Aim for Bestsellers Lists, But… – While many claim fame when their book hits an Amazon bestseller sub-category list, keep in mind that those Amazon 1-day campaigns have no long-term benefits. Put your efforts into the long-term strategy. Ideally you want your book to stay on a bestseller list for weeks and months at a time, which requires ongoing promotion effort. Leverage book pre-sales before the book is released and then set a goal to always be on tour. Book promotion is only just beginning when the book comes out.
Host Your Own Ebook Giveaway – This is a great strategy to bring life to an older title or the first in a series. Amazon’s KDP Select giveaways don’t provide sales data and requires authors to limit ebook distribution exclusively to Amazon, but you can host your own ebook giveaway and collect data on your own. You will need a registration page and a delivery method, which an experienced website administrator can set up for you. Promote your giveaway to your audience via social media, you email list, online groups and anywhere else where you can generate buzz.
Generate More Book Reviews – Amazon reviewers, bloggers, Goodreads give-aways, local and small publications, book clubs and paid services like Netgalley.com, bookbub.com, and bit.ly/bookreviewtargeter can all help you generate reviews. Book reviews absolutely help to sell books so obtaining them should be an ongoing priority. Tip: Book Review Targeter is a handy software tool that helps you collect reviewer contact information on Amazon.
Give Books to Influential People – Bloggers, podcasters, media contacts, speakers, college professors, school administrators, potential clients and other influencers who have the ability to spread the word. Also, donate to contests, raffles, and online giveaways. The key is to get your book into as many hands as possible, so plan for plenty of review copies in your budget.
Go Deep in a Trade Association – Find a group where your target readers spend time and get involved to get known. Volunteer, lead meetings, speak at chapter meetings, write for the blog and newsletter/magazine. Get to know everyone so they know you, too—and want to read your book!
Utilize Direct Mail – Postcards are inexpensive to print and unlike flyers stuffed in envelopes, postcards get seen by recipients. Purchase a list through infousa.com or another source to reach your target audience. Postcards can also be a great way to offer up review copies to influential readers or buyers.
Participate in Online Groups – Get involved in groups on Facebook, LinkedIn, Yahoo, Ning, etc. Ask others to mention your book to their groups, too.
Develop a Speaking Tour – Create one or more 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. Speakers sell books!
Make Your Website Work for You – Drive traffic with a blog. Make sure you have a dazzling book sales page with easy ways to purchase (a link to Amazon is fine). Also, include links to your social media profiles and offer a compelling reason to sign up for your mailing list.
Build an Email List – This isn’t optional; it’s essential. This is how you can engage your readers, promote new book releases and related products and services. Use a professional email tool such as Constant Contact.
Embrace Social Media – It’s not a fad and it’s not going anywhere. You don’t have to do it all, but you should embrace at least one or two of the networks: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest—wherever you can find your audience. Host contests and giveaways, engage your audience, and most importantly: serve your audience. Provide value by educating or entertaining them.
Build a Community – Cultivate a relationship with your audience through online groups, your website, social media, etc. And if you haven’t yet read Tribes by Seth Godin, go get a copy. It will help you understand the power of community, which is how successful authors sell more books.
Hire Help – Successful authors don’t do it all alone. Hiring a virtual assistant for as few as five hours per month can free up your time to focus on what you do best. Hiring resources: Ivaa.org, upwork.com.
Commit to the Long Game – I can’t tell you how many authors ask me how to outsource all of their book marketing. But there is no magic bullet to make your book successful. It takes commitment, budget, resources and energy you probably don’t have to spare. We’re all busy with work and family and social commitments, but if the success of your book is important to you, you must make the time to make it a priority. It’s worth the effort!