The most important principle of book marketing is this one: don’t try to do everything. Instead, focus on what you like and what you’re best at. Here’s a big list of book marketing ideas to help you hone in on what you should do.
There’s really only one thing you must do when it comes to book marketing:
- You need an author website – Opportunity can’t knock if it can’t find your door. Here are some tips for building a good author website.
These days, it’s also become increasingly important to…
- Be active on social media – You don’t have to be on every social network under the sun, but it pays to post regularly and begin to build an audience. Here are some social media tips for authors.
All the book marketing ideas apart from these two? Optional. But you gotta do something.
Online book marketing ideas
- Paid advertising – Many authors have had success with ads on Amazon, Facebook, Google, BookBub, and others. There’s a learning curve and it’s easy to lose money if you’re not smart about it, but it can also be very effective. (David Gaughran has great resources if this is a direction you’re curious about).
- Blogging – Yes, people still read blogs (proof: you are currently reading mine). It’s a bit harder to build an audience than it used to be, but if you provide value and stick with it you can still reach people.
- Content marketing – Pitch articles to national publications and popular blogs. Make sure what you’re pitching is aligned with a topic that makes sense for that publication, don’t just do something boilerplate.
- Podcast – Sure, it seems like everyone under the sun has a podcast these days, but it’s still a growing market. If you have a good one, people will find you.
- YouTube – YouTube is famously the world’s second biggest search engine after Google. Especially if you are working in a visual arena or you have a killer idea for a book trailer, YouTube can be a strong platform.
- Newsletter – Good old fashioned email is still tried and true way of reaching an audience. Think creatively about how you’ll make your newsletter stand apart and how you’ll capture subscribers.
- Engage with message boards and online groups – This doesn’t work if you’re going to just spam a board, but if you organically belong to some online communities, think about how you can engage with them to promote your book.
- Solicit reviews – DO NOT pay for fake reviews, but do make sure to remind people how much reviews matter.
- Giveaways – Host a giveaway on your blog or social media profiles to draw attention to your book release.
- Blog tours – Reach out to top bloggers to arrange a series of posts around publication time.
- Author marketing collectives – Join forces with other authors who are releasing their books around the same time to multiply your reach.
- Price promotions – Drop your price for a limited time to create a sales boost.
- Engage with influencers – Reach out to top book reviewers and influencers to try to solicit posts and reviews.
- Host a webinar – Have something that you can teach the world, or better yet that ties in with your book? Teach a class or host a free webinar.
- Alumni network – Your university or high school may be excited about what you’re up to.
- Add a link in your email signature – Think about how many emails you send. Now think of how many more people could be aware of your book.
- Crowdfund – Some successful books got their start on Kickstarter and other crowdfunding platform, which gets people invested in a book before its release.
- Email your friends – Don’t forget to tap into your personal network. Your friends and acquaintances may be able to give your book a boost.
Offline book marketing ideas
- School visits – Talking to a bunch of kids can be wildly terrifying, but some children’s book authors are fantastic at translating their books to successful school visits.
- Local and national media – If you’re really well-networked you can perhaps parlay those connections into appearances on local or national media. People still watch TV, read the newspaper, and listen to the radio, you know.
- Bookstore appearances and signings – It can be a bit tricky to convince bookstores to stock and feature you, especially if you’re a self-published author, but with some gumption you can successfully pound the pavement.
- Local stores and coffee shops – Bookstores aren’t the only places people buy books! Other stores in your community may be willing to sell your book.
- Conferences and festivals – Pitch workshops or speaking topics to writers conferences or trade events.
- Solicit and deploy blurbs from successful authors – These tend to evolve organically and I don’t recommend spamming every author under the sun, but do at least try with the ones you know. (Here are some tips).
- Tie-ins – Can you associate your book with other products or newsworthy events? Would museums or galleries be interested in your book?
- Partnerships – Are there companies who you might be able to partner with to give you a boost?
- Wacky events – Po Bronson once staged a mock IPO for his novel Bombardiers and paid out shares of the hardcover sales. If you’re a great party planner, do something that ties in!
- Print and physical media advertising – Yes, this is still a thing.
- Donations – Give your book away to people who need it. Not only will you be doing good, you might build lasting connections.
- Swag – Create some branded doo dads to give away to people. Bookmarks, book plates, t-shirts, keychains, you name it.
But wait, there’s more! Here are some posts that might help you on your journey to successful marketing:
- The key to book marketing: Do what you’re best at
- How to make a good author website
- A guide to social media for authors
- Everything writers need to know about pitching their book
- How to write good jacket copy
- How to sell books in 2019 (David Gaughran)
- Top Promo Tips for Writers from Muse & the Marketplace 2019 (Bookbub)
See any book marketing ideas I missed? Add it in the comments and I’ll add it to the post with credit back to you.
Need help with your book? I’m available for manuscript edits, query critiques, and coaching!
For my best advice, check out my guide to writing a novel (now available in audio) and my guide to publishing a book.
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Art: In the Shop by Sergei Gribkov