How many book marketing tips have you tried?
Probably every single one that you’ve read about, right?
What makes book marketing so tough isn’t that you run out of ideas to market your books. It’s that you have so many different plans.
Well, if you want to make it as a writer, get ready for the marathon of writing and marketing. You’ll always be doing both from now on.
To make life easier for you (or harder?), I’ve assembled a checklist of my top book marketing tips for you. (Note: I updated this list of book marketing tips mentioned in a previous blog post. I hope you find these tips helpful.)
A 22-Point Checklist of Book Marketing Tips
Start with These Basics
- Purchase your ISBNs. Please don’t buy them from Amazon or BookBaby. If you use the cheap ISBNs that publishing companies sell, they will be the publisher of your books. When you buy the numbers from Bowker, you are a publishing company and your company’s name will appear in the book.
- Hire a website designerto build an author website using a quality theme. I like the Genesis themes by SudioPress.
- Self-host your blog on your website. Don’t use Blogger or WordPress.com. (Note: WordPress.com is separate from WordPress.org, which I do recommend.) Commit to blogging at least once a week if you write nonfiction. If you write fiction, I recommend blogging at least twice a month.
- Include on your website the options to sign up for your email list. To make it easy on yourself, use your blog as your regular form of communication you’re your readers. When you need to send marketing letters out, use this list. Make sure that you offer something for free to entice signups. A great enticement would be the first book in your series. If you only have one book written, provide the first two chapters for free.
Know Your Audience as You Write
- Define your audience. Before you can even begin to market your book, you need to clarify exactly who your readers are. If you say everyone, you’re marketing to no one because your audience is too widely defined. Let’s look at some examples. Michael Hyatt knows the age, sex and income level of his ideal audience. If you write romance novels, you’ll want to use Facebook and Pinterest or Instagram. If you write young adult novels, I would suggest that you use Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. My point is what you write will determine your reader demographics. It’s best if you have your reader in mind as you write your book and before you sign up for any social media networks.
Commit to Your Social Media Schedule
- Once you know where you’ll be spending your time online, regularly start posting. On Twitter, post a minimum of three to five tweets and retweets daily. Post twice daily on your Facebook page, once a day on Instagram, and several times a week on Pinterest.
- Join Goodreads. Yes, Goodreads is a social media site. So, review books, add your blog posts, join a group, and organize several giveaways.
Commit to Your Readers
- Make a commitment to your readers by allocating time every day to be social: Like, share and comment on their posts too. Always endeavor to share valuable content that your readers enjoy.
- Talk about your book in your social media posts. You could write, “I just finished my first draft of ________!” or “I’m sending my manuscript to the editor today!” This messaging will also help to build momentum. You can even ask your friends and fans for ideas on what to name certain characters.
- Start a VIP list. Ask your readers to join your VIP list or street team to help promote your books. Then, send prepublication ebooks to them using BookFunnel and encourage them to write book reviews.
Book Covers Sell Books
- Ask your designer to create a cover for you before you finish your book. I usually nail down a cover six months or longer before I release my books. Also, I let my Facebook fans and friends select the best cover from a sampling of three. By doing this, you will build momentum for your book.
Kindle Select Program
- Some authors sign up for the exclusive Kindle Select Program so they can offer their books for free as a promotion from time to time. Decide whether it’s right for you. Offering your book for free doesn’t always get the result you want (a high number of downloads with the anticipation of an equal number of reviews). Know that you have options. What you can do instead is forego the Kindle Select Program and schedule several days on a quarterly basis when you lower the price of your ebook to $.99 or $1.99. Then promote the sale price on social media, websites devoted to publicizing $.99-cent books, on your website, and in your newsletter. This way, you can publish your book widely (iBooks, Kobo, Smashwords, etc.) and still be able to promote it with a reduced price.
Email Marketing Is Vital
- Look for an email marketing service that fits your needs. I and a lot of other people in this industry recommend MailerLite. They have excellent customer service and if you don’t opt for a pop-up, you can use it for free.
- Communicate with your newsletter subscribers Let them know what you’re doing, what you’re planning on writing, what you’re working on, and what promotions you’re planning for them.
Blogging Tours Raise Awareness
- Hire an experienced book blogging tour company. The one I’ve used contacted high-trafficked blogs in the U.S., Canada, and France. The bloggers wrote honest reviews, sponsored contests for free copies of my book, and some of the bloggers also wrote five-star reviews on Amazon. The company I used is called TLC Book Tours.
Publish in All Available Formats
- Make your books available as ebooks, paperbacks, and audiobooks. Over time, create box sets. People love ebooks (it’s not my preferred way to read books). Other people prefer audiobooks. So use all three formats to sell the most books.
- Put your books on preorder for one month. That way you can build sales, and when the books come off of preorder status, you’ll have people ready to write reviews.
- While the preorder is in place, mail books to influencers in your field or genre. I did this and they, in turn, raved about my books on Facebook and invited me to speak to their writers’ groups.
Final Book Marketing Tips
- Hold contests and announce your awards.
- If you are going to have a Facebook page, purchase advertising. Actually, Facebook advertising is a great way to promote your books.
- Apply for a BookBub promotion. Authors have crazy success with BookBub. Get ready to discount your book to at least $.99.
- Experiment with Amazon ads. However, if you plan to do this, use 1,000 keywords or don’t try this option at all.
Most of all, be patient. Book marketing isn’t easy, but it’s always worth the effort. During those periods of burnout, you may want to hire a virtual assistant to carry the load for a while. Just don’t give up!
What is your favorite strategy for boosting book sales?
Frances Caballo is an author and social media consultant. Her focus is on helping authors surmount the barriers that keep them from flourishing online and building their platform. Also, she provides content writing and email marketing services. Find out how you’re doing on social media.