Book Marketing 101: 37 Ways to Launch and Promote A Book
Book marketing is a phrase that’s sure to get an author’s attention, mostly because the avalanche of conflicting information about book promotion makes it hard to know just how to market your book.
What will the most successful authors be doing to market their books in 2019?
Ultimately, you want to be one of those authors who know how to increase book sales through focused and consistent action. You want clear, reliable advice on how to advertise your book so you earn far more than you spend.
We hear you. And helping authors create and sell more books is basically our whole thing. So, let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Book Marketing Mindset
Having the right mindset for book marketing will put you miles ahead of your competition. Why? Because your mindset comes through in the way you advertise your book.
Consider the following points:
- Book marketing is about sharing something you’ve created with people who will be as excited about it as you are (and why shouldn’t they be?)
- You’re basically helping your ideal readers find a book they’ll enjoy!
- You are responsible for the success of your books — even if you’re traditionally published.
- Marketing is about telling a good story. It’s every bit as creative as writing the books you market. If you’re already a skilled writer, you have an advantage!
- Marketing can reflect your personality and the way you like to connect with people.
Use the gift you have, along with the tips that follow, and you’ll wonder why the word “marketing” ever made your skin crawl.
37 of the Best Book Marketing Tips To Increase Books Sales
10 Launch Week Ideas To Market a Book
Try these 10 ideas on how to market a book during launch week:
1. Promote your book on your website.
Try to spend at least a week before launch optimizing your website for book marketing.
You’ll need the following:
- Email opt-in forms (to build your email list)
- An interesting author bio for your about page
- Reader and subscriber bonuses
- Evergreen content
- Social media links
- Effective calls to action
During your book launch, you’ll be doing all you can to draw traffic to your optimized website and, ultimately, to your book’s sales page.
Keep branding in mind when you’re marketing a book. Your brand is your story and the way you present it, and it’s what helps you build trust in your readers. It sells you before it sells your books.
And your website should be your branding home base.
2. Promote your book with a professional cover design.
If no one likes your cover enough to click on it, you won’t sell any copies. Simple as that. So it pays (big time) to make it gorgeous!
It’s possible to DIY this if you’re prepared to spend the time learning how to design a professional-looking cover and practicing on cover after cover (after cover) to gradually improve your cover design skills. Most authors don’t have that time. We leave cover design to the experts.
If you want a cover that will give traditionally-published books some real competition, it makes sense to pay a professional book cover designer – particularly one with experience designing covers for your genre.
If you still want to try the DIY approach to book cover design, books that can help include Book Cover Secrets by Ed Lewis and Book Cover Design Secrets You Can Use to Sell More Books by Derek Murphy.
3. Make sure your book description sizzles!
Once people click on your cover, make sure your book description won’t switch off their interest. You want them to read it all the way to the call to action (CTA) at the end — or at least enough of it to convince them your book has what they want.
Keep their eyes engaged by using larger font sizes for key phrases and bullet point lists to highlight their wants and how your book will satisfy them. You can also use a bulleted list to share “what other readers are saying.”
4. Reach out to your email subscribers.
Wherever you are with list-building, keep your subscribers in the loop, share relevant content, and make sure they get first dibs on free or discounted books, book swag, and bonus material.
While you’re at it, provide helpful tips on ways to promote a book – which they can use to help other authors besides you.
5. Send forth your launch team!
This is also something you’ll need to set up during pre-launch, inviting all interested parties to help in the promotion of your book. As an incentive, you’ll offer them a free advanced reader copy (ARC) of your book, along with other launch team bonuses to sweeten the deal (book swag, share swaps, etc.).
Once launch day comes, rally your team to promote your book to their social media connections, to their email lists, and to their friends and family.
6. Get as many reviews as possible for your Amazon sales page.
Remind your launch team, beta readers, email list, and other interested parties to leave reviews, starting on the release date. You can also offer advanced reader copies (ARCs) to relevant bloggers, influencers, and Amazon top reviewers.
Don’t let your book be like a certain title on Amazon — on creating effective launch teams (irony alert) — that launched in early 2017 and has zero book reviews. You can do better.
7. Run an Amazon Marketing Services ad campaign.
It’s best to set these up before launch week, so they’re live and running in plenty of time to get the attention of new book browsers on Amazon.
Creating profitable AMS ads involves some trial and error, but they can definitely help you sell more books – as long as your book cover and ad copy are appealing enough to get clicks.
8. Create promotional materials and share them.
This is a chance to share your beautiful book cover, along with enough information to entice your ideal reader.
Here are some options, some of which also make great book swag:
- Bookmarks (with or without a scannable code patch)
- Postcards with a promotional image of your book and a memorable teaser, with a scannable code that accesses your book’s sales page
- A book trailer (easily accessible on your website)
- Branded business cards with a scannable code that accesses your book’s sales page or your book’s trailer
- Posters (display your book in style, with a clear hook and a call to action)
9. Do sharing swaps
You need people to share links to your book or blog post, and others you know on social media are looking for people to help them spread the word about their website or their new online course.
