Preparing Your Book Marketing Campaign for Success

Preparing for Success:
7 Facts About Book Marketing Campaigns Every Author MUST Know

Mike Onorato Vice President of Publicity Services, Smith Publicity, Inc.

Smith Publicity VP Mike Onorato

By Mike Onorato

Congratulations! You’ve finished your manuscript, turned it into your editor or self-published your book and now you’re done and ready for media to come knocking and the sales to start, right? Wrong. Writing a book is just the first part. Now comes the fun! Marketing and promoting your book. But not knowing what’s in store for you can be a daunting challenge. So here are seven facts about book marketing campaigns – some of which may surprise you – you should know and be ready for. As the author of the book, you know the content the best so you’re an integral part of its success. You won’t need to master all of them, but you should know and be aware of all of them.

  1. Writing – You’ll need to write original content based on the book that can be pitched exclusively to print and online media. Excerpts can be used in a pinch, but writing a byline or thought leadership piece specific to a target media outlet is very effective. Not only does it showcase your credibility and the subject matter you’re writing about, but it’s also great for SEO when media search of your name.
  2. Platform – Platform, platform, platform. You ideally want to cultivate your author platform months in advance of your book launch. That means establishing your social media platforms, using them and updating them regularly, blogging and using email lists and reaching out to any network you may have to make them aware of the book. You’ll want to contact your network prior to release, once it’s out and again after it’s been out; multiple touch-points at multiple times. And it’s imperative that you provide a call-to-action – whether that is encouraging pre-orders, purchases or reviews. Tell them what to do!
  3. Social Media – Three-to-six months before you have a finished book, you want to either create or refine your social media platforms. You don’t need to be on every platform. We suggest picking two at first and spending time to populate and engage. As a guideline, Twitter is good for most genres. Instagram is a MUST for fiction and LinkedIn is recommended for business and leadership. You’ll need to be active on your platforms – especially when the book is out. Engage with other authors and influencers in your subject area. Social is a great vehicle to communicate with the audience you want to reach.
  4. Invest – You’ll need to invest in a web designer (if you don’t have a website), a social media person (if you don’t have the time) and an article writer/content generator (if you’re unable.) These are all key activities that will need to happen once your book is out and if you are unwilling or unable to do them, you should consider investing in someone who can assist.
  5. Partner – Partner with a book publicist to help get the word out – there are thousands of books published every day. So how can you help your book stand out? One of the ways is to partner with a publicist to help with press materials, messaging and media outreach. A publicist can help you reach your target audience, help drive sales and build buzz and attention for your book.
  6. Amazon Optimization – If you’re self-published, you need to take the time to get your Amazon page in order. Make sure you have a short but concise book description and it’s paramount you have an author bio and photo (claimed through your Author Central page) and you add categories where your book can be discovered. Videos are a nice addition to your Amazon page. Record a short (15-30) second video about the book and what you hope readers take away from it.
  7. Get your website ready – Last, but certainly NOT least. Make sure your website is ready. You’ll want a tab dedicated to the book. If your book isn’t published yet, make sure a preorder link/info including date is prominent on your page. And keep it updated with blog posts or any other assets so the site is fresh and can be used. Always keep SEO in mind with your website. Using keywords with high search volumes will help people find your website and, as a result, your book.

Don’t panic. You got this! You’ve done the hardest thing and that’s writing the book.

Promoting and marketing your book is FUN, but you’ll need to go into this phase with eyes wide open. Good luck!