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.
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.
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:
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
I am an indie author and was wondering whether you could help with marketing my book.
Thanks for reaching out, I’d love to learn more and possibly set up a time to chat, so please contact Amy, my programs manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll introduce you to our approach and get a little more background on you and your project. I’ll let her know to watch for your email!