When it comes to book author marketing strategies – not everything has to cost a lot of money – in fact, some of the best things you can do for your book are close to free. Specifically, the idea behind this list is to work smarter, not harder, in the new year. Now, doesn’t that sound promising? Well, then let’s unpack the 22 smart author marketing strategies to use in 2022:
1. The Power of the Book Series
I wrote a prediction post last week, and I talked about the power of the book series – it’s really true. Books in a series do better. And this strategy doesn’t have to be exclusive for fiction authors – non-fiction authors can also benefit from this strategy. For example, I publish lots of books on book marketing – these are part of an author marketing series—all under the umbrella of book marketing and promotion. See what I mean?
You can and should absolutely look at making this strategy work for you in the new year. And if you have a lot of books out already, maybe you can repackage them into a series!
2. Less is More When it Comes to time spent on Social Media
We know that not all our time spent on social media necessarily moves the needle when it comes to author marketing. In fact, a lot of it is wasted effort.
If your posts get very few likes, shares, or comments, maybe it’s time to reconsider what you’re posting and where. Author marketing is about communication, and if your posts aren’t helping to foster more communication, maybe you’re on the wrong social media site (or your posts just aren’t interesting to your reader).
This is a great time to assess your various platforms and see where you really need to be! Being everywhere that matters is more important than being everywhere.
Not sure where to start when it comes to social media? Try taking our social media quiz and find out!
3. Publish Consistently
In the first point, I talked about the power of the series. If you’ve been sitting on one book for a while, unsure what to do next, then maybe your next step should be another book.
Many authors I talk to publish one book to “see what happens,” and more often than not, the results don’t meet the author’s expectations. Sure, sometimes they do (and yes, we all have to start somewhere), but commit to publishing consistently. This doesn’t mean you have to crank out a book a month by any means! Maybe publish some of your shorter books. I have published books that are under a hundred pages and do really well. Fiction authors often publish novellas to keep adding books to their library of offerings because they’re faster and easier to produce.
Why do you need more books? Because having more books is like having multiple storefronts – and readers love a good series. Also, you really do get more bang for your marketing dollar because everything you do benefits everything you’ve published.
4. Don’t Wait to Market a Book
I’ve mentioned the series idea twice in this blog post, and many authors might think: well, if it pays to have more books, then maybe it makes sense to not market book one till book two is out. The problem with that idea is that books age, and once a book is past a certain “age,” it becomes harder to get reviews and get any kind of momentum for it, which sort of defeats the purpose of having a successful series.
5. Price Your Books Competitively
We all want to make lots of money selling our books, but some authors take the wrong stance on this. Meaning they price their books out of the market.
The idea behind this is that if they price their books high enough, they don’t have to sell that many to recoup their investment, but this isn’t true at all. Most books that are priced out of the market may sell one copy, but not more.
Pricing your books competitively doesn’t mean pricing them lower than they should be. For example, I’m not a fan of a .99 cent book, unless it’s priced that low as a special eBook promotion or because the book is so much older or first in a long series, for example.
6. The Cover Wow Factor
When was the last time you looked at the bestseller list in your genre? If your cover doesn’t look like it belongs on the shelf beside the other books on the bestseller list, then you have a problem.
Good covers are an investment in your future, so if your cover isn’t great – maybe this is a good time to consider a cover polish or an entire redo of your cover. Nothing can kill an author’s success faster than a so-so cover. It’s simple; no matter how much money you throw at marketing, if your cover doesn’t live up to the expectations of the genre, your marketing is never going to pay off.
7. Plan Ahead with Your Promotions
I know this sounds silly, but it really does make a difference. As we get busier, it’s easy to forget to run a promotion, whether it’s a discount promotion or something else. Planning also brings some consistency to your marketing. It also avoids the dreaded, What will I do now? question when it comes to your author marketing.
Always have a few book marketing strategies ready to go, and also, if you plan ahead – you can buy up eBook ad slots early and get ahead of big holidays, like Christmas!
Author marketing is a conversation, and once that conversation stops, so does your book’s visibility. I often tell authors to always be promoting, but that doesn’t mean you have to run a big blog tour every month. Sometimes it’s an eBook promotion, a fun contest, or running some BookBub ads. Planning this out a month at a time is a great way to stay on track and not feel overwhelmed.
We have a great planner that’s been downloaded literally thousands of times, and I’ll post the link below so you can download it, too!
8. Stop Focusing on Readers: Consider Building Relationships Instead
In 2017 Digital Book World did a study and found that 95% of books are sold word of mouth, which means that readers are telling other readers. The goal should always be not to find the next buyer but to create the next reader.
Finding creative ways to connect with your reader, bringing them into your exclusive circle or tribe makes them feel special – because they are! Readers bring in new readers, and at the end of the day, that’s how the majority of books take off.
Relationship building should be your #1 priority in 2022, and the reason is simple: there are lots of books out there, lots of authors vying for the same virtual shelf space – having a solid reader tribe is a great way to kick every book launch into high gear.
9. One of the Best Author Marketing Strategies in 2022: Video
Whether short or long, video is a great way to entice readers to read. But don’t feel like you have to start a TikTok account to get into video – unless you want to. Video can happen on virtually any platform – including Amazon Video Shorts which are a fantastic way to repurpose a great video you did, a book trailer, or a snippet of you teaching!
Keep in mind that while many authors have book trailers, my preference is always a personal video. Maybe a behind-the-scenes video, something short thanking your readers, or whatever you feel compelled to do.