If you can both wholeheartedly recommend the other’s product or service, why not swap promotions to get new audiences for you both?
10. Pay others to share your book (or help you share it).
This is where paid advertising or paid expert help comes in. Whether you’re paying an influencer to share your book with a much larger audience or paying someone to write a better book description or better ad copy, once you’ve shared your book with your people and asked others to share your book with their people, the next step is to pay for effective advertising or the help you need to reach more of your ideal readers.
Free Book Marketing
Try these 20 free ways to promote your book:
1. Social Media Book Marketing
This is a long game that requires a regular investment of time and energy. Stick with one or two channels — the ones that make it easier for you to make genuine and lasting connections with people who will love your work.
2. Free Book Promotions
If your book is enrolled in KDP Select, and you’re planning to have at least one free day during your launch, here are a few good bets for free book promotion:
3. Your Book’s Interior
Use your book’s front and back matter pages to offer bonus material, invite readers to your website, and attract new email subscribers.
In the back matter pages, you can add a preview of another one of your books and end it with a hyperlinked invitation to your reader to buy the book.
4. Blog Tours
Write guest blog posts and arrange blog post interviews (or interview swaps). Share the posts and have them shared during your launch days.
The more bloggers you have with substantial traffic and email lists sharing your posts, the more traffic they can send to your website and to your book’s sales page.
Don’t forget to return the favor and share your interviews with other authors and bloggers, to lead more traffic to their sites.
5. Promote Your Book On Your Website
Write a blog post about your book for your own website and share it. If you’re stumped on what to write, consider the following ideas:
- Q & A on your book
- A tweetable elevator pitch or teaser for your book — which your readers can easily share, using the Click to Tweet plugin
- A preview of your book, either as a screenshot (to show off your formatting) or as a blockquote.
- Downloadable PDF samples — as an opt-in incentive or as a no-strings-attached bonus in your book-related blog post
- Information on upcoming book marketing events (in-person and online)
- Links to related guest posts and podcast interviews
- Testimonials from beta readers and influencers
6. Author Events
An indie bookstore or library close by might love to host a book launch party for a new self-published author like yourself. You’ll still do most of the advertising, but they’ll probably want to at least give the local community a heads-up.
While you usually you don’t have to pay to arrange these with the indie bookstores or libraries, it pays to book these well in advance, since there may be a waiting list and other events scheduled.
You’ll also want to bring own printed copies of your book to sign and sell to interested attendees. And you’ll probably want to bring some book swag to share with your new readers.
7. Author Meet-Ups
You’ll need to arrange this with the owner of the restaurant, pub, or coffee shop before sending out invitations. There’s no fee, but you’ll want to bring printed copies of your book, and you’ll also pay for your own food and drink.
Don’t forget that some of your email subscribers might also be local. Invite them, too!
8. Local, In-Person Networking Opportunities
Besides local bookstores and libraries, your community may offer other venues for sharing your book and making connections with your readers. You don’t have to bring multiple printed copies of your books, though it wouldn’t hurt to bring one.
- Local newspaper feature article (an interview with photos and information on how readers can meet you in-person and/or buy your book)
- Local book clubs and reader groups
- On-campus events at local schools and universities
9. Online Author Events
You can arrange these using the free Shindig app, which allows participants to strike up conversations with other participants (as they would at an in-person event).
It’s a great way to share your message and encourage attendees to click on a link to your book’s sales page, while also giving them a chance to connect with you and with each other.
10. Free My Book Progress Plugin (for WordPress)
With this plugin, you can add an eye-catching, customizable widget to let your visitors see where you are with your current book. It even makes it easier for interested visitors to join your email list, so you can let them know when the book is published and ready to buy.
You can even use this widget to keep your visitors apprised of your progress on your NaNoWriMo novel!
The free version may be all you need, but there’s also a Pro version (the upgrade) with advanced features.
11. Free My Book Table Plugin (also for WordPress).
Search-optimized and affiliate-friendly, this genius app allows you to create a book page that looks professional and gives your fans another place to easily grab a copy of any of your published books.
It even lets your fans read a preview of your Kindle book (the “look inside”) before clicking over to the Amazon sales page.
As with My Book Progress, the free version may have everything you want, but if you also want affiliate integration (and other advanced features), you’ll need to pay for the Pro plugin.
12. Relevant Podcast Interviews
Arrange these well in advance of your launch, so you can blog about those interviews and share that post during your launch days. You can share them directly from the podcast host websites.
Make a list of the podcasts whose listeners would be interested in your book, contact their hosts (they usually have a website), and pitch them for an interview. If your book is a good fit for the podcast, chances are, the host will be only too happy to interview you.
Related: Authority Self-Publishing Podcast
13. Fan Reviews on Your Facebook Author Page
Ask your fans to put book reviews on your Facebook author page. They can also post links to reviews they’ve left on your Amazon sales page.
