It’s easy for authors to get bombarded with information about how to market your book. There are millions of pages online dedicated to best practice. Sometimes though, it helps to cut through the information and boil it down to some simple truths. Here are our top ten tips. Please feel free to share!
1. Marketing your book takes time and effort
Writers like to write. Marketing, PR and Social media is often looked at as a ‘I guess I have to do it’ rather than an essential part of the promotion process. Some savvy authors dedicate a huge amount of time to social media and PR in the month before book launch as well as subsequent months thereafter.
Many authors often leave marketing alone in the hope that Amazon or a mainstream publisher will do the work for them. We have worked for some of largest publishing houses and we know that marketing budgets can be very small and often non-existent for unknown authors.
So, our first tip is to take stock of where you are in the book selling process and what you can do to make sure you reach as many people as possible.
If you have dedicated time and money to creating your work, you can’t allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing your job is done.
You want to sell your book and be a success. You have to market it.
2. Many authors already juggle their lives, make the most of your time
So here’s the thing. In an ideal world, an author would wake up to beautiful sunshine, a gentle breeze blowing through the curtains into their inspirational office space, where a freshly brewed Sumatran coffee is waiting as you gently plan your free day. Perhaps before a dip in the pool.
The reality however is often less glamorous. Many authors have full time jobs and have to work their passion into their working life, family lives or both.
So, it’s all very good when you hear that marketing is essential and that there are authors spending 12 hours a day working on the their social media following and PR strategy, but how does that work when you just don’t have the time?
If you don’t have the time, then you need to be selective about how you use your time and the tools to promote yourself. We will cover this in more detail but the takeaway here is not to try and cover every angle.
You can’t be effective on multiple social media platforms if you don’t have the time or content to put out.
3. Don’t just talk at other Authors on social media
Social media is so important for authors. But it has to be done the right way.
Many authors have a limited profile on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. There are of course those that are social media geniuses and some that flitter somewhere in between. Rather than try to cross every platform, concentrate on perhaps two and try to create meaningful content that is both enticing and engaging.
It’s the same when you post online or engage with other people or groups. If you content is bad, it reflects badly on you.
Facebook and Twitter are good places to start but there are of course many others. Online sites such as goodreads.com are also a great way to engage with your piers and the general reading public.
One of the biggest mistakes we see when authors try to promote themselves is that they get involved too deeply with other authors. Remember, writers want to sell books so finding places where readers reside online is more important than finding a facebook page where a thousand authors are posting their book daily.
We see writers and authors often cross promoting amongst themselves. That won’t get you far.
Remember, if you are looking for a book deal from a mainstream publisher, they will often look at author profiles on social media and judge them on their online following and content before making offers
4. The quality of your content reflects on you, good and bad
You might have the most amazing book ever written but if you don’t show it off in the right way you may end with with the greatest book nobody ever knew about.
A great example of this is your book cover. You have worked hard to create a book you think deserves to be read. Blood, sweat and tears have been spilt in the process.
The cover artwork should represent the quality of what is inside. Many authors get this wrong. If you have a book cover that doesn’t stand up to the professional covers in book shops or leading authors, you are already behind.
If you don’t have the money to pay a bit more for your cover, save up, don’t skimp. You can find amazing images used by the likes of HarperCollins, Penguin, Simon & Schuster etc. from a company called arcangel.com They have been supplying the book publishing industry for years and are highly recommended. Yes, they are a bit more expensive but the end result is worth it.
Think of your book as a Rolex or piece diamond ring. You wouldn’t think much if it was wrapped in newspaper whilst the others were presented in a beautiful presentation box. Remember, the potential reader or buyer won’t get to look inside unless the outside gets them interested.
It’s the same rules for what you post online and how you decide to tell people about your book. If all you do is put an image on facebook with lots of text that people can’t read or simply repeat post the same content. People won’t engage and you will be wasting your time.
5. Build online relationships
It’s important that the promotional content you put out is high quality but don’t forget that it’s also important to start to build relationships with influencers and like minded people in your market. One particular crime writer used only Twitter to build relationships with crime bloggers, key reviewers and influencers in her niche.
There was also promotional material and book trailers placed in between personal tweets over a period of time. Her strategy worked and it ultimately resulted in a book deal. By using a mixture of quality promotional content and outreach in a small but focused niche, she was able to be recognised, reviewed and noticed by a large publisher.
6. Understand your audience
As we mentioned previously, focus on one or two social platforms and do some research into which ones you think your audience frequents. If you know your niche is young adult, then Instagram is probably going to be a good place to start given the age groups.
If you are looking into the erotic market obviously you will avoid the platforms which have a big teen user group. Some research across platforms will give you clear indications of your audience.
7. Don’t wait until your book is out to get reviews!
This is a great tip. One of the biggest challenges is getting reviews and the last thing you want to do is launch your book on Amazon with absolutely no reviews. Don’t worry too much about friends and family for this, you need to go further.
Prior to releasing your book, send advanced copies to bloggers and key influencers. If they are willing to review your book on Goodreads, they should be happy to cut and paste it onto your amazon page also. If you can get 20 reviews on Amazon on your launch day it will make a big difference.
8. Sharing quality video and relevant posts online
So, we’ve already established that the quality of your content is crucial and that it represents you and your work. But what type of content do you need?
Book trailers are a great way to showcase your book but they are often expensive and out of reach for many authors. The good news is that the industry is changing, you can now get professional book trailers and author marketing packs for a lot less. RedCloud video, a London based company offer trailers from £49 and offer true value to those on a budget. They can be found at redcloudvideo.com/book-trailers.
9. If you have the budget or time to learn, create a simple website
Websites are a great way to showcase your promotional videos, book cover and blurb. You don’t need to have a full on, all bells and whistles website. A simple elegant page with nice design often gets better results. You will notice a theme running through these tips, quality, quality quality. Not expensive, not budget blowing but simply elegant and engaging content.
There are now numerous website builders that can do a lot of the work for you by dragging and dropping but there is still an amount of work to be put in so don’t take it lightly.
10. Make the most of the resources online and be yourself
With a bit of research and some guidance, you can find some amazing online resources that cut through the noise.
Find the right designer and image for your cover, check out the companies that offer high quality book trailers and author videos. Be aware that quality doesn’t always mean expensive. Whilst it may cost a little more the outcome is hugely different.
And finally, be yourself online. As the old saying goes, people buy people. If you want readers to engage with you, be you.