Marketing a book is not the same as marketing other products. There are several things you need to keep in mind when promoting your book. Readers are looking for books that will be entertaining, provide them with the information they need, or at least help them pass time. In this article, we will discuss how to market a book.
After you have written a book, you still have a lot of work to do. Now it’s time to figure out how to market it so that you can get your book out to as many readers as possible. But what is marketing, and how is done effectively?
In its simplest terms, book marketing is finding your target audience, explaining to them why they should read your book, why they would like your book, and how they can buy your book.
This can be done in various ways, and this article will explain several of the most effective methods so that you can find interested readers and boost your book sales.
If you want to sell more books, you will need a book marketing plan, and this article will help you develop one.
Create Your Own Website
Creating your own author website to promote your book launch, tease future projects, and plug previous books is an essential marketing tool, especially if you plan to self-publish your books. Without the big marketing budget of a traditional publishing house, having a dedicated online presence to boost book sales can make a huge difference when it comes to a book launch.
Ensure your website is easy to navigate, not too “busy”, and features your book clearly on the home page. Self-publishing authors don’t often have the same resources available as a traditional publisher does.
So putting effort into eye-catching cover art, and therefore easily recognizable to your target audience on your website is key. A good cover can drive sales by itself. You’ve just got to do the work of making it relatable and unique so that it can sell.
Be sure to include an area where visitors to your website can sign up to receive reminders of book release dates, new releases announcements, and book promotions.
Also, it’s important to create an email list, as this can be one of your most effective tools as you have new books to promote. You can instantly have your book released to everyone on your email list, which is potentially thousands or tens of thousands of customers.
The best part about email subscribers is that if they have taken the time to sign up on your website, meaning they are interested in you and your projects, so they are more likely than most to purchase your new books.
Don’t underestimate the power of an email list. But also, don’t only use your email list to promote your new books. Also, use it to connect with your audience and provide updates, whether books signings or exclusive offers, or information not available to non-subscribers.
Make Yourself Reachable and Relatable
As a new author, you want people to care about you. When thinking about how to market a book, you must realize that you’re also marketing yourself. If you seem distant or removed from your book, then your work isn’t connected doesn’t seem connected to someone, and people are less likely to buy your book.
Having a presence online and in-person where you are putting in the work and promoting yourself along with your book is crucial, especially if you are self-publishing.
Book marketing is all about attracting more readers to you. If you seem snobby or arrogant, no one will care if you’re a published author. You have to make people buy you right along with your book.
Indie authors can make themselves more relatable and more personable by always carrying a few copies of their book with them and handing out a free copy to the people who may be able to get your name and your work out to more readers.
Suppose you give a free copy of your book to the coffee shop owner, a writer on the staff for the local newspaper, the local librarian, a couple of book bloggers, the head of the local book club, and a local bookstore owner. In that case, you will seem more approachable, more “normal,” and those people are likely to spread the word about your book.
It would help if you also had your own street team, composed of friends and family, who can hand out books, fliers about local signings and readings, and book promotions you may have. This way, the book’s visibility is higher because more people are pounding the pavement marketing for you. Don’t ever be afraid to ask your friends and family for help.
These people also make excellent book reviewers. Check back in with the people you give books to, and ask for honest reviews. Make sure that you request that they tell you precisely what they liked and disliked about your book.
Not only will this give you insight into how well your book is enjoyed by a small sample of the general public, but it helps you to engage with the readers and establish a relationship with them. You never know which of them may end up being a valuable connection in the future.
Categorize Your Book Correctly
When you start marketing your book, you’re going to be asked the same few questions frequently. Some of those questions are:
- What genre is your book?
- How much is your book?
- What is your book about?
- Do you have any book reviews I could read?
These are just some of the questions you will most likely get tired of answering, but if you want to succeed at book marketing, you’re going to have to answer every time you are asked. The following will walk you through some quick tips for responding concisely and will attract more readers. No one is interested in an entire book synopsis in answer to a simple question.
