Coming up with, and executing, book promotion ideas on a consistent schedule to ensure you’re always reaching new potential buyers can be exhausting. There’s a reason I put together such a great team!
But if your goal is to sell more books, marketing is absolutely crucial. So, I’ve saved you the hassle and collected 125 different book promotion ideas that are either free, or very easy to work into a small marketing budget.
Remember, you can’t sell more books by simply doing one marketing strategy, and you need to keep in mind that so much about your branding has to do with your sales conversions as well. So stay open minded when reading through this list because I assure you, if it’s here, it needs to be on your radar.
Book Promotion Ideas that Focus on Your Cover
Book covers are one of your strongest sales tools. So there are quite a few key elements that I still categorize as book promotion ideas because as I said previously, it’s never one thing that will help you sell more books, it’s a culmination of marketing efforts and smart branding strategies.
Consider Your Fonts: One of the most important book cover design tips is to limit yourself to two fonts. Some book covers may require a third; others can shine with just one.
Consider Your Ideas: A book cover is an elevator pitch—you’ve got literally milliseconds to convince a potential reader. And if you can’t boil your book down to one central concept, you’re in trouble.
Consider Your Illustrations: Seek out a talented professional if your book requires a custom image— and be prepared to pay them for their services. Custom illustration isn’t cheap, but nothing kills a cover like a bad illustration.
Consider Your Imagery: A common go-to is to rely on Photoshop to create a custom collage. This almost never ends well. A similar image is probably available at a stock agency. If not, hire a photographer and a few models for a couple hours.
Consider Your Characters: More than any other art form, reading inspires and requires imagination. Depicting a specific person on your cover curtails this possibility for any reader who isn’t that person.
Consider Trends: Yes, I encourage authors to look for and follow trends, to be fans of their own genre, and to reference the bestseller pages for inspiration on what’s piquing buyer interest, but there’s a fine line between ensuring you’re staying competitive and becoming lost in the sea of options. You also want to be cautious if you plan on writing a series (or haven’t totally written it off) because your series needs to be branded for long term success.
Consider the Rules: You can’t stand out by following all the rules. So, if you’re willing to take a risk and your designer really has some great out-of-the-box ideas, I’d encourage you to get some feedback from your network. If you have a super fan group, then give them early voting access to some ideas you’re floating around. Just don’t make decisions about a dramatic cover in a vacuum without doing a small market test.
Consider How Clever You Can Be: Remember the elevator pitch rule: you’ve got milliseconds. If it takes a reader seventeen seconds just to decipher your title, forget about making that sale.
Consider the Copy: Your cover should not replace your book description, your reviews section on Amazon, and your resume. Non-fiction does carry the burden of proving legitimacy, but you need to decide what’s most important for making the best first impression—and put the rest on your retail page.
Consider the Competition: A cover template may seem like a reasonable (and affordable) solution to the difficult task of creating an effective book cover. But remember, book covers aren’t created—they’re designed. And what happens when someone else publishes their book using that same cover template?
Amazon Book Promotion Ideas
Amazon is a beast, but it’s one you’re better off learning to play nice with than overlooking altogether. If you’re going to sell more books, you need to add Amazon strategies to your monthly book promotion ideas to ensure Amazon is working for you and not against you.
Consider Adding Your Author Blog: Amazon allows authors to sync their blog with their Amazon Author Central page, meaning every time you update your blog, it will show up on your Author Central page. Even if you only update it monthly, or weekly, it’s a good piece to add to your page. But fair warning: if you aren’t consistent about updating your blog, don’t add it. The worst thing you can do is have a blog linked to your Amazon page that’s outdated or rarely touched. To add your blog, just go into the backend, click on Author Page and add the feed URL to the “Blogs” – and heads up, if you write for multiple sites, you can add in a few different blog links. We work with some authors who blog for places like Thrive, Huffington Post and the like. They link each of these feeds via the blog link on Author Central and each of these updates will populate onto your Amazon Author Central page.
Consider Adding Events: If you have upcoming book signings, talks, or online events, be sure to add those to the events section under Author Page, too. The events all require an address, so for online events I always use the public address of the organization I am working with. For example, I have an IBPA event coming up and you’ll see they’re listed, but in the event details it says it’s online, the address listed is IBPA’s office address. So you can definitely get creative with this, too.
Consider Adding Video: Video is another great element to this, and given how hot video is right now, I suggest that if you have any kind of a video, you should add it. Whether it’s an event video you did (short excerpts and snippets are better), a book trailer, or some other kind of book-related video, be sure to add it on the backend, too.
If you have a video or videos, you’ll need the original file, not a link to YouTube or other URL. Some authors can use the video options to upload short tips or opinions on their topic. These are wonderful additions, as are short “get to know you” videos to make the reader experience more personal.
Consider Adding an Author Interview: One cool and creative way to engage your readers more and build in more of your keywords is via the author interview: meaning you will interview yourself. First off, it’s a cool way for readers to get to know you more, but for fiction authors Amazon keywords often get tricky. For example, it’s hard to incorporate “science fiction thriller” into your book description, but it’s fairly easy to do it in an interview.
Also, the author interview doesn’t have to be static. You can change it up as new projects develop or you can create different versions of this interview to accompany different books you’ve written.
Consider How to Showcase Your Reviews: In prior blog posts, I’ve written about watching for reviews that have been removed by Amazon, and adding them onto your book page via Amazon Author Central. So that’s point number one. Because, while reviews being removed doesn’t happen a lot, it can happen, so it’s good to have Author Central as a backup.
But in terms of keeping your page up to date, maybe you have a few reviews that didn’t get onto your Amazon book page. For a variety of reasons, bloggers who do reviews may not cross-post their review to Amazon. By the same token, interviews or reviews in magazines may not make it onto your Amazon page. Author Central is a great way to add them. On the backend, you can access places to add additional content by book. So if you click on the individual book, you can incorporate things like Reviews, About the Author, Inside Flap, and so on. You could also grab some of the best reviews (and these might already be on your Amazon book page) but choose to highlight them in your Author Central page, so you can call attention to them.
Consider Customizing Your Book Description: When it comes to websites (and in particular, book descriptions) readers/consumers don’t read, they scan. So now might be a great time to look at your book description. Is it too long? Is there enough white space, do you have headings and bullet points (for non-fiction)? If not, you can make all of these changes via your Amazon Author Central page. You can update this via Kindle Direct Publishing as well, but for those of you who don’t have access to your book details, Author Central is a great workaround.
If you’re making updates to your book description section, consider using headings, bolding, italics and bullets to highlight the best features of your book.
Fiction authors have another element to consider and that is that your book description should be captivating. Think: movie premier trailer. Give away just enough to whet the reader’s appetite for more.
