Expert Round-Up Topic: What book marketing strategies have worked best for you?
One of the most important thing to remember is the book doesn’t make any author rich. However, the book gives the author credibility and opens many doors to leverage your expertise. Two of the most effective marketing strategies include the following:
Speaking and interviews: Many groups, online and offline, are looking for speakers to present to their groups. Either in-person or video calls discussing my books and expertise have driven sales to my titles.
Create Udemy Courses: I have over 5,000+ students who have taken my Udemy courses. Simply put your book into a PowerPoint presentation and read the slides. People are looking for your expertise and creating courses is key to leveraging your book into videos and courses.
Book marketing strategies for nonfiction authors: People can’t buy your books if they don’t know about them. That’s it. Seeing indie authors depressed due to low or no book sales after spending years creating a book, I wrote SELL YOUR BOOKS TODAY! to provide a map to DIY publicity from a professional publicist. Many aren’t even aware of the existence of book publicists or can’t afford one.
To promote mine I went to my target audience—writers groups on social media—but instead of just saying, “Buy my book,” I offered free Q&A sessions. Another means to getting in front of my audience was reddit’s Ask Me Anything. It brought me sales and social media followers.
My advice, don’t wait for your target audience to find you, go and find them, be friendly and get to know them.
My marketing efforts have evolved over the years in order to keep up with new technology and trends. However, one strategy that has always worked well for me is direct outreach. I’ve heard stories about authors creating fake email accounts in order to appear as though they are not
doing their own PR. This is a mistake, in my opinion! From my experience, editors at websites and magazines welcome emails from authors if it is done in the right way. This means doing your research, finding the correct person to contact, and crafting a personalized,
Another strategy that has worked well for me is creating a separate Instagram account that is solely used to promote the book. I started an account for Do You Compute? about a year before it was released. This allowed me to find an audience of vintage computer enthusiasts well in advance of the book’s release date. I continued posting at this account for two years, eventually gathering over 10K followers. It is a great way to continually find new readers after the initial marketing push.
I have tried many different marketing methods, from paid ads to social media promotion. From my experience, what has worked best has been building a simple blog around the topic of the book and producing several YouTube videos specifically answering people’s concerns around the topic. The key is to build yourself up as an authority on the subject and offer solutions and tips completely free. I have had a lot of success using this method, simply by doing some keyword research to find out what questions people have and then answering them. This needs to be done before launching the book, and you should take every opportunity to mention the upcoming book.
I wrote and published Skills: The Common Denominator last year. Within one year, I sold 1,000 books (paperbacks and ebooks). Since the book published in September, the book marketing strategy that has worked best for me is publishing content related to the book daily to social media (specifically LinkedIn and Instagram), including quotes, book reviews, book talks, podcast appearances, word games, etc. I use Canva to design original content with a consistent look and feel. I did also post to Twitter for the first three months, but the social engagement was lower than Instagram and LinkedIn.
As a result of the daily social posts, I have had 25 book talks and podcast appearances. When people in my network see the social media content and progress I am making, and they reach out to me about a speaking opportunity in their company, school, or volunteer organization. This outreach is organic. Then, I’ll share a one-pager with my bio and book description with them, so they can circulate it for consideration of a book talk. Sometimes I’ll have a call with the event organizers to review the book’s themes of transferable skills and skills-based networking, the flow of a 30- or 45-minute presentation, and determine if I can tie in the content to a relevant topic that they are discussing with their constituents. In every session, I ask the audience if the book talk leaves them empowered to better fulfill the mission of their organization, and the response has overwhelmingly been 100% yes.
Crafting book-related pins for my own specific boards on Pinterest is not only effective book promotion, but a welcome change from other social media. It’s a way to connect with potential readers of my picture book bios, and teachers and librarians—people actually searching the giant
search engine for something similar to what I’m providing. My books are meeting a need and that feels good.
Pinterest pins are “evergreen”—they remain there waiting to be found, and they link right to my website. Plus, creating colorful engaging pins for free at Canva.com is great fun!
