Book Marketing Tips

What book marketing tips do you have for a new writer?

Just a few suggestions on book marketing tips to getting your name Amazon Best Sellingout there. These are not in any order, just shoved in and numbered. Also, this section is not about grammar and formatting. It’s about helping authors generate ideas to sell their books.

PERSONAL EMAIL LIST (1)

Develop an email list of people who want to be contacted about updates on your writing and publications. Ask people if they want to be on your list. Wherever you go, make sure you carry something to capture people’s email addresses.

  • Ask. Ask. Ask.
  • Few people will volunteer.
  • Many people who agree to receive your emailed updates won’t read it, but that is okay. We are working on a numbers game here.
  • Don’t just shove in any email address you find. Having 10,000 names is a waste of time if only 100 of them really wanted to get your newsletter, your email, your text, or Facebook / Twitter / Instragram post.
  • Always ask first.
  • PROFESSIONAL EMAIL SERVICES (2)

These are professional services offering oodles of email names on their lists of readers. They will take your book information and broadcast it to everyone who subscribes to their list.

  • Look for services who categorize their email broadcasts by genre. It won’t help your book sales much if they only broadcast to people who read children’s books and you write erotica.
  • They may have as few as a thousand subscribers, take every submission sent to them, and email your book information for free. Or like BookBub (I’m not promoting them, just using them as an example) they may have 2.7 million subscribers who like mystery, or 1.6 million subscribers who read science fiction. But, they are expensive and they only accept less than twenty percent of the books submissions with some very stringent restrictions. They don’t guarantee results, but they are honest enough to post their best and worst results.
  • Just like every other service out there, some email services are good and some not so good. I’m not here to give recommendations to one site or another, you may have to ask fellow authors who they have used and what their results were. I have heard that BookBub, Pixel of Ink, & eReaderNewsToday are three of the best—but, “best” can only be determined by how effective they were for you.
  • Many such sites offer free Author profile pages.  If you do this, remember where they are and keep them up to date.
  • NEWSLETTERS (3)

You may want to consider sending out a monthly newsletter to your email contacts letting them know your updates.

  • Publications dates.
  • Contests.
  • Giveaway.
  • Special announcements.
  • Public appearances
  • Sales.
  • Next book progress.
  • The progress of other authors you have become friends with.

By now, you have been inundated with requests to read newsletters and blogs. Check a few out.

  • What are they doing that you can copy?
  • What are they doing that doesn’t work?

If you do a newsletter (or a blog) you must be consistent at publication. Consistent doesn’t mean spamming your readers every day. It means that if you write a blog once a week, do it once a week or send out a newsletter once a month, then do it every month.

Find an e-mail service to help you send these out without your usual provider shutting you down as a spammer. Your local internet provider may offer this as a part of their business customer programs

  • FACEBOOK (4)

Start a Facebook page related to your books and the craft of writing. Or all things related to horror, or anti-bullying in middle school.

  • Avoid pictures of your grandchildren unless they are the subject of your book. That belongs on your personal Facebook page.
  • Be careful about doing a page that is book specific. You may find yourself managing a dozen sites after you have published a dozen books. Design with the expanding your literary portfolio in mind.
  • Don’t hammer your friends and contacts with “buy my book”, “buy my book”, and “buy my book”. Be entertaining and post a variety of stuff, pix, other author’s reviews.
  • Rule of thumb is no more than three posts per day.

Most of all, get involved. Remember, this is social media.

  • WEBSITE (5)

Blogging or not is your choice, but you need to have somewhere to direct people to go when they do contact you.

  • Check other author’s websites (famous ones, not just mine) to see what you like and what you don’t like.
  • Learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO) or get the help of someone who knows this. It will help people find you on Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.
  • Get those fancy little widgets that help people jump from your website to your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, and other sites.
  • Link your books to sales sites.  Don’t make your potential readers work to find where to buy your books.
  • Brand your homepage with your newest release. Use headers and banners so your site visitors will be aware of your new release.
  • GOOGLE BOOK SEARCH (6)

Get your book listed on Google Book Search. It will help new readers find you.

  • TWITTER (7)

Post original content (tweet) and retweet (RT) comments from the people you follow to develop a following. I tweeting on one of my books today and the tweet was RT to over 100,000 people within moments. That doesn’t mean they will all see the tweet, but it expands the possibility.