Consider Special Formatting: On your individual book details page in the Book Description section, be sure to use headings, bolding, italics and bullets to highlight the best features of your book.
For fiction, your book description should be as captivating as a movie preview, giving away just enough detail about the storyline to leave them wanting more. Don’t make it too long!
For non-fiction, think of it as selling a product, not just a book, so you must make your features and benefits stand out.
Why should they pick you over the next title? Using bullets helps with book discovery and makes the best features of your book stand out to shoppers who are merely scanning for something that piques their interest.
Consider Sharing More Images: There’s a place in Author Central to add images, which I find so few authors do, but it’s a great place to add more color to your Author Central page. Note: the images don’t wind up on your book page, per se but again, it does dress up your Amazon Author Central page. You can have up to eight images!
Consider Sharing Your Inspiration: On your individual book details page in the From the Author section, include your inspiration for writing the particular title and who you wrote it for.
This is a great place to include your keywords and your genre-specific buzz words and themes as well – because it truly speaks to those who are going to be most interested in your book.
Consider Using From the Inside Flap: On your individual book details page in the From the Inside Flap section, you have a number of options. Perhaps you want to include more in-depth information about your story or background that you couldn’t include in the Book Description section because it was too long. Or use it as a chance to sell yourself and make a stronger personal connection with your readers.
Consider Your Virtual Back Cover: On your individual book details page in the From the Back Cover section, consider including a list of your other titles and Amazon short links. This is a great way to organically promote your other titles and improve book discovery across the board.
Short links can be easily obtained by going to your Amazon product page and clicking the envelope icon under the “share” section on the right-hand side under the purchase box.
Consider Growing Your Followers: Did you know that if readers go to your Author Central page it gives them the option to add you to their favorites, and they will automatically be alerted of any of your new releases?
This is an amazing way to improve discovery by putting the Amazon machine to work for you – they become a second mailing list. Consider doing Amazon giveaways in exchange for a follow to really build up that network of potential buyers!
Consider Thanking Reviewers: You should always be reading your reviews. Not only do they provide free market research, they’re also a great networking tool. As reviews are posted, thank readers for their feedback by posting a comment on the review. This personalized approach to connecting with readers leaves a lasting impression and helps build your return buyer potential. You can also click on the “Was this review helpful?” button below a review to give it a virtual pat on the back!
Book Promotion Ideas That Get You More Reviews
Book reviews are almost always challenging, especially when you’re just starting out or still working to hit your book marketing stride. Use these tips to start converting more readers to reviewers!
Consider Pre-Publication Efforts: If your book isn’t out yet, there are things you can do to make the book review process easier for potential readers. Have ARCs ready. Set a timeline as well as expectations. If you’re asking someone to read an ARC, give them a reasonable amount of time to read the book based on genre and length. Check in with them as your publication date gets closer.
If you’re soliciting busy professionals who don’t make their living reviewing books, you can create some template reviews to give them inspiration. This is common and acceptable in the realm of professional book marketing.
Template reviews should include wording and phrases that are particularly appropriate for your genre and topic. They should also allude to standout aspects of your story, character development, or tips, since not all who agree to write a review will be able to finish the book cover to cover before the deadline.
Consider Starting Closer to Home: Family, friends, colleagues, fellow authors, street team members and superfans should be your go-tos for book reviews.
Send them personalized requests, let them know why their review is important to you, and ask if they’d like a free copy of the book. And keep in mind that people are busy. You may not hear from someone immediately, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t interested.
Respectfully follow-up with people as often as needed.
Consider Your Professional Networks: If you belong to any professional organizations or writing groups, be sure to make your needs known to them as well.
Professional groups will likely appreciate the opportunity to use your book review templates, so keep those current! A lot of social media groups are increasingly using “self promotion” days and posts as well. So while it’s not in good taste to blast your needs on a daily basis, be sure to take advantage of the self-promotion opportunities they give you.
Consider Professional Reviews: There are varying opinions on using paid reviews like Kirkus and Foreword in your book marketing, but I can tell you that they’re generally honest. You may end up paying for something you don’t want out there! Keep that in mind when deciding if you want to go that route.
Perhaps keep it in your back pocket for once your reader reviews start coming in and you feel confident people other than you and your mother like your book.
Consider a Call to Action: All your books should have a review reminder in the final pages. If a reader is using the Kindle App, Amazon helps you with this, which is really nice. If you can sweeten the deal in any way, do it. Maybe it’s a free novella, or a free workbook. Tell them to forward their review confirmation to your email to receive their free or bonus gift. You should always have some sort of collateral in your book marketing arsenal!
Consider Stroking Some Egos: If you’ve written non-fiction, there’s a good chance you’ve mentioned other people in your industry or complimentary industries.
Be sure to let them know they’ve received a shout out in your book and use that as a lead-in to offer them a free copy and request a blurb or review.
Consider Limited Time Discounts: Discount e-Book promotions are good for getting books in hand, so this is also a solid book marketing strategy for organically building reviews. I recommend a discount promotion once a month if you have a library of titles, and at least once a quarter if you just have one book out so far.
Consider the Fact That It’s a Big Ask: If the reviewer is from your professional or personal network, be sure to send a hand-written thank you card, or at minimum a personalized email. Take this up a notch by using the comment option on Amazon to thank every person who has posted a book review. Yes, that seems like a lot of work once reviews start pouring in, but that’s a high quality problem to have. If they’ve posted criticisms, be tactful, and if their comments are valid, thank them for their insight.
Bow out gracefully if you feel their comments are unfair. If you can’t say anything nice or constructive, don’t say anything at all.
Or if you’ve written other books consider offering them a free copy in exchange for giving you another shot. These personalized touches go a very long way to support your continued book marketing and sales goals. Customer service is important, even as an author.
Book Promotion Ideas for Successfully Pitching Bloggers
Bloggers are thought leaders, so getting blogger support or valuable space on their site, can really do wonders for introducing your book to more potential buyers. Aim to incorporate blogger pitching into your monthly book promotion ideas, even if it’s just 3-5 new blogs per month.
Consider the Fit: Book bloggers can really help boost your book profile and bring more readers (and sales) to your book. But it needs to be the right fit. Read the book blogger’s book review guidelines before submitting. Not only will you save yourself some time, but it’s also generally a bad idea to pitch people on something they aren’t going to care about. You may love what Book Slut does with her book reviews — but if it’s not the right match for you, it’s not a good use of your time and disrespectful of a blogger’s time, too.
Consider Their Workload: Any book blogger will tell you that they wind up turning down more books than they accept – and often turning down books they’d love to otherwise take, if they had more time. Many times, book bloggers won’t respond to your pitch if they can’t accept your book, but every once in a while, they will respond and tell you they’d love to, but they’re short on time. In this instance it’s good to thank them and maybe ask the book blogger if you can pitch them at a later date. That way, you’re still leaving the book review door open, if their schedule is freeing up down the road.
