It’s hard to believe that the new year is already upon us because 2018 was certainly a wild ride. If it feels like book promotion strategies are changing all the time, that’s because they are. What worked well in 2017 has pretty much stopped working – or has changed altogether. An example of this is social media, which I’ll address in this piece. But the bigger reason for this article is not just as a predictive and prescriptive piece. Instead, for many of us the last month of the year is an opportunity to reflect and reassess what worked and what didn’t in 2018 and plan for the new year. I hope these book promotion tips help! Also, check out our free book marketing calendar, too, which should greatly help you plan and plot out your success in the new year!
- Cut Down On Your Social Media: More and more, it’s becoming apparent that the time an author spends on social media isn’t generally productive. And most of it certainly doesn’t help to facilitate their book promotion. Maybe you aren’t doing the right things, or maybe your readers aren’t on the platform you’re using. Not sure where you should go when it comes to social media? Check out our quick social media quiz and find out. Because if only a few of your posts are getting likes, shares, or comments, then maybe it’s time to reassess what you’re posting and where. Book promotion is about communication and if your posts aren’t driving that, there’s something wrong.So how much social media do I recommend? I’d say 10% of your book promotion strategies should be directed at social media. For some authors, like those who write business books, this percentage may change, but for most of us (myself included) it’s really a much smaller slice of the book promotion pie than it once was. The reason is because our readers have become more particular about where they spend their time. We know from various studies that many younger folks are getting off of Facebook, or deleting their phone apps altogether. And as 2019 unfolds we’re going to see less mindless surfing, because consumers are gradually becoming more aware of how much time they’re losing inside of these social media platforms. Social media can be a black hole of ineffectiveness. So be diligent about how many channels you’re using for your book promotion. Instead of spreading your posts across five channels, why not find one really great one and maximize it?
- Bring your A-Game: When it comes to book promotion strategies, there’s only one way to promote your book if you want to succeed: Whatever you do, do it well. With so many choices, readers are becoming increasingly more demanding in terms of they want to read or, what they’ll finish. Studies have shown that half of the readers who will buy your book won’t finish it. You might think: “That’s ok, at least they bought it.” But that’s not really the point. Because you want them to finish the book *and* you want them to love it, because loving it means they might share it with their friends, or on their social media. The other element of bringing your A-Game to book promotion isn’t just the book you write, but what it looks like as well. The cover, the book description on Amazon, your website and, for that matter, your entire author platform needs to scream: A-Game. There is no room for short cuts if you want to succeed and sell books. And if you want your book promotion to actually pay off, you need to remember that this is the big leagues. A half-assed effort, a book that is minimally edited, or not at all, a bad cover are signs of a book promotion effort that isn’t designed to be in the big leagues, or, for that matter, to succeed at all. (Read here for easy ways you can bring your A-Game to book marketing.)
- Be a Massive Fan of Your Genre: Maybe it’s crazy that I even have to mention this in an article about book promotion. But I do see this a lot when it comes to publishing. So often authors put out books in genres they aren’t a fan of. Maybe it’s because they saw a movie and it inspired them to write about it, or maybe it’s a business idea they want to share. Regardless of what the book is about – if you’re going to write about it, you’d better be a fan of the genre. The reason, as I cited previously, is readers have lots of choices and it’s been my experience that one of the biggest reasons for bad reviews or a reader not finishing your book is because the book wasn’t written for them. I see this a lot with authors who say that a book isn’t one particular genre. They’ll say “my book doesn’t fit an exact genre.” So if this is you, and you’re wondering why your books aren’t selling, it’s because you haven’t written for your reader. Stephen King once said to write the book you want to read. This statement is only true if you are a big fan of the genre you’re writing about. If you understand what the reader wants, and understand the nuances of what the genre demands. Because if you’re spending your hard-earned book promotion dollars on anything less than that, you’re flat out wasting your money. To learn more, check out this post on how becoming a fan can help you sell more books. And, while we’re on this topic, it’s a great time to read about developing a solid reader profile so you can really examine this book marketing strategy in greater detail.
- Publish More: One thing that 2018 has taught us is that having one book is a great way to start out your book promotion, but it’s a hard road if you only plan to ever publish one book. There are exceptions to this, of course, but generally, if you’re looking to build a reader following, you should consider putting out more content. Especially when it comes to publishing books in a series, you shouldn’t wait too long to release book two, three and so on.
