So, you’ve written an amazing book and now you need to market it! Unfortunately, marketing is really hard work…
Marketing as an unknown author in the highly competitive book-selling environment is even tougher still!
Until you’re a renowned novelist or have the financial backing of a large publisher, it’s going to be a major part of your time. However, all is not lost, and there are numerous methods available to get your book seen by the masses.
We’ve searched far and wide for the best advice and tips of getting your book heard about. Please remember when approaching our comprehensive list below, it is far better to do a few of these book marketing tips well, than do them all moderately.
Aimless marketing may as well be money down the drain, and it is absolutely crucial to target the right individuals. Here are a few detailed pointers to help identify and understand your target audience before the marketing process even begins.
A website helps people find out about you, what you’ve written, what inspires you and anything else their heart desires. Infact, a personal author’s website is such an important marketing tool that publishers actively look for, and encourage, authors to have their own online presence.
If you’re a technophobe we’d definitely advise using a blogging solution called WordPress, which has made creating your own blog a cinch. They hold your hand at every stage of the website-creation to make sure you get everything set up smoothly.
There’s also a large and active community behind WordPress that means if you get stuck at any stage, help won’t be far away.
Just stop and think for a moment about why people would come to an author’s website…
To learn about the author? To see either newly released books or the rest of your writings? To get in touch about possible event or marketing opportunities? Or simply just to say how much they enjoyed the book?
You need to ensure that your website addresses the needs of the masses, and a great place to start is to visit other authors and see the kind of features they provide. The bare minimum your website should provide is:
Once these basics are in place you can look at expanding the features of your website and really providing some great unique content and options.
We won’t go into the specifics of how to optimise your website, but if you look at pursuing it independently we highly recommend reading up on a topic called “Search Engine Optimisation”, often referred to as SEO. This will help your website rank well in search engines, helping you get visibility and visits for people looking for your author name or book.Start simple - the great Beginner’s Guide to SEO
Offering anything from a small number of your eBooks free, to signed editions of a hard copy, are great rewards for fans showing an interest in your website.
If you actually become a bestseller you’ll even have the small things like “the notepad my first book was drafted in”, which can all be valuable assets.
If you can make any contest amusing then all the better, since people are much more likely to share things they find funny, which increases the reach and benefit of your competition..
People turn out in their hundreds to see established authors read passages from their works and there’s no reason you can’t do the same with podcasts or videos on your website.
Something as simple as you reading the first chapter of your book can serve as a taster to prospective readers as well as an interesting discussion piece. Reading a page or two at a time cuts down on the time you’ll spend correcting errors and you can either upload it to your page as small audio segments or use a sound editing program to compile it into one file.
If you really want to spread your influence you can also consider videoing this and posting to your Youtube channel.
Building your own email list of interested fans is a very good way of keeping information flowing to those that really care about it.
With upcoming releases, book discussions and competitions just a few of the many emailing possibilities out there, the earlier you can start populating your signup list the better.
Thankfully, adding a signup bar to your website is incredibly simple with just a small bit of code or the addition of a widget. There are loads of great email service providers out there that are free, up to a certain level of subscribers, meaning you can start growing your list without any cash investment.
Look around for email service providers that you are comfortable using. If you trust our recommendations, we suggest you give Mailchimp a try.
It’s free up to 2,000 subscribers in their Forever Free plan, and you barely lose any functionality from the paid options. Overall, a fantastic choice for starting your email activities.Check out MailChimp here
The world has become social, and having an online presence that talks, comments and is readily approachable is a great feature.
We recommend at the very least having a Twitter account linked to your author name. Twitter opens up the world of hashtag topics and trends, meaning you can easily bring together any fans who are tweeting about your topic. An account is free and easily monitorable from any web-connected device, so you’ve got no reason not to have one!
These hashtag chats are a great way to get in touch with people who are active in different areas. There is a publicly available list of hashtags here that you can use to find people active in your field.
#ePrdctn is a channel for all kinds of discussions about the processes of creating an eBook. #storycraft is a great place for fiction writers to get a bit of assistance with the forging of their worlds. It’s well worth scanning down the list and seeing if there’s a chat set up that may contain at least part of your target audience.
A Facebook page is another minimum requirement that is free and beneficial. With the introduction of Facebook timeline, your entire author’s life and publishing history and success stories are readily available.
An author’s Facebook page is also a great way to push new releases, with the ability to “star” new events to make them the full width of your page and act as a mini headline.