Consider Your Timing: It’s often hard to know when to start pitching your book to book bloggers. You want to start early enough so you give them enough time to read it, but not so early that if the book review appears on their site, there’s no book to link it to. Most book bloggers know pre-publication timelines very well, so if you get bloggers interested, let them know that they have X number of weeks (or months) before the book goes live. The issue is when an author pitches a book blogger on top of their release date, expecting a quick turnaround for their review. You should never expect this or demand it. A book review is a gift, and it’s also a gift of the book blogger’s time too, so be sensitive to that.
Consider Your Book Cover: For most people in the industry (not just book bloggers) a bad cover is a deal breaker right from the start. If your book is getting rejected a lot, this might be the reason why.
Consider Your Pitch: I’ve written a lot about pitches for book bloggers or to get book reviews from media or Amazon reviewers, and here’s the thing: I agonize over any pitches I write. You can ask anyone on the team. We write and rewrite and rewrite again. Yes, the pitch is that important. If you’re just throwing an email together and hoping for the best, you won’t get much in the way of response from book bloggers or anyone else you’re sending your pitch to.
Consider Your Email Subject: This is also a big no-no. We read so much on our phones, that a subject line requesting a book review can make or break your pitch. Suffice it to say, when I write pitches for book bloggers or anyone else, I’m always careful about the subject lines I use. And I create custom subject lines for different markets I’m targeting for a book review. So for example, a parenting-focused pitch won’t get the same subject line as a pitch for a grandparent market – even if it’s the same book.
Consider Your Personalization: Personalization matters more than I can even put into words. Sometimes I’ll get emails addressed to Mr. Sansevieri, or my full name: Dear Penny Sansevieri. Both of those seem pretty lacking in personalization. Consider addressing the blogger by his or her first name, or if you’d like to keep it more formal, address them by Mr., Miss, Ms. or Mrs. In fact, I had fun with this once with a book blogger who had just gotten married and had blogged about it so I addressed her with her married name and congratulated her in the first line of the pitch, which she loved. The worst thing you can do for your book blogger pitch is bcc a bunch of bloggers with a vanilla greeting, like “Dear book blogger” – that’s almost guaranteed to net you nothing in the way of book reviews.
Consider Your Elevator Pitch: Keeping book pitches short isn’t always easy, believe me I know, but most (if not all) book bloggers will appreciate it if you keep your pitch shorter. One paragraph, two at the most. Keeping it short and to the point will help to increase your chances for a book request and, possibly, a book review.
Consider Other Opportunities: While I know we’re focused on pitching book bloggers for a book review, there are other options. We’ve been doing a lot of author interviews, book spotlights, or book excerpts. All of these are great opportunities for some of the high traffic blogs you are pitching and require a lot less of the book blogger’s time. If you’re open to this (and you should be!) consider mentioning it in the body of your pitch. Yes, you’re asking for a book review, if they’ve got the time, but also mention that a book spotlight/book excerpt or author interview is also something you’re open to as well. And here’s another tip: if you’re offering up yourself for an interview, be ready with some unique interview questions, too!
Consider Your Book’s Age: The longer your book sits on Amazon, the harder it is to get book bloggers to consider it for book review, that’s just the truth. Even when an author comes to me a year after their book is out, I tell them it’s just hard, if not impossible. At the six-month mark, your chances of getting a book review from a book blogger decrease exponentially. The message here? Start early. Start collecting names of book bloggers before your book hits Amazon so you’re ready to begin pitching as soon as the book goes live – or sooner if you’re starting your book marketing early.
Book Promotion Ideas for More Successful Media Pitching
I won’t sugar coat this, getting big media coverage takes a lot of work, and a lot of follow up and creativity. But when that request comes in, it’s going to feel worth it! If your platform and topic are a good fit for bigger media, then I definitely want to help you incorporate smart book promotion ideas with that goal in mind.
Consider Your Pitch: It’s really important to know when to time a pitch for a higher acceptance rate. We have an author who came to us in late spring, asking to get pitched to national media – talk shows, morning shows, you get the idea. The issue is that while morning shows continue through the summer, talk shows have either gone on hiatus, or will soon as the May sweeps wind down. Most won’t come back online till August when they begin filming shows for the fall season. So pitching for a talk show now, for example, won’t really help her much. Also, the returning shows like to kick off their September lineup with big-name authors – bestsellers and often those who are traditionally published.
An option would be to look at the post-September season into fall, October and beyond, and pitch something that ties into that time of year. Regardless of the media pitching you’re doing, unless it’s a timely news topic – meaning something they need an expert on ASAP – you are likely pitching weeks or even months before the show airs.
In the case of national magazines, they always work well in advance of their issues – 3-6 months out in most cases, and most share editorial calendars so you can figure out when your topic might have a chance at fitting into their lineup.
Consider Your Efforts: This means you need to be blogging on your website, at least a few times a month. Being a voice in your market is part of your platform, and the media cares about this. Also, get busy on social media, but keep in mind a robust social media presence doesn’t have to mean running yourself ragged on every social site. It can be your Instagram or Twitter feed that’s your main go-to, but it must be active and followers should be responding to you. This is called engagement, and you need lots of it to support all your book marketing strategies. Why does the media care about this? I’ve had journalists and producers say that the potential bounce a story can get from whatever the author can accomplish, by sharing on social, always helps when they’re trying to sell a story to their boss.
Consider Your Expertise: You should always be an expert in your market. You should know trends and be aware of statistics that are critical for your area of expertise. Why? Because if you’re pitching the media you need to be a voice in the industry, and being an expert is part of that. Getting quoted in trade publications, or even in local media, is helpful and contributes to your platform, just like networking with followers on social media is always a great way to enhance your presence and build your platform. And don’t forget the competition. By this I mean you need to have a unique point of view for your topic, because no one in the media is interested in featuring someone that can only regurgitate what’s already out there. Think critically about how your POV stacks up and don’t take the easy way out by telling yourself “it’s good” because “good” won’t get you a ‘yes’ either – you need to be beyond great.
Consider Current Events: The media is always looking for experts – so if there’s something going on in your industry that you can speak to, by all means pitch yourself and your talking points. Let’s say you have a book out on airplanes, and you want to pitch yourself around the 737-Max jet issue that Boeing has been having. Come up with a new angle, something someone hasn’t talked about yet and pitch that. Choosing news topics is often referred to as news-jacking, meaning you’re anchoring your media pitching to something that’s top of mind in the news. This can be a great way to garner lots and lots of media if your point of view is unique and if you pitch them in a timely fashion.
