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The Book Marketing List You Need to Promote Your Book

Regardless whether your book is published by a mainstream publisher or you're self-publishing, you will need to undertake the bulk (if not all) of your book marketing yourself. Getting your book into reader's hands is a multi-faceted long-term project, but the result pays for itself in increased visibility as a book author and far greater sales! Use these lists to keep track of what you need to do and when to do it to enjoy the greatest success.

by Jenna Kalinsky.

If you are thinking about writing a book, are midway through, or are nearing the finish line, it’s the perfect time to begin considering which book marketing strategies you will implement in order to get your book into readers’ hands.

There are probably around 75 different tactics you could undertake to publicize and promote your book.

It’s not likely you can do all of them, so instead of leaping in all willy nilly and trying this, that, or the other and ending up overwhelmed and frustrated, take your time to use these lists and our customizable spreadsheet (below), which will help you stay strategic, organized, and have the smoothest approach to successfully marketing your book.

Why You Have No Choice But to Embrace Marketing Your Book Yourself

If you’re like most writers, you may feel annoyed that you have to be both artist and sales team for your book. After all, you went into writing because you’re a creative with incredible ideas and a flair for articulating them, and spending time alone with your thoughts works out great for you. One could argue if you’d wanted to go into sales, you’d have majored in that in college instead.

But the fact is whether you are self-publishing your book, or your book is being published by a mainstream press, if you want your book to be read, you have to hit the pavement yourself to get it in front of its readers and generate sales.

While marketing may not be your favorite task, the good news is if you embrace it, you will see results. There is a direct and discernible relationship between the effort you put in and the sales you make.

Ultimately, the more marketing you do, the greater your income, repute, and standing in the community will be.

books and plant by window

Why Book Marketing Has Fallen to the Authors

Back in the old days, when people were exclusively published by major publishers, those publishers would send their authors on book tours or publicity tours. These multi-city extravaganzas would be organized and planned by the publisher, and often a publicist from the publisher would accompany the author. 

There would be readings, talks, book-signings, and receptions, all paid for by the publisher, who would shuttle the author from one place to the next. There may have been martinis (there were absolutely martinis), and everything would be shrouded in clouds of cigarette smoke. Those were the days!

With the invention of the internet, however, and shrinking publisher budgets, book tours were reduced both in scope and number. They became reserved for the big-name authors or authors who were guaranteed to become the next hot thing.

Once COVID hit, that was basically the end of that. Now authors meet with audiences over Zoom, kale smoothie in hand, spend time on Tik Tok or other video venues, and do the occasional in-person streamlined book tour for the reading public and other in-person events for writers (among many other efforts (listed below) as well).

Self-Marketing Is the New Normal for All Book Authors

In short, you control your book’s future. Knowing this, you can embrace the idea that the more of the below book marketing efforts you do, the more books you will sell and the more visibility you will gain as an author.

So let’s get your book out there!

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1. Comprehensive List of Book Marketing Efforts

The below 18 items from the excellent definitive list at Booklaunch.com are the standard methods authors use to market their books and reach their readers. Not all of them are for everyone, but you should know your options first, and later you can determine which will be the ones you take on.