Google+ is another area you might wish to invest time in. It’s a relatively new social network, so it’s not as large as Twitter and Facebook, but it does allow easy sharing of content with friends-of-friends, which allows great content (like your book!) to reach the eyes of people you’d never normally be able to reach.
If you decide to run a competition on your website then don’t forget to let the masses know via your social accounts! Once word of mouth spreads your competition can really take off.
We’ve mentioned it numerous times in this guide, but the Goodreads website is a fantastic community of avid readers whom could not make it any clearer they love books and want to be involved in reading-related activites as much as possible.
Whether you want their reading suggestions or not, head to their website and create a new account (it’s free). Once you’re done, either follow this link or click on the top navigation on their website to get to the Goodreads Group page.
Welcome… to information!
You can search by category, name, author, discussion group, literally anything the heart desires. On a researching level this is perfect, but once your name becomes more established you can set up discussion groups and events based around you as an author, and your works.Start your Goodreads account now
A great way to build a name for yourself in the blogosphere is to write guest posts for other websites.
These posts can be anything you’re comfortable writing about that another blog would be interested in, and focusing on your strengths and experience as a “soon-to-be best selling author” is a great place to start. For example, writing tips, or even previous experiences if you’re already published, is content which writing blogs will always love.
Finding these opportunities is pretty effortless at first. A quick and effective method is a Google search for “ your genre blogs” which will return numerous blogs that Google feel are relevant to your genre.
Couple this with any contacts or active social accounts you find on Twitter or Facebook (more of that below) and you’ll have plenty of people to get involved with.
All of the features you provide on your own website, such as podcasts, video interviews etc, can be taken and applied to the content other websites want. Once you’ve got a few out there, you’ll find enquiries come in and certain websites actually make requests of you, which can only be good for your book.
Our previously discussed methods of marketing can give you word of mouth and awareness similar to advertising, and is all but free once you allow for the time it takes. Advertising is not, but it does allow you to get your product in front of people instantly.
As such, this is one of the riskier options and should only be undertaken by either an author with cash to burn that can afford an external company, or someone with the experience and knowhow to do it individually.
Internet advertising has made targeting an incredibly powerful tool. If you want to get your message in front of people viewing certain websites, or searching Google for specific keywords, you can!
If you’re new to the world of internet advertising we highly recommend you employ a Pay Per Click (PPC) company to do this for you as, going solo, one simple mistake may cost you thousands. Anything from an incorrectly set budget, to poor negative keywords, can be catastrophic for your bank account, and we’d advise you either start studying popular advertising platforms such as Google Adwords and Google Adsense or look for recommended companies to do it for you.
It’s important to remember that, while the internet provides important outreach opportunities, sometimes going out and meeting real people will generate much needed interest in your work.
We’ve made a list of some of the activities you might consider for your “real world” marketing. Remember these are just a few ideas; there are hundreds of opportunities that will be specific to your combination of subject matter, location and the nature of your publication.
Unless you’re signing with a major publisher we would suggest avoiding traditional advertising. Out of your own pocket it will be exorbitantly expensive with likely minimal returns.
Your time (and money) will be far better spent advertising YOURSELF in the following ways, or investing in the online methods we’ve previously discussed.
Research local events then find and attend wherever possible reading groups and book clubs. If you’re confident enough in the quality of your book you can even go as far as providing free copies of your books to these groups and inviting/encouraging feedback.
Take this a stage further and try to create your own group, possibly at a local library or somewhere topical, such as a local youth club if your book is targeted towards their demographic.
Once your book is out and about, try your best to arrange book signings or readings wherever possible. Agents and/or publishers will likely be able to assist getting you into the major outlets, but smaller, dedicated book stores and websites are easy enough to contact and there’s no shame in pitching yourself.
Even with everything in this guide, you’re going to need more! As a wise business man once said, you have to keep running to stand still in this fast paced world. Due to that, we’ll update below with some fascinating or recommended marketing tips as we encounter them, giving you something to refer to if you’re ever looking for that next bright spark.
A must read for those serious about marketing their book. An amazing resource with creative thoughts and approaches to nigh on any form of marketing or advice for your book.
This article has some all round advice that is great for those new to the area of publishing. There’s some fascinating marketing comments in point 18 that are well worth considering.
A nice little hub of information to give you some key pointers and tips on marketing your new book.