Even if they haven’t done that yet, if they post a heartwarming review on your author page, you can add that to your book’s description.
Encourage them to be creative and post videos or voice memos in lieu of written comments, if they’d rather. Let them know you may add their words to your book’s sales page or to your website to share with a larger audience.
14. Facebook Videos
If taking and actually posting videos of yourself doesn’t freak you out (and no judging, if it does), this is a great way to keep your face and your book in the minds of your fans.
If you’re wondering what to talk about in a Facebook video, check out the videos of authors you admire and make a list of things you’d like to include in your own.
Bonus points if you have a freshly-printed copy of your book to show off or book swag to offer those who pre-order your book.
15. Facebook Live Q & A about Your Book
If you’re up for a Facebook Live video, announce your intention ahead of time, so those who are interested in your book — or in seeing you on video (maybe for the first time) — can tune in at the right time.
16. Start weekly Twitter chats with readers.
This could become a regular thing if Twitter is one of your top two social media channels. Check out established Twitter chats like the ones listed on Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s online index of Twitter Chats for Writers. Take the time to meet and encourage other writers who participate in these chats.
17. Leave thoughtful comments on other blogs.
Do this early and often. As with social media marketing, you need to earn the trust of the bloggers and their readers before they’re likely to show any interest in your book. Do them an extra favor, too, and if you enjoyed the post, share a link to it on social media.
18. Use Quora to your advantage
This question and answer site is a good place to help out fellow writers and readers while making yourself more visible to them and to others who read your questions and answers.
And those who follow you on Quora.com might also be interested in your books.
19. Ask local stores to carry paperback copies of your book.
This may be a long-shot since most stores with a book selection only carry mass market paperbacks from traditional publishers. But a local store that isn’t part of a large chain may be more interested in featuring the work of a local author — especially if your cover looks professional, and you have several copies for them to display.
It doesn’t have to be a grocery store, either.
Try a local boutique or variety store or even a gas station — any store in the area that shows any interest in putting a local author’s book on display.
Like it or not, you’re kind of a big deal — and the more eyes on your book, the better.
20. Create a relevant video series
Video marketing is huge, and YouTube makes it easy. You can link to the video series in your book, link to your book’s sales page in each video’s description, and share links to both on social media.
Paid Book Marketing
Try these 7 ways to market a book for a fee:
1. Hire a freelance publicist.
It may not be a necessary part of your marketing budget, and you’ll still need to be present for the events your publicist would schedule for you, but if someone else is arranging those events and opportunities, you save hours of time that you could then spend writing or editing — or spending time with your loved ones.
2. Paid book promotions
These are generally more reliable than free promotions, and many are worth the investment, especially after you increase your launch week special price.
If you want to ensure they share your book during your launch, go to the most reliable promotions and pay the fee to secure your spot on their promotion calendars.
Here are some worth considering:
Author Marketing Club lists free and paid book promotions by their logo, making it easy to access each page’s submission form. It’s not nearly as quick as Book Marketing Tools, but accessing those pages from the AMC website instead will save you $29.
If they accept your book, their powerful book promotion platform can be well worth the investment. If they don’t accept your book for a special promotion, you can still create and share a free profile with them.
Just remember to add each new book, so your BookBub subscribers will receive an email letting them know it’s ready to buy.
4. Buck Books
This one is fun and worth a look. Line it up for a day when your book is $0.99 for fiction or nonfiction or free for nonfiction. They do have some conditions listed at the bottom of their promotion page.
Sign up for their email list, while you’re at it if you’d like a daily short list of new and/or discounted books.
This is a good way to build buzz for your book. Not only does GoodReads pick up on your book’s Amazon rating, but your fans can also leave reviews for your book on the GoodReads platform — giving it an extra layer of credibility with your fellow GoodReads members.
This can be hit or miss. On the hand, it gives you an excellent excuse to share links to your book and can build buzz for it. And those who don’t win a copy might be curious enough to click on over to the sales page and buy a copy.
Or they might not. Try to share your giveaway with people who are more likely to do this.
The hope is that those who win a copy of your book will actually read it and leave a fantastic review for it.
Or, lacking that, you might at least make some fans.
7. Facebook ads
It pays to learn how to do these right. If you don’t know whom to target or for how long, and you’re new to copywriting, it might be worthwhile to get some help in creating an ad that will make the best use of the money you’ll spend on it.
Other Resources To Help You Market Your Book
- Smashwords Book Marketing Guide (free) by Mark Coker
- Your First 1,000 Copies: The Step-by-Step Guide to Marketing Your Book by Tim Grahl
- Strangers to Superfans: A Marketing Guide to the Reader Journey by David Gaughran
Now that you’ve come this far, let me remind you that you don’t have to do everything on this list. The goal here is to show you what has worked and continues to work for professional creatives like yourself.
So, using this post as your guide, make your own personalized launch plan, and make your next launch (or your first) one to celebrate.
And afterward, pop in at Authority Self-Publishing, and tell us how it went.
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