The Basics on How to Market a Book by Smith Publicity
You’ve already published your first book. The next step is making it discoverable and getting it in the hands of readers … this is where book marketing and book publicity comes in! When it comes to selling and promoting your book, Smith Publicity understands that no book and author are the same. We use customized book promotion approaches to get authors the right media coverage to reach their potential readership. From non-fiction and fiction to self-help and sports book PR, we help spark book sales and create opportunities through media coverage including radio, television interviews, newspaper and magazine coverage, and online coverage. But there are many steps authors must take to appeal to the media. These book marketing tips on how to market a book will help you gain media coverage, target your potential readers, and ultimately sell more books.
1. Know your audience – Before you can market your book, you need to identify your target audience. Is your book aimed for young women, children, science fiction buffs, or sports fans? Once you understand what age group and demographics will be reading your book, you can use book marketing techniques to target your audience.
2. Create a website – The Internet can be your best friend when it comes to book promotion. A website is a necessary tool for advertising your book and your image as an author. It’s the first place readers, reviewers, and editors, and producers will reference to learn more about you. Your website should be clean, well designed, and use responsive web design to make it easily navigable from mobile devices. Here you can provide links to your blog and social media accounts as well as to recent media coverage and positive book reviews. A website is also a great way to keep the public updated on book signings and public appearances. Include a short biography about yourself and provide a short paragraph from your book to intrigue readers and critics to want to read more.
3. Utilize social media – Social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, are effective ways to spread the word about your book. They are useful tools for mentioning upcoming media coverage and promotions. You can also engage with your target audience as well as connect with media personnel and fellow writers. Read more here about social media author promotion.
4. Start a blog – If you don’t already have one, you need to create a blog. Blogs are an effective and easy way to reach readers and build up a fan base and are excellent vehicles to augment book promotion campaigns. Avoid posts solely on your book’s plotline. Instead, incorporate posts about your book’s theme or setting. Make your posts informative and fun – give something of value to the reader, don’t just promote. You can also use your characters to create interesting articles. Create a contest for readers to name the characters in your next book. Use your characters’ interests, jobs, styles, or values as inspiration for topics. Connect your blog to your website and social media accounts so it’s easily accessible. Keep your readers up to date on your recent activities, like book promotions and upcoming events.
5. Write guest posts – Guest blog posts are a great way to get exposure. Write a guest blog post for a popular blogger that relates to your genre. This will increase your visibility because the blogger will already have a wide fan base that will see your post. You’ll become more influential in your genre and attract more readers to your own blog, website, and bookstore.
Check out our popular “All Things Book Marketing” podcast here.
6. Enter a competition – Many top-selling self-published or indie authors are discovered through book competitions. Winning a book contest is a great way to market your book and can generate significant publicity. It’s a great way to get your name out there and make viable connections. Competitions are available for all genres.
7. Connect with the media – When it comes to marketing your book, the media can be your best friend. Establish relationships with local media outlets, including your local radio station, newspaper and television station. Write pitches that explain why you would make a great guest for an interview or provide examples of potential feature stories based around your book. Learn about our past media placements for book publicity.
8. Create a mailing list – Connect with interested readers by building an e-mail list. Make it easy to sign up for a newsletter from your website and blog. Use your newsletter list to inform readers about your next public appearance, a new blog post, recent media coverage, or book promotions. Services like iContact, MailChimp and Benchmark Email are easy to use and track your mailing list’s performance.
9. Attend conferences – Conferences and trade shows are the perfect places for establishing connections. You can connect with publishers, distributors, book reviewers, booksellers, and readers. And, as a published author you may be qualified to speak at a conference. You can also register to exhibit and meet with your audience one-on-one and sell your books!
10. Get rave reviews – Book review sites, like Amazon.com, are effective tools for marketing your book. Reviewers, book buyers, and readers all reference Amazon for book reviews. Enhance your standings on Amazon by asking 20 of your friends to write honest reviews. If they haven’t read your book, you can send them an online copy, or even just a few chapters.
11. Create a press release – Ideally, a press release shouldn’t just announce the release of your book. You need to try and make it newsworthy. If possible, make your book relate to real-life issues and accentuate any expertise you have in specific areas so media view you as an expert they can call on for commentary. Can your expertise and/or book be tied into current events, lifestyle issues, cultural trends, etc.? Put yourself in the shoes of an editor or producer and think about what THEY are looking for. If you do this your chances of success improve dramatically. Remember – it’s not about what YOU think is important or interesting, but what will interest media.
12. Create a media kit – While “digital media kits” are popular, consider going old school and make a printed media/press kit. Because virtually everything is online, printed material actually stands out more than it used to! Create a media kit that is attention-grabbing. It should make a strong, lasting impression and make the reader want to contact you. Your media kit should include professionally printed business cards with your contact information, a photo of your book cover, a headshot, basic biography, and information about your book and where to find it. You can also include a recent press release, media coverage, and book reviews.
13. Tempt your readers – Though not suitable for all authors, writing a series is an effective way to gain popularity, generate reader loyalty and increase sales of your previous books. If your book is part of a series, then tempt your readers by including sample chapters from your next book at the end of your current book.
14. Connect with fellow alumni – Reconnecting with your university, college or high school can be a great tool for promoting your book. See if your school has an alumni book listing and, if they do, add yours to it. Also, add the schools to your press release distribution list so your alumni office can notify alumni about your upcoming events and public appearances. You can also offer to do a presentation or book signing for faculty or students.
15. Create a sense of urgency – Create a sense of urgency through time-limited coupons, giveaways, and contests. You could start a giveaway of print books for readers who buy Kindle versions during a certain time period. Or, offer a special giveaway or contest for readers who buy your book during a set time period on Amazon. If many people buy your book on Amazon during a short time period, your book ranking could improve dramatically and catch the attention of top Amazon reviewers and book buyers.
16. Take new angles – Many authors work hard promoting their book before and during its release but stop once the book is no longer new. Don’t stop marketing your book. Find new angles to keep your book fresh and interesting to your readers.
17. Post videos – Create a series of videos to share on your website, YouTube channel, and social media pages. Include your book title (and where to purchase it) and a link to your website and blog at the end of the video. See the Smith Publicity YouTube channel here.
18. Hold book readings – Book readings are a great way to establish genuine relationships with your readers. Based on your audience, you can hold a book reading at a local school, coffee shop, hospital, library, or bookstore. Book readings provide an opportunity for you to connect with readers one-on-one. After the reading, set up a table where readers can come up and chat, purchase your book, and get their books signed.
19. Contribute to forums and discussions– There are a limitless number of web forums out there. Join one or two forums that relate to your industry and book. This is an effective way to reach out to people who are interested in your book’s subject matter and want to know what you know. Contribute to the forum frequently and offer advice. Include your book title and a link to your website and blog in your signature line. You can also ask members of the forum to read your book and offer comments or reviews.
20. Run an ad – Target your specific audience by running an ad on Facebook. You may want to time your ad around a certain time or event. If you are running a promotion or giveaway, use the ad to advertise that specific promotion. Or, if your book’s plot and setting are centered around a certain time of year, like Halloween or springtime, then run your ad right before that time period.