As we enter 2021 in mid-pandemic mode, I have some good news to share: people are reading more books! They have extra time, which means they’re finding ways to fill it beyond watching countless hours of Netflix. While you may not be able to get out on the speaking circuit just yet, there are still plenty of effective ways to get the word out about your book. Following are my favorite strategies to tackle in 2021 and beyond.
- Book Yourself on Podcast Interviews
Podcasting has exploded in recent years and this popular media outlet offers tremendous opportunities for authors to gain exposure without ever leaving your home. Plus, podcasters frequently tell me that they need guests and they don’t receive nearly enough pitches. Set a goal to get booked on podcasts, and you could keep yourself busy doing several interviews per month for the entire year. Here’s how:
- Choose two to three topics you can be interviewed about and keep in mind they should be focused on the value you bring to the audience. Your book will be mentioned during the interview, hopefully several times, and when you provide helpful or interesting information, the audience will want to learn more about you and read your book.
- Research podcasts on iTunes and Stitcher. Search by keywords related to your subject matter as well as competing authors to find out what shows they have been featured on.
- Next, locate the website for each show and look for guest submission guidelines.
- Craft a simple pitch that lists your potential speaking topics and how they will benefit the show’s audience.
Pro tip: Prepare for interviews by creating a list of potential interview questions and sharing them with the host or producer as soon as you’re booked. They may or may not use your questions, but you will look like a pro. Also, ask if you can give away a few copies of your book to listeners. This is a great way to ensure your book is featured and promoted.
- Use Amazon Ads
Nearly every nonfiction author can benefit from Amazon ads. These pay-per-click campaigns can help you cross-promote your book alongside similar titles and products and when someone searches for keywords related to your book. It is essential to create a large list of keywords that include related book titles and author names. This research takes time, but is well worth the effort, especially when you start seeing your ads convert to sales.
Also, aside from listing keywords and setting up bids yourself, you can set up Automatic Targeted ads, which gives Amazon the ability to promote your book using its own algorithms. Ideally, you should test both types of campaigns. You can set a daily budget to for each for just a few dollars, though I recommend at least $10 per day to give your ads a fair chance to perform. Provided your ads convert to sales, your investment in ads should pay for itself many times over.
You can join us for our Amazon Ads Master Course beginning January 14th.
Or download our free Amazon Ads report on how to set them up.
- Grow Your Email List
An email list is just about the best asset you can have. Unlike your social media profiles, an email list is a tangible asset you own. Nobody can take it away from you. And it provides a direct way to connect with your audience.
Grow your list by offering incentives. Some favorites include:
- Opening chapters from your book
- Access to free webinar events
Also consider creating a quiz and inviting your prospective readers to participate and learn something about themselves. Personality-type quizzes are popular and can easily be shared across social media platforms. Contests are another fun way to entice new subscribers. Ultimately, building your email list requires ongoing effort so be sure to utilize a variety of strategies that will continue to produce results.
- Connect with Your Tribe of Influence
Have you taken time to think about who you know that could help connect you with opportunities? It could be a schoolmate from years past, a former coworker, a neighbor or even a close friend who could assist you create any number of opportunities. Someone from your Tribe of Influence could introduce you to a corporate contact who could buy copies of your book to give to staff or customers or invite you to deliver some training or consulting. Perhaps someone you know could introduce you to a top podcaster or fellow author who you could co-promote with.
Take time to look through your contacts and old emails. Think back in your past to people you know who may be in a position to help. You might be surprised by how effective this exercise can be.
- Develop a Bulk Sales Strategy
As authors, we tend to focus on selling one book at a time, yet bulk sales can be extremely lucrative and personally rewarding. Corporations and nonprofit organizations often invest in books to give away to staff or customers. You can even strike a deal to put the company’s logo on the cover of a special print run and/or allow the sponsor to insert a welcome message or advertisement. For marketing purposes, you will need to locate key contacts in the right department. That could be the head of marketing or sales or human resources. Often you can locate contact names on LinkedIn, or you can simply call the main phone number and ask the operator who runs department x.
Next, you can send a sample copy of your book along with a pitch. You could also reach out by email or mail a postcard, though sending sample copies often speeds up the process.
College sales are another hot opportunity for authors. When your book is selected for use in a course, that creates repeat sales every quarter or semester. You will need to locate professors for the appropriate course, and you can often find their contact information on the school website. Then you can reach out and offer a review copy—or simply mail one.
Think of review copies as being similar to what happens when you wander through Costco and food vendors hand out samples of the latest soup or cracker or cookie. They offer a free taste because once consumers like it, they are far more inclined to buy. The same is true for your book, so be liberal about distributing review copies to prospective buyers.
For more ideas, see our article on Where to Send Review Copies of Your Book.
I hope you’ll use at least a couple of these marketing strategies to boost your book sales in the year ahead. Wishing you much joy and success in the year to come!
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