As a rule, the more you market and promote your book, the more people will know about your book, and the more people will buy your book. In other words, the name of the game here is publicity. Pay attention here, because this part is important:
I’ve worked with many authors over the years who have had excellent books, but few people bought them because nobody knew about them!
I’m a firm believer that you can market all your books yourself without spending a dime. It just takes time and dedication. Let’s talk 12 genius ways to market your book.
1. Build an author website (and keep it up to date).
Include important links to buy your book, an author bio and picture, and a blog. Above all, make sure your website looks professional and is easy to navigate. You can purchase a URL and build your own professional-looking website for a few bucks a month.
2. Write relevant blog articles to drive people to your website.
Keep up on it, post relevant content, engage readers and fans, and relate your book or your characters to current events.
3. Schedule a book launch, where you sign your books, read excerpts, and answer reader questions.
This can be done online using social media (Facebook live is a wonderful tool!) or in locally owned bookstores, like my client K.R. Willis recently did with her book Blood for Blood.
Author K.R. Willis at a book signing event for the release of her second novel, Blood for Blood
4. Hold contests and giveaway prizes to generate buzz about your book.
Get people as excited about your book release as you are! Check out giveaways on Goodreads, for example. Host contests on social media sites—post a picture related to your book and have a caption contest.
5. Talk with local bookstore business owners about selling your books.
Most locally owned bookstores are willing and interested in selling books by local or regional authors, especially if the story takes place there, too.
6. Interact with your fans with an e-mail newsletter sharing info on book discounts, upcoming promotions, giveaways, etc.
Have an e-mail newsletter sign-up sheet at all your events (book signings, trade shows, etc.) and outlets (Facebook, author website, etc.).
7. Reach out to local news outlets (radio or newspaper) that may be interested in interviewing local authors.
Local radio stations, especially talk shows, are great ways to share your book with the community.
8. Write up discussion questions for book club meetings.
You can offer to attend Skype meetings with groups or attend local meetings in person. And what better way to spend an afternoon with people who love your work? (Talk about humbling!)
9. Enter your book in local, regional, and national book fairs/contests.
If you don’t win or get an honorable mention, you can at least advertise that you entered!
10. Create a press release to generate interest in your book.
Free press release websites include prlog.org and 1888pressrelease.com.
11. Follow-up with everyone who helps you...
...Including your book editor, your book cover illustrator, your beta readers, and everyone else—to tell them you’ve published your book and it’s now for sale!
12. Post positive reviews on your social media sites or your website.
This generates lots of good attention. Your social media followers can like or share your posts, spreading the word about your great books.
So…do these marketing techniques work? You bet they do! One of my clients, John Legget Jones, took his marketing seriously. He created a website and a Facebook page, posted constantly (good reviews, readers’ thoughts and messages about the book, and hosted giveaways), and that was it. He sold 3,000 copies of Flannel Gowns and Granny Panties in the first 3 months. And he didn’t pay anyone to market the book. My client Greg Cheek created a Facebook page, a website, contacted local news stations and newspapers, and worked hard to get his book in front of potential readers. The results were astounding: Before I had even finished editing his book (and during its pre-sale phase), Greg had secured over 7,000 pre-sales of Three Points of Contact. Yet another self-marketing success story: Jason Fitzgerald & Vijay Natarajan, who wrote Crunching Numbers, relentlessly marketed their book. On Facebook, Vijay is always talking about the book, bringing up points he made in the book and encouraging people to buy it, and on Jason's twitter handle (@Jason_OTC) has been a massive marketing tool, as he has 19,000 followers. They’ve also been doing press releases, and it’s paid off: The book has been mentioned several times on news sources including CNBC and ESPN, and it reached #7 on Amazon’s bestseller list in the American Football genre. Wow.
Whatever you put into marketing, you get out of it. As long as you’re dedicated and consistent, you can totally tackle this marketing thing on your own. Your success is measured directly by how much marketing you put into your book once it’s published.
On the other side of the coin, the opposite is true: You likely won’t sell many copies without some effort in marketing your book. Unfortunately, I’ve found that all too often, authors don’t take their marketing seriously, and the book doesn’t sell many copies. I hope you take on marketing seriously so that’s not the case with your books!
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Book editor Kristen Hamilton is the owner and sole employee of
Kristen Corrects, Inc., where she provides manuscript editing
services for traditionally and self-publishing authors. Several
authors whose books she has edited have won awards and have
topped Amazon's best sellers lists.
Reading is Kristen's passion, so when the workday is over, she
can usually be found curled up with a good book alongside her
four cats. She loves watching cat videos and scary movies,
eating pizza, teaching herself French, and traveling, and she is
likely planning her next vacation. She lives outside of Boise, ID.