Consider Your Media Room: To improve your book promotion and your brand overall, you have to have a media room on your website. List where you’ve been featured previously, including links to the show or buzz reels, whereby you show what a good interview you are. If you have none of this, I’d suggest working with a media trainer/videographer to create some sample reels that you can put up on your website to show off your interviewing skills. This is also a great time to start creating video clips for your social, because the more on-camera time you can log, the better your platform looks. Think of short, 2-5 minute videos where you cover a single tip, tackle a common problem or question your audience faces, etc.
Consider Local Opportunities: In most cases authors just aren’t ready for big media, that’s the hard truth – so you need to work up to being in the national spotlight. You can do that by pitching yourself to your local media market. Local media loves their neighborhood authors, so capitalize on that. But know they still need a story; they won’t cover you simply because of your zip code and the fact that you have a book for sale. If you are doing any local events, this is a great reason to get in touch with them with as much lead time as possible. The other reason I love local media is that the bigger shows often have scouts all over the country (either living in these cities or tracking them from the main office). National media loves to be the first to break a potentially big news story, or bring in someone who is building buzz on a local level.
Consider Your Research: One thing I’ve become obsessed about in my eighteen+ years in media is studying what’s trending and what’s top of mind. Both so I can pitch our current authors, but also so I can keep an eye on what’s coming up, to ensure my book marketing strategies are always current. You should do the same, and it’s pretty easy on sites like Apple News and others which allow you to plug in your keyword and see everything that’s being written on your area of expertise. Staying on top of what’s going on in your industry will not only help you craft a better pitch, but it could also help you during an interview – to quote statistics or other factoids, maybe dispel or challenge some common misconceptions, all that is critical to the readers, listeners, or viewership.
Consider What Makes You Unique: I agonize over all of the pitches I write, and clients who work with us for media pitching know that I often push them to the very edges of their comfort zone. Why? Because the media needs different – a different angle, topic or slant to an old story. Come up with a new way to talk about something, or a new spin on an old topic – combine this with your unique point of view and you’ve got a winning combination. Because you can’t expect to get big media attention if what you bring to the table isn’t different. Most importantly: the media wants to look smart and they want to be an undeniably effective source for information. If you can help them achieve that in some way, you’re light years ahead of the competition.
Consider How Much Work You Need to Put In: Your media pitching needs to be succinct and on point, include tips whenever appropriate, do as much of the work for the media that you can. Make their job easier, and the more likely you are to get that foot in the door. Think and write in talking points. There’s a term I like to use called HUH – Hip, Unique, Helpful. These are all the things the media is looking for. Remember it’s not about you, it’s about their audience and that’s all they care about.
Consider a Critical Eye: Your book marketing strategies will continue to fall flat if you’re not able to put a critical eye on your own work. This means not just ensuring your media pitching is on point, but also ensuring your branding is super clear, your website and top social accounts are clean and branded accordingly, your book cover looks like it belongs on the bestseller list, you’ve secured at least 50 reviews and have a plan for getting the next 50 soon. If you’re not at the top of your book promotion game, you need to get there fast.
Book Promotion Ideas that Ramp Up Your Self-Promotion Efforts
Most of the authors I chat with are too timid to do any shameless self-promotion, aside from linking to their book on social media, which in fact, isn’t as effective as most would think. Here are some critical book promotion ideas that focus on maximizing on the power and uniqueness of you and your brand.
Consider Email Newsletters: I know, it seems odd to start with something so basic, right? But here’s the thing about newsletters. They are a direct connection to your reader unlike social media, which, technically, is not as direct a link as we’d like it to be. An email newsletter may seem like a lot of work, but it’s really not as bad as say, managing a bunch of social media platforms (we’ll get to that one in a minute).
Consider Your Reader Fan Base: With book publishing growing, our window for using blogs for their book promotion services keeps shrinking. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t promote your book to the blogger market, but consider this: as the window for book promotion continues to change, one thing always remains steadfast: your readers. Building excited and engaged reader fan bases is a fantastic way to build momentum for your book, and letting readers help you with your book promotion by posting reviews and sharing your book release on their social stream. The longer down this road of endless books being published (so far, around 4,500 a day) the more it becomes crucial to build supportive reader fan bases.
Consider Going Local: A lot of authors want to hit the big time with big media and national exposure. And while all of that is great, local media and events are often overlooked. First off, local media loves their local authors. So whether it’s a story about you publishing your first (or fifth!) book, or promoting your local event, local book promotion is a great launching pad for long-term success. Part of the reason for this isn’t because you aren’t national media-worthy, but because national media is harder than ever to get (I’ll talk more about this later). Also, many bigger shows have scouts that research local stories that are gaining momentum. Back when Oprah had her show, her producers often worked with many scouts all across the country to find their stories. So including local promotion in your list of book marketing activities is a great way to add some momentum to your book promotion campaign.
And in terms of local, you may also consider doing events, whether they are libraries, bookstores, or gift fairs. You could also consider doing events in other non-bookstore markets like gift stores, coffee shops, and other area stores that might be interested in your topic.
If you still aren’t convinced about doing local book promotion, listen up. I met an author recently who had done no major promotion. She had done no eBook promotion, no ads, no national reviews. All she did was local promotion. Her bookmarks were everywhere (in all local stores that would let her leave them) and she did a bunch of local events in bookstores, gift shops, libraries and even a restaurant (on their slowest night which helped to bring in foot traffic!). She sold 5,000 copies of her book in the first 90 days of her campaign. Her book marketing budget was almost zero, which is what prompted her to market her book this way.
This example also proves you can’t buy everything by outsourcing book promotion services! Yes, you can get help in key areas, and of course I encourage you to do that if you don’t have the time to manage it all on your own, but don’t assume you can hand off all of your book promotion to a third party, cornerstone strategies still are best executed by the author.
Consider Expanding Your Goodreads Presence: Goodreads has been around for a long time and with each month that passes, the site grows more robust. Now, more than ever, it’s important to get yourself set up on that site and start networking with genre-specific groups. This site, more than any other social networking site, is really geared to readers and caters to readers in a way that no other platform does. Start by being a reader, first and foremost. Yes, you have books that you want people to read, but being heavy on the networking/socializing and less on the pushy marketer, will garner you much more attention and, in the long run, sell you more books.
Consider Your eBook Pricing: Surprisingly, this is a big hurdle for many authors. Mostly because they aren’t really sure what pricing works best for their market, and the guidance around this can be a bit confusing, too. Some years ago, authors were heavily discounting their books, in some cases offering them at .99 cents. This trend hasn’t gone away, per se, but it’s less of a trend than it used to be. Readers aren’t as geared to finding bottom of the barrel deals on eBooks, specifically like they once were. The main reason for this is digital clutter. Kindle or other eBook device readers jammed with more books than you’d ever be able to read isn’t the same as having a fully stocked book shelf, it just feels like clutter. For this reason, the once coveted super deals on books aren’t gaining the same traction as they once were. Smart book pricing, however, is.
