Tens of thousands of new book releases flood the market every single year. There are some bestsellers among them – and plenty of debuts from unknown authors. On one hand, this means there is a great selection for readers to choose from. On the other hand, it means that there is immense competition for every single author.
In addition to unique content, professional editing, and attractive design, a book needs targeted marketing to make readers aware of its existence. If a reader does not know your book exists, he or she will not be able to develop an interest in it.
Tredition will show you how to come up with effective and targeted marketing strategies for your own book. This marketing instruction will teach you everything you need to know to turn your book into a success. You will be able to win readers’ attention and eventually make money with your book.
Each year, there are more writers fighting for the attention and money of a limited pool of readers. While reading is still amongst the top activities to do during your spare time (though watching TV and playing online games is a lot more popular), the immense amount of competition means that an author has to put a lot of effort into getting noticed, especially if you have no big publisher to do the marketing for you. Stephen King, James Patterson, and J.K. Rowling don’t have to do much to get their books sold – but it will be a long way until you can dream of that kind of success.
The path to success for your first book will not be an easy one (it also wasn’t easy for authors who are now famous – so don’t be discouraged), but it will be a lot easier if you know what you need to do. And that is what we will talk about in this article.
The main ingredient to successful book advertisement: the marketing plan
You shouldn’t wait too long until you start thinking about advertisement for your book. You could even being with developing a “battle plan” before or during the writing process. This will include a step by step plan on how to do the marketing for your book – basically it is a to-do-list for your marketing.
You won’t be able to simply copy someone else’s marketing plan off the internet. Your book is unique and needs a unique strategy. Also keep in mind that a collection of poetry needs different marketing than a non-fiction book about becoming a writer. You need to think about which marketing strategies make sense for your book, and how you can include them in your plan with detailed guidelines and deadlines for their implementation.
It also makes sense to start getting in touch with potential fans, the press, and bloggers before you publish your book. If you already have a pool of interested readers and people who would be interested in writing about your book, then it will be easy to distribute your finished book to them right away instead of having to do all the research after writing your book.
Before you start: Know your target group
Even though you’d like as many people as possible to read your book, you will never write the kind of book that appeals to every single reader on the planet. If you want your marketing to be effective, you need to know who you readers most likely will be. Have a look at your book from the perspective of a potential reader.
What is the genre of your book? What is its title and what kind of readers might be interested in this kind of book? Who will find the style and plot of the book appealing?
If you have written the book with a specific reader in mind, you will already have a good idea about your target group. It is often recommended that you write as if you are telling the story to a certain individual (which would be your perfect, ideal reader). We also mention this in our guide on how to write your book.
Once you have your target group, you need to analyse it in-depth. Where does your target group spend a lot of time? I.e. do they prefer Facebook to Twitter? Do they spend a lot of time browsing through the boards on Pinterest? Do they read certain publications? It is important to know as much as possible about your target group, otherwise it will be very hard to place ads in the right places. It is easy to spend a lot of money on advertisement without reaching the right readers. If you, for example, have a cookbook full of vegan recipes, it would not make much sense to place ads on a website about furniture!
Consistency: Being persistent pays off when it comes to book advertising
It has been a long journey. You have written your book, it has been edited and proof-read (preferably more than once). It finally is on the market. Most authors are happy at that point and often neglect the importance of marketing. Of course, if you are a famous author, you’re books will sell automatically – but let’s just assume that you’re not Haruki Murakami or Danielle Steel.
A book will only turn into a consistent success when its author constantly works on its success. Imagine your marketing strategy like fireworks. They look great while they are up in the air – but after a while, they are gone and you’ll have to start another one.
Book marketing means telling stories on all channels
After you have started working on your marketing plan and learned more about your target group, you will need to think about which channels you would like to use for your marketing. You need to present your book on various levels: with words, images, and even sounds.
Use cross-media marketing actions, i.e. communicate with your reader on multiple channels that are somehow connected to each other. They should entertain and inform your reader at the same time. The best results always lead the reader back to your book and encourage its purchase without being pushy and obnoxious. Offer value to your readers by giving exciting content about yourself and your publication to them.
Once you have written a brief but appealing press release about your book, you can also use it for other purposes. Don’t just let an interesting author interview collect dust on your website. Publish it on blogs and other websites, make it accessible on your social media profiles. Use your talent for telling stories for the marketing of your book.
Some interesting questions you could answers in interviews are: What kind of challenges and experiences did you have during the writing of your books? What kind of story is told in your book? Or: What do people learn by reading your book? What is the advantage of reading your book?
