It’s not enough to write a book today. You need to know how to market it. Your success, just like in writing, is in your own hands. If you fail to market your book effectively, people may not even know that you’ve published a book.
When an entrepreneur launches a new product, they go all out raising brand awareness and promoting the product. That’s exactly what authors need to do before they launch a new book.
To help us understand what book marketing is all about, I have with me, Rachel Thompson, a consultant in social media and author branding/ marketing.
She owns BadRedhead Media, a company that helps authors create effective social media and book marketing campaigns. In this podcast episode, she shares tips for those who want to know how to market their books well.
Before we dive into the best practices for book marketing, I just want to check if you are also an avid reader and a book lover like me? If so, this audiobook collection is definitely worth your attention: Here
What Are the Best Practices For Book Marketing?
Most authors look forward to the day they finish their last edits and launch their book. However, that’s not the end of the story.
Before launching a book, authors need to work on developing an effective marketing plan. It can go a long way in determining if a book becomes a bestseller or not.
Based on the podcast conversation, here are some tips for book marketing:
1. Define Your Marketing Budget
According to Rachel Thompson, most authors do not like to invest in themselves. They do not want to spend money on a book that is yet to start making them money. But if you want to publish a high-quality book, you need to hire people with expertise to help you.
So, just like publishing, you need to invest some money into promoting your book.
Start by thinking about the kind of content you want to create and how you can get it to your target audience.
While listing expenses, take into consideration printing cost, and ad expenses as well as money spent on travel to go to readings, conferences, book signings, and speaking opportunities.
Come up with an amount you are willing to spend to help you market your book right.
2. Define Your Goals and Target Audience
What is the objective of your marketing strategy?
Do you want to drive potential customers to your book or make a living out of writing? Or perhaps you want to share your story with the world so they can learn from your mistakes or successes?
Do you want to create awareness about your brand, increase engagement, or get more book sales?
Another important question that you must ask is, “Who is my target audience?”
Before you can begin book marketing, you need to understand who your audience is and what their interests are. For this, it’s a good idea to look at their demographics.
In addition to this, try to figure what kind of content they enjoy reading and what are the common problems they face. Then, try to figure out how you can mold your content to solve their issues and match their taste.
That’s not all.
You should also find popular or trending keywords related to books in general or something related to the theme of your book. Find out what they like to read about, the authors that they like, and different ways in which you can reach them.
Leverage social media communities that talk about the topic or genre related to your book. These platforms can help you reach out to your target audience easily.
You also need to keep an eye on the marketing strategy of your contemporaries. To win over your audience, you need to know who you are up against.
In 2018, the US saw more than 1.68 million print and ebooks self-published.
Lots of competition, right?
That’s why your marketing efforts need to stand out.
3. Boost Your Online Visibility
Do you have a website?
Are you active on your social media accounts?
If your answer is no to these questions, it’s time to buck up.
According to Rachel, you need to create some buzz for your book even before the launch. You need to make people aware that your book will launch soon.
That’s where social media can come in handy. It provides you with a great platform to talk about your book.
Not sure what to post?
Post sneak peeks of your content, updates, and content related to your book. Post anything that creates anticipation for the book launch.
On your website, make sure your bio is updated and includes mentions or links to all your other works. To get more leads, encourage those who visit your site to sign up for your emails.
However, do not go overboard.
You don’t want to sound too promotional either.
Remember you cannot talk about your book launch all the time. Rachel recommends finding something else you have in common with your audience and talking about that too.
For example, find 4 or 5 things you care about or want to learn. What are you an expert at or what fascinates you? Talk about these things and share articles and links about them.
4. Plan Your Messaging
If you don’t plan your messaging beforehand, then your content strategy may not be up to the mark. Planning makes sure you have content to post at the right times on the different social media platforms.
I recommend scheduling your posts beforehand to avoid getting overwhelmed by content needs. Also, consider what kind of content you want to post and the engagement it will bring.
Some of the things you can publish are:
- Book descriptions (both long and short)
- Behind-the-scenes content
- Trivia about the story line or the writing process
- A blog post announcing the launch and one after the launch
- Banner ads and business cards
- Press materials
- Book cover reveals
Make all these available and ready to post when it’s time to publish.
5. Get Reviews from Influencers and Bloggers in Your Niche
We live in a world where consumers trust reviews from their friends, relatives, and influencers more than they trust brands.
In fact, a survey revealed that 58% of respondents bought a new product after reading influencer-generated content. Furthermore, 40% of respondents trusted the brand and 33% of them talked about the brand because of an influencer.
Image via Edelman Trust Barometer
You, as an author, are a brand.
Reach out to influencers, bloggers, and fans, and offer them free copies of your book. Encourage them to provide honest reviews on their sites, on Goodreads, Amazon, and other sites.
Reviews on different sites by different bloggers and influencers can help you create buzz for your book. Indirectly, it can also help with your book sales.
However, you must make sure you’re collaborating with the right people. Negative reviews may not work that great for your book marketing sales.
Also, keep in mind where your target audience spends most of their time. For instance, if you are releasing a book that is targeted towards young adults and millennials, you may want to reach out to Instagram or Snapchat influencers.
On the other hand, if your target audience consists of professionals, it’s a better idea to collaborate with LinkedIn influencers.
Ready to Get Started With Your Book Marketing?
Adopting these strategies for your book marketing can go a long way to increase your book sales. At the same time, they can help you to increase engagement and form strong relationships with your target audience.
What’s the key takeaway here?
As an author, do not be afraid to invest in yourself and certainly invest in your book marketing. Ensure you bring your best to the table. Also, partner with influencers and bloggers to create some buzz before launching your book. Anticipation can go a long way to boost your sales.
Do you have any questions about book marketing? Please share them in the comment section below.
Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, product launches, sales funnels, targeted traffic, and website conversions. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.