Be careful when deciding what genre your book is. This can be tricky. You don’t want to keep the genre so broad that you end up one of the self-published authors being thrown into the market at the same time as a heavy hitter author that everyone knows of. You will likely end up in a sea of anonymity, regardless of how many other excellent book marketing ideas you have.
For example, if you market your book as a horror novel, you run the risk of your book appearing on the same shelf as Stephen King, the arguable “master of horror,” or releasing a book around the same time as him.
This can sink your book before you even get started. It doesn’t matter how great your book reviews are when you’re put up against a significant name in the industry. Setting your genre as fantasy may put you up against the likes of Tolkien, and it may have the same effect.
On the other side of the coin is the trouble with setting the genre as too niche. When you do this, you set your book apart from others, but you don’t want to set it so far apart that you don’t reach an audience.
For example, have you ever heard of ‘spoetry’? Don’t feel out of the loop if you haven’t. It’s a form of writing in which a person writes poems using the lines of spam emails. When an author is selling books of this type, where exactly would one find them on a shelf? Would multiple retailers agree to sell it with such an obscure genre attached to itself? Most likely not.
If you can narrow down the genre to something like satirical poetry, or humorous poetry, you stand a much better chance of attracting customers in a store and people online.
Whether you write fiction or non-fiction, it’s best to know what genre your book will best fit into without being too broad or too obscure for a reader to find it. If you are too extreme in either direction, you may get lost and lose readers who might have enjoyed your book.
What is your book about? Self-published authors and traditionally published authors do well when they can sum up the content of their book in a few short, exciting, and intriguing sentences so that potential readers will want to purchase their book.
You can get your book plot summed up neatly to attract readers by asking a few people close to you to read the book. Once they have read it, give them an index card and write a book description no longer than the index card. You do the same.
You can take the index cards, see what they have in common, keep what you like, throw out the rest, and work up a brief and concise description that gives just enough of the plot to hook a reader.
A person will get bored with much more information than what you can put on an index card. This is an excellent trick if you are figuring out how to market a book to get the description down to a workable length.
Keep Track of Your Reviews
When someone reads your work and writes a review online or in a newspaper, do your best to keep track of them. Know where to find your most glowing reviews so that when someone asks about your book, you can point them in that direction. It’s a way to “humblebrag” without actually talking yourself up to the point that you seem arrogant.
For example, suppose your local newspaper wrote a review of your book and gave you an excellent review. In that case, you might tell a potential reader that if they go to such a date edition of the local paper, they can find an unbiased reader review that gives them all the information they might need to decide whether your book is right for them.
If you have a critical or negative review online on your site, you may not steer them in that direction. It’s probably best that you don’t mention it at all.
Why go to all this trouble? Knowing which reviews are the best can help you steer a reader in the right direction to help them purchase your book.
Not having an answer for where a person can read reviews may cause that person to look them up on their own, online, and that can lead to them seeing all of your reviews: The good, the bad, and the ugly. When you can control what reviews people see, you will create more interest and increase sales.
Social Media Sites and Book Marketing
Social media platforms are a marketing wonderland full of potential readers. Self-published and traditionally published authors also use social media for marketing because it’s effective and free, depending on how you use it.
Having social media accounts is crucial in today’s world to reach your target audience, new readers, potential readers, and fellow writers who can help you market your books in exchange for plugs and mentions of their books.
Developing an understanding of how targeted ads work and how to manage and navigate as many of these different sites as possible will be a big help in your success in marketing on social media. The bigger your online presence, the better your odds are of becoming a reader magnet and getting these readers to leave reviews that will sell you more books.
Using Facebook as a Marketing Tool
Facebook is currently the most popular social media site, and when it is utilized correctly, you can find the right audience, grow a fan base, and drive-up book sales.