  • Don’t be shy about RT another author’s content. It’s a reciprocal social media. This is because authors should not be in competition with each other. Remember the old New England aphorism: a rising tide lifts all boats.
  • As you tweet, try to establish a focus so your followers know what interests you. Writing? okay! Cute kitties? yeah, all right. Maybe both? sure, it’s your site.
  • I recommend avoiding the religious and political arguments. We are tweeting for readers, not for confrontation.
  • You only have 140 characters to get your point across. Every tweet should contain
    • a link
    • a picture &
    • hashtag. By the way, hashtags # are those special little search characters that will expand your tweet’s reach. Use them and keep a list of those you like.
  • Remember, just because you tweeted something once, doesn’t mean you can’t do it again.
  • There isn’t any real limit to Tweeting. Just remember that you do have a life.
  • “Consider adding your book to Goodkindles – a book marketing service for authors. Not only your book will be getting some views there everyday, but they also promote your book on multiple social channels, including Twitter – where they have currently over 100,000 followers.” Their link is http://goodkindles.net – I have linked a phrase “Goodkindles – a book marketing service for authors”
  • BOOK FESTIVALS & BOOK SIGNING EVENTS (8)
Tucson Festival of Books
Tucson Festival of Books

Go to book signings and fairs (promotional events). You may need to contact local writers and writer’s groups to find out what is available. For example in my area, the Tucson Festival of Books in March has 130,000 people show up. The farmer’s market I go to have only a few hundred. Both are effective.

  • This isn’t to sell your books, but to get your name out. You may sell a few books, but the contacts and word of mouth advertising this generates is incalculable. Remember: there is no such thing as an inconsequential conversation. That strange old woman may be the world’s best literary agent, may be looking for the next one hundred million dollar movie idea, or she just might like to read.
  • Partner up with other local authors if this help so you won’t be working this alone.
    • Start Informal author groups without membership roles so authors can come and go
    • Give your group fun, sexy, interesting names (Sante Fe Word Wranglers, Amazing Book Chaps)
      • Advertise your group as you advertise your event
      • Get banners for your group
  • Check with your local libraries and bookstores to see if they allow authors to do book signings.
  • Many areas have farmer’s markets and craft fairs that are easy to attend as a signing local author
    • You may want to check on local tax and licensing laws.
    • Combine with other authors
      • to run a single cash register to speed sales and
      • avoid duplicating costs of licensing.
  • Some simple rules that many authors fail to learn
    • Eye-to-eye contact. Take off your sunglasses unless they are prescription and you need them to see
    • Stand up
    • Shake hands
    • Introduce yourself.
    • Get the prospective reader’s name AND USE IT
  • Once the book has been purchased, then sign the book with
    • Their name. Ask how to spell it…even a simple name can have an odd spelling
      • Mary = Merrie, Merry
      • Alan = Allan, Allen, Allyn
      • John = Jon
      • Snicklefritz = well, you get the idea.
    • a quick phrase, memorize three or four for easy recall
    • your name,
    • the date,
    • and the location of the event.
  • They’re buying a book, but make sure they get free swag too.
  • Often you will need to invite people to stop by your booth, table, or display.
    • “Good morning. What do you like to read?”
    • “Good morning. I love your princess costume. Would you like a free page from a coloring book?”
    • “Good morning. Great T-shirt. Where did you get it?”
  • Remember: you’re not selling books, but connecting to readers.
  • However, don’t forget to add: “I would be pleased to autograph that book for you. Would you like it personalized or would you rather just have my signature?”
  • REVIEWS (9)

Contact online book bloggers to get their reviews on your novel. A good review can end up posted on half a dozen sites. A good book blogger can be your best friend.

  • Make sure the reviewer reads in your genre.
  • Always ask before sending a book for a review.
  • Personally, I don’t pay for reviews, but I don’t mind mailing a good reviewer a hard copy or sending them a Kindle version as a gift. Yes, a pdf copy is cheap, but you are a professional and should do business like one.
  • You can also check with other authors of the same genre that you write in. Swapping reviews can help book sales, but it can also developed friendships with other writers. Note: Amazon hates this and is removing such reviews as they find them.
  • Thank those reviewers whether they give you a good review or not. They are helping you more than you are helping them.
  • OTHER AUTHOR REVIEWS (10)

Put other author reviews on your website. You show theirs and they show yours.