The art of using cross-media-marketing is to spread your content over as many channels as possible to reach as many potential readers as possible.
Marketing for books: offline or online? Online is King
The online market place still has not overtaken traditional book stores when it comes to sales – but more and more buying decisions are made online these days, even when it comes to the purchase of traditional books.
This means that you need to use digital platforms, blogs, and social media as much as possible as many of your future readers will use them to learn about new and interesting books. Social media ads, blog marketing, online readings, book trailers: the possibilities are endless – and even better: you do not need many resources to use them.
Your acquaintances, friends, and family, and even your readers can also forward and share your content to other people (and that is free marketing!). Have another good look at your book and its content. What kind of marketing actions could work for it? Feel free to think out of the box. You don’t always have to go down the path everyone else is taking. Be brave enough to stand out. Original marketing usually attracts more attention, and more attention means more potential sales.
Take advantage of multipliers: Press and blog marketing
Even though online media is becoming more and more relevant than traditional media, you should never underestimate the power of journalists, newspapers, magazines, radio stations, and TV channels. They still have a huge audience and are great places to get some attention for your book. Reviews by the press will usually lead to reviews from other sources. Journalists often ask about authors who already have been reviewed or written about or only learn about new authors and books from their colleagues.
So how do you get started? First of all, you need to find your target group and create a suitable media distribution list for it. After all, not every kind of media channel is suitable for certain genres, topic, and readers. The better you prepare, the better the outcome will be.
Research suitable media channels, news portals, papers, or special interest magazines. Write up an email about your book and attach a press kit about your book. This press kit includes: a short book announcement, a press release as PDF, a meaningful author profile and a high-definition cover image. The best case scenario is that your email creates curiosity about the book and encourages journalists to write about it. Don’t send this out randomly though! Note: It doesn’t have to be The Times, USA Today, or the Wall Street Journal. Those large newspapers only have limited space for reviews and articles about literature. It is unlikely that they will “waste” it on someone who is a total stranger to them.
Start with local papers and try to become featured by them as a local author. Be confident but don’t harass members of the press. Depending on which paper they work for, they get dozens if not hundreds of review requests every single day. Offer additional material like review samples, author interviews, or copies of your book for competitions to make your book more attractive to them.
Blogs have become one of the most important tools to reach readers online. Authors have various options to introduce their book to a large audience and get their attention. Be creative: Announce the release of your book to bloggers that would be a good match with your book by sending them your press kit. Offer review samples to important literature blogs in exchange for book reviews, Offer copies of your books for competitions. Supply blogs with author interviews – or go on a blog tour.
During a blog tour, different blogs that cover the same kind of topic present your book within certain time frame in different ways: e.g. book talks, author interviews, reading samples, competitions, reviews, and so on. Of course, this requires some planning. You will need to win the interest of suitable bloggers and then arrange the time line for your blog tour. Beware: Bloggers hate nothing more than being showered with unwanted and unrelated information. Make sure that you do some research on various bloggers before you get in touch with them. You need to know the blog, the blogger, and the target group of the blogger. Don’t just send your press kit out to random bloggers.
Approach your target group: Advertisement on social media and in book communities
Social media channels offer many opportunities for authors to advertise their book, to exchange information with other authors and network with them, and of course to get in touch with readers. You should already start to build your loyal fan base or readership while you are writing on your book. They will anticipate the release of your book and will want to read it as soon as it is out if you do the job right.
If you want to reach many readers, you won’t get around having a social media presence. Create a profile on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and more. They should all be connected to your website (if you have one – and you should!).
Authors also have the opportunity to create a fan page for their book on sites like Facebook. You can announce your book’s publishing date on this site, but you can also use it to keep people updated on your writing progress, provide writing samples, create competitions and get readers to interact with you in many different ways. The aim is to keep people interested in what you are doing. Social media makes it easy to give new material to potential customers regularly.
Fans can use your site to connect to each other, ask you questions (and then get really excited when you reply to them), and become eager to read your newest release. You can use the site to tease your readers by showing them the book cover, providing a book trailer, or giving them one or the other reading sample from the book. Look at TV series for examples: Game of Thrones starts teasing people for the next season as soon as one season is over. Fans will eagerly devour every little bit of information they can get.
Facebook also offers you the opportunity to create ads or so-called sponsored posts that will appear on the newsfeeds of potential readers. Of course, it is once again important that you know your target group – otherwise you will waste your money and might even get angry messages from people who feel annoyed by having your ad on their newsfeed.
