In this day of technology, of billions of websites across the planet, there are so many opportunities for marketing your book, where do you start?
Personally, I suggest starting with the FREE stuff first. Below are some places you can setup accounts. Do you need to do all of them? No. Could you? Why not – just make sure you update them ALL regularly otherwise don’t. These can be time consuming so do some research as to which are most popular with your genre and readers.
Some of the author only platforms are good to get another page on the internet with your information on it. If you find one that I don’t have listed, I’d love if you’d share it. Don’t pay for any services unless you know you will benefit from them. There are a TON of websites offering services to new authors that are just banking on your excitement – and a ton more that let you set up a free account page in hopes you’ll pay for something later.
- LinkedIn (Join Groups)
- Amazon Author Page
- MailChimp (newsletters)
- Author’s Den
Website and Blog: Some aspects of book marketing are going to cost you some money. Again start smart, like getting a website with a blog. What do you need on your website? The basics: Home, About You, About the Book(s), Book Reviews, Book Excerpt, Press Kit, Events Calendar, Contact, Social Media Links. With the blog, update it at least once per month. Find a topic to discuss and write something about it. It doesn’t have to be a long blog, just something your fans might find interesting and that will give newbie’s an idea of your writing style.
Print Marketing Material: Business cards or bookmarks, flyers, banners and/or posters can be done inexpensively if you find a wholesale printer. Don’t fall for VistaPrint’s great deals. You need your own graphics, not a template thousands of others have used. You need to stand out. If you plan on publishing multiple books don’t get all of your promotional material with just the one book. Promote yourself, your BEST author picture and use that EVERYWHERE. You are the brand, the book is just a stepping stone.
Make a Book Trailer Video: You can get a cheap one done on Fiverr or there are places you can create one yourself (if you are savvy enough). What does a book trailer do? Showcases the thrill of the book, what it’s about and why they need to read it in about 30 exciting seconds with a buy now and link to where to get it. Then post it on YouTube, your website, Amazon, all of the social media accounts plus post it on Blazing Trailers.
Get Book Reviews: There are thousands of people, places, companies, bloggers, regular readers, eager to read your free book. Get your book done as an e-book so it doesn’t cost you anything to send out. Yes, it’s dozens of books being read with no income but Book Reviews Sell Books. Make sure they will post it on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. Make sure they post it on their blog or send it out to their FaceBook fans or GoodReads followers. Most reviewers don’t charge a reading fee. Some want hard copy books. Do some research and make sure they are going to benefit you. Readers Favorite is a good place. Midwest Book reviews is another.
Host Book Giveaways: on GoodReads or Library Thing. Then decide where you can donate books, or send them out for exposure. Should you send a book to Oprah or Ellen? You could, but don’t expect anything out of it. Think about the topic of your book and figure out where it might fit.
Enter Competitions: Award-Winning books get more exposure, credibility and interest. There are tons of contests, some legitimate, some not. Some cost a small amount to enter, some are very expensive. Find other successful award-wining authors with books similar to yours and see what awards they’ve won and where.
Create a Media Kit: This consists of your author picture, three bio’s one about 140 characters, one about 50 words and one much longer that includes an overview of your life and writing career. A list of books you have with the book picture, description, ISBN and a couple links as to where you can buy it. A few interview questions answered or a few fun facts. A press release. Contact Information. Social Media links. Book Excerpts and Reviews. It’s basically your website shrunk down into a printable PDF for reporters.
Do Book Signings and Readings: Contact libraries, small book stores, local coffee shops, community centers, retirement centers, church… Should you contact Barnes & Noble? Not yet. They are interested in one thing – sales. But Half Price Books likes to do author signings.
Is your book newsworthy? I’m not talking, “hey world, I published a book” news – I’m talking about, “this book will change your life, teach you something, has something that is currently in the news” news. If you can connect your book to that, write a press release and send it out. Contact a reporter and see what you can accomplish.
Direct Sales: If you feel up to it, check out Market Shows, Farmers Markets, Craft Shows, Church Bazaars, School Festivals, Half Price Books, Book Shows, Author Events, etc. Get yourself a Square to run credit cards, bring petty cash to make change. Bring bags, a receipt book and easels to setup your ‘display’. It’s a true joy having the opportunity to talk about your book to people and especially when they decide to buy!
Advertisements: If you want to pay for ads okay, but don’t do those initially, do the work yourself first and see how far you can get before you fork out that money. You can buy ads on FaceBook, but if you join FaceBook Groups and post on them, you are getting your information infront of thousands for the cost of your time only. There are also Twitter ads, Amazon ads (although the response on effectiveness is mixed) or do Search Engine ads like Google Adwords or Bing Ads. DO take into account your finances. If you sell your inventory and need to buy more, or want to attend a tradeshow, have you spent your funds on ads and can’t replenish your supply?
Should you do the $10,000 New York Times ad? Probably not. If you are a big name, those can be successful, if you are a nobody (sorry) but save the money and market wiser. What about the $6,000 for Publishers Weekly? You might want to pass. Heck, you can even make a 30 second commercial and pay $2,000 to put it on a private cable channel at 2am, but unless your readers are night owls and frequent that station, it probably won’t do any good. Think smart and dole out your money cautiously.
What advertisements CAN you do? Local newspapers, smaller magazines with a large readership where the ads will be less money. School newspapers, local radio stations… see what flyers are coming in the mail, find those free greensheets that are everywhere, and advertise in them. The point is, if they get in the hands of potential readers, you may have drawn interest and a possible sale.
Whew! That’s a LOT of Information!
Yes it is. And that’s not nearly all of it. That’s just a starting point. Marketing a book is starting a new business, it takes time, effort and dedication.
Oh – and don’t forget to join a writers or authors group. Learn from others in the industry. If you are in Texas, a good one would be Texas Authors Association. They bend over backwards to help the new author and have tons of opportunities you can take advantage of.
And no, we don’t get a kickback for mentioning them.