Book marketing… some authors shudder at the concept, and reasonably so.
Marketing your book can be terrifying, especially if it pulls you out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territory.
You’ve just written a book and courageously shared your words for all the world to see. That in itself is a fear many don’t conquer!
And now, you’re on to the next big challenge. How do you get your published book into the hands of readers amidst the ever-growing sea of competition?
Fact: Your book marketing plan will make or break your book’s success.
No matter what your end goal is for your book – to build a writing career, grow a business, or impact thousands of lives – the consensus is clear: Effective book marketing is key to your book’s success.
Otherwise, your book, along with hundreds of others, will be lost at sea – never to be discovered by the readers you want to reach.
If you've already published your book, you can start implementing these marketing ideas now.
And if you haven't yet published, you can start working these ideas into your book launch plan.
Do you know what you need to have a successful book launch?
Let’s avoid that by covering powerful book marketing ideas and techniques that every author should be incorporating into their book marketing plan.
Here are the top book marketing ideas to promote your book:
- Author Websites
- Social Media Book Marketing
- Book Promotion Sites
- Podcast Book Marketing
- Guest Writing Opportunities
- Amazon Author Page Optimization
- Wide Distribution Programs
- Public Relations for Book Promotion
- Book Promotion Contests
- Book Marketing with Paid Ads
- Marketing with Book Trailers
- Limited-Time Discounts
- Live Streaming Book Marketing
- Book Discussion Forums
What is book marketing?
What is a book marketing plan?
A book marketing plan relies on differentiated, specific strategies to get your book into the hands of your target audience (this is who you wrote your book for!).
Effectively marketing your book will ensure your book reaches the right readers (those you can help the most), promotes your author name, and allows you to grow your platform.
Book Marketing vs Book Promotion
The terms book marketing and book promotion essentially refer to the same concept, and the phrases are often used interchangeably.
Book marketing should be viewed as the “big picture” and can include an overall plan with specific strategies and tactics. Book promotion is what fits under the big picture, and it can be defined as the specific tactics that fall under the overall book marketing plan.
What does a book marketer do?
A book marketer carries out activities intended to get books into the hands of the right readers. You can market your own work as an author or hire specialist book marketers to act on your behalf.
Why is book marketing important?
You wrote and published a book, and crickets. That’s the trap many authors fall into.
Don’t think that your work ends as a published author once you’ve published the book. Some would argue that’s when the real work begins. But let’s be honest, the entire publishing process can be tricky to navigate – book marketing included.
The importance of book marketing lies in being proactive in gaining new readership and selling more books.
To avoid releasing your book into an audience that’s not listening because they don’t know your book exists, it’s crucial to devise a solid book marketing plan.
Reasons book marketing is important for every author:
- It helps you reach more readership and get new book fans.
- It helps you get more book reviews on Amazon.
- It enables you to generate more book sales.
- Book marketing is a lead-generator to networking.
- It helps you establish a substantial audience and community interested in your book(s).
When is the best time to launch a book marketing plan?
The biggest mistake many authors make is to think a book marketing plan only needs to cover the initial book launch, right after the book is published.
In reality, a book marketing plan is most successful when it’s evergreened – or, continuously happening before, during, and way after the book has been published.
While this sounds like a lot of work, you’ll find that there are a ton of book marketing ideas that help you automate your book writing plan.
When should you start marketing your book?
You need to learn how to market your book and devise a strategy early on in your book writing journey.
#1 – Pre-launch book promotion
Start marketing your book a year or more prior to publishing. This tactic will enable you to establish a solid fan base and gain authority.
Also, create and optimize your social media profiles, and grow your followers and email list (we’ll cover more on this later).
It will make marketing your book during your launch a breeze.
#2 – During launch book promotion
The launching period is the peak time to market your book. As a self-published author, you should launch your book at the ideal moment – when the book topic is trending.
The key is to do your research and find the optimal time to launch based on your book’s topic.
An example: If you're writing a recipe book, the ideal moment is during the holidays when people are trying new recipes and cooking at home a lot. Launch your business book during the graduation season when graduates are looking for ways to earn money.