- Be Smart About Book Pricing: I’ve written a lot about book pricing, and I’ll link a recent post to that here, but suffice it to say you must be smart about your book pricing. Books priced too high, especially eBooks will have a tougher climb in terms of book sales than books Never price your books in such a way that they are no longer competitive with their markets. If you want your book promotion to be successful, and sell more books, price them so the reader will buy.
- Start early: One thing we’ve seen a lot more of in 2018 is getting an early, head start, on building your book promotion campaign. By early, I don’t necessarily mean starting a year out, but hitting the book marketing trail a good 3 months out is never a bad idea. Hitting your book promotion campaign the day your book is launched is not impossible, but as 2019 unfolds, it’s going to get a lot trickier to market a book effectively this way. Check out my post on how early you should market your book here.
- Make sure your book cover and genre match: Surprisingly this is still a very big deal. Authors want to take “risks” on their book covers, and make them unique. All of this is great, but it should still “match” your book genre. Genres generally demand a certain “look” and we know this because a thriller cover and a cover for a holiday romance are vastly different. The same is true for a text book vs. a self-help book. A reader landing on your Amazon book page will give you about 3 seconds before they scroll farther, or move on.
- Consistent book promotion: You should never, ever be sitting around thinking: “What should I do now?” Always have a book promotion strategy in the hopper. We have a new book promotional calendar out that lists, month by month, what you can be doing to promote your book. Keep in mind that when I say you should be consistently promoting your book, I don’t mean that you have to do a big, elaborate campaign each month. Maybe one month you do an eBook promotion, or super fan, or a fun contest on social media, Whatever it is, make sure your book promotion is consistent.
- Do more video: Video is a great book promotion strategy. Oddly though, book trailers aren’t as successful as fun, short, reader-focused videos that I’ve seen a lot of authors do. Personal videos, personal messages to your readers. Video is no longer an optimal book promotion tool, but it’s a mandatory one. Pop up a quick video on Instagram or Facebook to thank your readers for buying your book, or start sharing ideas from your next book with them and see what happens! Regardless of how you use video, it should definitely be part of your book promotion tool kit in 2019!
- Maximize Your Amazon Presence: You’ve given this a lot of thought, maybe you’ve taken one of my classes, bought our video series on this, or maybe just bought my book and thought: “Maybe I’ll try this someday.” Well that day is now. Make sure you are using every single book promotion tool Amazon gives you. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out my Amazon video series here! It’ll walk you through every step you need to take turn your Amazon book page into a book promotion tool that will help drive more book sales.
- Make sure you have an eBook: The Amazon website is actually several different platforms that all work together – to varying degrees. Having different editions of your book (print, eBook, and even Audio books) will help you to own more of the Amazon.com real estate. Even if your book doesn’t have an eBook market per se (like children’s or maybe a coffee table book), you should still have one. Another good reason for having an eBook, aside from the real estate aspect of this is that it can boost your book promotion in other ways. There are promotions you can do using your eBook that aren’t available to you with only a print book, to include eBook promotions, giveaways, and more! If you need more information on eBook promotions, start with this post. And this article will give you the info you need to get started with Goodreads giveaways.
- Get that print book: The same rules apply to print books. I know a lot of authors who go straight to eBook, which is fine, conceptually. But having a print book can help enhance your visibility, which will help with your book promotion!
- Consider the Revise and Re-Release: If you have older books out there, or a book release that fell flat, maybe it’s time to revise and re-release your book. I’m seeing a lot more of this as 2018 comes to a close and I believe this will be a pretty big deal as we enter into 2019. Here’s another post I did on this topic. And, I have a book out on the subject, too. (You can get it here.) This strategy is pretty easy to do and a great way to breath new life into an old title!
- Focus on Small: When it comes to book promotion we often talk about big hits, big book marketing, big names, big targets. But as 2018 comes to a close, one thing we’re seeing a lot more of (a whole lot) is the success of the micro-influencer. What that means is the person with a small but massively dedicated following. This doesn’t you always have to play small, but keep in mind that in many cases small is the new big. As TBR (to-be-read) lists grow with bloggers, sometimes it’s better to target a smaller name, with a dedicated following. One thing I’ve started to see a lot more of are savvy authors targeting folks with 1,000 or fewer followers with massively active follower bases. Don’t discount this powerful group – and this extends to your readers, as well. A dedicated, very active group of 10 followers is better than thousands who never see your stuff, don’t respond, and don’t buy.
