A James Michener you are not, although you may be in any number of stages of authorship (or maybe not), but seriously haven’t you ever thought about writing your own book? I did at least a dozen times and even have one manuscript finished….but I kind of not really sure whether it’s worth to see the world or not.
Anyways, your job’s not actually done with the last word typed in the file. It’s just the beginning. There will always be the issue of promotion. Even if you have a publisher, there is only so much that will be done to market your book. If you are self-publishing which became all so common these days, well, thinking about the ways of how you are going to promote your book is essential.
Here are 36 tips for self-promoting that could make a big difference in sales and establish loyal followers who will be eagerly awaiting your next book!
Ideally, promotion should begin before the book is finished. You should be joining book clubs and authors’ groups, both on- and off-line; you should be lining up local and online reviewers who might be willing to read a few chapters as they are finished and give a plug or two; you should be promoting your upcoming masterpiece on all of your social media accounts; you should be joining writing and authors’ forums, not necessarily to promote your book but to get your name “out there;” you should be contributing to writing blogs with guest posts or contacting bloggers who might want to post a review about your book if you send ‘em a copy. If your book is already finished, you kind of have to do all of this if you’d like it to be sold and read.
Identify Your Audience: There are people who literally read only one or two genres of literature. Where do you find your readers? For starters, go to writing and authors’ websites, forums, blogs, niches on LinkedIn and Pinterest – join these groups and get to know readers who are commenting on and reviewing the books that they have read. Develop relationships with them. You can use them down the road!
Start Thinking of Yourself as an Author: Like Jeff Goins puts it - the only way to become a real writer is to start calling yourself a writer.
No matter what your day job may be, you need to speak about yourself as an author. When you go to a social gathering and are asked what you do, you need to state that you are an author. Tell anyone who will listen. You can talk about your book, get email addresses and promise them a promotional copy when it is ready!
Set a Budget for Promotional Activities: Down the road, there will be costs involved in promotion, and you need to research what these costs will be and how much you have to invest . You will have to set priorities, but the first step is to fully understand how much you have to spend in order to earn something from your book.
Set up a Marketing Plan: This will not be easy if you have never marketed before, and part of that budget may be to hire a professional, at least for the digital aspect of marketing. Without digital promotion, you will not capture a huge market potential. Here’s a cool step-by-step guide
Get a Website: You need a dynamic, compelling and engaging website that does much more than just promote your book. It’s the place where your potential readers can get to know about you, engage with you and in general, get the idea why they need/want to buy your book!
Your website should be a place to which readers are excited to come, because there is such good, entertaining, and cool stuff to find and learn. And if the content is really done well, you are going to be found by search engines when certain keyword terms are used. For this, you might check out this guide by Cody Bollerman from SEO San Diego to get you started with search engine marketing. It’s best to attempt ranking at the local level first esp if you a planning a series of offline events around your area.
Add a blog on your website: This is where you will write all sorts of wonderful stuff about being an author and about great books that have just come out; you tell personals stories and invite other authors to share theirs; you’ll be funny, entertaining, poignant, and an educator. And you’ll drive people to your blog with a lot of the other tips on this list.
Write Guest Posts Anywhere: Submit posts and articles everywhere you can – write about anything and leave a link to your website. Do reciprocal posts with other authors.
Use the Setting of Your Book as a Marketing Tool: If you have written a murder mystery set in your hometown with current events and places as a “backdrop,” use this as a promotional tool with groups and local book stores. People love reading about their own locales.
Join Goodreads: 20 million readers are members of this site, and you will have the opportunity to add friends and join in all types of groups and activities. For a detailed explanation of all that Goodreads can do for your promotion, go to Goodreads website.
Schedule timed press releases on social media: You want to roll out your book for at least three months after publication. Offer free e-copies or the first few chapters to whet appetites. Get all of your social media friends to share your roll outs and any “teaser” content your throw out there to gauge the audience.
Set up a contests for a free copy: Ask contestants to name the villain of your sequel on which you are currently working. You can get email addresses for future email campaigns, and you’ve already set up interest in a future book.
Use every local contact you can think of: Do You know anyone affiliated with a local newspaper, radio or television station? Or do you know anyone who knows any of these people? This is not the time to be shy – you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Ask for a short interview or promotion for a local author!
Contact Local Reviewers: You’re a local author and you have written a book. Ask a reviewer to read it!
Have your friends write reviews: If you book is for sale on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iTunes, have your friends, as many as possible, get on those sites and write reviews of your books. Write reviews for them if they are unsure of their writing skills! The more great reviews on these site, the better you’ll rank on them – you need at least 20 on each site.
Get yourself a guest speaking spot at book clubs: Start at your local library – a hometown author is always a “draw.”
Your cover really matters: You may need to spend some money to get a cover you really like – hire a pro and don’t penny pinch.
Get business cards: One side should have a picture of your book cover; the other should have a picture of you, a teaser sentence about the book, and a link to your website, where of course your book will be for sale.
Links on your website: Have automatic links to every site the sells your book
Get a media kit: In addition to business cards, you will want a one sheet glossy of your book cover; on the backside, a picture of you, short description of the book, and rave recommendation from friends/readers/press etc.
Buy promotional time: If you have it in your budget, and you cannot get free air time, buy it. Get yourself on a favorite morning radio show during commute time. Do a short interview and purchase several “runs” of it over a two-month period.
Get on Google+ hangouts: Hook up with other authors – promise cross-promotion of each other’s books and live Q&A sessions with your readers.
Send your manuscript out to book bloggers: Focus on those that specialize in your genre and who have an engaged audience (meaning loads of comments on posts, active discussions, activity on social media, not just some thousands followers that never retweet or like anything).
Have a launch party with other authors: If several of you are getting ready to launch a new book, combine your funds and have a launch party at a local bookstore or museum, with snacks and wine. Give coupons for discounts.
Write a series: Publishers like series; so do readers. If you can promote your book by promoting sequels to come, all the better.
Try consignment stores: Go to them all within a 50-mile radius and ask to put several copies in on consignment, along with some information from your media kit for display.
Sell your book on Pinterest: If you have a great story to tell about yourself and the “making” of your book, all the better! That’s what the local community loves.
Set up a Facebook page for your main character: Tell stories about him/her; present problems and dilemmas and ask for reader advice.
Set up a booth at craft and holiday gift fairs: Offer special pricing and announce it all over your social media.
Pay for “lobby” space at conventions: contact promoters of conventions, seminars, and conferences that are coming to town that even remotely relate to your book and offer to pay for some space to sell your book.
Go to flea markets: You can sell other stuff, but have special pricing on your book, along with your promotional glossies.
Find sites that your audience frequents: You identified your audience in step 2. Now go where they go online. Buy advertising space and offer discounts.
Offer commissions for sales of your books: Have friends promote your book on their social media accounts and share with their friends that you will pay a commission for every sale they generate. This is a great way to get “discovered” and have readers ready for your next book.
Consider joining the Author Marketing Club: Check it out at Author Marketing Club. They have some great ideas for creating book covers, writing great descriptions for Amazon, etc.
Change your email signature: Whenever you send an email, your signature at the bottom should have info on your book with a link to your website or blog.