Facebook is also useful for interacting with other authors and readers. Join some suitable groups in which writing and publishing are discussed. Learn from people with more experience and make connections that could be useful later on.
Use other social media channels: Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest…
While Facebook is the most popular social network and offers useful tools for authors, it is a good idea to also use other platforms if they are suitable. The golden rule is to not spend time on platforms where you won’t find any readers. It is not about your own personal preferences but about your readers.
You might not like Twitter but your research has found that many of your readers get their information about books via Twitter. Then there is no way around it: You need to be on Twitter, too. You can use tools to plan your posts and schedule them to be published in certain intervals or at certain times. There is no need to be present all the time. Twitter can do a lot of the work for you, but first you need to learn how to use it!
The same applies for social media sites that focus less on the written word but on images like Pinterest. If you are publishing a cookbook, then Pinterest can be a good way to get in touch with readers by creating your own boards with images from your book.
Have a look at the various networks out there and think about whether they could help you in finding new readers or not. And if they could, then you need to be on them.
Build a community as soon as possible
There are numerous portals, forums, author groups as well as the so-called book communities in the world wide web. Those enable authors to network with other authors, talk about their book, communicate with readers, and get recommendations and advice. Use these groups to tell people about yourself and your book. One of the most popular communities is Goodreads (with which you can also reach readers on a variety of social networks).
Book communities like Goodreads are a wonderful meeting point for book lovers. New releases are announced, reviewed, commented on and recommended. As an author, you can’t afford not to know these communities well. You need to create your own profile and create book shelves for your own books, host book readings, write your own recommendations, and be active in suitable book groups.
Book shops and events
Large online retailers like Amazon make life harder for traditional book shops. However, traditional book shops are still the most important distribution channel for books in most countries. Authors should know about this – and take advantage of the opportunities book shops offer to authors. Create contacts to book shops and make sure physical copies of your books are well presented in suitable book shops.
This means – again – more research. You will need to find out which book shops would be suitable for your book. At the beginning, you should focus on local book shops around you. They can present you as author from the region, or local author. Book sellers often prefer to present local writers. If your book is unusual or has something special to offer, then your chances of getting a god spot in a book shop are even better.
It is important that the content of your book is great and that the cover is appealing. No matter what is said: people DO judge a book by its cover and general design. Personal contact to book sellers is important. Go to them in person, take a copy of your book and your press kit with you. Introduce your book to the book seller, be confident but not cocky. The first impression counts, and this is your chance to create a long lasting contact to the world of book shops. You can arrange book readings or book presentations in book shops which will help you as well as the shop. Offer some copies to the shop and provide them with information on how to order more copies.
Author readings are a great moment to personally connect to your readers. But a successful reading needs to be planned well. You should put a lot of thought into where and when to organize a reading for your book.
Did you already find a suitable book shop for your book? Then talk to the manager and organize the event. Once the date is confirmed, you need to plan the details. What should happen during the event? What happens when? Introduction of the author, reading of certain passages, author interviews, questions from the audience, with or without music?
A good way to connect to readers and getting them to buy the book is to have a book signing session after the reading.
Of course, you need to get people to turn up for the event, too. The book shop will advertise the event in their store, but you will also have to use your own channels to get people to show up. The bigger the audience, the better.
Also think out of the box: Does your reading necessarily need to take place in a book shop or would there be a more unusual setting that is suitable for the topic of your book? Creative events will get more attention – and if you have a very special event, you might even get the local paper to turn up.
Of course, the internet is also a possibility when it comes to book readings. You can film a book reading at home or in another suitable setting and then upload it to YouTube, Facebook, Google Hangouts and other appropriate channels.
Online platforms make it easy to organize events that reach many people without having to consider their location. If you have an international audience make sure that you get the times right and be precise about which time zone you are talking about. This is especially important when you do live streams.
Use your publisher’s expertise – Use your publisher’s marketing as your foundation
Work together with your publisher when it comes to the marketing for your book. Ask them what kind of marketing they can and will do for your book – and then ideally use their work as a foundation for your own strategies.
Our marketing includes work with the press (one press release for every book, distribution of of free review samples), Social-Media-Marketing, blog marketing, release of your book within book communities, specific book marketing for non-fiction and scientific books, and will make your book discoverable on search engines.
In addition, our tredition-blog regularly provides detailed articles about marketing topics, author interviews or reports about authors in the book industry. You can get plenty of advise and tips that can help you to prepare your own marketing plan. Take advantage of our publishing expertise!
Have fun with implementing our tips and adjusting them to your own needs.
We hope your book will be a hit!