  1. Get a Website: (No, a social media account is not sufficient). Even a simple website will change everything for you and is a necessary early step in controlling your narrative and marketing your book
  2. Social Media: Being judicious as to which platform(s) you will use will enable you to deepen your presence more than if you try to be on all of them. Think about which you like being on as a user or where your ideal audience spends their time? Think consistency more than omnipresence
  3. Email Marketing: Your emails don’t have to be fancy, but sending out an occasional newsletter is a great way to keep the conversation flowing and your audience engaged in what you’re doing and writing about
  4. Podcasting: You could start your own podcast or pitch yourself as a guest to other podcasters (a great way to tap into other people’s audience base!)
  5. Amazon.com: Sell your books on the platform and optimize your Amazon Author Central sales page
  6. Book Trailer and Videos: Either make a professional book trailer video, or create your own videos of you talking about your book, sharing aspects of your book’s inception (behind the scenes), or you or others reading from your book
  7. Book Interior: Include ways for people to find you in your book’s front and back matter (your website and social media accounts)
  8. Bonus Book Content: On your website, what else related to your book can you offer to engage visitors? (For inspo, check out Bianca Marais’ website where she offers a witch-themed puzzle, a witch quiz, and a witchy playlist for her novel The Witches of Moonshyne Manor (super clever!))
  9. Incentive Partnerships: These include mutual back-scratching efforts that benefit you and other writers. What can you do for them/their audience that they then can do for you? Review your book on Goodreads? Guest blog for their website? Do a video conversation? The list is endless!
  10. Media Outreach Campaign: Get yourself on TV, radio, and in print by sending out a press release/media kit or hiring a media outreach publicist to help you
  11. Paid Advertising: Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and more all offer paid ads (Tip: these can be difficult to set up and can end up costing a lot for little reward. An ads specialist is typically the best way to go so they can maximize your budget
  12. In-Person Book Tour: Start with bookstores and libraries in your area and work your way outward. If you can go in and talk to them in person, so much the better!
  13. Online Book Tour: A great way to cover a lot of ground without leaving home. Start with this info list for ideas on how to do an online book tour
  14. Live Events: Meeting people or being physically present at events is a fantastic way to turn people who don’t know you into readers and eventual fans
  15. Local Opportunities: Partner with local shops who may not be bookstores but still amenable to selling a curated selection of books, friends who are writers, and enjoy the benefits of being in a community by considering “out-of-box” solutions
  16. Networking: Attend conferences, festivals, and book events either as a participant or as a workshop leader, speaker, or vendor. These literary events are a wonderful way to meet both fellow writers and readers and make connections
  17. Promo Materials: Printed bookmarks and book-related swag never go out of style! Design your own on Canva and have them made at a local shop, or use a graphic designer
  18. Book Launch Team … that’s where we come in! ↘

Many writers actually start with #18 because friends and family are your lowest hanging fruit. 

Asking the people in your life who love and care about you to help your book get in front of others is a low-to-no-cost way for them to support you.

Subscribe to get our FREE friends and family book marketing and promotion guide. It provides you with a customizable letter you can address to your fan base so their efforts can be most effective. 

2. Your Book Marketing Timeline

Depending on whether your book is still being written, you’re nearing publication, or the book is already published, you’ll want to adapt and adjust your book marketing plan timeline accordingly.

As long as your book is still available for sale, it is NEVER too late to start marketing it! 

You’re a creative sort or you wouldn’t have a book in the first place, so now is the time to put on your creative thinking cap and find ways to make your book meet the Zeitgeist and be relevant to today’s readers.

To begin creating your timeline:

1. Use this Book Marketing Planning List (with helpful resource links) to determine what efforts will be relevant and how you can adjust these suggestions to work for you and your book

2. Use our customizable Book Marketing Timeline & To-Do Spreadsheet to stay organized!

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How to Use the Comprehensive Book Marketing List and Timeline

Now that you have your lists, before diving in, you may wish to make some notes to yourself to determine where you stand with the many possible book marketing efforts: 

a) Which marketing efforts on the list do I want to do myself?

b) Which of the efforts would I do if I could get help with them?

From there, do the following:

c) Reorder the list on the spreadsheet according to priority 

d) Work backwards from your book’s anticipated publication date and create a timeline for when to set specific marketing strategies in motion that work for your book.

Like with Writing, the Key to Marketing Your Book Is Going One Step at a Time

Given the volume of options you could undertake to market your book, it can become an overwhelming task in a heartbeat, particularly if you look at everything all at once.

The trick is using these lists, prioritizing a few of the elements, then one at a time, focusing only on those.

Above all, bear in mind how valuable it will be that you are taking these steps to market and promote your book. A book is only meaningful if it is read, and yours deserves to be received by the reading public. 

Know this: They want to read it. So now, you simply need to show them how to find it and why it’s going to change their lives.

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If there is anything we can help you with, please reach out. We are always on hand to consult you on the best way forward, build your Author Website for you, or refer you to the people who can help you do what you need to get your book out into the world!

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