Reading Time: 8 minutes

One of the keys to a successful book marketing campaign (and one of the secrets of how to market a book) is PLANNING. And it doesn’t take a lot of effort, just a bit of time and looking ahead strategically. You poured a lot of effort into getting your book ready, now let’s give it the kind of book launch it deserves!

So, let’s look at a few things you need to do ahead of launch day, to prepare for a successful book launch!

1. Elevator Pitch:

Being able to quickly summarize your book is really important, it tells your potential reader quickly and succinctly what your book is about, and it offers enough of a tease that it should, ideally, whet their appetite for more.

So, what’s an elevator pitch? It’s a 1-2 sentence description of your book. Or you might pose a question, offer a solution – or open the door to a mystery your book solves. Elevator pitches are short and snappy introductions to your book. Another name for an elevator pitch is a book blurb, which doesn’t summarize the story, but rather hooks a reader and pulls them in. Your book hook, as it were.

One final note: creating your elevator pitch is a messy process. If you’re like most authors, you’ll probably have several drafts of this. Keep all your work, consider it cutting room floor stuff that you might use later!

2. How to Market a Book 101: Start a Marketing Journal!

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to keep track of the things you do, related to the work and the marketing for your book. It’s really important to not just track, but also plan out your promotions, discounted eBook promotions, etc. Keep track of all the promotions you do, including ads you run on Facebook, or elsewhere.

3. Connect with Readers EARLY:

As you move through your process, you will learn more tips on how to market a book, but it can start before you hit publish – feed readers interesting content early, share a fun fact, ideas for characters – connect where the readers live online. Meaning, join some Facebook groups and start contributing to them. Even if you just join one group for now, if it’s a robust and active group, it’s better than joining five of them that have very little activity.

But connecting with readers isn’t just about joining a Facebook group, if Facebook isn’t your thing – maybe your market is more LinkedIn or Instagram based. It’s time to find your “home” on social media and start posting. And trust me when I say, when you first start posting it’ll feel like you’re just talking to a big, black void – if you keep posting engaging content this will change, I promise. This will help you get in front of possible readers, to begin to whet their appetite for what’s to come!

4. Set up your Social Media:

But first, you need to decide where you want to be. I have a lot of blogs written on this very topic (we’ll link to a few in our resources section) but it’s important that you don’t feel like you need to be absolutely everywhere – just be everywhere that matters. What does this mean? It means find a social media home you’re comfortable with and that you feel you can keep updated regularly. Start with one social media outlet and once you master that, you can move onto other social media sites. Sure, you can start all your social media at once, but that’s a lot of work. And ideally you really only want to be where your readers are.

If you opt to focus on just one social media site and want to hold off hopping onto other platforms, you can always create a “presence” on other sites by directing readers to follow you elsewhere – and pin the post to the top of your profile so they know, if they’re looking for you – where they can find you. Also, when you do it this way, if you decide to expand out onto other social media sites, you’ve already grabbed your name and branding, so you’re set!

5. Your Pitch List:

Who are you going to send your book to for review? Not sure yet? Well this is one element you don’t want to wait on. Why? Because unfortunately it often takes longer than you think. Have you built your blogger list or reached out to a book marketing firm who can help you? Many of these firms do more than just market a book – so if you don’t think you want to tackle this, reach out early enough so you have time to do a few interviews.

Your pitch list might not just be bloggers, it could be influencers, pre- and post-publication national reviews. Strategize about this early and start building your list!

6. Blogger Materials:

If you’re going to pitch yourself to bloggers, you’ll want to have materials ready to go. While some bloggers may run an interview with you, most will want to review your book, and many will request an eBook. I often recommend to authors that they create a simple Dropbox file with book images, an author image, your bio, and your book in various formats so the blogger can download the format they prefer. And if you are feeling really ambitious, create a ten-question author interview that’s ready to go, in case a blogger wants to grab it. Doing this will really expedite review requests, and lets the blogger know you mean business. Your materials are ready to go – and they’ll really appreciate that.

