There is a simple secret to book marketing that many authors, myself included, tend to forget. Here it is: Don’t be afraid to ask.
That’s right, simply asking for support when it comes to your book (or anything in life, really) can lead to tremendous results. The reality is that we are wired to want to help each other. So, when you simply ask someone for their support, chances are they will be glad to do so. This is especially true for people who you have close relationships with including fellow authors, peers, readers, friends, and family.
The next key is knowing what to ask for. Following are some suggestions to consider.
1. Ask for reviews. Book reviews are hard to come by, yet highly valued by prospective readers and Amazon’s algorithms. Get in the habit of asking your readers to write reviews.
2. Request at libraries. When your book is requested at the library, in print, ebook or audiobook format, the library pays attention to demand. And if your book isn’t yet carried by the library, one or more requests could possibly lead them to make a purchase.
3. Request at bookstores. When enough people request a book at Barnes and Noble (or other bookseller), the store will take notice. This requires that the requestor purchase the book, and it takes quite a few requests before the store will take note, but these requests can potentially lead to the store wanting to carry your book.
4. Create a partners page. Make it easy for peers and friends to share details about your book by creating a hidden page on your website that includes book cover images, several versions of your sales copy, pre-written tweets and social media posts, and other content that can be easily shared.
5. Send an email. Once your partners page is ready, send emails to peers, friends, and anyone who can help support your book promotion efforts. Ask them to help spread the word, and provide a link to your partners page to make it easy for them. Keep in mind this strategy works best with people who you have an established relationship.
6. Ask for introductions. Who do you know that could introduce you to fellow authors, influential industry professionals, companies or association executives? Ask to be introduced to key people who can book you as a speaker (in-person or by webinar), acquire copies of your book in bulk, or work with you as a sponsor.
7. Participate in an association. Locate a trade association or nonprofit organization that reaches your ideal target audience and get involved. You can write for their newsletter or magazine, deliver webinars or speeches to their audience, serve on the board, lead events, and become a valuable contributor. This involves networking and getting to know others who can help you gain more visibility within the organization.
8. Offer giveaways for contests. If you want to connect with influential bloggers and podcasters, reach out and offer several copies of your book as a contest promotion. Keep in mind that those few copies you give away can lead to major exposure while the contest is promoted to a larger audience.
9. Invite your readers to help. If you maintain an email list (and by the way, I hope you’re doing this!), reach out to your subscribers and ask for their help. Let them know you’re seeking reviews, interview opportunities, guest blogging invitations, and that you’re willing to offer copies of your book for contests and giveaways. Your subscribers will be glad to support you, especially when you clearly state what it is you’re seeking.
10. Conduct a virtual book tour. The goal with a virtual tour is to appear on blogs and podcasts that reach your target audience. Pitch yourself as a guest, offer excerpts of your book to publish, contribute an author interview, or donate copies for a give-away. While you can conduct your tour over a finite period of time—typically a couple of weeks—I invite you to consider the fact that you should always be on tour. This means that you should be seeking these opportunities on an ongoing basis. And remember, all you have to do is ASK!
If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit for book marketing. It includes checklists, templates, worksheets and more. Check it out!