In our last blog post, we talked about the pros and cons of contests and whether they’re worth the money. In it, we mentioned how entering, and primarily winning, contests can be great for publicity and promotion. However, there are other avenues of marketing that are more effective, which we’ll explain below.
- Create a professional product.
Before investing in marketing, make sure your product is worthy of it. Is your cover expertly designed and competitive? Is your book fully edited and professionally bound? Take the time to ensure your book has reached traditional publishing quality. Otherwise, the money and time you invest in marketing will be wasted.
- Determine your target audience.
What genre is your book? What themes or subjects did you focus on? Who will benefit most from your book? These are the people you should focus your marketing efforts on.
- Establish an online presence.
Create a website and social media author pages. You can establish yourself as an expert in your field through your social posts, blog, and other website content. Consistent blogging helps build reader trust, and it also helps improve your website’s search ranking. On social media, link to your website (and vice versa).
Where to Go from There…
- Connect with your target audience.
Social media, blogs, and newsletters can be an excellent way to do this. You should use all three to introduce people to your work and build trust with a willing audience. You can place a signup form for your newsletter on your website. Sites like Twitter and Medium also allow you to create a newsletter. It’s good practice to follow those who might be interested in your book, as well as those who write in the same genre or who are other experts in your field. You don’t always have to hard sell your work. Posting fun polls to gain reader insights, mentioning a scene you’re writing, talking about your characters, and asking followers to vote on cover concepts are all great ways to engage with your audience, get them talking about your book, and encourage them to check out your work.
- Properly set up your listings.
Meta-data matters. Your Amazon meta-data impacts your book’s discoverability on the platform when users conduct a search. Meta-data includes all the details you enter when you set up your listing. Research the best keywords for your book. Many tools can help you do this, including Publisher Rocket, Amazon Search Expander, and KD Spy. Take care in how you craft your book’s description, be it for Amazon, BookBub, Barnes & Noble, etc. Your description should be well-edited and engaging. Keep it short and sweet. Remember to include your author bio. This section is a great way to share your credentials with potential customers.
- Get your work in front of influencers.
Influencers include book reviewers, podcast hosts, interviewers, librarians, book store owners, and other book bloggers/vloggers. You can reach out to them and offer to do an interview, see if they’d be willing to host a giveaway for your book, or suggest a book signing (in the case of librarians and store owners). One way to get your work in front of influencers without sending out hundreds of emails is to post your book on sites like NetGalley, Edelweiss+, and BookSirens. You can also contact blog tour services. We described these options in more detail here.
- Create ads.
Facebook, BookBub, and Amazon targeted ads can be very effective marketing tools. You can also create advertisements using Canva or similar software and try to push them yourself at no cost on social media, your website, and your newsletter. If you’ve connected with influencers, you can ask them to share those ads on their socials. This method is just typically less effective and more time-intensive than paying for targeted ads.
- Utilize book trailers and promo items.
Book trailers are an entertaining, engaging, and easily shareable way to introduce potential readers to your work. Promo items include bookmarks, postcards, posters, t-shirts, mugs, and other branded merchandise. You can sell these items on your website and socials, offer them as giveaway items, or use them as rewards for subscribing to your newsletter.
Of course, which of these tips will fall into your marketing strategy is up to you. If you’d like help with any aspect of marketing, don’t hesitate to reach out. We’d love to help you reach your audience!