“Writing a book without promoting it is like waving to someone in a dark room. You know what you have done but nobody else does.” Doesn’t this quote by Madi Preda hit differently? Because really, how will your book sell itself, if you don’t try to push your baby to do better?
So, if you want to sell more books and make a living by doing what you love, you have to market it, period. Even if you know that your book is going to be one of the best pieces of literature, the copies won’t sell themselves, if you don’t back it up with good marketing.
But after all, you are an author, not a marketer, right? Right, we get it, we know where you’re coming from. However, as an independent writer without a publishing house to do the job for you, you have to promote your works yourself to get noticed by the book lover community.
The thing is, some self-published authors don’t know what’s the right place to start their marketing journey from, especially when it’s their first book. But no worries, here are 21 smart book marketing ideas and strategies to help you promote your upcoming book and sell more copies.
Off we go!
Define Your Book Genre and Audience
This is one of the most essential points of your book promotion and for that, you have to pick the right genre and audience for your book. Try to match your book genre with your target audience, by clearly defining both.
Most of the tactics you are going to use in your marketing plan should be based on the interest of your audience. So, for instance, if you are writing a young adult book, then you need to do your content marketing according to their standards and based on what’s trendy among teenagers.
Defining your audience and carrying out your marketing ideas within their circle, will help you find your way into their consciousness and encourage them to give your book a chance.
Choose the Right Time to Promote
Just like in life, in book marketing too, timing is everything. What’s the right time to start promoting your book? Is it after you publish it, or before it hits the bookstores?
The best option for you to start your book marketing campaign is at least 6 months before its release, since promoting something takes time and effort. This is, of course, valid, if you are not J.K. Rowling, George R.R. Martin, or any other phenomenally famous contemporary writer that sells millions of copies with a single tweet.
Six months are enough for you to create a buzz around your book launch with continuous posts and preparations. But, make sure to release the book on the promised date, to avoid the disappointment of your potential readers.
Social Media As Your Go-To Tool
Maybe you can’t sell your book on social media, but you can certainly use social media as a tool to help you sell your book.
These days online platforms are the best place to promote something and make it go viral, so the publishing industry is not an exception.
Illustrations, images with the right size, and social media videos do a great job at marketing your book and reaching new readers. And sometimes this results in an effective promotion for your book for free.
It’s never too much to share quotes and snippets from your book, that many people relate to. Although, it’s necessary to not give out the main points of your book, and spoil the whole story for everyone.
Short texts have the power to attract more users than long paragraphs do. Combined with the right design and visuals, your shared quotes and snippets will definitely lead people to your book. You can do this with the help of both offline software and online graphic maker tools.
Using specific hashtags to grow the number of your reach during your book promotion, has become a common practice on social media as well. Instagram, for instance, allows you to see the most used hashtags, so know which hashtags to use to your advantage. This means you need to make sure to choose the ones that have millions of posts because those are the hashtags that are getting the most action.
By posting announcements, sneak peeks or cover reveals on your social media accounts, you are boosting the number of its sales and preparing some base for your reading community. And if you put up an ad or two on your Facebook page, Instagram, or any other social media platform, it will surely reach many booklovers, once you determine the range of your targeting audience right.
Create a Blog or a Website
Having a website or a blog is going to be one of your most awesome marketing tools, because here, the one in control of its look, content, and ads, is you. You will be able to share everything related to your books on your own platform.
This will help people realize that it’s not just a one-time thing for you and that you are going to introduce them to new books and characters. Your blog or website will become the cozy home for many of your marketing activities, as well as your bookstore and merch, so go ahead and create it without a single doubt.
If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on hiring a web developer to create a website for you, create one yourself using online platforms.
Join Writing Clubs and Groups
Nothing has changed, communication is still the key to success. Enter discussions and conversations with your readers, thank them, answer their comments, welcome their ideas, and try to understand what they love and appreciate in book marketing.
This doesn’t only refer to your readers, but the rest of the writing and reading community as well. There are many clubs and groups, both online and offline, that will be of great help to network with fellow authors and widen your circle of connections. Be nice, be honest, be open to sharing and receiving.
Be a Part of Multi-Author Anthologies
Another amazing way to promote your new, old, or upcoming books is reaching out to more readers by being a part of multi-anthologies. By partnering with other authors and creating an anthology of stories, you will have the perfect chance to show people your writing style, your mindset and creativity. It’s a great opportunity to be part of a big project, get in contact with other authors, and gain more connections, as well as a bigger audience.
Find a literary podcast and offer yourself as a guest for one of its episodes. Or start your podcast series, where you will discuss works by other writers, subjects related to your book, and more. Check out the podcasts of other writers as well and offer collaborations, because networking is a perfect opportunity to grow.
Building a mailing list is a perfect way to keep in touch with your readers and build a strong connection with them. On your website or your blog, include a sidebar for visitors to add their email address in case they are interested to hear more news about your updates or receive exclusive content.
Pay attention to the newsletters you’re sending to your subscribers, both to the content and its subject lines. Try to grab their attention with your first sentence, for them not to leave your email unread.
Create Author’s Page
To increase your recognition and exposure, create an author’s page on major online platforms for writers and readers. Goodreads, LibraryThing, Bookstr, etc., are some of the most popular book catalog websites, where readers are looking for books to read, and authors are looking for readers.
Create your author and book pages on these platforms, constantly post quotes from your works, rate and leave reviews for your favorite books as well.
All of the time spent on these websites is going to pay off.
