Looking for book marketing ideas? If your sales have slowed during the pandemic, remember the 30 Day Rule.
This rule states that the marketing you do over the next 30 days will pay off over the next 90 days.
In short, you need to be consistent in your marketing. 15 minutes a day every day for 30 days is more valuable than several hours of inconsistent marketing over a month.
When an author asks me for “more ideas” for marketing, it’s a clue that the author believes that there’s a magic bullet. Sadly, there isn’t.
Another common misconception among authors is that “social media marketing doesn’t work.”
Book marketing on social media: again, consistency wins
Although I’m a copywriter in my other writing life, I’m not a huge fan of paid marketing. Today, it’s essential, but please keep in mind: your social media supports paid advertising.
Years ago, back in the typewriter/ newspaper age, it used to be a truism that people need to see your name seven to ten times before they’d buy from you.
These days, marketers believe it takes a least 50 times. No one has time to read attentively. We’ve all got the attention spans of hyperactive fleas. Your prospective readers must become familiar with you.
Important: please keep the 30-Day Rule, and “50 times” in mind
If you do, you won’t find book marketing boring. Show up. Keep showing up. From memory, there are some four million books on the Kindle Store, so you need to promote yours.
Let’s look at some savvy ways to sell more books. These methods aren’t in any special order.
A tip: use any method which appeals to you for a couple of weeks, before you move on to the next method.
1. Pay attention to Amazon reviews in your chosen genre (and take the free advice)
Do you read your own reviews? You may or may not learn anything from them. It’s more useful to read many reviews in your genres/ categories. While you’re reading, make a list of what readers want and what they don’t like.
If many reviews say similar things, keep those things in mind when you’re writing.
2. Read bestsellers’ blurbs (go and do likewise)
I’ve coached authors who’ve sold more books in a day than they usually sell in a month because they revamped their blurbs to make them more appealing and powerful.
3. Create image quotes from short snippets from your books
Here’s an idea for social media marketing content.
Create an elevator pitch for each book you’re promoting. Then boil your pitch down to ONE sentence as well as a tagline, or slogan. You should be able to recite your book’s tagline in your sleep.
Share your taglines on social media. You can share them on images or as text.
To give readers a flavor of your book, create image quotes from small snippets of the text of your book.
Use Buffer or a scheduling app to share your image quotes on a schedule. (Remember, 50 TIMES.)
4. Collect fans, reader by reader (try Instagram)
Authors with tens of thousands of readers on mailing lists collected their readers one by one. It takes time to collect readers. Try Instagram. It works for many authors.
5. Revamp your website’s “Books” and “About” pages
Got a website? Excellent.
Give it some love occasionally. When you launch a new book, remember to update your site’s Books and About pages.
6. Inspire emotions when you write and market fiction
EMOTION! Yes, I’m shouting. Nothing is more important for fiction authors.
If readers don’t feel your book, they won’t buy it. Check out your genre’s bestsellers. Click on the books and read Amazon’s Look Inside excerpt for each book. You don’t need to read the entire excerpt — read the first couple of pages.
Grab a pen and paper. Write down the genre, the name of the book, and the author. Underneath that, write the emotion the author is targeting on the first pages.
You may find this exercise challenging initially.
Please do it. If you repeat this exercise many times, not only will your own fiction improve, but you’ll also enjoy writing more than you do now. Indeed, if an author tells me he’s “bored” with his book, it’s a major clue that he’s forgotten about the emotions he’s trying to arouse in his readers.
Remember emotions when you’re marketing fiction too. Emotions trigger all purchases, whether you’re buying a book or a car.
7. Be newsy when you market nonfiction
Marketing nonfiction can be challenging if your book has been out for a while.
When you’re creating marking materials, aim to reference something newsy—either in your own life, in someone else’s life, or in the news.
“Newsy” things include:
- Reviews, good or bad;
- Comments from other authors about your book;
- (If you’re writing How To books), comments from readers who’ve followed your advice.
8. Get creative and collaborative: do advertising swaps
Advertising is expensive. These days, major publishers spend up big on Amazon and other sites, because they’re getting a return on their investment.
If you’re in popular categories, your small ad spend can be overwhelmed by the strong competition.
Advertising swaps can help. They’re free. You can promote other authors’ via your mailing list and website in return for those authors promoting your book.
9. Got a blog? Swap guest posts with authors in your genre
Guest posts are popular among some authors. Please be aware that results will come over time. Remember the 30-Day Rule as well as “50”. Blogging isn’t like advertising. Blog content stays online. Advertising vanishes when you stop paying.
Swap posts with other authors in your genre. What would happen if you swapped guest posts every month for a year? Would you build your readership?
10. Cross-promote in the books you publish
Although this method of book marketing is so easy, few authors make as much use of it as they could.
Use the front and back matter of every book you publish. What could you promote?
- Your website and social media accounts as well as your mailing list;
- Book titles and snippets, if you’ve written several books;
- A letter to your readers talking about upcoming books.
Of course, please don’t go overboard with cross-promotion, but do remember that your books’ front and back matter are prime advertising real estate.
Hate book marketing? Readers are waiting
Marketing, like writing, is a state of mind. Your self-talk will inspire or block you. Tell yourself that readers are waiting to hear about your books, because they are.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.