You don’t want to get caught up in a review circle, but if you read it and enjoy it, say so.

  • MEDIA KITS (11)

Build a media kit and send it to radio and TV stations for interviews. My sales doubled in the UK after doing a radio interview with a Las Vegas station who had a big UK following. Who knew?

  • Media kits contain:
    • an author picture,
    • your latest book,
    • an up to date biography,
    • two or three paragraphs at most,
    • a literary portfolio listing,
    • key internet links,
    • samples of your interviews where you sound and appear lively and likeable,
    • unique questions they might consider asking you (yes, they like it when you do their job for them),
    • every piece of promotional literature you own and
    • every bit of author swag that you have.
  • Kits should not be built as one size fits all. Keep each piece separate until you get ready to mail them out and can customize the kit for the media outlet.
  • BUSINESS CARDS (12)

Get business cards and pass them out to everyone. I gave a business card to the lady who checked me out at the grocery store this afternoon and to the waitress at dinner tonight.

  • Don’t list your book on your business card. Your next book may make your card obsolete. Think what you want people to know about you after your fifth or tenth publication.
  • Name?
  • Website?
  • Title?
  • Email?
  • If you want to hand out more personal information, just write it on the back on the card before you give it away.
  • Put a QR code on it that takes them directly to your website.
  • MARKETING MATERIAL (13)

Develop marketing material to hand out.

  • Business cards can be easily thrown away, so have them, but get creative as well. Come up with something people will want to hold on to.
  • Bookmarks are common, maybe too much so. I met a woman who wrote erotic thrillers and the back of her bookmark had ten hilarious suggestions to improve your sex life. I still have it. That’s the point.
  • Design with intent of handing it out for free
    • a book flyer,
    • pamphlet,
    • pen or pencil,
    • sample chapters of your book on CD, flashddrives, or printed,
    • keychains
    • T-shirts or Polo shirts,
    • mouse pads
    • coffee mugs,
    • hats,
    • book cover posters,
    • refrigerator magnet or
    • rack card.
  • This stuff is also known as ‘swag’. Some swag can become outrageously expensive. Be as budget conscious as you need to be.
  • Put something in everyone’s hands.
  • Be imaginative and offer something that no one else is giving away. I recently met an author who wrote pirate romances. She gave away little rocks with hand painted skulls on them. Cool! It would also be fairly inexpensive if you paint your own rocks.
  • CONTESTS (14)

Plan contests and giveaways. Some online book bloggers will love to help you with this if they like your work. You can also find websites specifically designed to help you run them. Goodreads can do this for you.

  • Don’t be shy
  • Don’t be cheap! Think about which contest would attract your attention. One giving away a free pdf of the author’s book OR a contest giving away a Kindle E-Reader, a $27.90 gift card, three printed books and four e-versions?
  • I’ve used and recommend Book Giveaways from Tome Tender Blogspot.
  • YOUR EMAIL SIGNATURE (15)

Put your contact links in your automatic signature on every email. Even if you are sending an email to the guy who cleans your pool, let him know where to go to find out about you and your books.

  • LINKEDIN (16)

Improve your LinkedIn profile page. We need those same contacts that everyone else needs to know.

  • Make sure that you learn tagging. This is the way you tag your contact as an author, agent, editor, or your great aunt Sally.
  • Learn messaging in LinkedIn. It’s a business and professional site, but our profession is author and our business is selling books.
  • Find groups to match your genre, style, or interests. Some groups have 10,000 members and some only a few hundred.
  • Join in discussions. Please, please, please don’t be dry, condescending, and critical. Remember, these are discussion groups and we don’t stop to run our comments through our editor. I know I missed a comma, but I don’t care.
  • Be alive and lively. It’s your job to attract people with your writing, your wit and your charm. If you can attract them with a cute turn of a phrase or an unusual idea in a discussion group, a reader or writer will be more interested in buying your book, working with you on cross-promotion, or inviting you to speak to their reader’s group.
  • Think it is only authors connecting to authors?
    • Authors are readers, too.
    • There are forums to ask other authors about issues you’re dealing with
    • You may learn something.
  • PRESS RELEASES (17)

Write and send out press releases to every local paper within easy driving distance. Why the distance? Because it can generate interviews and invitations to promotional events.

