One of the greatest things afforded to indie authors is the creativity involved in their own book marketing.
Yes, it can be tiresome and too often it seems like a chore, and if you resonate with this I want to encourage you to kick off 2018 with a new book marketing approach.
Create a calendar for giveaways and bonus content
This is separate from the regular promotion you do for your book releases, and separate from the day-to-day engagement you try to create with fans via email or social media.
If you’re asking why bother with giveaways and bonus content, I’ll tell you: it sets you apart.
All indie authors do book marketing (I hope!) but no one can replicate your giveaway prizes and no one can replicate your bonus content – because these elements stem from your books and what makes your brand unique.
Yes, as an indie author you’re a brand, and the sooner you start thinking that way, the more successful you’ll be.
The psychology behind giveaways and bonus content
These elements also let your fans and followers know you care about them. And for those of you not so warm and fuzzy types need to hear me out – it can’t be all about you.
Your book promotion should really max out at 30% actual product pushing. The rest of the content, communication, and engagement needs to be more personal and more creative, that’s how you build true fans and not just one time buyers.
So I’ve compiled some book marketing ideas that have work really well for indie authors I’ve worked with, so hopefully you can make these your own or they inspire you to go even further – remember the goal for 2018 is to market smarter.
Create giveaways that drive sales
A lot of indie authors shy away from giveaways because they only hear “free” and “investment” and they assume there’s not much return in it, but that doesn’t have to be the case.
My favorite kinds of giveaways are those that drive sales.
At the core, these types of giveaways require participants to email you a proof of purchase for entry.
BONUS: you also get to build your reader contact list!
One example is super easy. Choose a gift card, it can be Amazon, Starbucks, whatever you think resonates most with your buyer market. Make it worth people’s while so go for $20 if you’re going to do these often, up to $50 if you’re only thinking twice a year. Or keep them guessing by changing it up each time.
Simply ask your network to send you a proof of purchase from Amazon to be entered into the drawing.
This works really well combined with a short-term discount eBook promotion as well.
Create giveaways the create new readers
Another example is a form of BOGO. Buy one, get one, or my personal favorite, buy one, give one – this creates new readers and potential fans.
There are a lot of ways to work this so get creative and do what makes sense for where you’re at in your career and publishing schedule.
What I like to do is ask readers to email a proof of purchase and the email of a friend they’d like an eBook copy gifted to.
I’m doing this with the release of my Sell More Books on Amazon print book in fact, with the purchase of a print book I’ll gift the eBook version to a friend or colleague of yours.
The BOGO doesn’t have to be for published works either, it can be a great way to tease an upcoming release.
Have readers email you a proof of purchase to get the first 3-5 chapters of your upcoming book in advance!
Develop bonus content that keeps them on the hook
Bonus content that works for new or potential readers is valuable, because it helps establish that personal connection.
Indie authors need to always be focused on their personal connections with fans, because that’s what helps sell future titles.
One way to do this is to not be stingy with previews and excerpts.
As indie authors, you can’t miss an opportunity to show them WHY they want to read your books.
Pick out scenes you’re really proud of, or a particularly exciting chapter, and promote the heck out of it on social.
If you write non-fiction, be sure you’re always sharing additional tips and guidance that show you really have the chops – and always be directing them to your book to learn more.
The beauty of this strategy? You already have all this content, just get creative with ways you can tease it.
Develop bonus content that rewards dedicated fans
This is next level bonus content. I say that because this is content you likely need to create, or develop from the cutting floor or your brainstorming notes.
For fiction this can be character profiles, background and information that isn’t in your books.
Give your readers more insight into your characters likes and dislikes, maybe info about their family. Maybe do posts that discuss who you’d cast in the movie!
The more readers connect with your characters the better impression they’ll have of your work and your brand.
For non-fiction, think quizzes, super short workbooks that focus on a single problem you can help them solve, or events on social that let them ask you questions for an hour. All of these things are excellent to promote as well – and who can’t use more ideas for book marketing in general?
There’s only one you. But there are over 4,500 books published every day.
So get creative with the additional content you have available, or can easily create, that helps set you apart from the competition and supports a brand your fans and followers can get involved with.