10. Amazon’s A+ Content
I wrote a blog post on this when it first opened up to KDP authors – and whether you’re self-published or traditionally published, great A+ content should absolutely be added to your list of author marketing strategies.
Not sure how to get started? I’ll add a link in the resources section of this post!
11. Maximize Amazon via Author Central
Are you using Amazon Author Central to its fullest extent? Are you sure?
Amazon has a ton of great features that help you promote your book and show up better in searches. Amazon Author Central is a great example of this. There’s a lot of content you can add to your book page via Author Central.
Outside of Author Central, have you optimized your book page? Added keywords and a bio? Much of this can be added via Author Central, too!
12. The Importance of your Amazon Book Page
When an author tells me that their Amazon ads aren’t converting, or their Facebook ads are sending lots of people to their book page, but no one seems to be buying, that tells me one thing: your book page needs a polish.
I’ve written a ton of blog posts on this (I’ll link to a most recent below) – but suffice it to say, if you’ve got some time over the holiday break, by all means, spend some time cleaning up your book page. Add your bio, add keywords, add video – and most of all: make sure your book description is scannable with lots of white space, bolding, and bullets (when appropriate) and lead in with a great review or review snippet!
13. Get Savvy with Amazon Ads
Haven’t explored Amazon ads recently? Now is a good time to do so. Amazon ads are a crucial step in getting exposure on this site and, if done well, shouldn’t cost you a lot of money.
14. Focus on your Branding
Everything is your brand, and whether you know it or not, your brand is talking about you. Do you like what it’s saying? If not, now is the time to clean it up. Your brand is your promise to your reader, and everything matters -from your website to your presence on Amazon to your social media. All of it.
I’ve done a lot of pieces on branding, and I’ll link one below. Now is a great time to dig into this for the new year!
15. Collaborate with Other (similar) Authors
One of the big things I talked about in my predictions post was authors collaborating. If you haven’t considered this, maybe start by networking with some authors in your genre and offer up the idea of collaboration. This could mean something as simple as a newsletter swap, a social media takeover, or just sharing each other’s eBook promotions or other book discounts!
16. Be a Fan of Your Genre
Stephen King once said that in order to be a great writer, you need to be a reader. Being a fan of your genre is so important, but not just because you want to know what else is out there. Being a fan of your genre is a great way to zero in on new nuances in your genre, too – which is really important, especially if you’re writing genre fiction.
In 2022, commit to reading more books in your genre, following the authors on social media, and sharing their stuff! And if collaborating with authors (mentioned above) is on your wish list, this is a great way to start!
17. Smaller Steps = Big Results
We all want to shoot for the moon, and that’s great, but big results often start with smaller steps. I talk a lot about this in our podcast, and we have a show on goals I’ll link below, but suffice it to say that breaking down big, massive goals into small, manageable steps will create a better pathway to success. It’s also a much more strategic way of thinking about author marketing.
18. The Importance of Audio
I covered this in my predictions post but sufficed to say that audio is a fast-growing market in whatever form. But an audiobook is an investment, so be sure that there’s an audiobook audience for your book first. Check the Amazon bestseller lists and see what other authors in similar genres do.
Also, if your books have lots of links, graphics, and images, an audiobook might not be right for your readership. But you could do other things like audio snippets, etc. check out the link in the resources section of this blog for more ideas!
19. The Power of Book Editions
For those of you who have just an eBook or just a paperback version of your book – you could be leaving money on the table. Various book editions can help to expand your audience and sell more books. Sure, you may have a readership that loves eBooks, but do they all read in electronic form? Are you sure?
And what about large print books – ever considered doing one of those?
I mentioned audio previously, which is an enormous market right now – but it’s not inexpensive to produce. However, other editions of your book might be. If you’re not sure what’s right for your audience: paperback, hardback, large print, and eBook – try perusing the bestseller lists in your genre and see what other authors are doing!
20. Be Clear on Your Genre
Maybe this seems like a silly thing to mention, but I talk to a lot of authors who aren’t at all clear on what their genre is. It’s really hard (if not impossible) to market a book if you aren’t clear who you are marketing to.
By the same token, having a multi-genre book isn’t good either. Certainly, there are books that appeal to different readers, but these books always have one primary market that they focus on. It’s crucially important to have a focused reader market not only because it’s easier to reach readers that way, but it’ll save you a ton of money on marketing. And, your marketing will be more fruitful in the long run.
Marketing a book that sits in a variety of genres is hard, if not impossible, and, much like a lackluster book cover, you can throw a lot of marketing dollars at this and still not get any results.
21. Create Bonus Content
Bonus content and additional materials related to your book allow fans to immerse themselves in your brand further, and, even better, it keeps them engaged longer! This is especially true if you are in between book releases.
This also helps to keep readers on the website longer, keeping readers engaged and coming back for more. Consider character interviews, deleted scenes, free downloads, quizzes, recipes, or travel guides.
The options are truly endless, and the only requirement is that it relates to your book or your topic!
22. Commit to a Newsletter
Earlier in this post, I mentioned the importance of the author/reader connection. A newsletter is a fantastic way to stay on their radar screen and communicate your news, giveaways, or book releases directly to them! If you haven’t wanted to delve into this, trust me, now is the time. We did a podcast on this, too! If you’re interested in learning more, there’s a link in the resources section!
Cheers to Smarter Author Strategies in 2022
I wish you all the very best in the coming year and hope we get to chat at some point. Whether you’re a seasoned author or a first-timer, a return client, or just starting with us, there’s so much knowledge I’d love to share with you!
Good luck with your promotions in the new year and beyond!