5 Tips for Marketing Your Book
After working for months, or even years, on your novel, the moment you release it to the world will be the greatest time of your life. But whether you’re publishing independently or traditionally, you’ll find that the most discouraging response isn’t bad reviews or unwanted tags on social media…but a complete lack of response at all. The problem usually isn’t that people glance at your book and decide it isn’t for them— it’s that they haven’t even heard of your book.
Marketing is the process of getting people excited about your book so they’ll buy it and spread the word both before and after release day. It requires a whole different mindset from the creative process of writing. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. In this post, we’ll give you five tips to promote your book effectively without burning yourself out.
Make a website
In the age of social media and online bookstores, having a website may feel redundant. But having a central hub for readers to find you is essential. For one, not all readers use social media. For two, social platforms limit you to single posts at a time, and when a reader is on your feed, they’re not truly disconnecting from their own platform to descend into yours. A website gives you the freedom to delve as deep as you’d like into your books, as well as offering a personalized space to post blog posts, images, purchase links, and more.
Important things to include on your website are: your biography and pronouns; your books with purchase links on different platforms; short fiction with links for where to buy or read; links to blog posts or trade reviews; images of your book covers; and blurbs or cover quotes. Make your site fun and accessible by using images and short paragraphs rather than walls of text, and make sure purchase links are easy to find. Include links to your social media accounts, as well as a place to sign up for our next very important method of marketing: your newsletter.
Just like your website gives you complete control over the appearance of your content, your newsletters give you control over reaching your fans. Posts on social media are ruled by algorithms, which means no matter how many followers you have, only a fraction see your posts. However, when you send out a newsletter, it goes straight into the email boxes of anyone who’s signed up. Therefore, not only will you reach one hundred percent of your subscribers, but you’re also sending your news directly to your most loyal fans—those who signed up because they didn’t want to miss anything.
Newsletters are a great place to share cover reveals, release dates, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your book, writing process, or characters. You want subscribers to feel like they’re getting special treats that your average reader isn’t. One way to do this is by offering an incentive. For example, give away a free short story or e-novella for those who sign up. Giving new subscribers a free taste of your writing is an ideal way to gain fans who will buy more of your work.
Engage with social media
In our last two tips, we said social media by itself isn’t enough to sell books. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore it. Social media is one of the best ways to introduce readers to yourself and your books. Fans on social media shout from the rooftops when they find books they like, and many publishers, editors, and book bloggers advertise through it too, meaning word-of-mouth can explode through these platforms. And you want to be part of that!
But social media can be a massive time drain, especially if you try to master every networking service out there. Instead of spreading yourself thin, pick one or two platforms and focus your efforts on them. This platform will be a great place to advertise the same stuff as your website—cover reveals, release days, reviews, or quotes from your book. But authors who talk about nothing but selling their books are usually unfollowed pretty quickly, so make sure to mix it up with other fun tidbits about yourself. Engage with others, and get excited about other people’s books as well as your own. The reading community is diverse and vibrant, and the more personable you are through social media, the more others will interact with you.
Create pre-release hype
Word of mouth is the most powerful tool when it comes to selling books, and a big part of this happens before books even come out. There are several ways you can get people talking before release day.
One important factor is pre-orders: when readers buy your book ahead of time so they can get it right on release day. Many authors run pre-order campaigns, where they offer incentives such as giveaways, bonus chapters, character art, and more to fans who provide proof of a pre-order.
Another huge moment is your cover reveal, when people get to see your book cover for the first time! Make sure your methods to pre-order are in place before your cover reveal, since it’s usually the most common day for people to order your book, second only to release day itself.
You can also give away Advanced Reader Copies, or ARCs. People reading and talking about your book before release day creates buzz, gets you early reviews, and entices potential readers to pre-order it. The best readers for ARCs are book influencers, such as reviewers with big followings on YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok. Most have details of how to submit your book for consideration through their websites.
Throw a launch party
After weeks of seeing teasers about your book on social media, viewing your cover for the first time, reading advance reviews, and getting newsletters, your readers will be excited to hear you chat about your book face to face when it comes out, whether it’s an in-person or a virtual event. Schedule your launch party far enough in advance to promote it online and through your newsletters. Make a Facebook event page. Plan games and giveaways related to your book. Get a cake made with your cover! Read a passage from your novel and hold a Q&A.
You can also ask a fellow author to co-host your party with you; not only can it relieve stress not to do it alone, but another author will draw in their own fans, which means more potential fans for you. In today’s age of virtual events, you could even plan one in-person event and one online, enabling you a farther and more accessible reach.
After all the work you put into writing your book, sharing it with the world is a special time. So don’t be afraid to get the word out! By using the strategies above, you’ll build excitement around your name, discover loyal fans, and get your book in the hands of readers everywhere.