  • Paper media is different than broadcast media.
  • You can completely write your own article.
  • They like it when you do their job for them. So, take the time to learn how to write a good press release.
  • BE CONNECTED (18)

Make sure everything is connected to your retailer’s site for your books.

  • Do you sell through your website, Amazon, Smashwords, or B&N? This isn’t about keeping these sites up to date, but this is where people go to purchase your books.
  • Don’t send them to your website only to make them go hunt for your books through the millions of books on Amazon. Put in a link, so when they are ready to buy, they can just jump there.
  • Many such sites have widgets that can be used to cross-link sites.
  • GOODREADS (19)

Get signed up on Goodreads.

  • A lot of readers start there before buying books.
  • There are a lot of sites that list your book for free. Goodreads is one of the biggest and best. They have 1.5million viewers every day. You want to get your chunk of that reader pie.
  • Goodreads also gives you an author page. Make use of it. If you do not want a website of your own, this makes a great substitute as you can do almost everything here that you can do on your own site.
  • FORWARDING EMAILS (20)

Ask family and friends to forward your emails, Facebook postings and newsletters regarding your book to at least five people that you don’t know.

  • They won’t do it if you don’t ask.
  • Don’t get upset when they don’t share your exciting news.
  • BOOK CLUBS (21)

Check with book clubs in your area to see if they would be interested in buying your books at a discount and then letting you come and speak when they discuss it.

  • Does your church have a book club?
  • If you write for YA, do you volunteer to speak on writing at age appropriate schools and classrooms?
  • Many social clubs have auxiliary book clubs.
  • LIBRARY DONATIONS (22)

Can you donate a copy of your book to your local library system?

  • Yes, I know that you are giving a book away. So what? It is getting your name out there.
  • Many public libraries are dying for lack of funding.
  • If someone reads and likes your book, they may buy the second one.
  • YOUR NEXT BOOK (23)

Work on your second book. Sometimes the best way to sell your first book is to talk about the one you are writing now. In this era of massive publication, quantity is second only to quality.

  • We must, as both independent and traditionally published authors, expand our brand’s footprint. This doesn’t mean we throw out a dozen crappy pseudo-novels.
  • It means that we are writers and we write.
  • We offer the best product to our reader than we can generate.
    • We get professionally edited.
    • We pay for professional cover artists.
    • We seek people to professionally format our work.
    • Then we do not hesitate to publish or submit a manuscript to an agent/publisher.
  • The more books in your portfolio, the more you sell. If someone liked your first book, they will read your second, third, sixteen.

And we talk about what we are writing now.

  • AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE (24)

Complete your author’s page on Amazon. I know this should be higher up this list, but here it is.

People read these.

  • Make this page as entertaining as Amazon allows.
  • Did you know you can Tweet and Post directly from your Amazon book’s page? Look for the widgets. It’s one click and you’re done.
  • Get that Amazon Author Profile as complete as you can make it.
  • We want people to follow you.
  • We want them to buy your second, third and fourth books.
  • We want your readers addicted to you.
  • Why do I say this about Amazon and not other sites that sell books? Because this is where most people buy their books and their market share is growing every day.
  • Have you visited Author Central? They have
    • blogs,
    • event listings,
    • photos,
    • pictures, and
    • how well your book sold in Boise.
    • Watch is page for comments and respond. People love it when an author they like actually talks to them. Do NOT respond to bad reviews. Just let it go.
  • YOUR PHOTO (25)

Get a good picture of you.Alan Black bio photo

  • This picture should be everywhere you put pictures:
    • Amazon Author Page,
    • Facebook,
    • Twitter,
    • LinkedIn,
    • Goodreads, etc.
  • Be consistent so your followers recognize you.
  • Smile, please! No one likes a grump.
  • People connect to people, not things. You are not your cat or that cute caricature of you.
  • If you don’t think you look good in pictures, get help in getting a good head shot.
  • People want to see your face, not some blurry shape on a horse from half a mile away taken thirty years ago.
  • You are selling you as much as you are selling your book.
  • PARTY TIME (26)
Larry Goes To Space cake
Larry Goes To Space cake

Plan a publication, release, or book party.

