This episode of The Art & Business of Writing is sponsored by Jamie Raintree. Be sure to check out this great writing tool that will help you stay on track with all of your writing project goals.
Marketing your book is one of the most challenging tasks a writer faces after finishing a book. We like to romanticize about adoring crowds vaulting our books to the top of an Amazon or New York Times bestseller list, but the truth is the book only moves when we move. It can’t sell itself.
In this episode, Kayla and I talk about 10 really cool, fast ways to market your book and sell more copies. Some of these you can do in your pajamas, others take more face-to-face sales strategies. Try them all (but not at once!) and see which work for you.
Facebook has become a pay-to-play environment for business pages. The way it’s set up at this time means just because someone likes your author or business page, they will not necessarily see everything you post. Using Facebook Ads are a great way to reach a wider audience.
- Targeting your audience. Click through the options provided and see what fits your audience the best (examples: people who like an author similar to you, or people who like ebooks). Trying to reach everyone, means you won’t reach anyone.
- Make sure to use Facebook’s Power Editor to make sure your ads also appear on Instagram.
- Video is also rising as a great way to reach your audience. Chris and Kayla haven’t played with this much yet, but both agree it’s something they need to explore.
These are your people. They’ve given you permission to talk directly to them. They are primed to purchase your work and support you. Let them know what you’re working on, when you have a new release, or an upcoming live event. Recently, Kayla reached out and asked her list to help her name her next book. She’s had an awesome response and received some really great ideas. She says it’s been a great way to get to know her readers on a more personal level.
Key Tips for Growing Your List
Have an enticing giveaway. Currently Kayla is giving away the first novella in her Jenna Ray Stories in exchange for an email address. She suggests using Book Funnel to simplify the process of getting the book delivered to readers. Chris’s giveaway is the first chapter of his book, The Art and Business of Writing.
Book Promo Sites
These are sites with giant mailing lists that send regular updates to their subscribers telling them about books that are on sale or free. BookBub is the most well known of these sites, and has a rigorous and expensive application process. However, there are smaller more economical choices as well. Kayla used Buck Books a couple of years ago and was able to give away over a thousand copies of her book, which over time led to reviews on Amazon.
Blogging on Your Site and Others
Kayla feels like blogging doesn’t bring a lot of traffic to her site. She makes more connections with readers on social media and with her email newsletter.
However, Chris says for nonfiction, blogging is a great way to show your expertise on your topic. He feels guest posting on other people’s websites is not what it used to be. Medium and LinkedIn Publisher are getting a lot of traffic when folks are looking to learn more about a topic.
Key Tips for Blogging
Repurpose your content! Take chunks of your book and put them on your blog.
In real life connection with your readers is important. Live events are an opportunity to market yourself and let people fall in love with you. They will be much more eager to support your work and purchase your books if they genuinely like YOU as a person. Live events can be a reading from your book, a simple meet and greet, a talk about how you wrote your book or about a topic of which you are an expert, or a rocking good time launch party.
Key Tips for Live Events
- Always have your books on hand to sell and a pen to sign them.
- Depending on your venue, you may need to purchase an official ISBN number. Find out what is required when you schedule your event so you are prepared in advance.
- Be professional! Dress the part, have business cards or bookmarks on hand with your contact information, set up a nice display with the artwork from your book, and be sure to have a guest book people can sign and give you their email addresses.
- Take photos of you and readers. They make great social media posts and add social proof to your business.
- Swag for giveaways is a fun touch for book release parties. As are themed parties to line up with fiction books.
- Facebook launch parties are a nice way to go if you can’t bear to surround yourself with too many humans at one time.
Podcasts are a great way introduce yourself to new readers. It’s your chance to be the expert and shine. Readers get to know you beyond the bio on your book jacket, and like live events they can reach a level where they are excited to purchase your book and tell their friends about it too.
Key Tips for Podcasts
- Make sure you get the audio file from the podcast host so you can add it to your website and press kit.
- Julia Jackson’s Interviews on Demand is a great service for helping you get on podcasts that will benefit your business the most.
Like podcasts, only live.
Key Tips for Podcasts
- Give the host a signed copy of your book.
- Take photos of your and host and post to your social media channels to hype up the experience.
Contact your local librarian about their requirements for donating books. You never know, it might lead to a speaking or book signing opportunity. It also exposes your work to those people who don’t tend to buy books, but love to read them. Some readers prefer to try new authors via the library before purchasing their work down the line.
Don’t be shy, give out copies your book all over the place. Give it to book reviewers, have free days on Amazon and other online retailers, have contests on your website and Facebook, give a book away in exchange for email addresses, donate books to local fundraising events to include in gift baskets for silent auctions and raffles. The more exposure the better!
Contribute to Publications
Great move for nonfiction writers. Write expert pieces for newspapers and magazines both online and off. Odds are readers will be intrigued by what you have to say and will check out your book.
Fiction writers might have to get a little creative to come up with content, but anything can be done and writers are known to be resourceful. One example of a way for a fiction author to create a piece for publication is if your book covers a sensitive topic. You are probably going to be an expert on it by the time the project is finished. So take advantage of that and write something up and pitch it to a publication.
How About You?
Which methods have you used to promote you book. Comment below.