How to Market Your Existing Book

by | Oct 20, 2016 | Book Marketing Basics

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Does your older book need a little something extra to get going every day? By this I mean, once your book has been out for a while, you may be wondering if it’s time to move on or keep moving forward with your book marketing plan.  My answer to you would be “it depends.” If you don’t plan to write any other books and don’t plan to update this one (if it’s non-fiction) then I would suggest moving on, completely. But if writing is your passion and you plan to do more – or to update the book or books you have out – then yes, by all means keep pushing it.

If an older book is relevant, there’s no reason you can’t keep promoting it. This varies to some extent for fiction vs. non-fiction, however many of the guidelines for these books do apply in a crossover sense. Marketing you can do for one, can also apply to the other.

  1. Keep Those Reviews Coming: Reviews can easily make an older book look relevant. People are still reading it, still reviewing it, so it must be worth reading. Even just a few new reviews per month can make a huge difference.
  2. Update content as necessary: As I mentioned above, if you have an older non-fiction book that needs updating, you should update it. Even for fiction books that are older, I’ve known some authors to update things like switching a character’s use of a Blackberry to an iPhone, or updating pop culture references. Most of this is pretty easily done with a few quick word searches and yes, it does mean that you have to reformat the book – but if you want to keep it fresh, or if you’re planning to use this book as a carrot to draw readers in to your newer books, this may be worth it.
  3. Update your Amazon Book Page: One thing that shouldn’t stay static is your Amazon book page. I always recommend updating it when you update an older book, get an award, big new blurb, etc. Even sometimes just updating the copy can be helpful to refresh the page.
  4. Change your Book Cover: This is an odd trick, but it works. I’ve tried this a few times with books across fiction and non-fiction. What I’ve found is that changing up the older book’s cover can often help to spike the book on Amazon. More than that, a new cover can really help attract new readers.
  5. Run Regular eBook Promos: Running regular promotions for your eBook can really help to keep up your momentum. I recommend trying one promo per month. This doesn’t mean you have to reduce the price to zero each time. One month, you can discount the book by $2, or make it half-priced, and then another month, mark the eBook down to zero. It’s just a great way to keep the book top of mind with your audience. Plus, eBook promos done regularly can help trigger your Amazon algorithm.
  6. Play with Pricing: Pricing, much like eBook promotions, is also a great way to play with the Amazon algorithm. Pricing a book at .99 cents for a day can really help boost purchases. Make sure to share any promos/pricing changes to your social media fans. The needle won’t move far if you change your price in a vacuum. A note on this: I’ve had authors approach me, concerned that this will upset their readers and I haven’t found this to be the case. We all stumble on sale items after we’ve bought something.If you get a lot of flack, or find your readers are pretty vocal, offer them an Amazon gift card for $1 or whatever the pricing difference is (they have to show you proof of purchase). When I had an author offer this, she got no takers – the readers were just satisfied that she was willing to honor the sale price. I think you’ll find that your readers just want to be heard – but unless you’re doing hefty discounts like $10 a book, most of them won’t be so upset that they never want to read your stuff again.
  7. Tie into Current Media Hook: While this mostly fits into the non-fiction category, it’s a great thing when you can find a national (or regional) angle to your book that the media might love. I’ve known authors to do this for older books that are going on five or more years old who have done very well. You can use it to pitch media, or you even on your blog and in social media. Finding a great book hook that has some national interest can go a long way to getting more current attention for your book.
  8. Keep blogging, Stay Busy I see a lot of authors who seem to leave their own promotion party as soon as the book hits a year old. They stop blogging, rarely show up on social media anymore, and forget pitching. What does this tell your potential readers? If you aren’t interested in your own book, why should anyone else be? Stay active on your blog, even if it’s just once a week – get into your social media and keep talking, your readers are listening and once you stop talking, they will move onto someone else.
  9. Too late for a review? Try This! But what if it’s just too late to pitch bloggers or reviewers for your older book? Well, then what about offering to write guest blogging pieces, or suggesting a book excerpt or author Q&A. Or, better yet, maybe approach less-high profile bloggers who can still give you some nice exposure, but aren’t so tied to book street dates the way some of the very high profile bloggers are. Exposure is exposure, whether it’s a review, mention, excerpt, or guest blog. Don’t just assume that because your book has aged, that it’s aged out of the market as well.
  10. Every Update Deserves A Repitch: If you update the older book in any way, you should consider a fresh repitch of it. The Amazon date may show that it was published in 2014 or 2015 – if you have made specific, helpful, or significant changes and you just republish the book to the same page (a lot of authors do this to keep the reviews in tact). If this is the case, make sure that anyone you pitch knows that the book is newly updated and make sure your book description reflects that as well. For example, you could say something like: Newly updated as of October, 2016! In big, bold letters – so it’s easily visible at the top of the book description. And, as I mentioned, if you are pitching it to bloggers or reviewers, make sure they are aware of this as well.

Ultimately, it’s up to you, the author, to determine how relevant your book is at any given time. But, just because it’s been a year or two, or even more(!), since your older book was published, doesn’t mean that you can’t breathe new life into its marketability.  Whether you draw parallels between topics presented in the book and current news, use it as a promo for new books, or simply update the content, you have the power to get the word out. Just like ebook promotions don’t do anything in a vacuum, share any new information with your followers and in your newsletter. And maybe, giving your book a little kick will resuscitate it sufficiently to kick it to number one in its category!


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