When you market a book, you are looking for the right group of people to market to and the easiest and fastest way to get your product to them. The product, in this case, is your book and yourself. People decide pretty quickly whether they are interested in your content, and using Facebook is an excellent way to find new readers.
You can create a Facebook page that contains a link to your website and use ads to target potential readers, as long as you completely understand who your target market is. Self-publishing authors also use Facebook groups to find the readers they want to connect with and market to.
If you wrote a romance novel, you might do well appealing to women. Finding a reading group on Facebook for women may be just the right move. Better yet, finding a reading group for romance novels can get your foot in the door to finding the perfect demographic.
Once there, you can link your website to the group and ask the members to share your link with other people on social media. You can even include sample chapters to potential fans to find out whether or not the book is apt to be a hit among the group members.
But remember you need to build up a relationship and trust in the group before just asking people to promote your book. Just put yourself in someone else’s shoes to ensure your tone and the situation is appropriate to promote your book.
Following the Right People on Twitter
When you are about to start selling your book, check out Twitter and follow authors in the same or similar genres who are still up and coming. Some of the time, they will follow you back.
You never know what connections a person may have, and when you do this sort of marketing, you are not only hoping to boost your sales, you are helping fellow authors do the same.
You can also send direct messages to up-and-coming authors in similar genres and ask them if they would read your new release if given a copy. If they agree to do so, ask if they would consider writing a review for you.
The worst any of these people can do is say no or ignore you completely. There is a lot of rejection that occurs in marketing. Take it in stride if you are turned down, and move on to the next thing that might boost sales.
Blogs for Book Marketing
It used to be that blogging was something that was a hobby. Not anymore. Now people do it for a living, and many have a lot of followers. A positive blog post about your book can do just as much, if not more, than Facebook ads when it comes to sales.
Do some research and find blog sites that cater to book reviews. Make sure that the blog site is easy to find and looks like it has a lot of followers. Message or send an email to the blogger and ask if they would consider writing a blog about your book and posting it on their site.
You’re trying to sell more books, and the person who runs the blog is trying to get more subscribers and followers. Present it as a mutually beneficial opportunity. One blog post about your book, and you will plug their site at all of your book signings and on your website.
A blog may not put you on the bestseller list, but it will undoubtedly help you get your name and your book out there, and that is a marketing strategy that always pays off.
Stay Organized When You Market Your Book
It can be overwhelming when you are trying to market your book because you have your hand in so many fires at once.
You may give out three free copies this week, plug your book on your social media next week, and write about your press release on your website the day after.
When you market your book, you must have several different marketing strategies working for you at once, but organization is key here.
The Cost and Budgeting
Many self-published authors think that they have to go broke to print books and get an expensive press release so that anyone will know about their book. That’s not always the case, and it doesn’t have to be the case for you.
You don’t have to spend money to get a book published and market it if you’re smart. You don’t have to print books to market and release it, either. You can sell a digital e-book instead. Doing this still requires a small amount of money, but it is far less expensive than paying a printer.
Before you start marketing, set your budget, and do not budge from it. Do the work yourself if you want to save money. You are capable of marketing a book just like a literary agent or a traditional publisher.
If you can stick with it, develop a tough skin, and put your nose to the grindstone, you can succeed. How to market a book used to be a trade secret that was only known by those in the publishing industry, but that has changed since the internet took over.
Book Marketing When Self Publishing
When you self-publish, book marketing looks a lot different than it does when a traditional publishing house picks you up.
When it comes to traditional publishing, you don’t need to know how to market a book. You can get away with trusting your agent and the publisher because both of those entities want you to succeed so that they make more money.
When you’re self-publishing, figuring out how to market a book is a task you must figure out if you want a career in writing. If you can’t sell the book, it doesn’t matter how great it is because no one is reading it, you aren’t making any money, and you can’t live off of self-accomplishment alone.
You have to figure it out one step at a time, but it absolutely can be done. You can do a great job marketing if you put the work into it and are determined.