How to Sell Books When You Don’t Have an Audience

how to sell books when you don't have an audienceGetting ready to publish and promote your book can be incredibly overwhelming the first time around (and the second, third and even 20th time!).

After getting your book published, the greatest challenge all authors face is attracting buyers. This job is made even more difficult if you don’t yet have an audience (AKA “platform”). But that doesn’t mean you should just sit back. There are plenty of ways you can build momentum for book sales.

Contact Bloggers

Start building a list of bloggers who reach your target audience. For example, if you’ve authored a book on parenting, make a list of every blog that also covers parenting topics. Next, check to see if they publish book reviews. If so, submit yours for consideration. If not, look for their submission guidelines and contribute guest articles for the site. You could also contact the blog owner and offer to host a contest to give away a few copies of your book.

Reaching out to established bloggers is one of the best ways to get out in front of your audience quickly. Bloggers can have tremendous influence with their readers, so leverage their audience to find your own!

Hint: For Google searches, try these combinations (change “parenting” to your genre):

“parenting book review”

“parenting blog”

“parenting advice”

“call for guest posts parenting”

Internet Radio and Podcasts

I’ve always been a fan or internet radio shows and podcasts. There are all kinds of shows that reach a niche audience, and they all need guests! You can search through shows on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio.com. Locate the show website and look for pitching guidelines.

This can be a time consuming task, so if you’d like a shortcut, we offer lists of internet radio shows and podcasts here.

Generate Book Reviews

The main goal should be to get people talking about your book, and that means that you need to get copies of your book into as many hands as possible. It’s also important to generate reviews on Amazon because that not only has a positive impact on how Amazon displays your book, but it also influences potential buyers.

My favorite way to start generating book reviews is to contact existing Amazon book reviewers—the people who have reviewed similar books in your genre. Every Amazon reviewer has a public profile. Simply click on their name and you will be taken to it, where many list their email address and website.

Next, send an email that says you noticed that the reviewer enjoyed XYZ book, and would she like to receive a review copy of your book? Nine times out of ten, you’ll get a solid yes. As a bonus, many of these reviewers also host their own blogs and websites where they may also post your review.

Note that you need to be prepared to send either a hard copy or digital copy of your book. Be willing and able to send both.

For more ideas, download our free report: 50 Ways to Generate Book Reviews.

Industry Publications

If you’ve ever walked into a Barnes and Noble, you’ve probably noticed that there is usually an entire wall dedicated to magazines. Many of them are smaller, niche publications—and they want your articles. Check their websites for submission guidelines or simply send an email to the editor with the body of an article pasted into the email, along with a simple note like this:

Dear Ed Editor,

Below please find an article I wrote about ten ways to grow plants in the winter. Would you be interested in publishing this in Gardeners Monthly Magazine?

Thanks for your consideration,

Annie Author

Be sure to include your bio at the end of the article—a short paragraph about you and your book, along with a link to your website.

Trade Associations

Whatever the theme is for your book, whether it’s about overcoming an illness or how to build tree houses, there is likely a trade association that is interested in your expertise. You can search google for associations, and also check out this directory of associations.

Check association websites for article submission guidelines. Most associations publish a newsletter or magazine, either in print or digital format. Many also host blogs. Become a regular contributor and you can reach lots of potential readers. And some associations list recommended books so be sure to submit yours for consideration.

Professional Speaking

While you research trade associations, keep in mind that you can also become a speaker at association meetings and annual conferences, or even offer to conduct a webinar or teleseminar remotely. In addition to associations, you can speak at schools, service organizations, chambers of commerce and Meetup groups.

Speakers tend to sell a lot of books at the back of the room, so this can be a worthwhile endeavor if you have the time and you enjoy speaking.

While you’re making all of these efforts to build exposure for your book, be sure that you’re also building your audience at the same time. Have a mailing list sign-up box on your website, update your blog regularly, and get engaged with at least one or two social media platforms. When you take these steps, it will get easier to promote your books with time.



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