  • Ask friends to host a party for you and invite their friends and family.
  • Food, drinks, and talking about books.
  • Many places will make you a cake with your book cover on the icing.
  • Many small independent bookstores will be glad to help you host such an event at their store.
  • It may be an expensive party, but it will generate enthusiasm for you and your book.
  • Don’t plan on selling a lot of books at the party.
  • Your plan is to make people want to buy your book, maybe just not now.
  • Photo Booth:
    • Be sure to have a photo booth at your book launch party with old picture frames painted fun colors and chalkboard/whiteboard signs.
    • Encourage guests to snap pics with your book and post them on social media (with your hashtags of course).
  • CELEBRITY/ORGANIZATION ENDORSEMENTS (27)

Do Internet searches to find a celebrity or organization who like your kind of book, topic, genre, etc. Send them a free copy and ask what they think.

  • You may get a celebrity endorsement.
  • You may get a movie deal.
  • Go for it.

The worse that can happen is they say no and keep the book.

  • SAMPLE CHAPTERS (28)

How about posting sample chapters of your book?

Amazon already gives readers the ‘look inside’ so you are not giving away any big secrets.

  • Where?
    • Newsletter,
    • website, and
    • blogs.
  • POP-UP READINGS (29)
reading from a WIP
reading from a WIP

Do book readings at every opportunity.

  • Select a fun, exciting, or sexy section of your book for a five or ten minute read. You know your book, what section makes exciting short reading?
  • Reading from a different locations can involve local businesses who were more than willing to re-tweet and share posts (advertising for them too!)
  • Selected locations that relate to your book.
  • Do any local businesses do an ‘open mic night’?

Come on, get over your shyness. Stand up there and be proud that you’ve published a book. Talk about you, your book, your cause and read a little.

  • You have to hang around for a little bit afterwards to
    • talk to people,
    • hand out your business card, and
    • give away some promotional swag.
    • Make sure they know where to buy your books.
  • CAR SALES (no, not that kind) (30)

Keep a few books in your car. You never know when you might get the opportunity to sell a few.

  • Keep them neat and clean.
  • Plastic containers with lids aren’t that expensive.
  • PHONE SALES (no, not that kind, either) (31)

Do you keep pix of your book covers on your phone?Larry Goes To Space A

This can be a great visual aid when you are giving your elevator speech.

  • BOOK TRAILERS (32)

Have you thought about making a book trailer for your book?

There are a few sites out there that even give you a free trial so that you can do a short one yourself to see if you like it.

These can be as expensive or an inexpensive as you want them to be

  • STICKERS (33)

Buy little ‘autographed copy’ stickers. I like the small fancy gold foil kind that won’t cover up my name or the book title.

I have a rule. No book leaves my house without being signed and with a sticker on it, especially if it is going to be personalized.

  • Details matter.
  • Even adults like stickers on their books. They want people to know that they know an author.
  • BANNERS (34)

Buy a banner for your table display at book signings.

  • A blank table with a stack of books won’t draw people’s eyes to you.
  • Be creative—you are, so show it.
  • Also, avoid putting book titles on this banner because your next book will make the banner obsolete.
  • Write a short one-sentence catch phrase about you and what you write. Use that on your banner.
  • A nice tablecloth is a must, but so is a good picture on a banner.
  • Think through how this banner will be attached to your table.
  • Many venues will not allow you to use the tall stand-alone banners.
  • FYI – get some good bookstands for your table displays.
  • ELEVATOR SPEECHES (35)

Yes! How quickly can you excite a reader when you only have an elevator ride between floors. This will happen more often than you realize, especially if you get over your fear of looking people in the eye and smiling.

  • Write three blurbs for each book you have published, each one shorter than the one before.
  • Keep them handy and practice saying them aloud.
  • You are promoting you as much as you are promoting your book.
  • MANNERS (36)

Okay, I’m not your mother, but it’s time for lesson in manners.

  • Write thank you notes to those people who have helped you market your book.
  • It is the follow up that will sell your second book.
  • LITERARY CONTESTS (37)

Do you want to be an “award winning author”? Enter them at your own risk.