Stay with me here: the best book marketing campaigns include social media AND it is also true that social media doesn’t sell books. Wait, what? Isn’t that a contradiction? You’d think so but here’s the thing: social media is an important key to exposure, and exposure sells books. Let me rephrase that: the right kind of social media sells books. Which is why I always say it’s not about being everywhere, but everywhere that matters. There are a lot of different angles to consider with social media platforms, and you can get deep into which platform is best for your purposes as well as all kinds of analytics that can guide when and where you post. These are all worthy topics for advanced study. Today we’re going back to basics as we consider the best book marketing campaign for you. Today’s post, in fact, is all about helping you answer a question many authors struggle with: what the heck am I supposed to post? Authors often hop on social media sites without any idea of the demographic of the platform’s users, with no knowledge of their own reader demographic, and without the faintest idea of what to say – and then they wonder why social media doesn’t seem to be working for them. That is not the right way to approach social for your best possible book marketing campaign; not only is it wrong, but that approach will cost you a bunch of time and effort that you literally will never get back. Where Does Your Message Live on Social? Most of the time, social media frustration stems from authors struggling with the content they feel they should be posting. In response to the feeling that they should be active on social media, they post something that’s not really relevant to their audience, though maybe it’s top of mind. But the problem actually starts earlier than that because more often than not, authors are on the wrong social media site to begin with. I’m including a link to a social media quiz you can take, to determine the best site for you (see the Resources section below). And if you take the quiz and you’re sitting here thinking “Well great, I’m on all the wrong social media sites, what do I do now?” My answer is: close down what you don’t need. If you keep the account, you’ll be tempted to update it, and that’s not a good use of your time. If you keep the account and don’t update it, it looks like you’ve abandoned your own party, and that’s not a good look either. Creating a Rockin’ Social Media Presence It’s fair to say that each social media site has its own particular “needs” – LinkedIn, for example, is different than Facebook, which is different from Instagram or Twitter. But regardless of where you’re going to spend your time, you’ll want to make sure to do a little bit of prep work before you start posting. Authors with the best book marketing campaigns work on identifying the talking points that will work best for them and for their books. To make this easy, I recommend you find three or four tracks you will speak to. These “tracks” are the conversation funnels you share on social, and the reason I like to limit those tracks is that a narrower course makes it easier for you to figure out what to say and/or share. Generally what happens is authors hop onto social and share whatever comes to mind, which creates a somewhat erratic presence and, invariably, lowers your engagement. What you’re attempting to do here is set your reader expectations by pre-plotting your pathways and the things you share. This doesn’t mean that you’re always tied to just four talking points, but to get started and kick this into high gear, you’re better off staying on track. And, by staying consistent to your messaging and your posting topics and schedule, you’ll build a reader/follower base much more quickly than you would if you just got onto social media in a haphazard way or if you posted too much one day and then nothing at all for a week. Most of what happens on social media falls into one of those two scenarios. So what does this look like in the best book marketing campaigns? Let’s say you’ve written a diet and health book; your tracks might look like this: • Latest health news • Quick daily health tip • Exciting news about your book • Motivational quote around health/wellness/diet If you’ve written a fiction book, let’s say a Sci-Fi novel, your tracks might look like this: • Fun science fiction did-you-know • Throwback to old Sci-Fi novels, shows, or films • Exciting news about your book • Book research you’re doing for future books OR • Some insight into your life: where you write, the playlist you listen to when you write, etc. OR • Your hobbies and what you love to do besides writing We worked with an author who set one of her romance novels in a small town, so she shared recipes from the various restaurants and coffee shops she wrote