By smart book pricing, I’m not talking about price discounts and running specials – although that’s good, too. What I’m speaking of here is smart book pricing overall. Book pricing at launch, for example, can be slightly lower than what your regular pricing might be. Even a dollar discount can give your book a helpful bump when launch time comes around, But eBook pricing, in general, should still be weighed against what the market will bear and where you’re just starting out. I’m also not a fan of pricing eBooks over $9.99. So if you’re just starting out, it’s advisable to consider that pricing or a tad lower. Remember that if you’re a new author, readers are taking a chance on you and might be much more inclined to do so if your book is priced at a price that feels more “impulse buy.”
Consider Your Amazon Book Page: This is another area that authors spend a shockingly small amount of time on. I think in general, we get really outwardly focused on our book promotion and forget the all-important landing page we are sending our readers to. Your book page on Amazon should have a clear description with white space and no paragraphs crammed on top of each other. I’d also recommend enhancing your book page using your Author Central Page. From there, you can access all kinds of stuff, like adding reviews to your page, including an author interview, or book experts. Your book page should be a sampling of your personality and information helpful to the reader – helping them make a decision to decide to buy your book is a terrific way to help drive more reader engagement on your page. If you’re ready to tackle this, write us and ask about our Amazon-specific book promotion services and campaigns, designed to ensure you’re not leaving any opportunities on the table when it comes to converting Amazon shoppers into book buyers.
Consider Amazon Advertising: I have a real love/hate relationship with Amazon ads (also referred to as AMS ads). When they revamped their platform (and the associated advertisement algorithm) the traction that some books were getting using AMS ads dropped like a rock. But since that time, the platform has found its footing and the ads are doing much better, with (in some cases) higher return than we saw previously. A few guidelines for ads are that you’ll want to have at a minimum, 400 keywords. Start your ads off at $10 a day in budget and no more than .50 cents a click until you get a sense of how the various keywords are doing.
I love doing AMS ads at campaign launch, starting them the week before the book launches (provided it’s on pre-order), I also use them a lot to promote my pricing strategies – when I’ve lowered the book for a couple of days to coincide with an eBook promotion I’m doing.
Consider Keeping Your Social Footprint Small: While this may sound counter-intuitive, it’s my firm belief (and based on mountains of research) that we’ve become digital-weary. Users are leaving Facebook in large numbers, or not posting regularly, Twitter has become a bigger political platform than it ever was, and Instagram is staying delightfully middle of the road, meaning of all of the social platforms, it has the most universal appeal.
The problem with trying to be *everywhere* meaning on all social media platforms, is that it’s hard to be engaged on all the sites, all the time. And engagement does matter, in an age of fake followers and fake accounts, the user with the most engagement, even if their numbers are small, far outperforms accounts with millions of followers. But keep in mind that a smaller social media footprint doesn’t mean less work necessarily. You’ll be less scattered, for sure, but you will still need to put the effort into that site, whichever one you decide to be on. Engaging readers on one social media platform in a consistent and fun/informative/helpful way is a far better book promotion strategy than trying to be everywhere. As I always say: it’s not about being everywhere, but everywhere that matters.
Consider Your Audience: Many authors I speak with have no idea who their actual reader market is. When I ask them, they’ll often say: everyone. You know who markets to everyone? McDonald’s, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, etc. But they didn’t start out focused on everyone. Amazon, for example, started out becoming a book site, and reaching readers. It wasn’t until they built a base of readers that they began expanding out into other things. Knowing who your audience is is not only important when you’re writing your book, but absolutely crucial when you’re trying to market it. Zeroing in on your core reader specifically is key to any successful book promotion campaign.
Consider Your Media Campaign: Make no mistake, media is great. A good (big) media hit can really give your book marketing campaign a major boost. But the problem with this is that media, especially big media, is overwhelmed with stories. I mentioned above how important local media is, and it’s important to remember that sometimes the biggest and most robust campaigns start small. The other element of this is that if you’re going to swing for the fences, make sure you’re ready to do so. If you want big media, you should have some media reels from prior appearances (even local media), a media room with talking points, a robust social media presence and an active blog. This is why when an author comes to me asking for a big, national media campaign right out of the gate (with no prior media work and little to no social media presence) I do my best to encourage them to start with other elements that will help them build their platform. You may ask what it can hurt to pitch yourself to media anyway, even if you don’t have a platform? Well, some authors do this and get lucky, but that’s rare. Don’t exhaust your opportunities before you’re really ready for them!
Book Promotion Ideas That Utilize an Excerpt
Too many authors forget to use an excerpt to inspire their book promotion ideas. An excerpt is a fantastic driver to sell more books because it very effectively teases potential buyers and gets them hooked.
Consider the Length: You might come up with the cut off immediately based the arc of your story, but if not, I would recommend the first three chapters. One chapter just isn’t enough and for most of us, while it can set the stage, it’s likely not enough to really get to “I must have the full story!”
And if you haven’t done a reader profile in a while, or ever, I’d like you to do one as part of this effort, because it will definitely help you uncover new places and new angles for marketing your book.
Consider Multiple File Versions: I encourage you to create your excerpt in multiple formats, at minimum a PDF and a MOBI file, because MOBIs can be sent to Kindle reading devices and apps, which makes reading that much simpler – and simpler means more takers!
Consider Your Back Matter: Marketing a book is about making connections between all your efforts. So you definitely want the last page to speak to the reader in a really personal way, and of course you want to send them to Amazon to buy the book.
If you have any other standout offerings, like a newsletter with a bonus, or really active, engaging social media accounts, include those too. You want to give the reader multiple avenues for staying connected with you.
Consider Getting New Sign Ups: You can create a basic landing page on paid sites like Leadpages, to make it look really professional, and this is a great option if you do speaking or have lots of different content you can potentially offer – because you’ll use it more than once. If you’re a fiction author or a non-fiction author who’s still building a relatively unknown brand, just re-work a page on your site.
Offering a bonus like an excerpt is an excellent way to market a book while also building your contact list.
And why do you need a contact list? I get asked this a lot actually, but a lot of authors default to thinking they don’t have much to say outside of what they put in their books.
But that’s a self-defeating attitude I want you to shake off. Instead you should always be brainstorming additional offerings for your readers and potential buyers. Excerpts are just one option, but novellas work amazingly well, worksheets, a series of tips, reading guides, book club resources, and character profiles are all fantastic options.
Consider Opportunities for New Readers: Sites like Wattpad, Smashwords and Scribd are solid places to start, but based on your genre and topic there are definitely others out there that are similar.