  • There are good ones and there are bad ones.
    • Winning the right one is marketing gold.
    • Entering the wrong one can be costly in terms of entry fees and wasted time.
  • How to tell good from bad? Have you ever heard of the award or the organization BEFORE they sent you an email about their contest?
  • SUPPORT THE CHARITIES (38)

Have you looked into donating your books to troops overseas?

  • Or the local charity auction?

The idea is to spread your name around. If people like your book, they will buy a second one.

  • Prisons? Maybe not. Their readers may be a captive audience, but they are not in a position to buy their own copy or buy book two, three, or thirty.
  • SIGN UP SHEETS (39)

Use a guestbook for all events.

  • Gather emails and names for follow up and to add to your newsletter list.
  • Raffle off a basket of goodies as an enticement to give their email address.
  • Gift certificates to the hosting bookstore are more than appreciated by everyone.
  • GIVE BOOKS AWAY (40)

We already talked about giveaway contests, libraries, and charities, but I am talking about giving books without any strings attached.

  • Tuck them away into gift baskets at book signings and book fairs.
  • Leave them in airport terminals,
  • back of bus seats, and
  • hotel lobby libraries.

Get stickers that say “Free Promotional Copy – Signed by the Author”.

  • You never know who will pick it up and then, yes then, buy some of your other books.

Do not give away your book on free promotions to thousands of readers. Your job is to sell your books, not give them away.

  • BOXED SETS (41)
Other Times & Other Worlds - boxed set
Other Times & Other Worlds – boxed set

Offer to put one of your books into a book set or an anthology with other famous authors for free or at a greatly reduced price. Note: I’m not into putting books out there for free on a permanent basis, but this is to help generate word of mouth advertising.

  • This is especially useful if you offer the first book in a series.
  • These can be combined with ‘classics’ to fit your genre. Classic books are public domain and only require a bit of extra formatting

See “Other Times & Other Worlds” – boxed set

  • This is one of those things that work best when you have 3, 5, or 10 novels in your literary portfolio.
  • SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTS (42)

Are you an expert in a non-fiction subject.

  • Write a short book on the subject.
  • It will help expand your backlist.
  • Don’t throw crap out there, but if a reader sees your wordcraft skills on a subject of interest, they will be more likely to pick up your novel than not.
  • LARGE WRITERS GROUPS (43)

Join large writer’s groups. (RWA, SFWA, etc)

Attend their conferences and conventions.

Get involved and get active.

Take every opportunity to speak or be on a panel discussion group.

You’re the foremost expert on your novel.

If you join a national group and you can’t personally attend a distant conference, send them your book and swag as giveaways anyway.

  • KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE (44)

Who is your audience?

Who did you write this book for?

Know your readers well enough to know whether your book will be attractive to a church book club or should you spend your time at a rodeo convention.

I mentioned this earlier, but there is a social component to your marketing. Invite your readers into your marketing process.

  • Talk to them.
  • Answer their emails.
  • Ask their opinion on what they think your next book should be about.
  • Do not respond to reviews, but if a reader posts a comment in a discussion group, answer their question and respond to their comments, even if all you can say is thanks for your feedback.

If a reader likes you, they will be more included to buy your fourth, fifth and sixteenth novel.

  • PODCASTS (45)

You may want to start your own podcast. It can be a valuable tool as a platform for marketing your books and the books of other authors.

Learn to be a good guest on other’s podcasts.

Many podcasts can be done over the phone or Skype, but if travel is possible, face-to-face interactions can be more lively.

Steampunk themed podcasts may not be the best use of your time if you write books about gardening.

  • DIRECT MAIL MARKETING TO MEDIA OUTLETS (46)

You may want to try direct mail marketing.

  • If your book is about gardening, direct mail a promotional flyer and a free book to a few magazines about gardening.
    • Offer to swap promotional material.
    • Offer to send a promo out about their magazine to all of your readers if they promo your book in their magazine or to their email lists.
    • They may even be willing to sell you their mailing list.

There are magazines that fit almost any genre of fiction.

  • DO YOU HAVE YOUR WEBSITE ADDRESS STUCK IN THE BACK WINDOW OF YOUR CAR? (47)
  • BOOK MEDIA OPTIONS (48)

Do you have your novel in all media forms?

