Each month, the Nonfiction Authors Association asks a burning publishing question of the industry’s best, brightest, and most innovative experts. Here’s what they have to say for March!
NFAA: What are your favorite strategies for marketing your book(s)?
- Try to have both ebook and paperback editions. Nowadays, people mostly prefer ebooks.
- Choosing a different platform to sell ebook and paperback editions will boost sales.
- Offer a free pdf for anyone who buys the paperback edition, as they do not have to wait until the physical copy arrives. This can attract a wider range of readers.
- Have a reduction in price for the ebook edition.
- Share a few interesting snippets from your book across social media instigating the viewers to buy the book.
- Try to make connections. Write about the book on your blog or website. It helps in marketing the book among like-minded people.
- Share the book review on your YouTube channel. You can also talk about the book in several podcast interviews.
- Create your book-marketing team and assign them to post reviews on Amazon. Then, add their reviews to Goodreads.
- Customize colorful desktop backgrounds with quotes or lines from your book. It has a wider reach, provoking the viewers to buy the book.
CEO & Founder of Lead Cookie
As a longtime book publicist who has represented many authors, the biggest advice I have is to start the publicity and marketing work early, at least three months prior to publication and six months would be ideal, especially if it’s a self-published book. Nonfiction books have a longer marketing and publicity window than fiction because they can be tied to stories reporters are already working on, but a book published six months ago is still a cold book that is difficult to promote.
My second bit of advice is to treat this as a business. You love your book and you want others to love it, but they won’t if you don’t put in the hard work to support it. Promoting a book is no different than opening a store: You must invest—yes, that means money that you may never recoup—and time. No signing event is too small to attend and no press opportunity is too beneath you.
Cottage PR and Consulting
We run a film production company—Hoffman Productions—and have produced numerous book trailers to help market both fiction and nonfiction books. Some of the books we’ve made trailers for have gone on to be bestsellers, with fans even remaking one of our trailers as a fandom.
Video is more consumed than anything print online nowadays, and books have to be marketed on par with movies basically, and this is where the book trailer comes in.
Most publishers do not pitch in with this, since they have financed the printing, and the author is usually the one who finances the trailer film.
I help entrepreneurs launch and scale six-figure businesses with digital marketing.
To market your book effectively, write about it.
It may seem almost paradoxical, but the best way to market your book is to write about it. Discuss the concepts, theories, and anecdotes you include on your blog posts, social media, or even on your video content. You don’t need to go into great detail—include just enough to set the scene and encourage readers or viewers to learn the rest from your book. This is a great way to both generate new angles of content and to promote and market your book properly.
Entrepreneur and founder
KRISTIN MARQUET CHESTER
Pinterest can be one of the most cost-effective ways for nonfiction authors to get website traffic, build an engaged email list, and generate book sales. To get started, set up a business profile with your business name, website URL, and a short bio. Include your headshot too. Create 10 boards that are relevant to your book and brand and optimize each one with the right keywords. You can find trending keywords by doing a search in the search bar at the top of any page. Then draft relevant blog posts with valuable content on your blog, create attractive pins with compelling headlines and the appropriate links, and pin them to the relevant boards on your profile as well as larger group boards with tens of thousands of followers. This is the most cost-effective way to reach mass audiences.
Marquet Media, LLC
Marquet.company Beauty and lifestyle PR and analytics firm
Marquet-Media.com Media company for fast-growth startups
FemFounder.co, Media company for high-growth female-led companies
Tip #1: Get as narrow as possible with your subject matter.
My books, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten and Getting Into NYC High School are for a very specific audience. Because the audience is so specific, it is much easier to target. I offer free articles, podcasts, and videos specifically on various aspects of the topic to get the attention of those who are most desperately searching for information that applies to them.
Tip #2: Offer something unique, such as a free gift.
Parents applying their children to NYC schools are often specifically interested in Gifted & Talented programs. I developed a calculator to help them figure out the best day for their child to take the test in order to maximize their score: http://www.nycschoolsecrets.com/calculator/. By giving away the calculator in exchange for their mailing address, I build up my specific audience for the books.
