Congratulations, you’ve written a book. Whether it took blood, sweat and tears, or was a walk in the park, it’s finished. Now it’s time to publish, promote and market.
You might be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” “How do I manage this?” or “What do I do?”
The following provides you with direction and several ideas and strategies to consider as you take on this next phase in seeing your book come to fruition.
Put in some time to plan how best to market your book. What good does it do if you have this great new book, but no one ever knows about it, right? So open your laptop (or get some paper and a sharpened pencil), and think hard about what your marketing campaign is going to look like. And then take a look at this list and make sure you didn’t forget anything.
- It is going to take time to market your book.
- Design a launch strategy that works.
- You MUST have engaging content.
- Talk about things other than your book sometimes.
- Assemble a launch team.
- People don’t trust ads as much as they trust their friends.
- Freebies and giveaways and giveaways and giveaways.
- Provide a way for them to sign up for your mailing list.
- Use pictures.
- Don’t spend money you don’t have to spend.
It’s going to take some time
We’re not talking about any secrets or tricks here that will get you rich quick. It is going to take time to market your book and do it right.
Even if all you are interested in doing is writing, you still should spend an equal amount of time doing the marketing and PR as you spend or spent writing your book. Maybe more.
Think about it. There’s a lot that can and should go into your book marketing efforts. And it all takes time. Writing Tweets, Facebook posts, blog content, connecting with bloggers and podcasters, creating a launch team, adding value to said team, writing a press kit, doing media interviews.
Yes, it takes time, and you may detest the thought of having to spend such a large amount of time on your book marketing, but there is a way around that anxiety.
With proper planning, execution and having a mindset of adding value throughout the process will alieviate much of the anxiety.
Whether you self-published or working with a publisher, a large majority of your marketing efforts (if not all) fall directly on your shoulders.
Design a launch strategy that works
Begin with the end in mind. How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know the final destination?
What does success look like 12 months from now after you’ve been proactively marketing and promoting your book? Maybe it’s an Amazon best-seller. Perhaps you plan to sell more than 1,000 copies. Or maybe you are going to leverage the book to get a dozen speaking engagements.
Whatever success looks like to you. Start with the end in mind so you have direction on the strategy and activities to execute and help get you there.
And keep in mind, your book launch and promotions demand a lot more strategy and preparation than a few Tweets and an email to family and friends. You owe it to the people and readers who are going to benefit and maybe have their lives changed for the better, don’t you?
Consider teaming up with other authors who are also announcing their new release. This can heighten excitement across several author platforms.
Or launch at a distinctive venue that ties back to the content of your book. For example, let’s say you wrote a book on sailing. Have a book signing or launch party at a local yacht club.
Here’s a great post via Firepole Marketing on book launch strategy.
You must have engaging content
If you want people to buy your book, and I know you do, one of the easiest ways is to offer them a free sample section of it. Or, you might create a series of short stories that are only offered on your blog. It could be a short prequel to a book of yours, or any engaging content you write.
Maybe your editor cut 15,000 words from your book. Don’t dismiss it as bad content. It’s rich with your wisdom and insight. Repurpose that content through blog posts, an eBook, Facebook posts, or perhaps a series of articles with an industry journal.
Giving away your content lets readers see your writing skills and writing style that can help you build a following of fans.
And once they get a taste, they will likely want more, e.g., your book.
Make all of this rich content easily available on your website as this is the entry point for fans as well as publishers to learn about you, and about your book. If you are presenting quality content and offerings, people will return.
Talk about things other than your book sometimes
People will quickly desert you if you only talk about yourself and your book.
Nothing is more boring or annoying than an author who writes only about their stunning, 5-star reviewed book. Your online plugs could be sprinkled with interesting Tweets, Facebook posts, blogs, and podcast interviews you have given.
Make it about them, your readers. What are their challenges, frustrations or issues? Can you help solve those with your experience and wisdom?
It could be content about your interests, your thoughts on current events, your life. Even other books. Maybe your content is simply to provide entertainment.
After you start giving up content that people enjoy regularly, they will be more likely to have your back once you begin to sell your new book. You have become a source of entertainment, wisdom, and information.
Assemble a launch team
It is hard to do it all on your own. You may be surprised how many people may want to jump in and help you with your book promotions just by asking.
A launch team is a group of readers and supporters (anywhere from around 25 to 50 plus people) devoted to helping you spread the word about your book through social media, drive traffic to your site, and obtain reviews on Amazon.
A few keys to serving such a group:
- Setting up a private Facebook Group is an easy way to connect, communicate and stay engaged with this group.
- Provide ongoing value in a genuine way on a weekly basis through helpful posts, free chapters of your book (that are only offered to this group), and video messages.
- Create content that is very easily shareable (set up memes and Tweetables so the work of sharing isn’t all on them)
People don’t trust ads as much as they trust their friends
People tend to trust their friends infinitely more than they trust ads, a fact confirmed multiple times in various studies.