- Build Your Fan Base: Now, more than ever, you need to build your fan base. Start by simply connecting with your reader via a letter in the back of the book, or special offer that drives readers to your website and encourages them to sign up for your mailing list. You need to be in touch with your reader, not a ton, but yes, consistently. Newsletters are critical for solid book marketing – and you can read more about them here! Also, one way you can attract fans is to make sure that you’re offering them something extra, like these great ideas for bonus content that readers love!
- Grow Your Super Fans: Once you have your reader-tribe built and your newsletter going, now it’s time to focus on your super fans. I have a blog piece (several in fact) on this topic that you can see here. Your super fans can really help to promote your book, even if it’s just putting up reviews for your book. Reviews are important, lots of book reviews are even better. Your super fans can help you get there. If you haven’t started building your tribe, now is the time to do it.
- Skip the ads: Now, I’m not saying that ads don’t work. What I mean here is that when it comes to book promotion – ads just for the sake of running ads doesn’t work the way they once did. An example of this are Facebook ads, which at one point were a great, gangbusters way to promote your book. Now, not so much. If we use any kind of an ad, we use them to drive attention to a very specific book promotion. So, for example, I might run a Facebook or Bookbub ad to push readers to an eBook deal I’m running. But I won’t run ads just to run them, because that hasn’t worked well for most of 2018 and I suspect it’ll become even less effective in the new year.
- Look the Part: There’s an old saying that goes: Act as if. Which essentially means, act as if you’re already a best selling author. Certainly, you need to LOOK as if you are. Your website, all the content you put out, should all scream: professional. It’s a much easier road to successful book promotion, if everything you do looks and feels like you’ve already become a success.
- Collaborative Book Promotion: This is definitely a trend I saw a lot of in 2018 and we’ll see much more of it in the new year. As so many more books get published, more and more authors (of similar genres) are looking to collaborate whether it’s on book promotion campaigns, bundled books, contests or whatever. Collaboration is a great way to not just drive considerably more attention to whatever it is you are promoting but by working together, you’ll also get the benefit of each other’s audiences, too!
Many more new and exciting book promotion strategies will show up in the new year, and we’ll be sure to report on as many as we can. But I hope this rock solid 19 will help you kick your book marketing for the new year into high gear!
And, if you found this helpful, please do share so other authors can tap into these powerful book marketing strategies in the months to come! I’ve made it easy with these pre-made tweets!
Click to Tweet: Power up your 2019 book marketing with these 19 essential strategies from @bookgal for a leg up next year! #bookmarketing #indieauthors https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6Rv
Click to Tweet: Start 2019 strong with 19 rock solid tips from @bookgal that will allow you to sell more books in the new year! #bookmarketing #sellmorebooks https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6Rv
Click to Tweet: New year, better book marketing! Make your book promotion goals a reality with these 19 strategies from @bookgal! #bookpromotion #sellmorebooks https://wp.me/p6TMt8-6Rv
Did any of these tips inspire you or surprise you? I’d love to hear more about what you’re doing to make 2019 your year. Please share in the comments!
Thank you so much for putting all this information into a very easy-to-process list. I’m glad to see I am doing some things in an effective manner and interested to learn of trends (young people moving away from FB etc.), and now brain-storming how I can up my game in some areas. I really appreciate all your efforts and excellent advice! Kind regards, Peter Buckmaster
Great article. I am a first time Author writing a Non-Fiction, self help book to females on relationships. Your marketing tips look awesome. My young relatives tell me Facebook is dated as far as they are concerned. Even my friend’s daughter tease her because she is on Instagram.
One thing for sure your tips are current. I can’t wait to utilize them.
Thank you for your comment, Leesa! I’m so pleased to know you find my tips helpful. With social media, it’s important to identify the platforms your intended readers frequent, so knowing those demographics will allow you to target your efforts. Best of luck with your book! Feel free to reach out to see how we can help with a custom launch campaign, and remember, that’s something you want to start lining up well in advance of actual publication.
Too many words!
I don’t want to read a book about how to market a book.
I don’t want to take a class.
I want to sell books! Can anyone do that?
Publishing a book is a business – and like a business it takes learning and effort. If you aren’t willing to put in the effort, then you will need the funds to hire someone to do it for you. Good luck!
Thanks for putting all of this together. It’s extremely difficult to know what works and what doesn’t. Especially because a lot of the stuff seems to get outdated so quickly.