Many authors have started, and some of us have even finished, writing a book. But so many of those, who actually completed their manuscripts, have not had any luck selling more than a few copies to a handful of close, supportive friends and relatives because they lacked the know-how of how to market a book. Even one-of-a-kind, engaging content sometimes gets left sitting on the back shelf somewhere, or never comes up on an Amazon search.
“Why is that?”, you may ask. And, surely, this won’t happen to you! You have a great product, but the bad news is that products don’t market themselves. And books are convenience goods that consumers don’t buy frequently. Knowing how to market a book is almost as important as knowing how to write one in the first place. You need to come up with a book marketing strategy!
A strategy? Yes, definitely if you decide to self-publish your book.
Basically, if you decide to self-publish, you are committed to playing all the traditional roles an established publishing company plays in how to market a book. What this means is that your task is not just to write a great book, but also to do a great job marketing it to the public. But where do you start? You come up with a book marketing strategy and then you take the plunge. Below you will find the five key elements that comprise how to market a book.
1. Build a website
Your author’s website is where you can update any information relevant to the publishing of your work. This is where you showcase your new book, whet the reader’s appetite with an excerpt of your manuscript and a picture of the book cover, announce any important dates such as a book signing, a reader club meeting, a speaking event on your book’s topic, etc. Your author’s website also functions as a home base for all of your social media activity, so make sure you link your important social media accounts to it.
2. Establish a wide social media presence
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Amazon. Goodreads. These are all social media outlets where you should manifest your presence as an author. All the hits, likes, and retweets you rack up online will pay off in book sales. Social media is crucial for how to market a book these days; therefore it MUST be included when you come up with a book marketing strategy!
3. Start a blog
If you don’t already have one, you will want to consider starting a blog. It doesn’t have to be significant and can be simply added to your author’s website, as you are likely not going to try to monetize the blog itself. But you should still create posts frequently. It keeps the content of your website fresh. Also, it consistently renews your readers’ interest in your work.
4. Buy into some good, old-fashioned, non-social media book publicity
Yes, even in this day and age, radio or print advertising goes a long way in how to market a book. When you come up with a book marketing strategy, do not overlook this very important element! An online presence may be the Alpha and Omega of how to market a book nowadays, but there are a lot of letters between those two, obviously both in the Greek alphabet and in your book. Good, old-fashioned print reviews or interviews are a fantastic way to build an audience without the help of social media. TV or radio advertising is great, but may make a more introverted first-time author a little uncomfortable. It is also generally quite a bit pricier than print advertising. However, if you can include it when coming up with a book marketing strategy, you absolutely should.
If you have some money to spend on your book publicity and really want to make the most of conventional media, hire a professional company. You will be able to benefit from the company’s established network of industry pros. It can help you plan book-signing events, talks at industry-related events or bookstores, and meetings with book clubs or writing groups. You may even consider a blog tour.
5. Build trust in your author brand through personal connections
When coming up with a book marketing strategy on how to market a book, you will no doubt think of people you already know who may prove essential in your endeavor. Additionally, you may establish new social media groups to add to your audience. Building an attractive author brand leads to buyers who will likely become fans that buy your future books as well.
One cost-effective way to do this is to open up a member group on facebook. You can engage with your followers directly and talk to them about your book. You might even find ways to get your audience involved in the process of finishing the book. An example would be to ask about what they think of a certain character’s name. It actually gives your readers a bit of play in your work and helps build a loyal audience this way. Building a reader group is thus an essential point in how to market a book, because it will ultimately drive sales.
Putting It All Together
Now you have all five key elements needed to come up with a book marketing strategy for how to market a book. It may appear overwhelming. So it’s best if you just forge ahead, one step at a time. If it’s still too daunting of a task, or you may find yourself being flying through the first couple of steps of your plan and then getting stuck, there is another solution.
You can make it easy on yourself and hire a publisher. Companies such as Publishing Concepts, LLC, offer a variety of book marketing services, for every individual one and all of the steps in your own personal book marketing strategy for how to market a book. Just give us a call – we are here to meet you wherever you are in your book marketing journey and let’s get your book SOLD!
Check out our services for more ways we can help.