Whether you’re just launching your new book, or you want to relaunch a flailing novel that’s not doing as well as you’d hoped, there are things you need to get right to give yourself the best platform from which to push. Here are six basic marketing tips.
There are one hundred and one different marketing schemes, ‘professionals’, and techniques that you could find on Google, making promises of launching your book into the stratosphere, but without the simple things in place it’ll all be for nothing.
You need to get back to basics, and here are five things you can do yourself to make sure everything that comes after has the best possible chance.
1 Have a home base
Your book needs one central point that everything is focused toward, your website.
Facebook and Twitter are great platforms to promote yourself and your book, but they should be tools for sending traffic back to your site, you shouldn’t be using them as an alternative.
You can use an author website, if you plan to write and publish a lot of books, or you could have a standalone site for each book. Every marketing effort will feed from your site and back to your site. It’s the one thing that you have absolute control over, and you aren’t beholden to anyone or anything else.
At the very least, your site should have a homepage, with details on your book and where to buy it, and a contact page, with clear contact options and a little about you. You can mix these things up, and do them however you want, but you want a way for you to get your information out, and a system in place for your readers to get back to you.
Things you also want to include are:
- A mailing list - a simple email capture form from Mailchimp is fine
- A freebie - consider including a sample of your book, or even a free book if you’re promoting a series, but something to encourage people to your site other than the regular news.
- Social links - all your social links, Facebook, Twitter, author profiles, etc
- Analytics - it’s no good sending all this traffic back to your site if you don’t know whether it’s working or not. Sign up to Google Analytics and you’ll be able to see how well it’s all working.
2 Get social
This may sound obvious, but you need to have a social network presence. You will increase your author visibility, meet readers, cultivate an audience, and increase your chances of selling more books.
However, you need to commit to being social, don’t just use it for putting out links to Amazon and push your book, you will only turn people off that way. You need to engage people, retweet things that you enjoy, follow others, and once you have a comfortable audience they’ll be pleased to be promoted to every once in a while.
Sign up to Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ as the minimum.
2 Know who you’re selling to
Whenever you hear someone talking about marketing, you’ll hear them say ‘demographics’ or ‘target markets’, a way of determining who you should be promoting your book to. Authors can take it a bit further because they already know who their exact reader is, they had them in mind when writing the book in the first place.
You can use this knowledge when promoting your book. You know what they like, how they act, what they respond to, how best to engage them. It will naturally become less of a sales technique and more of a personalised message to someone you know.
4 Speak to your readers
Expanding on the social networking, you need to invest time in communicating with your audience, talking to them and finding out who they are and what makes them tick. They make an author successful, recommending you to their friends, writing reviews, and ultimately buying your book.
As already mentioned, you can build a relationship with people via Twitter and Facebook, but you should also look at other avenues, like reader forums, write blog posts and reply to comments, meet and greet at bookshops, libraries, schools, and book fairs. Don’t dismiss any one reader because they could be your gateway to another hundred.
- Ask questions - What do people like about your writing style? Their favourite character? Their favourite book, if you have a series? Also remember to just find out who they are, and what they do. All this helps you specify who your reader is.
- Say hello! - You don’t need to interview each and every person who follows you on Twitter, but don’t rely on automated responses, users can smell them a mile off. Instead, cherry pick a few, check out their profile, and give them a personalised message. They will be over the moon to here directly from their favourite author, and will tell everyone. It’s gold.
- Be prompt - Make sure you respond to comments, tweets, and emails in a timely manner. Readers won’t appreciate it if they ask you a question and it takes you months to get back to them. Set yourself a deadline for responding to messages. You could set aside a day, once a week, to correspond with you readers, meaning that most responses are inside seven days.
5 Learn from the best
If you’re looking for ideas on how to promote, engage, or market your book, you should look to see what your favourite authors are doing. Find inspiration from other successful authors, there’s a reason that they are doing so well.
Have a look at successful authors in your genre, and ask yourself a few questions:
- What social networks do they belong to? - How often do they post? What kind of content are they posting? Do they get a lot of comments, retweets, mentions, etc?
- Do they have a blog? - How often do they post? What kind of posts get the most interaction? What style of headlines are they using?
- Have they got a unique marketing tactic? - Have they got a niche in their marketing? Is it something you can copy easily?
- Who has reviewed their books? - Have notable reviewers read their book? Would it be possible or appropriate to try to get reviews from the same person?
6 Stop, wait, give it time
When you’re in a marketing mindset it can be very easy to throw your all at everything you can, and if something doesn’t appear to be working, you could jump onto the next tactic. Don’t. The results of your efforts will take time. Nothing is an instant win, everything you do to sell your book is a slow-burner, so it’s best not to gauge the effectiveness of something straight away.
If you keep jumping from one thing to another, never really committing yourself to anything, then you’re spreading yourself too thin and none of your marketing will be successful.
Let us know what marketing techniques you use, and be sure to sign up to our newsletter which includes tips and tricks, and special offers for our services, including ready-made book covers and designs, eBook formatting, and promotional tools.