#3 – Post launch book promotion
Don't stop book buzzing simply because you've launched it and you have a sizeable readership.
Keep marketing your book and grow as an author. Continue building your readership base. It will make it easier to sell your other books, especially if you are writing a series.
Book Marketing Ideas
Book marketing isn’t rocket science, so try not to feel intimidated if you’re not familiar with marketing as a whole.
When it comes to your book, you’re passionate about what you wrote, and the message you are sharing. Let that passion fuel your motivation to effectively promote your book so that you can impact more lives and grow your reach.
Let's look at the book marketing ideas you can leverage and use to increase both readership and book sales.
1 – Create an author website
In our digital age, a website is like real estate. You need a web presence to promote your book, especially if you are a self-published author.
An author website is a powerful platform dedicated to your books that YOU own (not Amazon or a traditional publisher).
The ideal time to create an author website is during the pre-launch period. The time you're still writing your manuscript.
Find a web designer to help you set up a website if you want it done quickly and professionally. Create essential pages on your site like the contact page, about page, blog, book(s) page etc.
Here is some inspiration from author websites:
Bestselling indie author Scott Allan has a clean website that serves as a hub for all of his books. He mainly writes nonfiction, and his website theme goes well with his genre.
USA Today bestselling author Julie James has an on-brand website and blog that features her book, and also has her own promotion tab in the site’s menu. Smart!
To throw in a traditionally published author into the mix, the author website of Nora Roberts is set up with an online shopping component. Readers can click directly on her “Shop” menu link to view and purchase her novels.
Related: How to Write a Novel
Dean Koontz has a website that fits the mood of his books. As a suspense thriller novelist, his website background is dark with contrasting color text, which evokes a sense of mystery and looks well with his book cover designs.
Another superb example of a branded author website, Elizabeth Gilbert’s site layout is straightforward and clean. Her recent books are featured, along with buttons to each platform where the book is sold.
Meredith Wild is another example of an indie author with a stellar website. Her homepage is interactive, featuring a carousel of her published books and a book promotion banner to increase awareness of her pre-releases.
Now that you have a good idea of what an author website should look like, you might be wondering…
How do you promote your book on an author website?
Here’s how to promote your book with your author website:
- Create blog content. It is an ideal way to draw traffic to your site. Also, SEO optimized content can help you gain organic traffic to your website and have your books appear on google searches. The content can be in the form of book updates, brief descriptions about your book, blog posts sharing tips on your writing journey.
- Grow your email list. Email marketing is one of the robust ways to market your books as a self-published author. Use your author website to grow your email list, and send out engaging content to your subscribers list. Email marketing is an effective book marketing idea since your list is a hub of your fans and target readers. You can also send emails to promote new books, launch a sale or giveaway, or share news related to your book business.
- Add your social media profiles. Your audience will easily connect with you on social media and help you grow your fan base. Each platform has a specific algorithm and strategy for success, so it’s best to choose one social media platform to focus on growing at once. For example, if your ideal reader hangs out on Pinterest more than they do on Facebook, focus your efforts on Pinterest first.
- Offer book giveaways and promotional contests. Everyone wants to know what’s in it for them, so offer irresistible incentives! You can partner with other authors and giveaway book bundles, hold a contest to give a signed copy of your own book away, or provide additional resources. The incentives should have a call to action.
- Have a lead magnet. Similar to what we explained above, a lead magnet is something that you offer your audience in exchange for their email address or contact information. For example, if you’re writing a nonfiction book on – let’s say, dieting and fitness, you can create a PDF workbook for your readers to opt-in for.
- Create a stellar landing page for each of your books. A landing page is a single page dedicated to one product, service, or concept. It has a specific purpose: to showcase your single product, item, or service. Landing pages elaborate more on your books and why someone should read the book. Use them to grab the attention of your site traffic and convert them into avid readers.
2 – Social Media Book Marketing
How do I promote my book on social media?
Don't worry if you don't have followers at the beginning – everyone has to start somewhere. And with the rise of social media platforms and presence, the time is now to get started with your book marketing endeavors.
There are plenty of social media platforms to promote your book on, but we’ll give a quick overview of the most widely used ones.
