How COVID-19 Impacted Book Promotion Methods

Virtual book promotion example on facebook live by author Ramsey Campbell whose book was published on Flame Tree Press. How to promote a book virtually. Going Virtual for Book Promotion Was Required

A book is so many things to an author; perhaps above all, it’s a tangible dream—one that likely took years of dedication to come to fruition. Now that your book is finally finished and ready to launch, you face the unprecedented circumstances of our world today as the Covid-19 battle rages on, and much of the country is on lockdown. That doesn’t mean that all your hard work and effort should go unseen or unrecognized. So how can you move forward with book promotion? How have shifts in our society affected how to promote your book?

While times are different, so are current book promotion strategies. Rather than looking at these modifications to the original plan as challenges, it’s beneficial to view them as opportunities to introduce your book to the world in new and exciting ways. In fact, many of the alterations being made to old marketing tactics may become part of our “new normal.” In reality, the changes we’re forced to make in book marketing now will ultimately be valuable additions to traditional promotion in the future.

Let’s explore some of the new developments we’re seeing and fresh offerings being included in book promotion services, as well as effective alternatives to the tried and true strategies we are used to seeing and using.


Swapping Physical Books for Digital Copies

One of the first things you will want to do when preparing to send your book to potential reviewers – whether a trade publication or an online influencer – is to make sure you have a digital version of your book ready to share. Since most offices have gone virtual, hard copies of books sent to physical mailing addresses may very well be overlooked or never even received. Outlets from the major trades, to magazines and newspapers, to broadcast and beyond are all requesting digital copies of books as part of their submission processes.

Making sure you have a working digital file on hand will greatly increase your chances of your book being seen and considered. Of course, there are still select outlets that will prefer a hard copy, so it’s a good idea to have those on hand, too. But with reviewers working from home, major delays in shipping, and more, digital is the way to go during these times.

Online Book Promotion versus traditional book marketing; a detailed infographic by the professional book publicists at Smith Publicity

Moving Your In-Person Events Online

In-person book events, including readings, signings, speaking or teaching opportunities, launch parties, etc., are sure to be canceled for the foreseeable future. Pivot and move your pre-planned event online! Despite current circumstances, there are still so many powerful ways to connect with audiences.

If you’re a children’s author looking forward to school visits and library or bookstore storytimes, consider working with your existing contacts to join virtual classrooms or launch an online event via Zoom or another preferred platform. Don’t also forget to harness the power of social media. For instance, you can host live story-times on your Facebook page and invite your followers to events that you set up. Grow your networks by cross-promoting your planned events. If you’re a business author set to present at a conference or as part of a panel, consider hosting a webinar or being part of a virtual panel.

Whether you set your events up independently or partner with a bookstore, school, organization, or other entity, social distancing does not need to prevent you from connecting with potential readers and letting them know about your new book.

Preparing for Virtual Interviews

Congratulations! You scored a broadcast interview to share more about your book, weigh in on current topics, share resources, and more. Since you won’t be heading into a studio to record in-person, you will likely be asked to utilize Skype or Zoom for your upcoming interview. Now is the time to make sure you have accounts set up to experiment using these platforms and even to do a few “practice runs” with family, friends, or your publicist to make sure all is in working order.

When the time comes for the interview, remember the obvious: even though you are not face-to-face with your interviewer, you are still highly visible! Dress neatly as though you would if you were in-studio, and make sure the spot you’ve chosen to do the interview is as quiet and free of background noise and distractions as possible. A neutral backdrop is best… no busy backgrounds or messy shelves. Make sure you have any props you’ll need (don’t forget the most important one: your book!) on hand before the interview is set to begin, and that you or your publicist has forwarded any digital files—like photos—to the producer in advance.


Getting Creative

The good news about promoting your book in these uncharted waters is that you get to create your own path in many ways. There are more ways now than ever to set your book apart from others. Maybe it’s your uncanny ability to get people talking on your social media pages, vivid illustrations, or a moving excerpt that will capture the hearts and attention of your audience when shared across digital outlets, your important voice on television or radio, or a digital music playlist that perfectly complements your book.

When considering how to promote a book amidst current conditions, remember all of the tools we have at our fingertips. So much of our world, so many of our connections, and countless opportunities are already online: now is your chance to take your book, which you have worked so hard on, and meet them there.