I always ask my nonfiction book shepherding clients (and my green/social change business clients, too) “in whose interest is your success?” That opens the door to many marketing partnerships, large and small. By asking this question, I was able to get my very first start-to-finish shepherding client (15 years ago) an endorsement from 1960s basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousey. I was able to get a first-time author in her 80s in front of a major Hollywood director who was working on a movie directly related to her memoir—and she even did some informal script consulting for them. And I was able to partner with the late Jay Conrad Levinson (founder of the hugely successful Guerrilla Marketing brand) to co-author two books.
Besides books, I also help develop and market profitable products/services that turn hunger/poverty into abundance, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance.
Book Shepherding/Publishing Consulting: http://frugalmarketing.com/author-services.shtml
Book Marketing Copywriting: http://frugalmarketing.com/publishers.shtml
Corporate Social Opportunity–profiting while creating social change and environmental healing: https://goingbeyondsustainability.com
ROBERT VAN TONGEREN
Here are some strategies I’ve used to market my ebook on Kindle before and during launch.
The important thing to keep in mind at first, if you want to give your ebook longevity, is that during launch you should focus on making sales rather than money. The reason for this is that Amazon’s algorithm doesn’t check the price of your book, just how well it’s selling. Making sure your ebook has a boost in early sales will help it rise in the Amazon search ranks. This will, in turn, make the book easier for customers to find over the long run.
The main strategies I used to do so are 1) building a list of pre-launch readers who can leave early reviews, 2) setting a low price and sending the book out to book deal promo sites.
The first step to doing so is build a team of pre-launch readers. You can do this by guest posting on websites related to the topic of your book. It may also help simply to ask friends or family if they want to help out. Build your pre-launch list of readers while writing your book. Ask them for feedback along the way. Allow them to read the book ahead of time, so that when you launch, they can leave reviews. (For some book promo sites, your book needs at least 10 reviews.)
Get at least 30 pre-launch readers on your list. Then, continue building a separate list of potential buyers, using the same strategy of guest posting for relevant websites, and offering their audience free samples.
When the time comes to launch your book, upload it to the Kindle store a few days before the official launch date. At this time, you can send an email out to all your pre-launch readers, who’ve already read the book, to leave their reviews. (It helps if they actually downloaded the book from Amazon, as it will make their review a verified one.)
Also, before your launch, you should have already sent out your book to various book promo sites, so your book will have been scheduled to be featured in their promotion post or email. Some examples of book promotion sites you can use are Buck Books, Many Books, or Robin Reads. (You can find a huge list of promo sites here, but these were the ones that worked best for me.) To make use of these promo sites, you will need to set a promotion price of $0.99 for at least a few days. (Some recommend even offering the book for free for a few days, but that’s up to you. I would’ve lost a fairly big sum if I had done so.)
When your book officially launches, send the link to your list of potential buyers. Explain that it is just 99 cents for a limited time (3-5 days), so they’ll feel inspired to get the book while it’s cheap. This will give you a big boost of early sales, which again, will give you a boost in Amazon’s algorithm.
Website URL: https://restartyourstyle.com/
I am the President of Fire Source Media and I have authored 3 books. My marketing company also helps independent authors publish their work. Here are our favorite marketing strategies:
For starters, cover design is extremely important for sales, along with your title and subtitle. A book should be written today with the end goal of ranking in the Amazon search engine. I have used 99designs.com for cover design and find that crowdsourcing site to be the best for quality full-cover design. Research search queries on Amazon and fit your title to match. This will be tremendously helpful in people finding your book title. Amazon reviews are important, so when you launch your book make sure to have your readers and network rate the book on Amazon.
Amazon takes a hefty portion of the sales, so consider selling the book on your own website via direct download. You can do this easily with a Shopify store. I have found that outsourcing print production and fulfillment of print books to Amazon while selling digital bundles online through your personal store is a great way to get the most out of your sales. All marketing is the function of a sales funnel. So, consider where your readers will be located and target them strategically with paid ads and guest blogs.
Guest blogs on relevant sites are the best strategy because they build your SEO while reaching your new audience. But make sure that your marketing results in growing your owned marketing, your email list. Having at least one social media outlet for people to follow is helpful as well. In the end, they are not just following your work—they are following you. Developing a following can help lead to getting that big book deal because publishers are looking for built-in audiences in the people they sign and promote. Executing on these recommendations can help you with your book promotion and sales.
