Book Marketing 101

Based on a twitter survey I did, lots of people want to know more about how to market your book. So here is my (basically) all-inclusive guide to marketing.

  1. Figure out your market audience. For example, if you’re in YA, your primary market is 12-18 years old (who you are aiming to read this) but the secondary market (who might also purchase) include adults such as parents, librarians, adults who just love YA, etc.
    • Where can you find them and how do you take advantage of this? YA readers are going to be in school, so you could schedule an event there such as a book reading or a talk about writing/an issue addressed in the book.
    • Use the right tools. ie for social media, don’t use Facebook for young teens. Don’t use TikTok if your market is older. Are there podcasts you could get on? News sources that would publish an article on you/your book, including schools you attended, cities you have lived in, etc?
  2. You, the author, as a brand. 
    • This is fairly basic but not to be overlooked. Your website and social media should be your name, and consistent across all channels (including images, colors, etc). Make sure your website includes contact information, information about your book (where to buy it, what its about), and events you will be at.
  3. The book as marketing. 
    • The cover and the blurb are what many readers use to decide if they should read your book– make sure these are great. If you are self-publishing please, please, please use a graphic designer. The worst thing is having a great book with an obviously DIY cover that people won’t take seriously.
    • Get (a) great review(s) for the cover. Do you know someone, or is there someone within your publishing house, who has name recognition within your genre? Reach out (or have an agent/publisher/etc reach out) with plenty of time before publication (at least a few months) and to multiple people, from least likely “reach” requests to most likely “safer” requests.
  4. ARCS and pre-orders.
    • Once you have ARCs (advanced reader copies– edits and cover done, usually in electronic form but can be print as well) use sites like NetGalley and Edelweiss+ to give copies in exchange for reviews. This way you can get reviews before the book comes out.
    • Get creative with promoting, especially for pre-orders. As many people as you can get to pre-order, the better your book launch will be. You could offer signed copies, custom bookmarks, or other merchandise related to your book.
  5. Blog tours and social media
    • Set up a blog tour! Reach out to blog owners to publish on their blog to promote your book (and yourself!) to the blog’s following. For an example of how to set this up, click here. 
    • Set up a Goodreads giveaway. Goodreads giveaways are a great way to gain exposure in exchange for a copy of the book. *But* the success rate can vary so try one and see before giving away all your books.
    • Do giveaways. In exchange for following blogs/social media/etc, enter people to win a copy of your book, a bookmark, etc.
    • Social media is great, but it isn’t everything. You may gain a few sales this way *especially if you interact with people personally*, but this should not be your main marketing strategy.
  6. Book launch
    • Set up an event the day of your book launch, either in person (ie a reading at a library or bookstore) or online (ie on Facebook or Twitter). Offer incentives for people showing up (like food in-person, giveaways for both, etc).
  7. Libraries, small book stores, etc. 
    • Reach out to libraries and small book stores to get them to order your book/audio book/etc. You might wonder what the benefit to having your book in a library would be, since you don’t profit beyond the initial sale, but it expands your audience which expands your reach in terms of word-of-mouth.
  8. Get creative. Look at Youtubes/Blogs of what has and hasn’t worked for other writers. Take the best of this advice and tailor it for your book/audience.

Ultimately, you are trying to convince people to spend money and time on reading your book, over other books and other things. How can you convince them to choose yours? Are they getting something from it (ie merchandise as in your preorder campaign)? Are they invested in you as a person (ie close friends/family, people you met at events)? Was it recommended by someone else (this is the hardest but best one, and where reviews come in)?

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