point is if you have an opportunity to present, you should take it because you never know who might be in the audience and what that could lead to. Plus, it gives you practice as a presenter, which will only make you better for the next opportunity that comes along.

Before, during, and after the event, you can post things online, use it in your pitch when relevant, include it in publicity, and definitely add to your website. In fact, this is a perfect example of how you can take what may seem like a small opportunity and turn it into an integrated campaign to help you increase awareness and build your platform. As a result, people are left with the impression that there is a lot of activity and interest around your book.

M Is for Multimedia

The last letter in our acronym is M, which stands for multimedia. I define multimedia as using images, motion, and sounds to promote your book and you as an author. We are an image- and video-driven culture. So using elements such as video interviews, book trailers, or podcasts can create a compelling way to engage potential readers.

Multimedia is also another way for potential readers to get to know you beyond the words of your book. Perhaps they can’t meet you in person, but as they listen to you on a podcast or watch an interview, you can create a personal connection between you and the reader, which can be another reason why they want to buy your book

Multimedia has multiple uses

With good multimedia you also have another tool when pitching for interviews. You can send links to your videos or podcasts. Those can be extremely helpful because most people want to do research before agreeing to an interview or a blog post. Good multimedia will also give readers a sense of how you communicate and often can be the key to securing opportunities.

Finally, multimedia gives you content for your online channels. That is why remembering the POEM method to book marketing is so helpful. You do one video interview, and you end up using it in multiple ways to help create awareness and build your platform.

Here’s how to use this POEM

Now that you understand the POEM method of book marketing, here are some key questions you should ask about your goals, budget, time, and talent you can bring to the campaign.

How much money are you able to invest in your book marketing?

Be realistic. Book publishing is not a lottery ticket and usually the returns, if and when they come, take time. So be wise about the money you put to work.

How much time can you invest each week?

Think of book marketing like irrigation rather than a thunderstorm. In other words, if you want your book marketing campaign to bear fruit, you are better off being consistent and steady instead of just popping up with big announcements when you have them. So set a realistic goal for the time you can invest each week and stick to it.

What talent can you bring to your campaign and who do you need to hire to help you?

One of the scariest comments I hear from authors is “my daughter’s an artist” because that almost always means their book cover is doomed. Be realistic about what talent you have, and if you do hire someone, make sure they have experience with the task you need done. Just because you can design a logo, doesn’t mean you know how to design a book cover. Or just because you wrote a book, doesn’t mean you know how to write a press release.

This simple grid can help

One thing you can also do to assure you are creating the most effective marketing campaign is build a simple grid like the one below as both a reminder of how you can use one activity across multiple channels and as a way to keep yourself accountable.

I have populated it with an example of how you could use POEM if you were going to do a book signing at a book store. However, this is just one illustration of how having this framework can help you make sure you maximize every opportunity you have.

BeforeSend out press release. Notify local media.Post on website and social media.Send out invites. Post posters in location.Do video to invite people to attend and post online.
DuringBe prepared in case any media show up. Have your press release and pitch ready to go.Post from the event and ask people to stop by.Take photos with people who buy the book, and ask them to post on their social media. Gather names for email list.Take photos you can use for your post campaign.
AfterIf a story runs, post it on your website and social media.Post photos from event. Tag people, if possible.Send thank you to venue. Ask to do another event if it was successful.Create a photo archive so you have a handy reference point for your images.

Some key advantages of using this POEM

At the outset, I suggested that book marketing can be confusing for many authors, but hopefully, this POEM framework will help eliminate much of the confusion and frustration and provide you with four key advantages.

  1. Give you a framework for creating an effective integrated book marketing plan.
  2. Multiply your efforts for maximum impact from your book marketing efforts.
  3. Help you make wise investments of time and money with respect to your book marketing.
  4. Give you confidence that you are not missing anything when it comes to marketing your book.

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