So…you wrote a book. Congratulations! But, what do you do now?
There are 3 things you should be looking at with regard to marketing your books. They all work together.
Each of these topics could be a series of blog posts in itself. (And, in the future, they will be.)
1. Marketing your book offline.
2. Marketing your book online.
3. Your website, which should be the hub around which your marketing efforts are built. (They feed each other.)
But first, a word on the content and design of your books:
Your book marketing campaign should actually begin before it’s published. You’re going to want to have a nicely-designed book that contains your best work, and is priced to sell.
Those considerations deserve an article of their own: read it here.
Once your book has been published, it’s time to actually sell some copies! There are a multitude of ways you can go about doing that both online and off.
Here are the most effective ways to market your book. (For a head start, many of these items can – and should – be started before your book is even published.)
1. Market your books offline
Offline book marketing methods
- Sell or consign to local indie bookstores and gift stores.
- Set up a table at a local weekend market, o rat a book fair.
- Post flyers advertising your book.
- Get mentioned in newsletters (churches, clubs, workplace, etc.).
- Set up readings/signings at local stores, libraries, book clubs & organizations. (Sell there, too, if you can.)
- Speak at events.
- Send inquiries to book reviewers (local and otherwise).
- Get interviewed by local newspapers, weekly papers, or radio shows.
- Have business cards and/or bookmarks made & give them out often.
- Tell everyone you know about your book and events.
- Notify local papers and events calendars about all your promotional events, readings, etc.
2. Market your book online
1. Arrange online selling venues. (Some publishers will also offer your book on their own website.) Consider selling your book on your own website as well.
2. Use social media. This is one of the most effective methods you can use. (Twitter is especially good for authors, as it’s filled with readers who are easy to find and connect with.)
3. Sign up for author accounts at Goodreads, and LibraryThing. Both are excellent social media sites for authors and readers alike. Begin connecting with others who share your interests and read books similar to yours. Once its’ published, make sure there’s a page for your book on the site.
4. Send out review queries to reviewers in your subject area. Generally speaking, books with no reviews are unlikely to sell well online. Reviewers can post their reviews on bookselling sites such as Amazon, on their own blogs, or on sites such as Goodreads.
I’ve written two articles on this subject, which were published at Empty Mirror Literary & Arts Magazine:
How to write an excellent book review query
Ten places to find reviewers for your self-published book
5. Set up a newsletter signup on your website. Email lists are powerful marketing tools. On a regular basis, send out a newsletter to share book publications, news, readings, and where they can buy the book. (MailChimp’s services are great, and it’s free, too.)
6. Use an email signature. Include your name, the title of your book, a link to your website and a link to an online site where your book is available for sale. Everyone to whom you send an email will see it.
(Tip: Always use “http://” before your web address so that it will automatically be turned into a clickable link in an email.)
7. Start a blog about your topic. Guest blog on others’ websites, too, to increase your exposure. Include the blog on your own website for added impact.
8. Get involved in online communities which deal with your topic. Find the right forums, Facebook groups, and other groups. And don’t forget to announce your book to any existing communities, sites, or forums you already belong to.
9. Advertise. Advertising can be very effective if the right advertising venues are chosen. The cost can be anywhere from a few cents to a few dollars a day, or more if your budget allows. There are many good options, including banner ads, social media ads, pay-per-click, and more.
10. Promote your website & selling venues offline, too. Include the address of your website, and, where appropriate, the addresses of at least one online selling venue in printed material, offline correspondence, and announcements. Your offline and online efforts can work together.
11. Get your own website.
This is a big one. You’ve probably already noticed that many of the methods above work in conjunction with your website.
Your website can and should be the “mother ship” that all your marketing methods launch from and refer back to.
So, if you don’t yet have your own website – or you have only a limited “free” website – you’re missing out on some of the biggest marketing opportunities – and the opportunity to tie all your efforts together.
3. Why your website is the centerpiece of your book marketing campaign
Your website is the most important marketing tool you have at hand.
1. You can include much more information on it – and impetus to buy – than you can on other sites.
On social networking sites, sales venues, and other sites you might belong to, you will have very limited space to tell people about – and show – your book.
Since your website belongs completely to you, restrictions are lifted, allowing you to customize its content to present your book – and yourself – in a way that will encourage sales.
Your website allows you to stretch out, share more of your work than can be read elsewhere, tell your story, share your experiences and present everything there is to tell about your books.
Those who visit your website can learn about your book (and read excerpts), learn about you, and connect with you on social media sites. They can sign up for your newsletter. They can read excerpts from your book, and follow prompts to buy it.
The more information your potential buyers have, the more comfortable they’ll be in making a buying decision.
2. It’s the centerpiece of all your marketing efforts.
Your website is the single most important marketing tool you have as it coordinates with nearly all your other marketing efforts.
It works both ways to amplify your message and encourage sales:
Your marketing efforts can refer back to your website, so that potential buyers can learn more – and click to buy the book.
(Here are a couple examples: Include your website’s address on your Twitter profile; your followers can click it to learn much more than they can glean from a 140-character message. And, when sending a review inquiry to a potential reviewer, include a link to your website, where they can learn more than they can from only an email.)
Once on your website, visitors can not only learn more about you and the book – and click to buy it – but find out about and take advantage of your other marketing efforts (e.g., they can follow you on social media, sign up for a newsletter, find out about readings, etc.) This keeps you in their minds. Even if they’re not ready to buy today, they have the opportunity to stay connected with you, and then you’ll have the opportunity to keep marketing to them.
Each reinforces the other; your website feeds your marketing efforts, and your marketing efforts feed it.
Think of your website as a hub with radiating spokes. Each one of those spokes goes out, for example, to a sales venue, email newsletter, forum, or social networking account. And each social account, newsletter, etc. refers back to your website, too.
It’s the “mother ship” from which you launch your marketing attack.
Why not just a freebie website?
Having a well-designed, professional website can make a big difference!
By well-designed, I don’t just mean the visual design – though that’s important – but that it’s set up to be easy to use and to encourage sales.
A site that’s well-designed will also convey credibility; you’ll appear more professional, and trustworthy. Online, no one can meet you in person; they rely on not only your words but the image you project. That image is so important.
A well-designed site also take advantage of on-site SEO (search engine optimization) elements; this isn’t always technically possible with “free” sites, as they often come with limitations. (Learn more about SEO here.)
(You’ll notice that I put “free” in quotation marks. That’s because “free” usually winds up costing you dearly anyway – in time, frustration, and lost opportunities and sales. Some even have hidden costs. So, it’s not really “free.”)
People who buy books online rely upon what they can read of your book in advance, first impressions, the opinions of others, and how you convey yourself to them. You have control of much of the impression you make. You can make it a good one, a professional one, with a properly designed site.
You worked hard to write and publish your book. Now you can give it the promotional effort it deserves.
Market your website
Once your website is in good shape, you can market it as well/ Much has been written on that topic – by me, and others – but here’s some information to get you started.
I hope you found this helpful. If you have ideas for marketing authors, books, or websites online – or questions – please leave your comment below.
Would you like to learn more about how to get your own website, and how to use it to market your books? Please get in touch with me. I’d love to hear from you!