This month we asked nonfiction authors to answer this question:
Ten year ago I self-published my first book, 50 Steps to Lose 50kg… And Keep It Off. The average number of sales for a self-published book in Australia is 250 copies. I sold over 10 000 copies. I followed this up with two more self-published books. By far the very best way to sell books is mainstream media publicity. After I published my book I appeared on A Current Affair, Sunrise, Today, Weekend Sunrise, The Morning Show, Today Tonight, ABC News, Women’s Weekly, New Idea, Woman’s Day etc etc etc. Anyone who doesn’t at least try to get PR when they publish a new book is crazy as far as I’m concerned. Public relations actually works!
Sally Symonds is the author of three non-fiction books and now runs a successful public relations business, Public Relations That Actually Works.
In addition to hiring a PR firm that specializes in books, I scheduled my own tour of nearly 200 appearances across the United States to support the release of my memoir, Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court. I included independent bookstores in addition to concerts, colleges, and other non-traditional stages for authors but had audiences who I believed the book would resonate with. To help, I waived my speaker’s fee to anyone who ordered a minimum quantity of books. And, I also included some interesting book swag to pair up with the book: a Spotify playlist and CDs, metal pins, stickers, hoodies and t-shirts, etc.
Simon Tam is the bassist and founder of Asian American band, The Slants, and author of Slanted: How an Asian American Troublemaker Took on the Supreme Court. www.simontam.org
I’ve found success using three main strategies to promote my non-fiction dating and relationship advice genre books. Whenever I launch a new book I make sure it contains hyperlinks of my previous titles at both the beginning and end of the book with a brief description of each. This allows eBook readers to click on those titles and go straight to my Amazon page. I also make use of the KDP select program offered by Amazon which will allow me to either offer my eBook for free for up to five days or offer a “countdown deal” for up to seven days in the U.S. and U.K.. If you have only written one book you probably should offer it for 99 cents as a countdown deal. The best scenario for offering a book for (free) is if you have other books listed inside it with hyperlinks. This way if the reader enjoys the free book they have a quick and easy access to order a fee based book. Once I’ve created a promotion in Amazon I utilize a few book promotional sites such as The Fussy Librarian, Bargain Booksy, Just Kindle Books, The Book Circle along with a couple of Fiverr.com freelance book promoters. I got over one thousand free downloads on the first day of the free promotion for my last book. My goal is to have all the sites to announce the promotion on the same day. It increases my odds of possibly reaching a top 3 sales spot in one or more categories on Amazon. Last but not least I am signed up as a source on HARO (Help A Reporter Out) and SourceBottle whereby I receive daily listings of various topics that journalists are looking for contributors for their articles. If the topic is related to one of my books I respond with my input and include my book in a hyperlink as part of my bio. Most of the journalists will include your book title or website in their article. I’ve appeared in such publications as Forbes, Cosmopolitan, Psychology Today, and Readers Digest along with several other digital publications. Naturally they all get a lot more traffic than my own website.
Kevin Darné is the author of My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany) Online Dating Avoid The Catfish!:How To Date Online Successfully, Pump Your Brakes! How To Stop Having Bad First Dates, and Every Ending is a New Beginning: The journey from Breaking Up to Moving On. For more information visit http://lovealert911.com/products/
The best book marketing tool is YOU. Put a dynamic presentation together based on your book, then go out and give that speech. Once audiences hear you, they often want to take a piece of you home with them. Your signing the book is an added incentive for them to buy it. Back of the room sales can be your best book marketing tool.
—Allen Klein is the author of over 30 books including the best-selling book, The Healing Power of Humor, and most recently, The AWE Factor. https://www.allenklein.com/books.htm
A few years ago I took a social media marketing class with Jason McDonald through Stanford Continuing Studies. His book is full of precious advices. But above all, it explains to you very clearly how each social network works, the tips, the things to do or not to do. Thanks to this book, even a beginner is able to level up his social networks.
Jason is a passionate teacher and I hope you will consider his book: Social Media Marketing Workbook: How to Use Social Media for Business
Elodie Bottine: I am the co-founder of MyNabes, an incredibly positive mutual aid neighborhood app based on kindness and sharing in the community. www.mynabes.com
Having written a colloquial non-fiction book on my own journey of personal evolution that took me around the world to various shaman, healers, sacred sites as I searched outside to solve the problem of myself, I learned that the target of your marketing is of the utmost importance. I found that it was a waste of time and budget to go the route of marketing to book-oriented sites that promote a range of books or even the many book awards and author podcasts. I really needed to focus far more narrowly on the kind of reader that would resonate with my book and get benefit from it. So don’t get caught up in the category of books/reading themselves – but more on your material and the specific audience it will directly connect with and benefit. That combined with relentless self-promotion, hunting down podcast, article and any other opportunities to build your visibility and profile is the most important marketing base to work from.
Transformation coach, speaker and author of The Inside Hustle: A Mystical Misfit’s Travel Adventure Into The Unknown. www.joannawalden.com
Every book and every author is unique and different so it is logical to assume that the marketing strategies also need to be unique and tailored to suit that author, their book and audience. To develop an effective marketing strategy, it is recommended to do so in stages. First, prior to the book is even printed – pre-sale. Having a definitive 21-day plan to pre-sell your book gets the ball rolling. Psychologically it helps authors get over the wall of self-promotion and dislike in ‘selling’. By having money for pre-orders come in before any printed books arrive ensures the author has momentum. So utilising tools such as crowd pullers, social media, guest blogging and podcasts, text messaging, video marketing and more enables the author to hit the ground running and build from there. Strategy is the cornerstone to all good marketing. Without it, you are driving blind with no knowledge on where you are aiming to go and how you are going to get there. Developing a strategy is important to ensure you have your headlights on and the GPS is working. There is no magic solution to becoming a legitimate best-seller or selling hundreds of thousands of books. Book marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Be prepared to work hard, back your decisions, think outside the box, and accept that not every approach will work, ignore naysayers and then when you start to achieve those goals and targets, give something back to help the next author coming up.
Award Winning Publishing Consultant, Ocean Reeve has worked with over 5500 authors in 20 years in publishing, book marketing and audiobooks.
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.