Recently an author asked me about book marketing and publicity. He’d planned an entire strategy, but when I checked his books at the online retailers, I noticed that vital elements were missing.
Intensive publicity and advertising can only work if the book is set up well. Always start with the book, specifically its product page: check the book and its page.
Here’s what I suggest to my coaching students: focus on organic searches and sales first, before you dive into intensive advertising. Give your book a chance to be found via readers’ searches and serendipity. You need a benchmark for promotion.
In addition, if you do a good job on the book’s product page, there’s every chance an online retailer may help you, by sending mention of your book to subscribers. It’s happened to my books, and could happen to yours, as well.
Keep in mind: you can CHANGE your book and its product page at any time. It’s easy to change the title, description, cover, contents…
Book marketing: look at the book’s product page, first
Yes, you can change the title!
When I chat with authors, I’m often shocked at how few consider changing their book once it’s been posted. Why wouldn’t you change things, if the book isn’t selling? Always give your books the best chances to succeed.
So, change anything and everything.
TIP: only change one thing at a time. Otherwise you’ll never know what worked. If you spot obvious boo boos: bad title, incorrect categories, etc—change them at once. For minor changes, give your change ten days to kill or cure, then change something else. Make a list of potential changes.
After you’ve done what you can with the product page, and changed just ONE thing (to reiterate: change only one thing at a time), check the content.
Check your book’s first 10 per cent of content
I know I always nag my fiction students on the importance of the first scene, but it may sell your book.
The online book retailers preview your book’s first 10%. Readers check your style, the content, and whether the book lives up to the title and blurb.
Yes, your cover is important, but it only serves to get attention; once you have readers’ attention, they need reasons to buy.
Be sure to check:
- Your book’s title. In fiction, it must give a flavor of genre; in nonfiction, it makes a promise;
- Meta data (blurb, keywords);
- Also-boughts (a good reason NOT to urge friends and family to visit your book’s product page);
- Reviews. As with the cover, reviews can help, but they won’t encourage people to buy—your book’s preview must do that.
Have you thought about your front and back matter?
Free book marketing IN your book: the front and back matter
Your book is prime advertising real estate, and it’s all yours, so you can change it anytime you wish. Whenever you have time, it’s a good idea to think about how you’re using your books’ internal advertising space.
However, do restrain yourself. It’s easy to go overboard by adding stuff: don’t, please. Not only will you annoy readers, you’ll also annoy Amazon.
A while back, Amazon took a big stick to people who added too many previews of other books to the back matter. From memory, Amazon prefers that under 10% of your book’s content is previews of other books.
I’ve covered front and back matter elements before. From Book Marketing Ideas: 10 Savvy Ways To Sell More Books:
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?
Commonsense book marketing: start with the basics, always
I’ve seen many authors toss away big money on advertising, because they failed to check the basics: the book, and its product page.
Basics matter. As the proverb goes: “for want of a nail…”
Please: always check your book’s basics, then promote with all the energy you can muster.
Good luck; I wish you all success. 🙂
Your books aren't selling. You've done everything right, but you may have missed an essential element of bestselling fiction...
That element is suspense.More info →
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.