  • Paperback,
  • e-reader,
  • hardcover,
  • large print, and
  • audiobooks?

We are expanding you and your book’s footprint.

  • NETWORK WITH FELLOW AUTHORS (49)

There is strength in numbers.PCC 2015 Promo Banner

I am not talking about writers groups as much as I am support and marketing groups.

  • When I am at a book signing with more than one author and a reader tells me they only read romance, I know which author in my group to recommend. I will then walk the reader over and introduce her/him to an author who will meet their reading need.
  • My author friends do the same for me.
  • I’ve had a fan stop by a signing event with six authors. He bought five of my books, but he (out of politeness) bought one more from each of the other authors at the event.
  • If one of those authors is invited to a book signing and there is room for another author, who do you think they will ask to come along?

Never underestimate the value of an inconsequential conversation. This year’s struggling author may be next year’s Pulitzer Prize winner.

  • PRICING (50)

Where do you have your book priced? 99c or $9.99?

There is a sweet spot for your novel and your genre.

  • 99c for a full length novel is too low. This may change by the time you read this, but today genre fiction should be between $4.99 and $2.99.
  • Too high and the reader (prospective buyer) will not see your book.
  • Too low and the reader will not value what they are buying.
    • This means bad reviews,
    • unfinished books and
    • even unread books.
  • It is possible to give your book away to thousands of readers, even in a short time period.
    • You are not gaining readers, you are giving away books.
    • The reader has no investment in your book and therefore doesn’t feel the need to read you book over the millions of others out there.
    • If they don’t read and like your first book, they won’t buy your second, fourth or fourteenth book.
  • If you have a series of five or six books, you may want to experiment with giving away book one at a reduced rate.
    • Experiment,
    • track the results.
    • Did you give away books to gain readers for books two through six, or did you just give away books.
  • CREATE A HOLIDAY (51)

It’s easy enough to create a holiday and select the annual date for it.

  • Don’t just pick a pick a date. For it to have book marketing value,
    • it has to have a direct link to your book,
    • something in your book, or
    • something of great literary value.
  • Then you have to spread the word about the special day you’ve created (publicity is a good option).
  • Once you’ve chosen a date and made it fun, get it listed in Chase’s Calendar of Events.
  • If your holiday is quirky, contact the folks at Holiday Insights to get listed on their site.
  • BRANDING (52)

Think of two or three symbols within your book and use those to brand your book.

I wrote “The Friendship Stones” set in 1920 Ozark Mountains. I could use rocks and mules in various ways across social media from

  • photos,
  • tweets,
  • related
  • stories, and
  • decorations at events.
  • HASHTAGS (53)

Create three unique hashtags # for your book.

Include them on photos and throughout social media to reach a wider audience.

Use common book-related hashtags such as

  • #bookboost,
  • #amreading, and
  • #mustread
  • FOOD FUN (54)

Contact a local restaurant or food truck about naming a dish or drink in honor of your book or book launch.

  • Try to match recipes with something related to your book. (I have a good recipe for opossum if you need one)
  • This can be a short time re-naming for a daily special.
  • Do book signing during the day your special dish is being served. Food trucks would be fun as you move your display from one of their locations to the next.
  • Entertain the diners with a pop-up reading
  • QUIZ (55)

Generate interest by starting a free book quiz on Survey Monkey. Ask questions that relate to

  • your book genre,
  • storyline,
  • location,
  • characters

Remember to be witty, charming, amusing, and generally fun to play with.

  • CHEAP BOOK BAGS (56)

These are the little plastic ‘thank you’ bags that you can purchase at any office supply or box store.

They are perfect for giving away to people who buy your books at

  • Farmer’s Markets
  • Conventions
  • Conferences
  • Book Fairs
  • Book Festivals

Have you spotted someone walking PAST your table with something in their hands? Say, “I have something FREE for you.” Then give them a bag to carry their purchases in. It will get them to stop and talk to you. Yes, you have to talk to them.

  • Put a business card or bookmark in every bag that leaves your table.
  • If you have multiple authors you’ve partnered with, everybody puts in a bookmark or business card in each bag that goes out.
  • EXPENSIVE BOOK BAGS (57)

These are the reusable (eco-friendly) canvas tote bags that everyone uses these days.