Hold Book Reading Events
Arrange book reading events for your new work, to spread the word about it and create a warm and welcoming space for your potential fans. Choose a location according to your book setting and make the necessary calls to make it happen. Coffee shops, libraries, local universities, or retirement homes are just a few examples of a perfect spot.
Use Your Book Cover for Marketing
Judge your book by its cover. Seriously, do it. The right choice of your book cover is a game-changer for your marketing plan because it’s the first thing people will remember after hearing the title of your book.
Be it fiction, romance, horror, or nonfiction, you need to find something that has the same vibe of your story, so later, when necessary, you can use it in your marketing plan. The style of your social media posts, future illustrations, visual templates, and more, greatly depends on your book cover, so do your book a favor and think about it thoroughly.
Test it by looking at the cover as a reader and not a writer, and ask yourself “What does this cover say about its content?”
Your cover and your marketing style for it tell a whole story, give clues to your readers, and create an atmosphere for your upcoming book.
Donate Your Books
Promoting your new book by donating some copies to where your target audience is located, is an authentic way to help people discover your new piece. If your book is teen fiction, consider donating it to school libraries, camps, hospitals, daycare centers, and local colleges. Who knows? Your book might accidentally find its favorite reader.
Share Exclusive Content
Almost all book lovers enjoy knowing more about their favorite masterpiece and characters. They will certainly look forward to getting more exclusive content from you, such as deleted scenes, special spin-offs, short stories, character posters, etc..
You might as well publish a complete collection of exclusive stuff, in case you want to earn money with it, or publish them on a “Members Only” page, for people to create their account on your website.
It’s Giveaway Time!
From time to time arrange online giveaways and contests on your social media accounts to create an exciting and active atmosphere for your readers and followers. Choose several people according to certain criteria and send them your signed copies or free ebooks. Even people who have never read your books will be eager to take part in it, so this will also help you to tell more people about your works.
Announce your giveaways with an attractive poster and clear instructions. And remember, that giveaways are also a great opportunity to make your social media accounts more active and easy for potential booklovers to notice.
A Book for a Review
A penny for your thoughts? I mean, a book for your review?
It’s true, no one can do a better job at encouraging a book lover to read a book, than another book lover. Did we make it sound right?
Get in contact with relevant bloggers and reviewers, to make a kind deal with them, that will benefit both of you. Send them a copy of your book even before its release and ask them to share their book reviews online. They will love the idea of reading the book before its release date and be excited to share a spoilers-less review on their blog, Goodreads account, or website. They will get the word out and help more people find your piece.
Find great reviewers on Goodreads, Amazon, and other platforms that sell and pitch books.
Reach Out to Influencers
Unlike reviewers, influencers don’t have to read your whole book to write a lengthy review. A single tweet or an Instagram story about it is enough to give a boost to your promotion game.
Some of those influencers can be famous bloggers, authors, local celebrities with many followers, and email lists. The number of their followers makes them powerful, and asking them for help even in exchange for money, will surely pay off.
Host (Pretend) Q&A’s or AMA’s
Say you are the main character of your book, how would you answer a certain question? Pretend one of your characters has taken over your social media accounts and host a Q&A or an AMA (Ask Me Anything) with your readers.
Ask your followers to submit their questions to that character and try to answer them the way you imagine the character would do. Both you and your fans will have a blast, and you’ll also creatively promote your book by encouraging book lovers to read it again.
Not keen on pretend-Q&A’s? You can always go with the classic version.
Doing a Q&A with a dedicated fan or blogger and presenting it as a kind of interview is also another option.
Awards and titles make your book more noticeable and “verified” if that makes sense.
There are many writing contests for specific genres, most of which are open for independent writers, so they are a good place to start from.
Even if you feel like the chances of you winning a certain literary competition are not high, try it anyway, to get your piece noticed. Losing is nothing if you have a strong and healthy mindset, and a dream you are strong enough not to give up.
Go ahead and enter that literary competition you have kept your eye on for a while now. It’s definitely a great opportunity, so grab it with both hands.
Make Book Promo Videos or Trailers
Create promo videos for your self-published books or book sales, and share them with your readers on your website and social media. Video marketing has many benefits and variations: your promo video might be a book or character introduction, kinetic typography video with quotes, explainers, and more. After all, the sky’s the limit.
If you don’t have software to create your promo videos with, you can do it online, using Renderforest video maker.
Get Media Coverage
It’s not easy to get the press to notice you and write about your story unless you succeed in something huge. However, you can aim for the local press and community. Pitch the local radio stations and newspapers a story about your upcoming book, to get them hooked. Find relevant blogs and try guest blogging, send a press release to your local papers, take part in book fairs, festivals, and other book-ish events to give a push to your new book.
Don’t be shy to introduce the work you’ve done, who knows, one day we might come across an article related to your book on a famous news website.
Write Another Book
And last but not least, write another book for effective brand building. Don’t slack off after your first published book, or let the possible low number of sold copies discourage you.
In case you have writer’s block, try to overcome it without pressuring yourself too much, and looking for inspiration in new places.
Having an impressive number of good content makes it easy to promote your works both separately and together. It’s like a thread connecting your works: once a reader picks up one of your books and loves the content, he will grab the thread and follow it.
Keep in mind that every released book is a step toward more recognition, sold copies, and readers.
On a Final Note
If you weren’t sure about why you need to promote your book, now we hope you realize how crucial good book marketing ideas are for both published and aspiring writers.
By using some of the smart ideas and strategies mentioned above, you will have all the chances to promote your masterpiece in the best way possible and give it a push toward becoming the next hotshot.