How Authors Can Market Their Books and Themselves

You, as the author, can be the secret weapon in your book’s marketing campaign. Optimizing your participation will influence target readers, help sell books, and build your author brand.

The information you provide (and your decisions) has everything to do with your book’s success. Get it right, and you’ll earn more media coverage and receive more attention online.

Learn more from the questions below to get started marketing your book.

There are variables in how authors market their books, and your answers determine what’s right for you. They become the basis for a book marketing campaign plan tailored to your goals.

Authors and Book Marketing: Questions to Answer

Going through this list of questions is a free, easy way to get the creative juices flowing. If you carefully consider your answers, you’ll learn more about the author’s role in marketing books.

Clarifying what you’re after and who you want to reach helps focus your effort, conserve resources, and make your campaign more efficient. Experience shows nothing replaces a well-developed plan.

Are you ready to start answering? If yes, here are most of the questions you’ll need to consider.

    1. What are your goals? You may have written your book for many reasons. Which of these are important to you?
      • Make money by selling books
      • Become known as an author
      • Become known as an expert in your field
      • Provide a service or educate the public
      • Raise awareness of a worthy cause
      • Become a full-time author
      • Attract new clients to a business
      • Create speaking and presentation opportunities
    2. Who are your target readers? List your book’s target audience(s) in order of importance.
    3. Are you targeting vertical markets? For example, people in a specific industry or a type of reader
    4. Is your book for specific geographic markets? Are there markets you want to focus on, and why?
    5. Will local media coverage help your book? Explain how it figures into your goals.
    6. Do you want to be known as an expert speaker? If yes, list organizations/associations or types of audiences you are interested in reaching.
    7. Are you open to requesting reviews of your book? List the types of reviews.
    8. What media coverage will help you most? Options are traditional media (TV, newspapers, magazines), trade media, and online outlets (blogs, podcasts, etc.)
    9. What media outlet(s) do you consider to be your ideal? The ones you’d like in a best-case scenario
    10. Will you market to trade associations? List any industries/professions that are relevant.
    11. Is your book seasonal? List any connected seasons, holidays, yearly anniversaries, etc.
    12. Will your book make a good gift? If yes, list potential buyers or the target audience.
    13. Are you willing to travel for interviews? If so, how far?
    14. How would you summarize your book? Please write a 50-word synopsis of your book.
    15. Why is your book unique? In a sentence or two, explain how your book differs from others in the same genre.
    16. Does your book help people solve problems? Briefly explain how readers benefit from your book.
    17. Has anyone endorsed your book? If yes, please list endorsements your target readers will respect
    18. Have you written a brief author’s biography? Ideally, they include professional and life experience credentials making you qualified to write your book; include professional accomplishments, past employment, books published, etc. (don’t be shy, sell yourself)
    19. Do you have a tagline or brief description of yourself as an expert? Useful for headlines and pitches
    20. Will your personal background help sell your book? Hobbies, where you live, religious affiliation, life experience, medical conditions, marital status, family, etc.

    Why Book Marketing Plans Matter

    Keeping authors front and center in their book marketing programs is essential to success. It works even better when campaigns are carefully planned with the book and author’s goals in mind.

    The most effective campaign plans include many elements, such as media coverage, online exposure, speaking engagements, events, appearances, writing bylined articles, and posting on social media.

    Authors’ social media posts need to coordinate with other publicity campaign elements.

    Well-rounded publicity and marketing programs are adaptable. As the campaign gets underway, you can adjust based on successes and maximize what works best.

    The successful authors who are your competition will launch their books with marketing support. You must commit seriously to handling it DIY or work with professional book marketers and publicists.

    Take Author Branding Seriously

    Please pay attention to author branding, even though it might not initially sound important. It’s well known that people buy books because of interest in their authors, which is a function of branding. Therefore, successful author branding and book marketing work hand in hand.

    Personal branding includes the things people think of you.

    • What are you known for?
    • How are you and your books helpful or entertaining?
    • What can readers expect when they pick up a book you’ve written?

    Your books automatically contribute to your branding along with what you say in the media, how you come across in speeches, your social media posts, etc. It’s why being focused and having key messages can be helpful in many ways.

    Decide on Key Messages and Talking Points

    Frequently asked questions about book publicity. A child screaming into a microphone to convey the different ways to publicize your book.

    Authors who market their books successfully are consistent in their messaging. You want to make an impression on target readers and the media by saying the right things consistently.

    What are your five key messages or talking points? Explain what you want readers/the media to remember about you and your book; these become five key messages about your book’s theme or message.

    What three to five things do you want the media to know about you? Examples may include your book’s specific ideas, themes, background/education, or accomplishments.

    Make Your Key Messages More Usable

    In the final step, it’s helpful to expand on your key messages by writing several sentences of conversation about each one. The purpose is to help you prepare and increase your comfort level.

    In author interviews that help market books, your answers to the host’s questions may draw on the expanded talking points. It enables the host to understand where you are going with your answers, leading to more questions that expand the discussion.

    • When you write the expanded talking points, these thoughts may help you get started:
    • What can you share that addresses the audience’s needs and interests?
    • Are there relevant facts, figures, and research that support your points?
    • Do themes in your book connect to current news topics, society, the world, or life in general?
    • What is the most surprising or controversial aspect of your book?
    • Are you prepared with answers to questions you expect people will ask you?

    Conclusion: How Authors Market Their Books

    The media can’t interview a book is an axiom in the PR world. It recognizes the central role of authors in marketing their books. It sparks people’s interest when you’re visible, interesting, and entertaining.

    At Smith Publicity, our business is helping authors promote their books and achieve their goals. Whether you’re hoping to sell books, promote your business, or gain personal visibility, we can help.

    When you follow the suggestions in this article, work with professional book marketers, or both, you’ll improve your book’s chances of success.

    You put a lot of time into writing it and deserve to achieve your goals.