by Jenna Kalinsky, Founding Director, One Lit Place
Whether you’re self-publishing your book or you have the backing of a big publishing house, today’s author has to do a lot of legwork to promote your book and get it in front of readers. What you need are quick and easy ways to get the word out, so here are the 6 top marketing efforts you need to promote your book. You may still break a sweat while undertaking some of these marketing efforts, but at least you can have your feet up while doing them!
This list of the 6 top marketing efforts you need to promote your book either before your book comes out or after it’s published coves the most important things you need to do to help yourself get eyeballs on your book and spark off great sales.
Let’s Promote Your Book!
Enlist Your Friends & Family
Most people know that writing a book is intense, difficult, and requires unbelievable tenacity and stamina. Anyone close to you who watched you go through the process is in awe of you (and a little scared) as if you now glow with a special aura (which you do).
Anyone who values books, literature, ideas, or you personally will generally be very happy to help spread the word of your book’s publication and support you through this next step of selling your book.
However, because most civilians (non-writers) won’t know what to do to help you, you’ll have to spell it out for them.
From having them call their local bookstore and library to request the book to asking them to promote it on social media to suggesting they invite you to be the exclusive guest at their book club, there are many ways they can support you without spending a lot of time or money, making it a lot easier on you to ask them for help and easier for them to say yes.
I’ve created a step-by-step Friends & Family Book Promo Pocket Guide which spells out what and how to help you, so all they have to do is follow the instructions!
Click below to receive access to your own customizable template ~
Get an Author Website
Serious authors (meaning any author who wishes to be taken seriously) have websites. A website is professional as well as practical. When someone happens to come upon your name or book title, the first thing they will do is Google you.
Giving them a good-looking landing place and some info about yourself and the work you do will satisfy their interest and also invite them to develop a relationship with you, which inspires them to buy your book or anything else you have on offer.
Can’t I Just Have a Facebook Page?
A public Facebook author page is a terrific first step, and you should definitely have one. But that author page is not a substitute for a website. A proper website is what indicates to readers that you’re of note enough to have taken a seat at the virtual table.
A website can certainly be quite fancy and expensive or you can get one that’s free and DIY (and truly if you’re willing to work with the tech involved, you can indeed DIY, or you can let us help with the website design).
What matters more than bells and whistles is that you have a public landing place for curious would-be readers (or fans) that is a visual and content extension of your personality and ideas presented in your work, which further reinforces your “brand.”
Your website can also help you, particularly if it’s interactive and updated periodically. While it can simply sit there, serving as a static “business card” on the web, you can post articles, blogs, videos, and resources: all things that tie in to your book’s theme, genre, or plot.
You can go further with curating and engaging with your audience by creating a giveaway (free book, a chapter, or some other content) which you can offer in exchange for people’s email addresses or emailing a newsletter how often you wish, which you can then send out to those people’s emails, with further content, information, or other relevant info that will ultimately lead them to want to know more about you and buy your book.
Lastly, you can use your website to house a secret page for your friends and family, where you can put your customized Friends & Family Book Promo Pocket Guide containing all of the tips, links, and suggestions for them to follow; further, you can put in pre-made images and blurbs they can use to give your book a shout out on social media.
The more you use your site, and the more valuable content you put on it, the more people will visit your site and spend time there, which is fantastic for both boosting your website’s ranking in searches and further piquing the imagination of your audience and interest in you (and by extension, your book).
Need more convincing as to why an author website is extremely valuable? Check out my article, “Think You Don’t Need An Author Website? Think Again.”
Engage in Social Media
Some writers already comfortably use a variety of social media such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. For others, learning to navigate the platforms will require some doing. The important thing is that you use these media purposefully to establish and reinforce your brand, which is your authorial persona on a “platform”.
A platform is a series of causes, interests, or stances you take that support the writing you do and help create yet more of a cloak of personality around your authorial self as well as how you deliver those ideas.
An author platform is a self-fulfilling circle: you wrote a book, and from that book you bring into your “real” life some of the issues you speak to in the book as an extension of your personhood.
People feel they know you and want to buy your book(s) and want to further engage with you on social media because of the causes you support or stand for.
Example: if you’ve written a nonfiction book about sustainable farming practices, your platform would be all things progressively environmental: eco-tourism, culinary innovations, new developments in farming, community farming, etc.
Of course, you can and should take a personal angle, which will help your audience feel more personally connected to you as a human, not just as an engine of your book (in the above example, it could be your family/children, urban sustainability, vegan-ism, your love of collecting old postcards at flea markets, wooden rollercoasters, cycling, etc.).
Having around 3-5 elements that match up in some way but further extend the reach of the issues in your literature or keep you human and interesting (but that still support your book) tends to work well.
Borrow from Comparable Authors’ Habits
Look to the authors of your comparables (the books that are similar to yours or that would or will be your bookstore shelf mates) and sleuth out what those authors are doing on social media or on their websites. What kind of content are they sharing? Where are they publishing short pieces, op eds, or essays that tie into their books? What are they doing in the community (talks, panel discussions, appearances)?
Guest posts or blogs to promote your book requires some research on your part; you’ll Google basically any blog that is on a subject close to your book’s or where you could reasonably write something for them that’s in line with your book’s topic or ideas and pitch them on a guest post.
You will want to make your pitch personal and applicable (I have received pitches from people wanting to write about phone plans, coding, and nursing- you have to wonder what happens on their end that they fan out in such a way, but more power to them, I suppose).
Those guest posts will have your name in the byline and a blurb about both you and your book, both of which will be linked to your website and to an online outlet that sells your book. These backlinks are great for the health of your website as well as your book- plus, you’re reaching a whole other audience with every post!
Unlike guest posts, which you write, a blog tour is a multi-website effort whereby blog writers who normally write about books in your genre agree to write about your book/review it (with you contributing some of the content) within the 1-2 weeks prior to your book coming out.
When so many blogs come out at the same time about your book, it creates a nice buzz around the release of the publication. Not only are you getting exponentially more eyeballs on your book, but you can share the links to these blogs in your newsletter and you and your posse can share them on social media.
It makes you look that much more credible to not be the only person touting your book, making a blog tour highly validating in that respect.
To get on a blog tour, you’d research blogs that write about books in your genre and for your target audience, introduce yourself and your book to see if they’d be interested in writing about it, and offer an ARC (advance reader copy) so they have enough time to read the book and write about it/review it.
Take the “Slow & Steady” Approach to Implementing These 6 Top Marketing Efforts You Need to Promote Your Book
What you want during this early marketing period is to take a strategic slow & steady approach. After all these last months and months of writing, revising, and publication sweatiness, the last thing you need is to feel overwhelmed by the myriad book-marketing options.
Instead, allocate a set amount of time to marketing your book each day (just like you did for writing it) make a spreadsheet (a writer’s best friend), plug into it those items from this article and make sub-tasks for each one with dates. This will be a solid plan of approach, and one task at a time, you can set about making a dent in your marketing.
And at all turns, remind yourself: I wrote a book. I am publishing a book. I’ve got a badass aura that will stay with me always. I got this.
And so you will.
Shouldering both your creative process to maintain your writing and the business side of marketing and promotion on your own is a lot. If you know you’d benefit from personal support, accountability, insights, and guidance, please reach out for a free consultation.
Writing coaching and mentorship are key to a healthy and happy writing practice- let us help keep you productive and motivated throughout all the writing you do!