Imagine if Krispy Kreme introduced a new and amazingly flavoured donut.
But didn’t tell anyone about it.
You went into the shop, browsed the menu, and went ahead and ordered your favourite flavour, the one you always buy. You had no idea that triple-chocolate-pecan-caramel-with-sprinkles flavour even existed. It’s not that you didn’t want to try it…
….you just didn’t know it was there.
It’s the same with your book.
You may make the mistake of thinking it’s enough just to have your book listed and for sale on Amazon. But unless you put in some effort to promote it, no one will know it’s there.
So how do you go about marketing your book?
After all, you’re a writer, not a marketing executive. How do you know the right things to do to get people interested in your book? You can get results with these easy-to-implement ideas:
1) Think about your target audience
Identify who your readers will be, and make an effort to get in front of them, both online and offline.
- Hand out free copies or a free chapter of your book to people in your social circle who are your typical reader. Ask them to read it and recommend you to their friends.
- Organise a book signing or a reading in your local library or community centre. They’ll be happy you’re bringing readers through the doors, and it gives you the chance to connect with your audience in person.
- Offer your book for free reviews. Once potential readers have the affirmation of positive reviews, it breaks down the barrier in their mind of trying a new author. Be creative to try to reach out to your readership.
2) Tell your readers a bit about you
People are naturally curious, and will want to know a bit about you. If your readers can identify with you it will make them want to read your book. If they know and like you and your book, they will want to read the next one, and the next, and the next….
Add an author bio and photo to the back cover or inside page of your book. Put your photo on your website and social media pages. Tell people about your pet dog/cat/tarantula, and how you have three sugars in your tea. Establish a fanbase of followers who are interested in YOU, and they’ll become loyal readers for each and every book you write.
3) Use social media
You may doubt the usefulness of social media in promoting your book, or be unsure about the best way of using it. At the most basic level, it’s undeniably a great way to reach a huge, worldwide audience. So why not embrace the ease of communicating with your audience through this medium, and give it a go.
Facebook and Twitter
Set up a Facebook and Twitter page to promote your book. This may sound daunting, but most of us are on Facebook and Twitter on a daily basis without even thinking about it. This is a huge potential audience of 1.44 billion monthly active users. Of course, no-where near all these people will be interested in buying your book, but there’s a good chance your target audience will be among the users.
Don’t be intimidated; update your book’s status in the same way you update your own. Ask your friends to ‘like’ and link to your pages. When you sit down to write, post a photo of your laptop, keyboard, or pen and notebook. When you see something that inspires your writing, post a photo or status update about it. When you read, let your followers know what books you like. It really is as simple as that.
You can use YouTube in a similar way. Make a short video of yourself reading the first chapter of your book out loud. Introduce yourself first, and talk a bit about your book and why you wrote it. You can make a video easily using your mobile phone. Add your video to your social media pages and your own website. It’s as simple as using a small piece of code that YouTube give you when you upload your video. You add this to your website and it allows people to view that video on your site.
4) Set up a simple author website
Again, this sounds complicated, but it doesn’t have to be. Set up a very simple one or two page website. You can download a WordPress theme for free and register a domain name for typically less that $10. Get a great image of your book cover, and tell people who you are, and what your book is about. Add a link to your book on Amazon, so readers can buy it, and that’s all you need to get started. When you first start promoting your book, it’s invaluable to have a website that bloggers, journalists and readers can visit to ‘find out more’. You can build more content on your website as you go, if you need to.
5) Create bookmarks, posters, postcards and business cards
It may seem a little old-fashioned in this electronic age, but people still appreciate something tangible they can hold in their hand. Bookmarks, postcards and business cards are a great and inexpensive way to get an image of your book into someone’s hands. Add a link to your website or your Amazon page, and there’s every chance that person will look you up when they’re next online. You can order all these promotional items from print on demand merchandise companies quickly and cheaply online at the click of a mouse.
6) Optimise your book details on Amazon so readers can find it when they search or browse
When you upload your book to your Amazon accounts (KDP for your Kindle book, and Createspace for your paperback), you can complete a form with your book’s details. Make the most of this:
Amazon allows you to add in keywords that will help readers find your book. In the ‘Search Keywords’ field, add up to 5 phrases (separated by commas) that you think readers might use when searching for your title, or when looking for books that are in a similar subject matter.Don’t forget to select the BISAC category that best fits your book... Click To Tweet
Don’t forget to also select the BISAC category that best fits your book. BISAC (Book Industry Standards and Communications) categories are used by the book-selling industry to help identify books, and group them by their subject matter. You can select the broad category that your book falls into, and then a subcategory.
When readers browse Amazon by subject, the BISAC category attributed to your book will make sure they find it in the correct category.
7) Start a blog
Blogging is a great way to attract followers to your topic or subject. And you have the ultimate advantage – writing is your skill! Many businesses employ people just like you to fill their own blog pages. So make your blog the third page you add to your website.
You’re probably thinking – what will I write about?
Be creative. Update your readers on the progress of your next book. Share a photo of a writing or networking event you’ve been to. Give out a teaser of your next character. The aim is to keep connecting with your readers on a regular basis.
Try to add a new post once or twice a week. It’s a great way to get interesting, searchable content out on the world wide web, which in turn will help people to find you.
In a nutshell, a lot of professionals in the book industry say that marketing your book can be much harder than writing it in the first place. Many authors find selling their work doesn’t come naturally to them: writing is an often solitary profession, you spend so much time ‘in the zone’ completing your story. And then selling that great work means networking and connecting with the public to promote your book.
But try these steps and you’ll be well on your way to exposing your book to a wider audience, building your fan base, and making more sales.
We’re Peter and Caroline O’Connor. Creating beautiful book cover designs for authors all over the world is our passion. Every author should be able to benefit from a beautiful book cover design (not just the lucky few who get signed by a big publisher). We design, podcast, and coach authors full-time so we understand your struggles. Currently accepting new clients.