You should also share your excerpts on social media, including your Goodreads profile and in Goodreads groups. Marketing a book on Goodreads is almost essential in today’s market, especially if you write fiction, and especially if women make up a good (if not the entire) portion of your buyer market.
I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to Goodreads book promotion and I strongly urge you to check it out.
Consider What Friends Can Do: Most authors I know are actually quite timid about marketing a book to current fans, family and friends. And I get it, but I want to encourage you to push the envelope on what you’re comfortable with because I’d be willing to bet money you’re erring on the side of not doing enough.
People get busy but generally have good intentions.
And think of how many products you buy and you don’t review? But on the same token, how much do you rely on reviews when making a purchase? We all forget how important it is to contribute reviews and spread positive word of mouth!
Book Promotion Ideas that Promote Better Reader Engagement
Reader engagement is key for being able to sell more books in today’s competitive market. Reader engagement also gives you feedback to work from, which is really crucial for developing future book promotion ideas.
Consider Getting Feedback from Your Fans: Readers love to feel involved in your life, so a great way to boost reader engagement is by asking for their opinions. Mix it up with some personal and some book related.
So maybe a quick poll on something going on with your favorite TV show, or have them vote on a few names you’re considering for a character in your next book. Book marketing is so much more effective when it gets personal, remember that.
Consider Running Promotions to Get Books in New Hands: Another key benefit to higher reader engagement is their recommendations. People recommend things they feel connected to, and this definitely goes for books.
I’m a big fan of the BOGO offer, so when you release a new book, invite fans to send you a copy of their purchase receipt in exchange for your gifting the eBook to a friend or colleague of their choosing.
You may be thinking, “How do I sell more books by giving them away?” The strategy here is that you’re encouraging your current fans to help you create new fans – and if you succeed, you’re looking to sell more books at your next release.
Book marketing, and being a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint.
Consider Creating a Contest for the Die Hards: These people are also known as your super fans, they’ll buy every book you put out, so you want to keep them happy and reader engagement with them should be the easiest to get.
Release a trivia contest on social or via your newsletter, or even on your website, and offer prizes for those who get all the answers correct. If you have a really big network you could limit it to the first 5-10 submission with all the correct answers.
Consider Getting Camera Ready: Most of us hate being on camera, me included, but I can tell you it’s a book marketing strategy that works and so few authors are doing it. And if you want to sell more books, you have to do things that make you stand out.
Videos you post on social shouldn’t be long, no one has time for that anyway, but be thoughtful about what you post. Make an announcement, do it from a fun locale, or get in a routine of doing a weekly update for fans. But have a purpose.
Consider Asking Fans to Get Creative: If you’ve written a really good book, you’ve created a world your fans can connect with. And that’s an amazing feat. Use that to your book marketing advantage and increase reader engagement by asking them to share images or quotes that remind them of your book. Have them share images of famous actors that could play the starring roles in a movie!
Ask them for quotes they can imagine your main characters connecting with. Get personal and ask them to post selfies of them reading your book, or of their favorite reading spot.
When to Hire a Book Marketing Company
I’ve covered branding, self-promotion and more, but at some point, a lot of authors really need to bring in a team to help them get to that next level. Not because book marketing companies have top secret strategies, but most importantly it’s because they have a team who can manage multiple strategies at the same time to really boost a book’s exposure. Here are a few things to consider if you’re thinking of hiring a book marketing company.
Consider Your Branding: Readers judge a book by its cover and so do book promotion companies. And no amount of book marketing can fix a not-so-great book cover. It’s sad when an author sends me their book and it’s fantastic but the cover is all wrong. Because no amount of book promotion in the world can fix that. If the book promotion company you’re speaking with offers insight into your cover – could it be better? I’d listen closely. I will do that if I feel a cover isn’t strong enough and, in almost every case, the author will tell me: “Yeah, I’ve heard that before.” In almost every case, a bad book cover doesn’t come as a surprise to the author. But I mention it here for another reason. Hiring a book promotion company to market your book won’t change the fact that your cover doesn’t work for your market. At the end of the day, we can set the table and drive people to your Amazon page, but we can’t force people to buy your book. Your book cover is one of multiple pieces that has to do that.
Consider Sales Expectations: If it’s your first book, this is especially true. Books take time and most book promotion companies will tell you the same thing. I have a friend in publishing who once called it the long runway of promotion and this statement is really true. Most books don’t take off right away, books take a lot of care and feeding. So it’s important to plan your book promotion budget and your book marketing accordingly. Don’t blow your entire marketing budget right out of the gate, and if you do – make sure you spend it in the right way, doing the right things. I’ll link to some posts about this at the end of this blog if you want to dig into this topic more!
Consider Your Street Cred: Even though we inherently know that there’s no such thing as an overnight success, it still feels possible. Book promotion companies know this, too. Every once in a while, a unicorn is born, in that there’s a first book that does exceptionally well. But in almost every case the author has been doing stuff on their own – even if they haven’t published. They’ve probably been writing a blog, or writing for a magazine, or fine-tuning their writing skills in some other way. It’s rare that authors pop out of the proverbial womb as a blazing success. Don’t expect it. Expect to work, a lot. Even if you hire a book promotion company, you still need to put in the time and manage your own expectations.
Consider Your Self-Promotion: Sometimes authors just don’t know what to do, and that’s fair. I mean that’s where book promotion companies can offer a lot of value. Book marketing is a different animal, but if you’re willing to learn, there’s a ton of great content out there and a lot of good people willing to teach you how to market. But expecting to hire a book promotion company to do it all for you isn’t realistic. In fact, if an author says to me that they don’t want to do anything on their own, I generally won’t work with them because that spells trouble. It’s completely acceptable to want to hire a firm to do the things you can’t, like our Amazon Optimization, or pitching the media – but there’s a lot of other things you can be doing. Even if you’re just managing your social media or blogging, that’s something and that counts.
Consider How Well You Know Your Market: This is a big deal not just for book promotion companies, but for your reader, too. And it’s a sure-fire way to not sell any books. Know your reader, know your market – and know what your market wants. I sometimes talk to authors who dream of writing in a particular genre, not because they’re a fan of it, per se, but because it’s something they think they can do. Any book promotion company worth their salt will tell you: be a fan of your genre, read in your genre and especially read the reviews on Amazon. Getting a sense of what’s selling and what isn’t is so important. For example, we had an author who wrote what she thought was a paranormal romance, but it really wasn’t – not in the sense of what paranormal readers really wanted. The book, while good, wasn’t getting a lot of pickup in that market. The thing is, when she moved it to a different genre on Amazon, changed up the book description and repositioned the book, it started selling. Sometimes the fix is that easy, but other times it’s not. Know your reader, I can’t even tell you what a big deal this is to book promotion companies.
