Many authors approach the book marketing phase with uncertainty or dread simply because it may be unchartered territory. As an author, you’re used to writing largely behind the scenes, but then, the book that you’ve been working on in snatched time has now become a product; something to sell. As scary as it might seem, marketing is a necessary phase in any successful book publishing process, and it shouldn’t be an afterthought. The work of an author isn’t over after typing ‘The End.’ In fact, it’s only just beginning.
From traditional publishing to self publishing, you can jumpstart your book marketing process by implementing a few key strategies to drive book sales and increase readership.
If you’re looking for somewhere to start, below are three marketing ideas
An author website is a powerful tool that establishes your online presence and provides a central space to host your book that can be easily found by readers. Even if your book is promoted on the publisher’s website, there are a number of other books also being featured by other authors, which means there may be a competition for space. This is why it’s crucial to have your own website, so your book is not vying for attention on another platform that you do not own.
'But what If I don’t have enough information about myself to fill a whole website with!?'
Don’t worry. Your author website can be simple; in fact, the most effective website layouts are simple by nature. Just be sure your site is user-friendly and easy to navigate.
Ideas for marketing your book with a website:
● Write short, engaging blog posts to announce new book releases, share any publicity news, or go beyond the book by blogging about your research process, writing tips etc. Through sharing this, you can connect even more with your audience.
● Grow your email list through newsletters so you have a direct mode of communication with readers. What you choose to include is up to you, from giveaways or tidbits of news to writing advice. Just make sure it’s relevant to your readers.
● Raise awareness about your book by guest posting on other sites within your niche/genre. If you’re traditionally published, your publicist will help to secure guest posts and coverage, but it doesn’t hurt to take the initiative and reach out to writing websites you follow to ask about contributions
● Offer small giveaways, such as a free eBook, or book-related items like customized bookmarks. Whether you offer these via your newsletter or on Twitter, it’s a great way to build a steady buzz around your book.
Example of an author website: children's fiction author Katherine Woodfine
Social media is an extremely powerful channel, and when it’s used as a marketing channel, you can reach a wider global market than many other traditional means. As an author, you can organically increase your readership by sharing content that relates to your book, writing process, or personal insights. Readers love interacting with authors on a deeper level, and by using social media as part of your book marketing, you are inserting yourself where your readers already are: on social media platforms!
Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest are popular social media platforms, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed, start by focusing on one channel first.
Ideas for marketing with social media:
● Join the robust writing community on Twitter and engage in discourse with readers and authors from all over the world.
● Host live webinars on Facebook to give chapter insights, scene break-downs, and interactive challenges related to your book.
● Share engaging photos on Instagram’s visual platform and caption with popular hashtags like #bookstagram.
● Use Pinterest to share quotes from your book and book cover to create pins that drive traffic to your author website. Or, if you’re an author who likes to create mood boards for your novels, share these with your readers.
A peek at the book community on Instagram
Author Samantha Shannon sharing her Pinterest board for novel inspiration
A podcast is one of the most potent ways to creatively market your book and accelerate your readership by reaching new audiences. Think of it like a radio interview. There are established book-specific podcasts with a dedicated following (The Bestseller Experiment, Literary Friction and Down The Rabbit Hole to name a few. Listeners are actively searching for new books to read and authors to follow so podcasts are a great opportunity to showcase your book!
While starting your own podcast is always an option, if you’re new to the podcast scene, start by seeking out guest opportunities on established podcast shows. Landing an interview might be easier than you think.
Ideas for marketing with a podcast:
● Do a series of live book readings to share engaging excerpts from your book to generate interest.
● Host live question and answer sessions.
● Research topics to see what listeners want to hear about.
● If you’re a non-fiction author, reach out to podcasts related to your expertise or your book’s topic.
Marketing is an integral part of the publishing process because it helps your book reach greater success. You want your book to sell, but more importantly, you want your work to be read, and a successful marketing strategy can propel your book forward into the hands of as many readers as possible.
Tapping into the power of marketing will get your book into the hands of the most readers. So, pick a creative marketing strategy that works for you, and maximise on it.
Before you know it, you’ll be back to writing your next book with the experience to implement an effective marketing plan!
This article was edited by W&A. Angelica Hartgers is the Content Creation Specialist at SelfPublishing.com. With a background in writing and education, she is passionate about empowering other writers to improve their craft and promoting the power of the written word. When she’s not creating content that helps writers tell better stories and publish their books, she's reading, writing, and traveling the world.