If you thought writing and publishing was arduous, you may find promotion even tougher! It’s never-ending, but essential to get your book noticed in the tsunami of new books flooding the market. Try to set aside a little time every day for marketing and you will reap the rewards.
Here is a list of promotion ideas from Victoria Twead, a New York Times bestselling author.
In no particular order:
1. As soon as your book is finished, offer free review copies to anybody who might be interested. Reviews are your very best selling tool.
2. Create an attractive website and keep it updated. There are free ones, like Weebly.com, which you could start with. Include your book cover, a sample chapter, author headshot, review snippets and links to retailers. Don’t forget to add contact details.
3. Start a blog and allow people to interact. The more comments you receive, the busier your website will become, and the higher it will rise in Google searches.
4. Welcome guest blog posts and become a guest blogger yourself on other people’s sites.
5. Interview other authors and offer yourself for interviews.
6. Make yourself easily available on Facebook. Do not underestimate the power of Facebook: it is extremely useful if used correctly. I’m not one of those who constantly mentions my books on Facebook, although there are many writers who are happy to keep pushing their titles, and it seems to work for them. I prefer to chat about general, everyday stuff and have made some fantastic friends on Facebook. If people like you they’ll probably buy your books.
7. Make a Facebook Fan Page. I have one, but don’t use it very much because blatant self-promotion makes me uncomfortable. However, other authors use theirs to great effect, posting up good reviews and any other book news.
8. Create Facebook events, like competitions, and invite people to them.
9. Answer every single comment made to you on Facebook, or ‘Like’ it to acknowledge you’ve seen it.
10. Open a Twitter account and follow back anybody who follows you. Don’t spam constantly but rather engage in conversations and your following will increase.
11. Join Pinterest and start a board for your book. Pin up your cover, author picture and any relevant photos you may have.
12. Join Google+ and host Q & A sessions.
13. Search for relevant forums on the Internet. I joined expat forums and chicken forums even before Chickens, Mules and Two Old Fools was published, and made many friends there who probably bought my books. Whatever your niche, be it sailing, mental health or transgender operations, forums will exist for you.
14. If you are a confident Internet user, create a ‘Ning’ community, or a forum of your own based on the theme of your book. It will attract potential purchasers of your book.
15. Join relevant Facebook groups.
16. Open an Instagram account and add relevant hashtags, like #Kindle #books #summerreads.
17. Join Goodreads, also owned by Amazon and become an active member. However, never self-promote except on the threads that invite authors to talk about their own books.
18. Join Librarything and add your book.
19. Consider giving away a few paperbacks or ecopies on the Librarything or Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for reviews.
20. Visit your local bookstores. Offer to hold a book-signing event.
21. Ask local bookstores if they’ll take a few copies of your book on sale or return. If they sell, the store will ask for more. If they don’t, you can collect the books and you’ve lost nothing.
22. Contact local newspapers. They are usually happy to promote local authors.
23. Contact local radio stations. They are always looking for fresh content.
24. Contact online radio stations. Again, they are always looking for new people to interview.
25. Collect email addresses of anyone genuinely interested in your book and you’ll be able to notify them when you write another.
26. Consider starting a monthly or bi-monthly newsletter for subscribers.
27. To build up your subscriber list, run a monthly drawing for a signed copy of your book. Announce the winners on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and your website.
28. Make business cards with your book cover on one side and contact details on the other. You’ll be surprised how often the opportunity arises to hand them out. Get them professionally printed (Vistaprint is good and inexpensive). Don’t attempt to print them off on a home printer.
29. Write articles for sites like Squidoo, Scribd and Ezine. Figure out which categories within these sites attract the same audience as your book, and write for those.
30. Write press releases. There is an art to this, so follow the proper format. Advice can be found in numerous places, such as www.savvybookwriters.com and www.biblioscribe.com
31. Submit your press releases to journalists and places like:
32. Make a simple book trailer. It should be no more than two minutes long. Like your blurb, consider this as a ‘teaser’, and end it with links to your book. Add the book trailer to YouTube, Vimeo and your website and any retail sites that will allow it.
33. Join Bookbuzzr.com and Freado.com. Apart from the publicity, they offer a great book Flipper widget you can add to your website or blog. (This is a tiny version of your book with turning pages.)
34. Include links to your book and website at the end of every email you send, as a signature.
35. Create flyers and leave them in places that attract your potential audience. Is your book about the horse world? Attend a horse event and hand out flyers.
36. Make bookmarks to give away. A cheap way of doing this is to print your design, repeated three times side by side, on an oversized postcard. (Vistaprint offers these postcards.) That way, 100 printed postcards will make 300 bookmarks. (Tax deductible expense.)
37. Invest in a magnetic sign that you can affix to your car. Every time you drive anywhere, you are advertising. (Tax deductible expense.)
38. Offer to take part in book club sessions via Skype.
39. Write up some discussion questions for book clubs. Either include them in the back of your book or on your website, or both.
40. Offer to attend local book clubs in person.
41. Offer to speak at your local Women’s Institute or any clubs that welcome guest speakers.
42. Subscribe to Google Alerts. Google will then notify you automatically every time you or your book is mentioned on the Internet. Then you can thank those people, or join in the discussion.
43. Donate a couple of copies of your book to local libraries. If the book is popular, the library will keep replacing it as necessary. The average lifetime of a paperback in a library is 27 loans.
44. Create new fans by donating books (depending on your theme) to women’s shelters, hospitals, retirement homes, local B&Bs, prisons or hospitals.
45. Donate your book to Bookcrossing.com
46. Set up a stall at a fete, flea market or car boot sale. Sell signed copies and give away bookmarks. Often it’s not the number of books you sell that is most useful, but the contacts you make whilst chatting to people.
47. Rent a billboard.
48. Have some coffee mugs printed with your book cover and give them away.
49. Go to Authorgraph.com and set up an electronic autograph that owners of ebooks can request.
50. And finally, the very best way to sell books is to write another…