- Facebook. Create a Facebook author page to showcase your books. It can be under your book titles or your author name. Post engaging and valuable content to draw readers in and grow your followers. Add a link to your author website where people can find out more about you and your books. You can also join or create your own Facebook group for community building and awareness.
- Twitter. Optimize your Twitter profile to reflect your brand as an author. Tweet engaging content and watch your Twitter blast with followers. Also, connect with other authors for collaboration and to leverage new audiences. A quick Twitter search will bring you a countless list of authors in your genre.
- Instagram. Share captivating graphics about your book on the visual platform of Instagram. It can be a book cover or quotes from your book featuring a captivating image. You can also ask your readers to use hashtags and post photos of them reading your book.
- Pinterest. Authors can gain massive readers from Pinterest, which is a powerful search engine that focuses on graphics. Create your business account on Pinterest and work on getting organic traffic from there. Your graphics should be eye-catching and enticing. With online programs like Canva, it’s easy to find eye-catching Pinterest templates that you can recreate.
- YouTube. Create a YouTube channel and share your writing journey, author expertise, or helpful industry tidbits. If you're writing about entrepreneurship, you can share tips through a YouTube channel. If you write about cooking, you can create videos sharing new recipes. The possibilities are endless, so don’t let video scare you away. Add a call to action to each video you create to turn your viewers into followers and fans.
3 – Book Promotion Sites
Book promotion sites are also another excellent way to promote your self-published book.
There are both paid and free book promotion sites at your disposal. These sites, depending on their terms and conditions, will help you get more exposure by putting your book in front of thousands of visitors on their website.
Popular book promotion sites are:
- Bargain Booksy
- Indie Authors News
- Awesome Gang
- Digital Book Today
- Free Booksy
- Books Butterfly
- Just Kindle Books
4 – Podcast Book Marketing
Another excellent way to promote your book is through a podcast. Podcasts are a recent digital channel, but they’ve really taken off in the past five years and they aren’t going away anytime soon.
Think of podcasts are like radio station channels, in a way. They are digital audio files available online to be downloaded or streamed through a computer and mobile device. Common podcast platforms are iTunes and Spotify.
There are two ways to use podcast marketing for your book promotion.
First, you can start your own podcast with relatively low start-up costs. You can make your podcast around a topic related to your book, or industry expertise. The topics for podcasting are endless!
Second, you can join other podcasts as a guest speaker to raise awareness about your book. Find other established podcast speakers and offer to be featured on an episode.
Of course, you can combine the best of both worlds and fully leverage your book promotion reach via podcasts by speaking on other podcasts, AND inviting other authors and experts to speak on your own podcast.
5 – Guest Writing Opportunities
Since you have an author website, you may want to consider guest posting on other websites and media outlets.
Not only will you be sharing valuable information, but you can also build credibility and reach new readers by leveraging the website’s audience.
On most sites, when you guest write you’ll be able to provide a link to your website or book.
Then, you can ask your article on your own platforms, and use the website brand to increase your social proof, such as “As seen on…”
6 – Amazon Author Page Optimization
Your author page on Amazon Author Central matters if you are self-publishing on KDP. Amazon a has a huge customer base and global audience, so if a reader stumbles across your book on the platform, you should have a well-optimized Author Page to keep them interested and promote your other books.
There are certain tweaks you can make to your Author Page that optimizes it for success.
Tips for optimizing your Amazon Author Page:
- Use a professional headshot or author photo as your profile image.
- Include your interesting, well-written biography that explains who you are and what you do.
- Link your author website and social media platforms to turn page viewers into followers.
- Link all of your books to build credibility and showcase all of your work.
- Add your blog posts to the feed section to encourage subscribers and build interest in your content.
7 – Wide Distribution
Consider global distribution platforms to have your book available on a variety of retail platforms.
Related: Self-Publishing Companies
If you publish on Amazon, consider the book promotional tools and programs available there, such as Kindle Unlimited and KDP Select.
You can also research publishing with IngramSpark, which offers wide distribution as well.
However, if you’re a first-time author, we recommend sticking with Amazon KDP initially, then expanding after you’ve published.
8 – Public Relations for Book Promotion
Public relations, or PR, is used by many authors during the launch stage of their published book.