These can be preprinted with marketing information on them.

  • Don’t clutter the sides too much.
  • Use simple, but eye catching graphics.

You may give them away free to anyone who buys a book or a book bundle.

You may even sell them.

  • GUERILLA MARKETING (58)

Are you ready to be sneaky?

You’re in a store that has a book section. Put a business card into books in your book’s genre.

  • Grocery Stores
  • Convenient Stores
  • Book Stores
  • SPEAKING UP (59)

Unless you are phobic about speaking in front of groups, do so. Pick a subject

  • related to your book’s subject matter,
  • writing,
  • marketing (yes, you now have lots of ideas for giving talks…use these ideas, it’s okay),
  • business,
  • social media,
  • writer’s block or
  • publishing

Volunteer to speak at

  • Book clubs
  • Writers groups
  • Conventions
    • Moderate or
    • Join panels
  • Schools,
  • If you write gardening books, speak at gardening clubs.

Most of the time, these groups will allow you the opportunity to

  • mention your books,
  • set up a display of your books
  • hand out business cards
  • hand out swag

CREATE A VIDEO BLOG (60)

Upload videos to YouTube and embed each video in a blog post. This is not a book trailer, but about you as an author.

  • Answer fan questions
  • interview another author,
  • interview a character from your book
  • recommend other books

RE-LAUNCH YOUR BOOK  (61)

Redesigning a book cover can be a great way to reinvigorate book sales.

  • YOUR BOOK’S BACK MATTER  (62)

Take advantage of a few pages at the back of your book.

  • List other books by you.
  • Short author bio
  • List your website.
  • List blurbs and reviews of other books.

This is not an all inclusive

 

list, but whatever you do, start a file to keep track of what you have done and what the results were. Its just busy work unless you can verify what works for you. What may work for a scifi author (comicons) may not work for a mystery writer! Keep in mind that repetition is key here. It may take more than one email, more than one business card, more than one speaking engagement because marketing is not a one-and-done proposition.

14 thoughts on “Book Marketing Tips”

  1. Really useful! I have linked to this page from my own blog. Nice to see a thorough list of marketing ideas without a price tag attached.

    1. CC,
      Price tag? Really? What do you think I should charge? Noooooo, just kidding. I believe that authors shouldn’t be in competition with each other, that we should work together. None of us can write fast enough to satisfy our reader’s appetites, even if our reader reads one a day, one a week or one book a month. I am a multi-genre author, so I give my readers a variety of options. However, if I recall from our LinkedIn connection, you write poetry AND you have a novel about … The Stink. A contemporary young adult novel about teenage musicians. Therefore, if someone says, ‘I read poetry’ or ‘Do you have a contemporary novel about teenage musicians?’ I can say no and direct them to you.

      The more readers read, the better off everyone will be. I am fond of the New England aphorism “A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats”.

    1. Gold is only valuable if you form it into something useful or pretty. Good luck with using these tips.

  2. Awesome advice! A definite goldmine of information for a new writer. I plan to use and share what you’ve given us here. Thanks, Alan.

  3. Great list of tips, Alan. I would recommend authors also give away some free content that is not their entire book, like a short story. That’s a nice giveaway for joining the email list/monthly newsletter!

  4. So helpful. I like the one about putting business cards in books of similar genre. Pricing is another issue. CreateSpace charges approximately $4.50 plus shipping and Amazon is charging $10.95 for my book. tough to price at $4.95 for a mystery. Alan, I really appreciate your posting this list of a “few suggestions”

  5. Thanks Alan, this is the most comprehensive and meaningful guide to book marketing I have seen. Close, I think, to the holy grail!

    Best wishes,
    Warne Wilson

  6. Alan, this is the best marketing list I’ve seen! Amazing. I am doing many of those things, but there are scads of suggestions that I should try. Thank you!
    Btw, I was born and raised in Arizona. My book is about a haunted canyon there.
    Kris

    1. Kris,
      Thanks. I’m always looking for new ideas to add to the list, so let me know if I’ve missed something.
      Alan Black

Welcome and thanks. I will respond as soon as I can.

Entertaining Stories