Step 1: Build anticipation around your book before it comes out. Take future readers on a journey with you by finding beta readers, sharing snippets of your writing process, or letting your audience vote on your cover. Create a plan and develop your materials ahead of time for a smooth process during and after your book’s release.
Step 2: Bundle your book with other items to increase sales. Think about additional items or experiences that help your reader to finish and enjoy your book. Tie in your book’s topic and offer exclusive items just for certain periods of time.
Step 3: Borrow someone else’s audience by finding brands or influencers that have your ideal reader already as a follower. People will be more interested in what you’re offering and to buy. Set up cross promotion, live speaking events, and interviews to promote your book.
Step 4: Benefit your reader by writing what they want to read. Before writing your book, do research to see which topics are high interest. Read reviews from other similar books and create a book that fills in the gaps from what competitors are missing.
The first people to purchase your new book will often be existing fans who purchased your previous works. But, these fans won’t always know when you publish something new. To recapture past customers, the solution is to build out your email list. By keeping fans in the loop about your latest releases, you can increase sales and drive awareness of your brand as a nonfiction author.
To convince your audience to sign up to your email list, consider offering limited-time discount codes, free shipping, or other incentives which encourage them to take action right away. This strengthens your marketing capacity and provides a direct line of communication between you and your target audience. You can leverage your list as often as you need to, meaning that you won’t have to make a hefty investment in marketing or advertising. Instead, your target audience will always be an email away.
Because my book Open When: Letters of Encouragement for Military Spouses is a supportive book with messages people can turn to throughout their military journey, our marketing strategy focuses on the book as a gift. While some purchases are from spouses and girlfriends seeking information about military life and buying the book for themselves, a larger portion of sales come from friends or parents gifting the book to a military spouse who will
Recently, we had a successful campaign inviting angel investors to purchase autographed copies of the book to be sent to military spouses who needed it most. (This was particularly relevant because of the rapid military deployments in response to the Ukraine conflict, combined with the
low age and average salary of a new military spouse). Individuals, nonprofit organizations, and spouses of retired veterans all saw the book’s value as a source of comfort during troubling times. Each donor paid for several copies, so I now have a case of books to give away for free each month for the next few months. In each donated copy that I mail, I include a hand-written letter inviting the reader to pay it forward and spread encouragement with others by gathering a group to discuss it together. This increases sales and spreads the word about this new book.
One of the best ways for nonfiction authors to get the word out about their books is via interviews, specifically podcast interviews.
Podcasts, for the most part, are very specific as far as subject and already have a built-in audience of people who would not only be interested in a book on that subject, but are readers in general. Plus, they allow authors to show their personalities and share stories behind the books
they’re talking about.
It’s always helpful in book marketing for people to know more about who is behind the book and how it came to be. When you do these things in an interview, listeners not only learn something helpful, but get attached to the author as well as the book itself.
Reviews are the most efficient approach to promoting a nonfiction book. Reviews will be the first thing prospective readers check for to see if a book is worth their time. The more favorable reviews your book receives, the more you can show potential readers that your book does, in fact, resolve the issue or concern they want to address. Furthermore, reviewers frequently highlight what distinguishes your work from others in the same genre. The more reviewers who highlight these distinguishing features, the more likely that prospective readers will buy your book to see it for themselves.
Furthermore, every author must have a professional-looking author website. It is an excellent tool for promoting yourself, building your own brand, and establishing yourself as a credible source of information. It serves as a central gateway for people to learn more about who you are, what other works you’ve written, and it’s an excellent method to attract readers to sign up for your mailing list for future outreach.
Bookmarks are a fantastic marketing tool but only if they are managed correctly. They must be beautiful, and they must not look like an ad. They also have two sides that authors can utilize. Laminated, they will stand the test of time. Cut and laminated, folded, with a magnet on each end—creates a unique page holder, especially handy for cookbooks and reference books. Businesses are very happy to distribute items that their customers will view as a useful gift.
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