Book Marketing: 12 Tips for the Marketing Novice
Updated: Jun 26, 2018
Once you’ve finished a book and it’s ‘ready’, it’s easy to get carried away with excitement and press the publish button. But before you do, ask yourself these questions:
Do I have a marketing plan?
Am I happy with my book? Have I done everything I can to make my book stand out? When I think about telling people about my novel, am I proud? Or do I squirm with the knowledge that perhaps it’s not as good as it could be?
Do I have reviews from ARCs?
Where are my sales going to come from?
Marketing might seem scary – it certainly is to me - but no one can buy your book if they don’t know it exists.
Here is a very brief overview of several book marketing options you might want to consider.
1. FRONT COVER, BACK COVER, BLURB, AMAZON SALES PAGE
Having a great product that you feel proud of is the first step of great marketing. If you’re slightly embarrassed or ashamed of your book, people will notice. So, before you start taking out advertising space, or shouting from the rooftops that your book is out, make sure you’re happy with the content, the editing, the design, the blurb, and with the sales page on Amazon.
Don’t forget that the categories/ keywords you tag your book with on Amazon play a crucial part in its success or failure on Amazon, so it’s worth spending some time researching the best categories for your novel.
Becoming a Goodreads author is something I highly recommend. On Goodreads, you’re able to link your author page to your blog, meaning your readers will see it when you update. You can also enter your book into their giveaways program, which will draw attention to your book. People will see it in the giveaway section and may add it to their “want to read” list.
To enter a giveaway, you will need to have a paperback copy ready to send out. You will also need to pay the cost of mailing it wherever, and that can be a bit more expensive if you are sending it overseas.
Reviews are essential if you want to sell your book. They act as social proof to readers that other people have read it and liked it.
This is something I didn’t do when I published Winning at Love back in 2016, and I really regret it.
Here’s some great information for indie authors on how to get advance reader copies into the hands of readers.
4. BOOK PROMOTION SITES
If you think a list of sites where your book is promoted sounds pretty useful, check out 127+ lists of book promotion sites.
I recommend you research your options to find out if there’s a cost before committing to anything. Also ask yourself whether the site will fit your genre and give thought to whether you actually like the site.
5. PROMOTIONS & GIVEAWAYS
If you want a spike in sales, consider price drops or free giveaways on Amazon. This will place your book higher in their rankings system, at least for a short while, thereby increasing visibility.
6. PAID ADVERTISING
You can purchase advertising on Amazon/Goodreads and other book sites. Whether it’s worth it will depend on how much effort you put into marketing. Measure your results to see whether this method is successful.
7. MAKE YOUR BOOK AVAILABLE IN ALL FORMATS
Is your book available as an eBook, paperback and audiobook? It is available outside of Amazon? Say on Kobo or iBooks?
By making your book available in as many formats as you can, you remove barriers that might otherwise stop people from purchasing it.
Many experts in the book marketing field discuss the importance of building an author platform. My favorite advice on this matter was introduced to me by Joanna Penn, a leader in indie publishing. After reading Trust Agents by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, she has spread their message of: “know, like, trust.” If people get to know you and like you, they’re more willing to buy from you.
Here’s how to build your marketing platform.
8. AUTHOR WEBSITE
An author website is essential according to any successful author and book marketer out there. You must have one if you want to grow your email list (one of the best ways to promote yourself as an author). Your online media kit should also be available on your website, including press releases for your book/books.
With a website, you have a base from which to blog/market yourself.
9. EMAIL LIST
If you have an email list, you have a built-in audience to market to when you’re about to release your book.
One of the easiest ways to go about growing your list is to put a form on your website asking people to sign up. To make it worth their while you could offer something of value in exchange for this email address. A free book, for example, or a free resource.
Avoid having your request for email sign-up pop up as soon as readers view your site. There is no faster way to scare people off. At least, there is no faster way to scare me off.
10. SOCIAL MEDIA
Social media is a huge part of building an author platform. Choose 2-3 channels (make sure they’re channels you like and feel comfortable with) and set a schedule to post content, preferably daily for channels like Instagram and Twitter. Ideally, you should blog twice a week, publishing useful content. This is another great way to connect with your readers and other authors.
Here’s a list of social media platforms for writers. This post explores which platforms are better suited to certain types of writing, but the list of writer platforms is extensive.
When you promote other authors and their books, you increase your chances of being promoted. This creates goodwill, and you can enter into partnerships where you cross-promote. This is an excellent (AND FREE!) way to spread the word about your book.
Try not to think of this method as, ‘I scratch your back, you scratch my back.’ Aim to be genuine and helpful and you are more likely to receive the same sort of help and support you give others.
Online. If you read blogs by other writers and leave comments, they might be inclined to check out your website. Guest posting on writing websites is also a great way to make new friends and attract new readers. You can connect with authors and readers all over the world on social media, and in forums and communities such as Wattpad, Fiction Press, and Inkitt.
Offline. Networking isn’t just limited to the internet. Connecting with other writers and writing groups in your community will give you further opportunities to sell books.
12. WRITE MORE BOOKS
The more books you publish, the easier it is to market yourself. Say you’ve published five or six books. You could then choose to give one or two books away for free, drawing in new readers. This increases your chances of people buying your full-price books, thereby increasing your amount of sales, improving your author rank, and getting more reviews.
You can also link one book to another at the end of the eBook. You can bundle your books. There are so many options when you have a few books to sell!
Marketing your book can be as much of an adventure as writing it. Never stop promoting yourself or your book. And remember, even if you haven’t done a lick of marketing, it’s never too late to start.
Publishing isn’t the end of your journey with your book, it’s just the beginning!
Post Author: The Sheila