Make your ebook 99 cents for the first week of your release. Long-term books sales are all about word of mouth. To achieve word of mouth, you need to get your book in as many hands as possible. At the price of 99 cents, you can get a big boost of sales to start off your launch.
Provide a link to an opt-in page within the first few pages of your ebook. This allows readers to opt-in to your email list so you can stay engaged with them. When someone buys your book directly from a retailer, you don’t get the customer information. By providing a valuable lead magnet in the beginning of the ebook, you have a chance to receive the customer’s data so you can continue to provide value to them in the future.
Marketing starts before the writing. Create a Facebook group at the start of your book-writing process and document the entire journey. By the time your book is published, you will have built a full launch team that has been with you throughout the entire creation process of your book. These people will support you.
My favorite strategy for marketing books is through podcast interviews and tours. Podcasts have become increasingly more popular for authors and with the pandemic we saw the need for an alternative to in-person book tours. Podcast tours are on the rise and have proven to have the potential to be more beneficial than an in-person book tour launch due to the ability to reach a greater audience AND to create evergreen content.
A podcast book tour is not something that can be created overnight. It takes planning and research in advance of a launch to ensure that you find podcasts where your readers are. Once you identify the shows, you can pitch yourself to them (be ready to offer a digital version of your book so the host can be fully prepared and to offer some specific topics you can speak on) and let the host know when your book is launching. In many cases the host will work with you to have your interview go live on the day of or week of your launch, which will make it appear that you are everywhere at once!
Once your interview has gone live, be sure to share it everywhere you can. You can utilize it on social media, your website, and in many other places. It’s beneficial for both you and the podcast host.
The MSL Collective
Without in-person events and conferences in the last year, I knew podcasts were going to be critical to getting the word out about my book. So I made a spreadsheet of over 250 from the various verticals the book topic was relevant to and just started pitching. In a way, it’s like a bootstrapped version of a celebrity’s press tour, but my best estimation is that I was talking about my book and the topic in front of 250,000 to 300,000 potential book buyers. I wouldn’t get in front of that many people at the dozen or so big conferences where I would normally speak in an entire year. I even noticed a spike in my position on Amazon sales lists after the larger audience shows I appeared on.
Senior Influence Strategist, Cornett
Some book marketing tips for authors in 2021 during COVID-19:
- Switch to an ebook-first marketing plan: switch marketing images to ebooks, talk about the ebooks, make ebooks top-of-mind so more buy those versus physical copies (this is the strategy I used in October of 2020 to launch my book to best-seller status).
- Reduce your ebook price or run a special to get the word out (I had my ebook reduced for half a month as part of a holiday special late last year and saw a sales boom in my sales report).
- Run a special that donates a % of the profits toward families in need during this time (I donated all of the profits from my book’s six-week launch to Children’s National Hospital. We agreed that all of the money would go toward making sure that every child would receive the same level of care—regardless of their family’s ability to pay).
- Make sure that while still promoting, you’re aware of others’ struggles and hardships during this time. Be sensitive with your messaging. (More of a rule than a strategy; I make sure to follow it during my Instagram promos.)
I’m a Certified Networking Expert / #1 National Best-Selling Author whose work has appeared on Entrepreneur, Addicted 2 Success, SmallBizDaily, The Good Men Project, TrainingZone, Business2Stack, StartupNation, and other business sites.
The key to marketing books is to think outside the box. Most people turn to social media these days for promoting their conventional and self-published books. And this can be successful on a limited basis if you find the right groups to promote within. But there are a lot of groups that prohibit you from advertising. Instead, try finding conventions and fairs that are centered around your topic and consider setting up a table or booth. But don’t stop there. If you write books about a specific type of music, say The Beatles, consider looking into classic rock festivals, record conventions or similar rock group conventions like the Rolling Stones. Check out radio stations, podcasts, and book reviewers that appeal to your audience. Keep your eyes peeled all the time for places to promote your book and always keep at least one copy with you at all times. You never know when you might find someone who can help you with promoting it.
The NFAA blog is always looking for contributions. Check out our contributions page and see if you or another nonfiction author or speaker you may know could provide an article or interview: Click Here.