From building campaigns to polishing your website, marketing your business can be tricky. In this article Shayla Raquel shares tips on promoting your business, tools for creating social media posts, and more.
I’ve been working as a publishing industry professional for nearly twelve years. I started out as a copywriter, then began copyediting books six months later. In 2013, I started my own company so I could work one-on-one with authors. Over time, my little freelance business blossomed into so much more than editing. I now help authors write, self-publish, and market books they can be proud of. I’m also honored to teach classes on writing, self-publishing, social media, book marketing, and craft.
I did a lot of things wrong when I started my own business. I didn’t have contracts, I didn’t request a deposit up front, and I certainly didn’t set boundaries. But looking back, I did a few things right too. Perhaps the best thing I ever could’ve done to grow my business was sharing photos of the books I edited on social media.
Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. That’s nothing new. But we see this form of marketing in social media now. Every time I got a new client, I would post photos of the client and I working together on Skype or Zoom; I’d post photos of my laptop or a printed table of contents; I’d eventually post photos of the author’s book itself. There was something about seeing the finished product that took potential clients of mine and turned them into loyal, ready-to-book-now clients.
If you have your authors’ books, then take photos of them, tag the authors, and share about those books on your platform.
Speaking of platforms, yes, you need a website to showcase your many talents. When I first started on my own in 2013, I used a free WordPress blog site until I could one day afford a professional website. (It didn’t take long at all!) I’ll tell editors what I tell authors: Follow the six-second rule. You have six seconds to get a website visitor’s attention, and you need to answer three questions in those six seconds:
Fun fact: A visitor can’t answer these questions via your website if you don’t know the answers yourself, my love. The answers are easy if you value authenticity. It’s something I preach on often: know thyself. Authenticity is the foundation of branding—whether you’re an author, editor, or writer.
Not sure on the whole editor brand thing? Answer these questions to help you (and it’ll shine through on your platform):
While we’re on the website topic, I beseech you: add a contact form to your contact page. I keep Excedrin in business because so many websites have no contact pages.
I’ve had the honor of mentoring a few editors in my career, and I think the first question I get is, “How do I promote my services?”
Promoting your services is not—I repeat, not—supposed to look like this:
“Check out my editing services! I want to edit your book! You can hire me today! Book now!”
When you promote your services the right way, it never feels like promotion. Instead, focus on authenticity and be real with your community. Instead of the salesy jargon, try posting something like this:
I’ve been blessed to work with authors in Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Ireland, Saudi Arabia, and so many amazing places. But honestly, it’s a blast when my author is in Oklahoma (my state). Kenasia Johnson wrote the Soul Balance Devotional, which, as I’ve said before, is a book I so desperately wish existed when I was in my early twenties. But then I realized: Kenasia’s book needed to be around today, in the crazy world that is 2020. If you’re looking for a revival of your mind, body, and soul, then I’m telling you, this is the book for you. I mean, the girl literally kicks off the book with Day 1: End Toxic Relationships. She ain’t messin’ around! Thank you, Kenasia, for writing this book and offering sound wisdom. https://amzn.to/2MPz2dl
Formula: Photo (one you took, not a stock photo; preferably of your client’s book or something that relates to their book) + hook (catchy, not salesy) + education (give of your knowledge) + CTA (call to action) + link (make it convenient)
In the above example, I don’t once tell people to hire me for a writing mentorship, which is what I did for this client. Instead, I show the finished result, hype up my amazing author, explain why the book is so great (aka, why I loved working on it), and left with a CTA to buy her book (aka, support an author).
It’s funny, you don’t realize how important marketing really is until you see your bank account in the negative. (Ahem, talking to myself.) I had to straight up hustle to get to where I am today. Let me be transparent about what I mean by “hustle”:
Everyone’s hustle looks different, but I wanted you to see mine to fully appreciate this next part.
I don’t even have a résumé anymore. I haven’t had one in probably seven years. My website is my résumé. I don’t need to beg people to hire me. In fact, I turn down projects now (weird, right?) and book out months in advance. Trust me—I didn’t think that was possible either. But if you want to get to that point, you have to be willing to do the things other people don’t want to do.
I hope your editing business soars with these ideas. Try them, and reach out to me for more ideas.
Read more from Shayla Raquel in her previous #ACESChat here.