You’ve published your book, and now the hard part is over. Right?
Not quite. If you are under the impression that making your book available to the market is sufficient or that readers will automatically find you since you have an eye-popping cover and a survey-tested title, you might be in for a rude awakening. The publication of your book does not end your publishing journey, it only marks the beginning.
The reality is—and will continue to be—the name of the game is hustle. You do not necessarily have to be an aggressive self-promoter in order to have success (although that will certainly increase the probability), but you do have to spend time marketing your own book. The Internet is your new best friend, so take advantage of it to the fullest.
Here are some creative marketing strategies for newly published authors to help promote their book:
1. Social media. Sounds obvious, right? You would think so, but I worked with an author recently who had little familiarity or interest with social media: no Facebook, no Twitter, no Pinterest, no Instagram—nothing. I had to encourage him to create, at the very least, a Facebook page to help promote his own book. And it worked. In the first month alone, more than half of all his sales came via Facebook referrals. The bottom line is, build your infrastructure now so you will be able to promote your product (i.e., your book) in the future.
2. Solicit endorsements. Before you release your book, it might be a good idea to have a number of compelling endorsements from as many (respectable) individuals as possible. Your endorsers might also be willing to promote/alert their audiences once the book is officially released. You do not need to know potential endorsers personally; simply send a polite email that includes your attached book and ask for a brief endorsement. There is no harm in trying, and you might be surprised who is willing to add his or her name to your book.
3. Video trailer. If you have the ability to captivate an audience for 60 seconds, consider posting a book trailer to YouTube, Vimeo, GodTube, etc.
4. Promotional ideas/giveaways. People love free stuff. Generate some buzz for your book by offering several free copies. Be creative with the process. A caption contest or fill-in-the-blank contest is a fun way to give away a product. (You could also add a few caveats to the contest, such as “liking” your page to enter or entering an email address in which you can later send updates or discount offers).
5. Target your audience. “Everyone” is not going to love your book, so “everyone” is not your targeted audience. Your audience is very specific so figure that out early, and seek them out. I worked with an author recently who wrote about his time with a Christian ballet company. So, his target audience was primarily those within the ballet/dance community (and more specifically, Christian ballet). We promoted his book not only to the Christian ballet company in the book but also to Christian ballet companies across the nation. An email introducing yourself and your book (perhaps accompanied by an electronic copy or a physical copy) might just open up additional networking avenues.
6. Socialize. Discover where your audiences socializes (that could be either online or in a physical location—or both) and join them. If you published a book on poetry, attend local poetry readings or find a community of poets online. Apply this principle to whatever niche you are writing for.
7. Local bookstores/libraries. It might be difficult to find a brick-and-mortar store willing to give you space for a reading or book signing, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Bookstores usually have a “local” section, so if your book fits that description, ask them to stock your book (even if it is only a commission basis). Also, try the local library since you will likely be able to use their space for free.
8. Guest speaker. You are the expert or have something valuable to offer in your field. If you wrote a book on Christian theology, ethics, or social issues, contact local places of worship and ask if you could be a guest speaker at an event. Or, if you wrote a book on the military or have a special knowledge about a particular war, contact your local VFW and ask if you could speak at a meeting. Whatever topic you wrote about, there is certainly an organization or community to address.
9. Guest blog. Contact bloggers who also write on the same subject and ask to write a guest blog.
10. Reviews. Send free copies of your book (either electronic or physical copy) to a number of online book reviewers and ask for an honest review.
11. Website. If you do not want to pay for a separate website promoting your book, consider creating an author page on Amazon. Goodreads also offers free websites for authors.
12. Fiverr. If you are operating on a shoe-string budget, check out the services available on Fiverr. You might be amazed at what marketing services are available, starting at only $5.
13. Local media. Podcasters and small-market radio broadcasters are always looking for intriguing guests. Contact those individuals who might be interested in your subject and ask for an interview.
14. Widgets. If you have a website, add a Goodreads widget to your site which will help your SEO and social authority.
15. Email campaign. Compile a list of everyone you know, and send them an email letting them know about your new book. If you are reluctant to “spam” your friends and family, offer them a special discounted price for being part of your exclusive club.
16. Book competitions. Enter your book in as many competitions as possible. Winning would be a major boost to promotional efforts and provide credibility. You can easily find competitions by searching the Internet.
17. Business cards. Place business cards and other marketing material on community boards in as many businesses and places of high-traffic area as possible.
18. Donate books. Give away free copies of your books at conferences or charity events. (Create bookmarks using the cover of your book and insert in each free copy).
19. Signature. Update your email signature by adding a link to your book on Amazon.
20. Blog comments. Post comments on blogs with similar subjects. Include a link back to your website and/or your book on Amazon.
21. Twitter. Send tweets on a number of topics that would help potential readers. Give your followers something more than blasting them with self-promoting tweets. Also, use relevant and trending hashtags to maximize your potential audience.
22. Press release. Send a press release to your local radio station and your local newspaper. Include a copy of your awesome book.
Key takeaway: Creating traffic, interest, and sales takes a lot of hustle. Consider some conventional and not-so-conventional methods for promoting your book. The Internet has created more of a level playing field for all authors, so take advantage of every opportunity available, and let nothing go to waste.