Consider Your Publishing Timeline: Sometimes an author only wants to write one book, and that’s fine. But in most cases, writers aren’t one hit wonders. We have multiple books in us and have ideas for many (many) future titles. One of the biggest challenges that any author faces is when to release their next book. My advice is don’t wait. Most book promotion companies will tell you that books build on each other, even if your books aren’t in a series. My first books about book marketing did better as I added new titles to my library of book offerings. So my advice is don’t wait. This doesn’t mean you have to release books on top of each other – spacing titles out is never a bad idea. But waiting a year or more (especially if you’re a new author) gets tricky and it’s a tough way to build a readership.
Consider What You Really Need: This is a big one, and I think applies to a lot of different facets of book marketing. Most book promotion companies (the good ones) are very clear about what their deliverables are. And if you’re hiring a book promotion company to help you out, make sure that you aren’t left to guess what they’ll be doing for you, because that’s bad, too. Get it in writing and then, when you do, don’t assume that they’ll be doing more than what they’ve outlined. Unless it says that specifically and even then, if I was signing up with a book promotion company, I’d still want to get a detailed list of what they’ll do for me.
Fixing Common Book Marketing Mistakes
With 125 ideas and counting, there’s certainly room for error – authors are human after all! That being said, I can shed light on some common book marketing mistakes and how to avoid them in the future.
Consider the Bad Review: You know the feeling: you’re out there going gangbusters on your own book promotion when suddenly you’re hit in the face with a bad review. When this happens, it feels unfair and (often) like the person who wrote the review didn’t really read your book or understand its content. You want to fight back; you want to respond to the review. You want to tell them why and how they got it wrong. But here’s the thing, you really shouldn’t. Most of these bad reviews will happen on Amazon – not because Amazon is a hub for this sort of thing, but in almost every case, bloggers who do book reviews won’t take the time to write a review and slam the author. If they didn’t like your book, they’ll probably tell you why and ask whether you want the review posted or not. Bad reviews, even just one, are often hard to swallow and they can make you want to give up. Here’s my advice: don’t. Not everyone is going to love your book – that’s just the reality. I remember my first bad review on Amazon and how I mentally argued with the person who posted it (even though I didn’t know them). It’s not worth your energy or your (book promotion) time.
Once you’ve had a chance to get some distance from the review, have another look at it and see if there’s anything you can learn from it. In almost every case there’s always something I can learn from a less-than-stellar review.
Consider the Competition: It often seems like everyone else is selling books like crazy while you’re over here struggling to sell just 10 copies of your book a month. The truth is, some authors kick book marketing butt and do very well, but in most cases not right out of the gate. Meaning that they’ve had some ramp up time to promote their book. Many times, their first book was a failure (or something close to that) but they took what they learned (as well as the bad mistakes they made) and changed up their book marketing going forward. The lesson here is this: don’t make the same book promotion mistake twice. You won’t know it all coming out of the gate, but there’s always the opportunity to learn.
The other side to this is that, sadly, some people inflate their numbers. I’ve had clients who belong to various chats and such, and when you’re anonymous online, and no one is asking to see your actual sales figures, some people inflate what they’re actually doing. It’s a lot like the social media mindset: people generally don’t post pictures of their failures. So bear in mind that while some authors gain great success, sometimes their version of success is a bit too far from the truth.
Consider Your Book Marketing Savvy: No one is born with the knowledge of how to market a book. It’s something you have to learn and it’s always changing. No one is terrible at book marketing, that’s a broad statement. You may hate pitching bloggers or media, or writing pitches. Or maybe you hate social media. Find the things you aren’t good at and (if you can) outsource those.
The other side of this is the learning curve, because there is a learning curve for sure – especially when it comes to a project that’s so personal to you. And regardless of your genre, publishing a book (whether your first or your fiftieth) is always personal. So give yourself some space and time to learn the ropes, follow good people – give yourself some time and be realistic about the time you can commit. I’ll admit that when a book launches, things are exciting and everything seems to be firing at once, it’s a great time to hit the ground running, but it can also be a time when you lose momentum as nothing seems to be happening. Not everything in book marketing happens at once. In fact, most of it takes longer than you’d expect. Book promotion is a lot like gardening – you plant it, you tend to it, you water it, and then, weeks later it starts to sprout. Things take time and if you’re actively engaged in your own success, cut yourself some slack. Nobody is born famous, and no book is an instant success.
Consider Your Book’s Potential: My book is bad! There may be some truth to this, but going back to the prior point of things take time – maybe it’s not your book, but just the fact that your book hasn’t had enough time to grow legs and learn to walk. Have you spent a lot of time on your book promotion, or is your book too new to know whether you have or not?
The other side to this is that if your book is getting a bunch of bad reviews, or if bloggers are kicking your book back saying it’s full of typos, or if you’re getting negative feedback on your cover, then maybe there are pieces of your book that need fixing. The truth is, if you’ve done the work, and you’ve done your due diligence, your book probably isn’t bad, it just hasn’t found an audience yet.
Let me ask you this: if you’ve been struggling with this particular pitfall, it might be something not even related to a book quality issue, but how it’s positioned. For example, we had an author who came to us with (her words) a paranormal romance. We pushed it to that market and did all of our marketing around this particular industry. The thing was, it wasn’t *quite* up to snuff, in terms of what paranormal romance readers wanted. The book was great, the cover was great, but the slight shift in genre (from paranormal romance to contemporary romance) made a huge difference. Sometimes fixes can be small, but have a major impact. So consider that before you throw in the book promotion towel.
Consider Your Marketing Message: No one cares about my book! This statement couldn’t be truer. No one cares about your book – they only care what your book can do for them. See what I did there? The problem with most book promotion campaigns is that so often the book is pushed as the center point to the entire pitch, and it’s not. Consumers buy on emotion and this is true whether they are buying fiction or non-fiction. You have to speak to their emotional trigger. Are you entertaining them? Educating them? Enlightening them? The point being that indeed, no one cares about your book – they only care what your book can do for them. If it’s a “thrill ride” then that should perhaps be the lead-in to your pitch. If it is a surprising look at health and wellness, then that’s your lead in. The book plays a major role, but it should not be a pivotal point in your pitch. So keep in mind if you feel like no one cares about your book, you’re probably right. But if you change your pitch, and change the focus, I bet you’ll find a lot of people care about that!
Sell More Books by Embracing Being a Small Business
You can’t expect to sell more books if you don’t take your work seriously. And being an author makes you a small business in today’s competitive market. Here are some tips for ensuring you’ve got your head right about this important aspect of having a successful author career.
Consider Your Brand: If you plan to write more than one book, your book marketing serves as more than just a sales tool. Successful, full-time indie authors use book marketing to promote their brand and keep their titles top of mind for their current fans, and to draw in new buyers.
