Are you preparing to launch your new book? Deliberating the best ways to promote and sell your novel? There are plenty of avenues available to you, from building your online presence to securing endorsement to pitching media.
As a rule of thumb, no amount of promotion will sell a bad book, so make sure you put just as much time and effort into your editorial process as your marketing and publicity campaign. But once your book is ready for readers, here are some helpful tips about the optimal steps to reaching your target audience.
Learn the Right Audience
Start by determining exactly who you want to reach. Make sure you understand who your book is intended for and deeply consider how you are going to best reach this audience. Build relationships with potential readers and connect with media outlets they might follow. This can lead to a boost from others’ influence, through interviews, print features, or endorsements from friends, family, or celebrities. Everyone is connected to someone, so every relationship can lead to opportunities for promotion!
Embrace Social Media
The different social media platforms are a great way to build engagement for your book. Decide which sites your audience favors and directly connect with readers and influencers. When you post to social media, you always want to be genuine and engaged. Join in discussions that pertain to your field, write about your book and your process, but also have fun! Comment on others’ posts and share your pet photos and weekend plans. Social media is a great tool to not only broadcast your message but personally connect with media professionals and readers. As you build these connections, add them to your mailing lists. You should be constantly expanding your email and newsletter list so that you are constantly reaching new, wider audiences.
Make the Most of Amazon
Self-published authors must launch on Amazon so they can land a spot among the coveted “hot new releases.” These placements are fleeting but powerful. They unlock other promotion opportunities across Amazon, like inclusion in sales and promotions. Although it might not feel great to give your book away for $1 or less on Kindle, these opportunities provide exposure to thousands of readers, which is even more significant than individual full-price sales.
Like all online platforms, Amazon is driven by algorithms. When you launch your book, you cannot simply upload it as a product and expect results. You must take the time to build your Author Page and add A+ content to your product pages. Ask family and friends to buy and review your book. Every piece helps drive up your SEO and placement in search results. Dive into the many subgenres and pick the best, most specific choices that describe your book – it’s the difference between competing with thousands of YA novels or tens of fantasy/detective, coming-of-age novels. Drill down into your niche; don’t compete with large generalizations if you don’t have to.
Launch Day and Other Events
An often overlooked and misunderstood concept is the difference between Pub Date and Launch Day. The first creates a presence; the second establishes your name and book. Promote a soft launch on the day of your book’s publication—celebrate your book’s birthday!—but also organize an official launch to announce your book. This is often done through virtual book tours on a day, week, or month that aligns with your message. Send advance copies to reviews and journalists and ask them all to post in the same time frame, taking advantage of the timely tie-in, to generate as much visibility for your book as possible. And remember, any and every share is a good share.
You’ll also want to attend events and speaking engagements. Participating in these events allows you to meet and forge relationships with other authors and experts in your field as well as celebrities and media professionals. It’s the preferred way to find big names who can endorse your book or post about it on their own social media platforms. These events are also great material for your own posts. Make sure to tag the hosting organizations, other guests, and various phrases that make sense to reach as wide an audience as possible.
Approaching the Media
When pitching your book or your presence at an event, consider all angles and pitch a story that makes sense for your book. Simple creativity is key. When crafting messages to the media, keep your message firmly in mind and make sure to explain it as clearly and concisely as possible. Don’t be blunt when following hot news stories. If your book doesn’t match the crazy headlines produced by the latest awards show, don’t waste yours or journalists’ time by chasing it. However, do think about potential angles you could work with. A dieting book could be pitched during the SuperBowl if you consider all the classic foods at sporting events and parties.
Above all else, remember these three concepts: knowledge, feedback, and people. Be knowledgeable in your topic, industry, and audience. Appreciate any and all feedback from friends on your written and visual materials. Network with people who can or will help spread your message.
Any opportunity can be a good one! Once you establish yourself online through social media and Amazon, you’ll have a platform from which to attend events and reach out to media. So get creative but stay focused, and you’ll see your book sales soar.
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