Books do not sell themselves. And when it comes to book marketing, it is more a marathon than a sprint, requiring strategy and efforts compounded over time. After putting your heart and soul, and sweat and tears, into writing a book, you deserve every chance of success. Smart book marketing will make that a reality.
And all things being equal, people would rather buy a book from an author who puts their personality out there and allows readers to get a taste of who they are, as well as what they write rather than a faceless, no name author.
Connect with readers on a personal level, as well as literary, offering you a chance to build a long-term fan base who will anticipate your next book and spread the word to their fellow fans.
- Marketing your book is going to take time. LOTS OF TIME!
Forget about writing that next book! There is no time for that right now. That comes later, after you’ve built your audience. Be preapred to spend as much, if not more, time in your public relations and marketing as actually writing the book. You might loathe the idea of having to spend so much time on marketing, but if you want to sell books and be successful then there is simply no other way. Even if you’re signed to a mainstream publisher you will still need to do 99% of your marketing yourself.
- Create a website with engaging content
Your website is the gateway point for publishers and fans to find out about you and your books. And, blog every day, offer interesting insights and make sure your website is SEO optimised – for maximum exposure.
- Talk about more than your book
Intersperse your online posts with interesting entries. These can be about anything – your life, your interests, your thoughts on other books and current events. Once you start offering content that people enjoy reading, they’ll be more likely to support you when you start selling your new book. Get creative – build fun, YouTube videos.
- Build your mailing list
A mailing list is your number one tool for selling books. In an ideal world, these are the people who love your work, who can’t wait to hear from you, who will support you till the end of time. Offer free content: chapters and excerpts of new work.
- Create a brand
When it comes to writing, you, the author is the brand. You need to present yourself in your communications with potential readers, relating to the books you are promoting. Know which genre you are working in. that And if you work in more than one genre, you probably need two different names and two different brands. When you are putting yourself out there and finding ways to talk about your book, don’t forget what your brand is – who you want people to see you as. Stay focused.
- Build your online relationships
If you want your books to sell, you need to start building relationships 6 months to a year before release, with key reviewers and/or influencers on blogs, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. Engage every day. Interact with fans. Connect. Communicate. Entertain. Inform. Share.
- Know your audience
Focus on just one or two social media platforms so you don’t spread yourself too thin and make sure you know who you’re trying to reach before you start.
- If you write Young Adult novels, focus on Instagram as many teens no longer use Facebook or Twitter accounts.
- If you write erotica, find the social media platform best suited.
- Do your research – then get involved.
Marketing is about message. Your brand is part of it but the rest is all content. What is your book about? Who will it appeal to? What groups will be interested in it, discussing it, recommending it, and what will catch their attention?
- Get reviews before your book goes on sale
Next to your mailing list – this is the 2nd most important thing for a new author. Amazon is often the first point of contact for readers looking to buy new books. But you need reviews! You need 25-30 reviews (good ones) on Amazon within the first two weeks ideally.
- Make the most of external resources
Whether you’re a self-published or traditionally published author, there’s a myriad of awesome people out there with skills to help you create and market your books.
- Be yourself
When you are marketing your book, you are selling a piece of yourself. A little preparation goes a long way and the last thing you want to do is to come off as an uninformed amateur. Don’t simply re-Tweet and don’t copy what others are doing. Create your own twist or niche to a thread. Let your brilliant, creative self shine through in everything you do. With some time and effort, success in the literary world will be yours.