about, and readers really enjoyed this creative twist. She tried to create an immersive experience because she knew that was what her readers really cared about. So, along those lines you could share cocktail recipes or anything that tethers to the world you’ve created. Here are some other ideas: • Get your followers’ help in naming a pet in your next book. • Even better, get their help naming a character! • Ask questions to get to know your followers better; people love it when you ask about hobbies or movies they love. • Talk about things you like besides books. • Make yourself unique. • Share things that are specific to your genre – for example, if you wrote a book on vampires, you could create a meme with four famous movie vampires and ask readers to pick their favorite. • Celebrate your favorite comfort food or something else that dials into your topic. The idea is to find where readers want to engage – meaning posts that will (in the words of Marie Condo) spark joy with your followers. This may take a while. Start with your three or four discussion tracks but know that you may need to play around a bit and further refine them. The Best Book Marketing Campaigns Create Connections Readers love getting to know the authors of the books they read and love. Often, authors post on social and then wait for folks to engage with them, and yes, a bit of that approach can be part of your social platform mix. But also know that the degree to which you are connected to your posts matters, and it matters a lot. If you’re posting and ditching, you won’t get good engagement – ever. After you post, you need to check back to see if anyone responded; sometimes it just takes one person response, followed by your own, to get the comments rolling. Humans desire social approval; we love to express ourselves on social media in the hope of getting affirmative feedback. Likes and shares give our brains a surefire dopamine rush. We also love contributing and having our opinions heard – keep this in mind even if you’re just posting something funny. For example, I do a lot of “caption this” posts to spark communication. Some of them do really well, garnering upwards of 150 comments, while others only get 20 or so comments. Regardless of how many responses I get, I make sure to acknowledge every single one. People love it when you take the time to get to know them, when you’re really interested and willing to take the time to connect. Inviting followers to share their hobbies and then responding – or even just giving their content a thumbs up – can go a long way in developing reader relationships. Another driver of engagement is nostalgia, though you need to know your audience well enough to make it work for you. Someone who grew up in the 1990s won’t necessarily feel nostalgic for the same post as someone who grew up in the 1970s. People also love humor, especially now. So posting funny things might be one of your tracks. As I said before, you’re going to want to play around with this a bit until you find the right mix. Branded Images The best book marketing campaigns use images that are consistent in color, font, and message. You may share a meme that’s not specifically branded to you, which is fine. But the majority of your images should be consistent with your brand as this helps to create a visual recognition; readers see something and say, “Oh that looks like [insert author name]!” You can create branded images using an online service like Canva. In fact, for AME’s blog images (which get shared on social), we create a series of templates so that we can swap images in and out, but the standard font, spacing, and URL stay the same. Canva is an easy way to quickly create content, too. Create a Posting Calendar The best book marketing campaigns rely on planning. Not everything you do has to be planned ahead of time, but keeping up with your social media obligations will be a lot easier – and quicker! – if you create a posting calendar so you know what you’re sharing and when. Once your plans are in place, you might also spend some time creating images ahead of your posting dates and then scheduling them to post. This allows you to really focus on marketing strategies like book giveaways so you aren’t caught off guard when your chosen date crops up. Staying the Course Social media takes time. You’ll try something and succeed, then try something else and fail. This is how you learn what resonates with your audience, and what does not. Before long, you’ll start to see why social media plays such an important role in the best book marketing campaigns. And you might even start to discover some real joy along the way! Resources and Free Downloads Canva Monthly Book Marketing Planner Book Marketing Kickstart Package QUIZ: How to Market Your Book on Social Media

