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Answers to 15 Common Questions About Book Marketing & Book Publicity

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If you've recently written or published a book, then you likely have questions about book marketing and publicity. Take a look at our answers to 15 common book promotion questions:

  1. Why do authors need publicity?

Simple: Without book publicity or some type of book marketing, how else will people know about your book? There are thousands of books released every day in the U.S. alone, making book publicity more crucial than ever. With an effective book marketing plan you can target your readership, create buzz about your book, attract the media and ultimately generate more sales.

  1. How do I get started marketing my book?

If your book hasn't been released yet, you should start marketing your book at least 6 months in advance. This will generate buzz about your book and its release. Start with social media and go from there. If your book has already been released, you still have plenty of time and resources to market your book. To get started, you want to identify your audience and create a book marketing plan. Your book marketing plan will outline your budget, as well as what strategies you will take to appeal to your audience.

  1. Why do I need a book marketing plan?

Whether your book is self-published or traditionally published, you should develop a book marketing plan. A book marketing plan is a document that outlines your marketing and sales goals, as well as how you will achieve them. Your book marketing plan will identify your target audience and competition, summarize your strategies for attracting readers, book sellers and reporters, and outline your book marketing budget. With a focused plan, you can allocate your marketing budget appropriately. Consider these tips for creating a book marketing plan.

  1. Do I need to hire a book marketing professional?

While it's not essential that you hire a book marketing company, doing so will help you achieve greater success. Book marketing agencies have the experience, resources and knowledge needed to market authors and their books.

  1. Do I need an author website?

Every author should have an author website. Your author website is the first place readers, media, booksellers and book reviewers will turn to gather more information about you and your book. It should have a clean, easy to navigate layout and include relevant information about you and your book.

  1. What's the best way to set up my author website?

Your author website should minimally include the following pages: homepage, bio, excerpt, press room, events calendar, sample Q & A, and blog. On each book page and the homepage, you should provide links to where people can purchase your books. Your domain name should be either your name or the title of your book. However, avoid using words that are difficult to pronounce or hard to spell. Make sure your website is updated regularly to include your current contact information and upcoming events. Also, provide social media buttons at the top or bottom of your website for visitors to easily access your social profiles.

  1. How can I get the media to respond to my pitches?

When it comes to creating media pitches, you need to think like a journalist. Journalists receive tons of media pitches every day, so you need to make yours stand out. Rather than simply promoting your book, your pitch should discuss a topic that's interesting and newsworthy and relates to your book. Now is the time to be creative; if you’re a novelist you can draw inspiration from your book's setting, plot and characters to come up with unique ideas for your pitches.

  1. Should I participate in trade shows and conferences?

Trade shows and conferences are a great way to increase your exposure and establish yourself as a leader within your industry or genre. At these events, you can build strong relationships with readers, book reviewers, booksellers, book distributors, publishers and other authors. If you've written a non-fiction book, you should consider applying to speak at the conference. At the end of your speech, mention your new book and have it for sale at the event.

  1. What's the best way to market my book online?

There are many effective online book marketing strategies. In addition to building your author website, you should create social profiles, an author profile on Amazon, and a blog. All of these off-site profiles should be connected to your website so visitors can easily access them. Similar to your media pitches, your blog and social posts should not be purely promotional. You should deliver meaningful and interesting content to your followers. You can get creative with the content, but it should somehow relate to you and your book. It's important that you keep your profiles fresh and update them regularly. Click here for more tips on social media and blogging.

  1. Should I sell my book on Amazon?

Yes, definitely. Amazon is one of the top online platforms for buying books and also provides promotional numerous resources for authors, such as the Amazon Author Central program.

  1. How do I create an Amazon Author Profile?

Amazon Author Central allows authors to create a biography, share media placements, upload author photos, claim your author URL and direct readers to your social feeds. On Amazon.com, your name will show up next to your book title. When clicked on, the user will be directed to your author page, where they can learn more about you and your book, purchase your book and connect with you. Click here for more tips on creating an Amazon author profile.

  1. Does my book need an ISBN code?

Yes. Most bookstores require an ISBN, and library catalogues and search engines prefer them. Learn more about the importance of ISBN codes here.

  1. When is the best time to start a book publicity campaign?

Some publicists will tell you that summer, mid-fall or mid-spring are bad times to begin a book publicity campaign. Many will say September and January are the two best times to release and begin promoting your book. However, if you release your book at that time, you will be competing with a larger pool of books. Essentially, you can release and promote your book any time of the year, whenever you see fit. There are actually many reasons that launching a book campaign in the summer can work quite well, primarily because competition is less. Consider these tips for choosing when to start your book publicity campaign.

  1. What is long lead media?

Long lead media are print magazines that produce their stories for publishing several months before the publication date. If you want to be featured in a specific magazine issue, such as the Christmas or Valentine's Day issue, you need to submit your pitch four to six months in advance.

  1. How can I get people to review my book?

Many readers and booksellers look at book reviews before deciding to purchase a book. Therefore, it's important that you generate online reviews of your book. You can do so by sharing the first chapter or two with your friends, family and colleagues and asking them to write an honest review. You can also offer a promotion to people who write reviews of your book.

Since 1997, Smith Publicity has been successfully promoting self-published and traditionally published books across all genres. Visit us online to get started with us today.

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