Let’s start selling! 3, 2, 1...book launch!
Writing “The End” is just the beginning.
You didn’t work so hard on your book for it to sit quietly on a shelf somewhere—you want it in readers’ hands! And that means you have to market it.
I’m a writer, not a seller!
Many writers are somewhat introverted, content to spend their days quietly spinning tales and dreaming up imaginary worlds. And even those who aren’t often don’t have experience in marketing and selling. It might seem counterintuitive therefore to talk about you marketing your book, but it’s part of the author job description, and Elite is here to help. And remember this! As the author, you know your book better than anyone. You believe in your book, love your book. That passion alone makes you the ideal person to market your book.
You can start thinking about marketing your book before you’re even done writing (though don’t start too soon or you’ll risk running out of oomph). Share snippets of your favorite chapters on your blog or a sentence you love on Twitter. Involve readers in your process, and they’ll follow you to the end. Once you are done writing, though, make sure your text is fully , beautifully formatted and packaged, and has killer back cover text before you set a release date.
Identify your readers.
One crucial step in building your marketing plan is to identify your ideal reader. Are your readers' teenaged lovers of vampire stories? Aspiring entrepreneurs? Devotees of romance novels? Stressed-out executives? Knowing who your readers are likely to be informs your marketing style and also suggests which platforms will reach them most effectively. CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other business executives, for example, frequent LinkedIn. Teens hang out on Snapchat or Instagram. Facebook has a slightly older user base, while Twitter’s users run the gamut.
Be ready to explain your book in one sentence.
Working up an elevator pitch—a one-sentence summary of your book—is a must. When someone asks, “So what’s your book about?” you should be ready to immediately respond, “The Hunger Games meets Pride and Prejudice when aloof Martian princeling Xan is forced to team up with outspoken Freya in order to outwit the hyperviolent Old Worlders, who will stop at nothing to destroy Earth’s extraplanetary colonies.”
Build and maintain your online presence.
Most marketing these days is done online. That means you need to get savvy about your online presence and keep it going.
You need a website. It doesn’t have to be fancy—a home page, an about-the-author page, and a book page are all you need—but it needs to look professional and stay updated.
You should absolutely post your blog updates on Facebook and keep your Instagram up to date, but Twitter is author central, and there are multiple hashtags that can connect you to other writers, to industry professionals, and to readers. Some of the best and most active hashtags are #amwriting, #pubtalk, #askauthor, #mustread, and #shelfie. Or try genre-specific hashtags like #scifi or #romance or #horror. Spend a little time on Twitter every day and watch your connections grow.
Ideally, your website will have a blog. Indeed, in a pinch your website could be a blog. Write about your book, other books in your genre, the state of the publishing industry, your pet chickens…whatever strikes your fancy. New content keeps older readers coming back and attracts new readers.
While not a social media platform per se, Goodreads is an active reading community, and they have an author program that’s worth checking out. You can build an author profile, offer special discounts, and make sure your book appears on Goodreads’ many lists.
Connect with offline supporters.
Independent bookstores and libraries typically love local authors. Having events brings in people, which is good for everyone. Pop in and chat with the owner or a senior librarian, or send letters of introduction. Offer to do readings or to organize a small literary festival celebrating local authors and artists. Another idea, especially if you’re planning to sell printed copies of your book, is to rent a table at your local farmer’s market or flea event. Your book is just as artistic a product as someone else’s knitted hats or political cartoons.
Make sure your book marketing plan works for YOU.
A book marketing plan isn’t worth anything if it’s not right for you. Maybe you’re really active on social media, or maybe you write a popular blog, or maybe you’ve already started doing readings at local bookstores. Take your personality, locale, tendencies, and habits into account when evolving your marketing plan. It’s no good setting yourself the goal of doing ten in-person school visits if you live in rural Arkansas—but you can offer Skype visits!
Here’s how Elite can help.
The years our team spent working directly with CreateSpace means that we know the ins and outs of how to sell more books on Amazon.
We can write professional marketing copy that is optimized to Amazon’s peculiar search algorithms and that will make your book more visible. As the author, you might be too close to your book to see what about it will attract a readership, so having a professional and objective writer craft your marketing text can make all the difference.
Book Marketing Consultation Questions
How do most authors promote their books?
Authors promote their books in a variety of ways: hosting online (or real-world) launch parties, offering advance copies for review, doing readings at local bookstores, teaming up with other authors, and maintaining a positive and consistent online presence through websites, blogs, and social media. The most successful marketing practices are the ones you are comfortable maintaining. Consistency is key.
Do you need a marketing plan for a book launch?
Planning ahead will make the days and weeks leading up to your publication date more productive. We suggest taking a calendar (paper or online) and scheduling various promotional activities leading up to your book launch. You could, for example, plan a blog tour, or you could host a giveaway on your blog. This is also a great time to unveil your book trailer, if you have one. Videos get great traction on major social media platforms, so a trailer can really boost your presence. Get the word out via social media, and do an email blast. Talk to your local bookstore or library about hosting a launch party, and then put up flyers around town or take out a small ad in your town’s newspaper.
Do traditional book publishers do marketing for their authors?
You might think that traditional publishers do marketing for their authors. In fact, traditional book publishers offer their signed writers (except for a select few blockbuster novelists) very little promotional support, giving authors the bulk of the marketing responsibility. All authors, whether indie or not, are really in the same boat. To sell more books, you have to come up with a workable marketing strategy.
How do authors market their books on Amazon?
Authors marketing their books on Amazon can choose from a wide range of strategic options, including capitalizing on e-book pricing promotions, ensuring your book is in the right categories for your genre, and boosting book sales with reader reviews. If you’re happy to have your book for sale only on Amazon, enrolling in KDP select is a great option. It allows you to include your book in Kindle Unlimited, for example, which extends your reach substantially.