There are thousands of ways you can potentially market your book. The reality is that book marketing can be overwhelming. There is conflicting advice out there, and it takes time to implement each and every marketing strategy you try. And not every strategy will produce results for every author. No wonder so many authors grow frustrated.
The good news is that you don’t have to do EVERYTHING!
But you do have to do SOMETHING. If you want to sell more books, you’ve got to find the strategies that work best for you.
The following post is compiled based on the book marketing strategies I have found to be most effective, for myself and for the thousands of authors I engage with each year. Let us know how these perform for you!
- Choose a Niche Audience
While you certainly want to reach the masses with your book, you may reach more readers when you narrow your focus. For example, a dietician could write another book on weight loss, and it could ultimately get lost in a sea of weight loss guides. Or, she could write a weight loss book for baby boomers. Or for people with diabetes. Or for busy moms. When you narrow your audience, you improve your chances of standing out in your field and establishing yourself as an expert.
- Cultivate Your Tribe
Instead of working to sell one book at a time, cultivate a community of readers. Engage, educate, inspire, and entertain them through social media, video, podcasting, webinars, private forums, online groups, etc.
When you build a community, they will stay with you for the long haul. They will eagerly anticipate your next book. They will support you. Compare that with selling a handful of books at a signing event. Chances are you may never hear from those readers again. A tribe of loyal fans will be with you for the long-run.
- Participate in Online Groups
Find groups that reach your target audience on Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Ning, etc., and get involved. For example, if you’re writing your memoir about how you cared for your aging parents, find groups for caregivers. Get involved, answer questions, and become part of the community. Then, when your book is ready, you’ll have access to a community of people who could make great beta readers and help support your book launch.
Conversely, you can also start your own group on Facebook or another social media platform. This is an ideal way to begin cultivating your tribe.
- Build a Mailing List
An email list is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your author toolbox. It allows you to engage with your audience, far beyond anything you can accomplish with social media. Every author should focus on growing a robust list. Entice subscribers with sample chapters, bonus reports, or book club reading guides. You can also host free webinars and collect email addresses from participants. You can create opt-in pages with a tool like LeadPages.net and promote your offers with Facebook ads.
- Leverage Podcasting
Podcasters often have engaged audiences who are interested in a specific subject matter. Find shows that reach your target audience and pitch yourself as a guest. You can also start your own show, though know that it will take lots of effort to promote and build your audience. For faster results, be a guest on established programs.
- Recruit Beta Readers
Get volunteers to read your book early. Beta readers are great for generating editorial feedback, writing reviews as soon as the book is released, and helping to build word-of-mouth. Beta readers can also become part of your tribe long-term.
- Launch a Pre-Sale Campaign
You can generate book orders in advance of your official book launch for both print and ebooks. Set up with IngramSpark.com, KDP.Amazon.com (for Kindle), and Smashwords.com (for other ebook formats). A pre-sale can begin months or weeks in advance and allows you to build anticipation before launch day.
- Ask for Sales and Support
When it’s time to launch your book, reach out to the people in your tribe and ask for their support. This includes past readers, peers, clients, family, friends, coworkers, schoolmates, social media followers, email subscribers, members of online groups you belong to, and members of any trade associations you’re involved with. You might be surprised by how many will be thrilled to help you if you simply ask.
- Generate Book Reviews
Book reviews have a major impact on sales. They help influence potential book buyers and also show Amazon that your book is popular, which can help boost your book’s visibility in Amazon searches. To find reviewers, consider industry bloggers, Goodreads giveaways, local and small publications, book clubs, and paid services like MidwestBookReview.com, Netgalley.com, and ForewordReviews.com. Download our free report, 50 Ways to Generate Book Reviews: bit.ly/bookreviewlinks.
- Develop a Speaking Tour
Speakers sell books. When you engage a room full of people, they will want to take a piece of their experience with them when they go. Start by creating one to three speaking topics around your book (not necessarily about your book) and start pitching yourself as a speaker to trade associations, service groups like Rotary and Kiwanis, schools, corporate lunch and learn sessions, and at conferences.
- Invest in Amazon Ads
Amazon’s pay-per-click advertising program can be highly effective for raising visibility for your book and generating sales. Setup ads through your account at KDP.Amazon.com. Ideally you should aim to target as many keywords as possible (a minimum of 50 keyword phrases). Keyword phrases should include any search terms potential readers might use to find your book, plus the names of competing book titles and authors. While you can set a small daily budget, I recommend starting with at least $10 per day. When aiming at the right readers with a book sales page that entices them, your ads should convert well and ultimate earn more than you spend.
- Hire Help
The fact is that successful authors don’t do it all alone. We hire help, which means one or more virtual assistants who have experience working with authors. A virtual assistant is a contractor you can pay for five or more hours per month to help with all kinds of tasks: managing your website content, social media management, researching and pitching you for media opportunities, and much more. We’ve compiled a list of assistants here on our site.
BONUS PRO TIP: Sponsor Facebook Posts
Contact authors and influencers who reach your target audience with a substantial Facebook page audience and ask them to recommend your book to their Facebook fans, and then pay to sponsor the post. Think about how powerful this strategy can be. When someone else recommends a book (or a restaurant or movie or virtually anything else), we are quite likely to make a purchase based on that recommendation. Connect with an influencer who can recommend your book, and you could see massive sales conversions.
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