Plus, the most effective book marketing approaches don’t simply push product, they create a connection with fans that keep them coming back for more. What I mean is, don’t blindly promote your book. Always have a detailed, recognizable goal that drives everything you do – and always make sure it benefits you for the long term. Your big picture isn’t sales, it’s a recognizable brand!
Consider Your Customers: A top priority for successful small business owners is creating return customers, so that should be your focus as an indie author as well. Social media, your blog, and email marketing are all really effective in this regard.
Think of any top brand (yes, this all ties together), and I can assure you they’re doing a lot of things right when it comes to staying connected to their fans in ways that strengthen brand loyalty, on multiple channels.
There are a lot of ways for small business owners to do this, but authors specifically can do a lot with giveaways that push sales, and by creating bonus content that’s really unique to their brand and what they have to offer.
Consider Genre Demands: While your super fans may buy every book you put out there, part of bringing in new buyers is ensuring you’re staying on top of what the market wants. What I mean is, as indie authors we need to recognize what the fans of our genre are drawn to. More importantly, we need to recognize when there are shifts.
Just like most industries, genres are also affected by trends and changing buyer interests. Fortunately, these trends tend to last long enough for you to cater to your buyer market with your next release. And while that may seem unappealing, it’s a reality if you want a long career selling books.
Consider Your Budget: Writing a book may be free, but publishing it isn’t, especially for indie authors.
Just like a small business, getting your book (product) to market requires an initial investment. And professional editing and book cover design is just the beginning. To release a title without a book marketing plan is basically a waste. I know that’s harsh, but it’s true and most authors who have tried it will admit as much. Unless it was just a bucket list item to see your book on Amazon, you’ll want to give it its best shot with a proper marketing plan.
Of course, indie author budgets range significantly, but you need to have something. If you don’t have the money (and time) to invest in releasing your book properly, you should reconsider this venture altogether.
Consider Your Long-term Commitment: Successful small business owners know they need to re-invest in their own success. As an indie author, you need to re-invest in your own book marketing and promotion. Again, budgets are different for everyone so if yours is smaller don’t worry, but do know blood, sweat and tears only get you so far.
For example, I’m a big proponent of eBook promotions, I think indie authors need to be doing these at minimum once a quarter. And to really get in front of quality potential buyers you’ll want to invest in some paid promotions and ad stacking strategies.
Book Promotion Ideas to Fit into Your Book Release Timeline
Here’s where it gets really exciting – specific book promotion ideas that fit into your book release timeline. Because so many authors feel lost about when to do what, and how! Follow this timeline and focus your book promotion efforts accordingly.
What to Consider 5-6 Months Out
What’s Your Launch Plan: Don’t wait till the last minute to create a solid launch plan to work from.
Choose Media: Decide which magazines, media, bloggers or publications you’ll target and do that early! Get your list ready and begin your research.
Get Endorsements: While they aren’t mandatory, if you’re interested in seeking blurbs from others in the industry, start on this early. Of all of the things I do when it comes to a campaign, this is often the trickiest because people get busy, or misplace the books I sent them. It’s a long process. Accept that, and you’ll be fine.
Get Speaking Opportunities: Pitch yourself as early as you can and mention you have a book coming out. It’s often more effective to pitch a speaker with a book because it’s an easy way to prove you have content people need.
Finish up Your Cover Design: Ensure it aligns with what’s topping the charts for the genre(s) you want to compete in – if the look is way off (even if you love it) – I suggest working with a designer to come up with something commercially sound. Covers sell.
Ramp up Social Media: Now is the time! And start peppering them with teasers, special announcements, and help them get to know you.
What to Consider 3-4 Months Out
Your Website: Make sure your website is ready to go and you’re creating blog content in advance.
Big Media: Pitching national magazines begins now, so do some smart research on which angles to use based on what’s happening in your industry, in our country as a whole, if you can align yourself with current events people care about, you’re more likely to get picked up.
Order Collateral: Order your bookmarks, business cards, or any other collateral book marketing pieces you plan to use.
Solidify Your Branding: Now might be a good time to refresh any branding on your social media sites, including header graphics, pinned posts, your About section, etc.
Author Events: If you want to do author events in bookstores, now would be a good time to start pitching them. If they’re local, walk in and introduce yourself.
Go Local: What about local groups and associations that tie into your topic or are popular with your reader market? Pitch them in this window as well.
What to Consider 2 Months Out
Website Launch: Your website is live and active!
Media Pitching: National broadcast media is being pitched.
Newspaper Coverage: Newspapers around the country are being pitched.
Bookstores: Indie bookstores are being pitched.
Libraries: Library pitching happens now too so walk in and introduce yourself and get involved in events, spending time around people who work with books can be key.
Distributors: Distribution should be confirmed by now or started ASAP.
Email Your People: If you have an email list, now is a good time to warm it up.
Create a Landing Page: If you don’t have one, create a basic landing page with a great giveaway offer or freebie to start collecting emails. A sample of the first few chapters, or a free worksheet, is perfect!
Goodreads Giveaways: Set up a giveaway on Goodreads for print copies.
Get on Bookbub: Claim your Bookbub profile and start making recommendations.
If your book is up for pre-order on Amazon, make sure you fine-tune your Amazon Author Central options.
What to Consider 1 Month Out
Get Local Coverage: Local media pitching begins.
Launch Your Contest: Planning a contest or special giveaway? If you are, it’s good to get this out there early.
Cover Reveal: If you’re doing a cover reveal, this is a great time to share it with your networks.
Reach Out to Bloggers: Blogger pitching starts now.
Send Another Newsletter: Maybe it’s time for another update to check in with people who have signed up.
Get Camera Ready: Consider scheduling a Facebook Live event on launch day.
Keywords & Categories: Do your Amazon keyword and category research and get those included with your book. Or email me and I can do it for you!
What to Consider During Launch Week
Post on Social: Social, social, social, focus on engagement, teasers, giveaways.
Run a BOGO: Try out a BOGO offer as a way to keep engagement up.
Thank Reviewers: Post comments on any positive reviews that start coming in, let readers know you appreciate their feedback.
Show up for Goodreads: Get active in your Goodreads groups to gain some name recognition within your target markets.
Reach More Readers with Bookbub Ads: Run some Bookbub ads that let you target popular authors in your genre.
Do Your Media Check Ins: Check in with any media or bloggers you sent books to, stay on their radar.
Use Discounts to Keep Up Momentum: Schedule a discount eBook promotion to happen in a couple weeks to rev up hits to your Amazon.
Plan, Plan, Plan: Start filling out the next couple months of our free book marketing planner so you feel confident you’re not leaving any opportunities on the table!
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