An ad might influence a buying decision. However, a recommendation from a friend will go much further. Authors who build a loyal fan following count on those fans for reviews and recommendations, which then drive sales without much of a marketing budget at all.
Having those fans is a critical piece to your book marketing efforts.
Freebies and giveaways
Giveaways at a book signing or at your book release party can make a difference.
To provide extra incentive consider a drawing for a free hour of coaching, a stack of books, or one of your high-end programs or services.
I had the honor of hosting seven-time author, Kary Oberbrunner’s launch party for “Elixir Project” where he gave away more than $7,000 worth of gifts and prizes, including his prestigious Author Academy Elite program valued at $5,000.
As a way to get more people involved and an incentive to share and buy Kary’s book (live at the event and through thousands more via Facebook Live), I periodically mentioned throughout the evening that every time someone shared the event online or bought the book and emailed in their receipt, their name was added to the “hat” for multiple chances to win prizes.
You don’t need to break the bank to do this. Have fun and be creative with your giveaways. Some of the easiest things to give away are programs and services you already offer such as a free hour of coaching, your book, an eBook, or an online program.
Anything that can add additional value to them is key. Don’t give away a 50” TV if your book and business has nothing to do with TVs.
Your core fan base doesn’t need to be huge either, because they are the ones who will buy every book at least twice. They will recommend it to their friends, gift it to other friends, and ask their local libraries and bookstores to order copies. Suddenly, you find that the bottom line from those fans grows ever wider.
Reward those fans with fun extras any time you can. For example, if you put a book plate into books you only give to personal friends, your launch team, or email fans, then you will recognize a super fan when you’re asked to sign that book. Goodreads will let you set up an online book giveaway. And LibraryThing will allow member giveaways.
Provide a way for people to sign up for your mailing list
While having your books (and links to buy the books) is important, having a mailing list signup form on your author website is just as important. If you skip this step you may find yourself wondering why you have to work so hard to find more readers.
Try and avoid the generic, “Sign Up For My Email List” as you’re offering no value and your request can be viewed as just another email to stuff my inbox.
Rather, offer something of value such as, “Download my free resource guide on (insert your area of expertise).” If they want it then they will happily offer their email in exchange for your resource guide, and ongoing “valuable” content. See an example of my resource guide on my homepage at www.joelkessel.com.
However, once you have their email respect it at all cost. A mailing list gives you a lot of power.
In setting up a system to capture emails, your sign up forms should be easy to see, appealing, and in a place that stands out.
It’s true, pictures are worth a thousand words. And in today’s short-attention-span, 140-character world, an image can go a long way. Several thoughts on images:
- Get a professional photographer to take a distinctive author photo and then use it on all of your social media profiles.
- Put it on your site, on all of your printed materials, and on the back of your book (you also need an author’s bio to go with your picture).
- Have someone take pictures of you signing the book contract, or celebrating when you submit your final manuscript, receive a copy of your Advanced Reader Copy, and particularly when you get that box of author copies.
Share these pictures through your social media channels, on your website and with your email subscribers. Pictures of these events build momentum and passion. Readers start to anticipate what might be coming and cheer you on.
Most importantly take pictures when your book is placed in libraries and stores. Then take it one more step by tagging the store in the picture as well as the social media post. You are giving them free advertising, and they really do remember the authors who do this.
Don’t spend money you don’t have to spend
Some business expenses are understandable, even necessary, such as having a website revamped, attending a local convention, having a hundred bookplates printed.
However, hiring a PR firm and using all of your advance (if you get one) in the hopes they will produce miracles, can be a very frustrating investment.
Unless you can pay thousands of dollars on publicity that may not meet expectations, look for guidance from experts who can provide you with the clarity, direction and strategy in generating media awareness for your book.
These coaches and advisors can help you with:
- How to write and position a press release and press kit that is helpful and not over-the-top self-promoting.
- Best ways to distribute a press release and leverage it further.
- Who to contact such as local reporters, podcasts, blogs, editors at industry trade journals, and influencers. Tip: It’s not all about getting a book review, it’s also about positioning you as an expert authority.
- How to present a story idea to the media, book an interview, and what to say during an interview.
- How to leverage all of those great media placements to further fuel your book marketing efforts.
Publishing and marketing and a book is a tough gig.
Be willing to spend your own time starting about three months in advance of your book launch and employ the most strategic and cost effective ways to connect and engage with your readers and those who need to hear your story and message.
If you’re working with a publisher, it would be wonderful if they could do everything discussed above. Their job is to help you get published and they do a great job of this. However, the reality is you are the one who needs to do the lion’s share.
You love your book more than anyone, and you can promote it better than anyone.
Be eager and ready to reach out; people don’t buy a book unless they know there is a book.
For additional tips and advice on book marketing and getting publicity for your book, download my free resource guide by clicking here.