7. Create a Bitly Link:

This may seem like a small thing, but shortened URL’s are a much easier and cleaner way to link to your book (or the aforementioned Dropbox file), it’s quick, easy and good to have handy! Reviewers and readers will appreciate not having that enormous link in an email, or a newsletter promo!

8. Clean up your Amazon Link:

Here’s a quick tip for those of you wondering about Amazon’s big brother tactics. Their URL’s have an imprint on them that tracks back to you. So, before you create a Bitly link, or even just send your URL link out – clean it up. How do you do this? Just remove all the tracking which will track back to you. Like so:

This is the link, originated from my computer – it’s long and, frankly, a mess.

https://www.amazon.com/How-Sell-Books-Truckload-Amazon/dp/B08VRN5NHX/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1612627864&sr=8-2

I’ve broken down what the specific numbers mean in a different blog post, so I won’t go into that here. But suffice it to say that all those numbers are Amazon’s tracking, to see where the URL went (so if you’ve had reviews pulled off of Amazon, this could be why).

Now let’s look at what a cleaned-up link looks like:

https://www.amazon.com/How-Sell-Books-Truckload-Amazon/dp/B08VRN5NHX

All you’ve done is remove the coding and voila, a cleaner link that Amazon can’t track.

This whole Amazon URL is a much bigger and broader issue, and we’ll cover it for sure in an upcoming podcast (link to our show below) so tune in!

9. Your Book Description on Amazon:

Not enough attention is paid to Amazon book descriptions. A lot of times I see authors just toss a long paragraph up there, with no spacing, bolding or anything that could add some flare to a book description – as well as making it more readable.

Amazon book page conversion is a big problem for many authors learning how to publish a book. If you’re running Facebook ads, or Amazon ads, and no one is buying your book, it’s a pretty good bet this is because your book description is not up to par, not appealing, has typos (yes, this is a real thing), is too long and rambling, doesn’t lead off with a book hook or elevator pitch. You name it.

An Amazon book description is easy to create and forget, but the problem is that if your book doesn’t convert consumers into buyers, nothing else you do matters. I’ll pop a link in the resources section of this blog post if you want to dig into this further!

10. Find Your Right Genre:

Maybe this sounds silly but spend some time on Amazon to dig into, not just genres, but subgenres as well – because there are a lot. Got a cozy mystery? Did you know that cat cozy mysteries is a popular genre on Amazon? I mention doing this research, not just for your Amazon optimization (which you’ll need to do, too!), but sometimes subgenres can factor into things like your book description, your book’s subtitle (if you don’t already have one), and keywords. Spend thirty minutes digging through the genres on Amazon, exploring both the Kindle and print book side of the site, you may find some really helpful insight you can incorporate into your own book launch!

11. Your Amazon Keywords:

And speaking of keywords, are you ready with your Amazon keywords? Start this early, too. Not just because optimizing your book on Amazon is a solid promotional strategy but because you’ll want these to enhance your book description, too.

12. Don’t Ignore Google:

Getting found on Amazon is key for many authors but getting exposure on Google is also important, so get your website up early and start adding content to it. Maybe even post a blog once a week or a couple of times a month. This is another great way to create content you can share with your readers while you are still learning the best approach on how to market a book, too!

13. Prepare Your Images:

Prepare images ahead of time. There are some great programs (like Book Brush and Canva) that you can use to create book announcement images, promo images, etc. If you’re planning out your book promotion, you’ll know what you need to create and doing these early can really help to expedite your launch and all your promos!

One more thing, make sure any images you create are the right size for each specific social media platform. And if you’re stuck on what to create, image-wise – consider doing quotes from your book (this works for fiction as well as non-fiction), character images, early reviews you’ve gotten. You get the idea!

Remember the cutting room floor stuff I mentioned earlier in this piece? Images are a good place to use this content that didn’t quite make it into the final cut!

The Book Marketing After Party

So, what happens after your book launches? Well now it’s time to keep the momentum going. And this doesn’t have to mean that you’re going heavy out of the gate every single day, but if you’ve planned out your promotions, your social media strategy, blog posts, blogger pitches, reviewer outreach, then you shouldn’t have to worry about “What will I do next?”

But even when you feel like you’ve tapped out of all the things you can do; you can still keep the conversation going with your readers. Setting up a newsletter that goes out maybe monthly (or more, if you’re super ambitious!), communicating with readers on social media and on your website.

One thing I see a lot is authors who disappear after the initial party is over. This is not an effective approach on how to market a book. Even if you hop onto social just once a week – maybe establish theme days and let your readers know so they expect it.

The truth is a lot of your book marketing momentum may not start kicking in until months after you started your promotion. Most books don’t show up on Amazon with thousands of reviews or a ton of reader love on social media.

The majority of success happens during the after party, when most authors want to sit back and wait for success to show up – it’s the hard working authors who stay, nose to the grindstone – and continue to market, long after the party is over, who reap the rewards!

 

Free Downloads and Resources

How to Promote a Book on Social Media without Burning Out (or wasting a ton of time)

Effective Social Media for Your Best Book Marketing Campaign

Quick and Effective Amazon Book Description Tips

Amazon Updates & Marketing Tips

AME Book Marketing Tips and Author Success Podcast

FREE Amazon Cheat Sheet

Alliance of Independent Authors

Author Marketing Experts

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