It’s a strategy to build public awareness of your brand by leveraging media outlets and news sites through the use of things like interviews, speaking gigs, press kits, press releases, charity campaigns, volunteer opportunities, and more.
Some specific public relations strategies you can to market your book are:
- Research journalists and news media that are related to your niche. Network with these journalists and news editors to pitch ideas within your book’s topic.
- Use online sites like HARO to receive alerts from journalists looking for experts like yourself to interview and quote.
- Press kit
- Book signings
- Speaking gigs
- Press release
- Hire private PR professionals. If you have the budget for this, great! Cision PR web is a paid site that distributes online news and creates publicity. Use it to publicize your book and reach a wider audience.
9 – Book Promotion Contests
We covered this idea in the social media section, but it’s worth repeating here because your contest doesn’t only have to be on Facebook or Instagram, although that’s generally where contests perform best.
Book promotion contests are incredibly effective, and encourage virality, amongst readers. You can run this promo on your website and blast it on your social media accounts. You can also host a giveaway on Goodreads, which has a huge platform of avid readers.
Encourage your audience to share your book, and subscribe to your email list to be eligible for the contest. This will not only build traction for you contest campaign, but it will also grow your email list!
10 – Book Marketing with Paid Ads
Targeted advertising can also boost the publicity of your book when done right. While it can be a scary concept, especially for first-time authors, there are several resources to help you learn how to market your book with paid advertisements.
If you have the budget, run paid advertisements on Facebook and target an audience that has characteristics of your ideal reader. You can also use sites like BookBub to market your book.
Related: BookBub Review For Authors
Invest in a self-publishing course that teaches you how to effectively launch paid ads for your book, or hire a professional if you have the resources.
11 – Marketing with Book Trailers
A book trailer was coined from the term movie trailer. And just like the movie trailer, it gives your audience a glimpse of the content of your book.
It is one of the best marketing tools for authors. Use book trailers to hook your readers by sharing a captivating trailer with an epic call to action.
You can include your website link or a link to your book on Amazon.
12 – Limited-Time Discounts
You can sell your book at a discounted price during your book’s launch period and have it run on that price for some time.
A popular technique for many authors is to offer their book for a price of $0.99 the first week of their launch to promote “one-click” purchases. People love discounts and deals!
This technique will help you get reviews and more readers. You can increase the cost of the book later after gaining reviews.
13 – Live Streaming Book Marketing
Live streaming is another popular channel for building your online strategy. The two main book marketing ideas when it comes to live streaming are webinars and live streaming on social media platforms.
Webinars are online workshops or seminars where people meet virtually to discuss, or learn, a particular topic. It’s a powerful way to connect with your audience virtually. You can hold webinars and discuss issues related to your book or attend other relevant webinars and contribute if time allows.
You can host your webinars on Hangouts, Zoom, Facebook Live, Youtube Live, Go to Webinar, Skype, WebinarJam and Blackboard Collaborates. Depending on your topic, it may not make sense to invest in a webinar program unless you specifically plan to use webinars continuously, so opt for a free webinar program instead.
Social media platforms now have live streaming features, and those are especially fun! While webinars are usually reserved for a learning or discussion session, there’s more flexibility with social media live streaming.
For example, you can do a “Day in the Life” live streaming on your social media platform, or even virtual “Meet & Greets.”
14 – Book Discussion Forums
Chances are, your readers hang out on discussion forums within your genre or niche. Join these forums and contribute.
It can be time consuming, but it’s worth it if you’re able to read a handful of new, engaged readers.
It will also help you establish authority online, especially if you offer specific, valuable insight and expertise on your topic.
How do I get my book noticed?
There are tons of book marketing and promotion ideas to start conversations around your book.
We’ve covered the essential ways on how to market your book, but the real rewards will come when you start implementing them and seeing what works for you.
Part of the difficulty with marketing is that what works for another author, may not necessarily work for your genre.
That’s where research comes in! Start researching similar authors in your niche and learn from what they are doing well.
Pretty soon, you’ll have a good idea of what kinds of tactics to approach for your own book promotion. And, you’ll be able to creatively implement new techniques!