How To Make Book Marketing Less Time Consuming for Authors
Book marketing can leave you feeling frazzled and overwhelmed. There are a million different options, tactics, ideas, and approaches - it makes your head spin. I don't know about you, but when there are too many options my brain automatically shuts down!
The problem often starts with the fact that we take on more than what we can handle and what we have time for. It’s impossible to do 50 things effectively in a limited amount of time. That’s why I wanted to break down how to effectively market your book - what you should focus on along with some bonus elements that are just icing on the cake.
Your Book Marketing Foundation
The following six elements are essential to every author’s marketing plan - these are the foundational steps on which you build everything else. They are also steps that you can get started with your book marketing before your book is finished.
1) Identify your Ideal Reader.
Here I go again talking about the importance of an ideal reader! I keep bringing it up because it's the most important element of your book marketing. Everything comes back to your readers! When you clearly know who you’re trying to reach, you will know how to reach them and where they are online.
To learn more about identifying your ideal reader, sign up for our free training called Answers for Authors: 5 Actionable Steps to Intentionally Grow Your Audience.
2) Set realistically attainable goals.
Whether that be a number of books you want to sell in a certain amount of time or being listed on a best-sellers list, be sure to set a goal. If you don't have a clear destination in mind, you'll never be able to map out your path to get there. And it's OK if your goal changes along the way. You have to start somewhere.
3) Set a budget.
Of course you need to know what you can afford to spend financially on marketing your book. The harder thing to budget for is time. Figure out how much time you have available each week to dedicate to your book marketing as well as the money you have available for advertising on Facebook, Goodreads, etc. Don't forget to include the cost of your website and any help you may need to hire along the way.
If you find yourself strapped for cash and don't have a budget, don't worry. Here's a blog post on how you can market your book when you have little or no money.
4) Create your marketing plan.
We have a complete marketing plan template that you can fill out which will help you easily create your plan: The Author's DIY Modern Marketing Workbook.
5) Set up your social media accounts.
Social media is where you find and interact with your readers. Click here to find out how to pick the best social media outlets for you and your book.
6) Launch your website.
Everything online should direct people to your website, so this part of your online presence is critical. Whether you are getting started or looking to make an upgrade, we highly recommend Squarespace for everything from a simple landing page to full-featured blog (like ours) to selling your books yourself online.
7) Start blogging.
Ideally as a part of your website, your blog is how your readers get to know more about you, your books, and can get a feel for what you have to offer. It also gives you content to share on social media so you can get the traffic going to your website! Check out these great blogging resources to help you get started.
8) Get your newsletter established and growing.
Here are several links to help you get your newsletter set up and how to best use it.
Once Your Book Is Completed
There are a few details that you can’t deal with until your book is closer to being done. The following are elements that are also essential to your overall book marketing that every author should do.
9) Set up your Amazon Author Page.
Amazon is the number one place where people go for books online. Your author page gives you a place to share your biography, headshot, your blog feed (which links to your website), and a centralized place for Amazon users to see all of your books available on their store. Visit Amazon Author Central to get started.
10) Compile a list of your connections.
Make a list of friends and professional acquaintances who you can ask for help with providing Amazon reviews, social media shares, and whatever other ways you come up with to get the word out about your book.
11) Make a list of keywords.
Keywords are your secret weapon in making sure your content is seen by the right people. To come up with a list of keywords, think about what words and phrases your readers use to search for books like yours. Your Ideal Reader Profile will also come in very handy here to help you come up with a great list.
This is the section where we tend to go overboard and get ourselves in trouble by taking on too much. The steps above are all essential to marketing your book effectively. The ideas below are just icing on the cake once those essentials are completed. I’d advise you to add maybe two or three from the list below, depending on how much time you have. If you have more, add on one at a time until you complete each.
12) Ask fans to leave Amazon reviews.
13) Purchase ads on Goodreads, Facebook, etc.
14) Create a book trailer for your website, then share it on social media.
15) Hold book giveaways on social media.
16) Offer limited-time incentives (like free giveaways or exclusive content) when readers order your book.
17) Offer limited-time promotional discounts on your book(s).
18) Set up a Noisetrade promotion.
19) Schedule a blog tour.
20) Host a free webinar.
21) Check with local organizations for events where you might be able to participate in with a reading, a vendor booth, presentations, etc.
22) Check your local library for book clubs and events where you might be able to read or be a part of.
23) Contact your alumni magazine to let them know about your book release.
24) Contact bloggers for reviews or features on your book.
25) Schedule a book signing event at your local bookstore.
26) Inquire about guest blogging on a blog that reaches your ideal reader.
27) Hold a giveaway on Library Thing and Goodreads.
28) Create a bonus incentive for people to purchase your book that is only available for a limited time.
29) Host a Twitter Chat.
30) Schedule a Skype Book Club Tour.
31) Host live video chats on Facebook.
32) Donate your book to nursing homes, prisons, and other institutions.
33) Gather blog posts to create a free ebook to offer on your website.
34) Partner with other authors that share a similar genre to help promote each other's books.
35) Start a Facebook Group to promote deeper conversations about your book's subject.
36) Start a Goodreads Group in your genre.
37) Pitch articles and content to lifestyle blogs and other specific interest outlets.
38) Enlist your fans to share/talk about your book on social media, their blogs, newsletters, etc.
39) Host a Facebook book club.
40) Host a guest blogger.
42) Do a reading at your local nursing home, hospital or community college.
43) Contact your local chamber of commerce to see what is available for you in your area.
44) Do a video series answering fans questions.
45) Give away a previously released book to help promote new book.
46) Translate your book into a widely spoken language like Spanish or French to help broaden the reach of your book and increase sales.
47) Create a book launch team.
48) Partner up with your local bookstore to sponsor a readers night.
49) Find websites and publications within your books subject matter and pitch articles.
50) Partner with other creatives - don't limit yourself to just other writers. see how you might be able to cross-promote with illustrators, painters, musicians, and designers. You never know who else is out there that might be a great fit!
This list just skims the surface of what you could use to help market your book. You can take some of these ideas and apply them or use them as a jumping off point to get the juices flowing.
Sometimes it’s difficult to know what you should focus on or to know what is most important in your book marketing. Hopefully this will clear the air and help you be more efficient and effective!
TAKE ACTION: Tell us in the comment section what three “Add Ons” you will be using for your book marketing. What have you found helpful and beneficial to your book marketing efforts?