1. Start with your ideal reader.
Your book may appeal to a wide number of readers in the long term. However, at the very start you need to build a tribe. Be very specific about who is the reader most likely to become an ambassador for your book. Tim Ferriss spoke about this extensively with his book the 4 Hour Work Week. He targeted entrepreneurs initially but knew that the book had wider appeal. Once he had built a tribe of entrepreneurial readers who loved the book the awareness grew. They spoke about the book with their friends who were executives or CEO’s and it sparked their interest. Target carefully and let the buzz spill from there.
2. Where does your ideal reader spend time online?
Can they be found on Instagram, in Facebook groups, on Twitter and what blogs or websites do they read? Think of who that ideal reader is and where they spend their time. Track them down and get your book in front of them. This is why bloggers, reviewers and journalists are so key. They will often have access to your target reader. Your target reader will often spend time on their website or their social media.
3. Amazon keywords and categories
Take a look at other authors in your niche. What keywords do they use and which categories are they focusing on? Try if you can to find something unique. Find a category that you can be #1 in. Find something unique that others have not yet discovered. If you can win in a smaller category on Amazon you can improve your chances of conquering larger categories.
4. Professional proofreading and editing
Reviewers, journalists and bloggers alike quote poor grammar as the number one turn off from new authors. If someone is investing their time and money in reading your book it has to be spot on. Make sure to put the effort into polishing off your masterpiece with good proofreading. The same goes for editing.
5. Everyone is judging your book by its cover
That is a fact. Even though they were told not to they are. The fact is they don’t mean to be judging it by its cover but we are visual creatures. The quality of your cover also represents the effort you have put into other areas of the book. It is the quickest way for a reader to make a decision. Given the fierce competition on Amazon and other platform your cover needs to stand out!
6. Write an irresistible description of your book
You’ve invested so much time into writing an amazing book. The last part if hooking readers. Write a tantalising description of your book. Something that readers simply cannot resist. Really step outside your own head and look at it objectively. Ask reviewers, friends, family and other readers what they loved about your book. Listen carefully and use this to build your description.
7. Look inside – the sample chapter on Amazon
Really take time to ensure that this chapter is flawless. Potential readers will be judging you on this chapter. It is of paramount importance that this is perfect. This is their chance to really take your book and your writing for a spin. You don’t want the car to stall!
8. An awesome author bio
A great author bio is often overlooked. We see countless Amazon sales pages that lack a well considered and detailed author biography. You may wonder why an author biography is important? Well there are a number of reasons – read the full article on this subject here.
9. Mailing list
This is so important! In your eBooks there should be a link at the front or back so readers can go and sign up for your mailing list. There should be a link on your website as well. It is crucial to have subscribers so your can keep them updated on new books!
10. Lead magnets
Give people a reason to sign up to your mailing list. Perhaps you are a novelist but also write short stories based on the characters within your novel. Offer a free short story or a sample to your readers. Offer them something of value – give them a reason to sign up to your mailing list.
11. Exit intent pop-ups
An exit intent pop-up will be a pop-up on your author website where readers can leave an email address. This pops up when they move their mouse to the X to close down the tab and leave your website. It is your last chance to grab their attention and get them signed up to your mailing list.
This follows on from the lead magnets above but here you are giving them something for free. As an author the obvious giveaway would be copies of your book. However you can get more creative. Perhaps you write romance. Maybe you obtain a signed copy of a book by a very famous Romance author and offer this to the winner.
13. Facebook Ads
You can target incredibly specifically with Facebook ads. Whether you are promoting fiction or non-fiction this platform is incredibly powerful. The advertising tools allow for such deep insights and targeting. You can use this to send people to your Amazon page or to your website. Start with a small budget and don’t be discouraged. It will take some time to really get to grips with the platform.
14. Regular and valuable content to your subscribers
Whether you are using Instagram, a blog or an email list you need to be consistent with your content and above all provide value. Regular content is not enough it has to be valuable. If the choice is between regular and valuable – always choose valuable. People will switch off very quickly if you don’t offer value.
15. Guest blogging
Guest blogging is such a powerful way to reach new readers. It works so well because you are offering the blog owner so much value. You are providing them with quality content that they can share with their audience. In return their large and loyal audience will discover you and your great books. A win/win situation for all.
16. Reviews, reviews and more reviews
In an ever crowded and competitive landscape – book reviews are the social proof that readers need. It tells them that others have invested time and money reading your book and they should as well. It gives them the confidence to part with their cash and buy your book.
17. Social media – grow with influencers
In 2018 social media is a must have. Your readers are on social media. Other authors are successfully selling to them via these mediums and you should be to. How can you grow your following? That is the subject of an entire essay, however, one strategy you much be using is influencers. Here is an example. Author we work with will get their books reviews by Jane the Book Blogger. She has 4,000 twitter followers, 13,500 Instagram followers and 2,000 people on her mailing list. When Jane has finished reading your book she publishes an amazing review. She then shares this with her audience and TAGS your social media links in her post. This way her audience will also know where to find you and follow you. You access Jane’s enormous audience and hopefully some of them come and follow you as well.
18. Advanced Reader Copies (ADR)
A great way to get more reviews and generate more buzz around your book is to give away advanced reader copies. Readers, reviewers, journalists and bloggers love receiving books that are not publicly available yet. We all love to receive something in advance of its release! It is a great way to show how much you prioritize their opinion. You can label these as unedited proofs so the readers know they are still being finalised before release. Some of the largest publishing houses in the world use this very effectively and you should too.
19. Your Amazon author page
Make sure everything on this page looks great. Upload a professional photo and you could even record a video! The more personal you can become with your readers the better. This relates to the point above regarding the author bio. You need to pitch yourself to your readers.
20. Setup a Goodreads profile
Goodreads is a very popular destination for readers and can help improve your sales. It is quick and easy to setup a profile here. It is a must for all writers!
21. Cross-promote with comparable authors
Find authors in a similar genre whose audience is likely to be the same as yours. Offer to promote their books to your audience in return for them doing the same for you. This is an excellent way to widen your awareness, target the right readers and network within the author community.
22. Offer your book for free on Amazon
To get the ball rolling, gain intial traction and get reviews you should consider offering your book for free when you first launch. This will only be a for a short amount of time but it is a really powerful way to get started.
23. Book pricing: start low and finish high
We are asked about book pricing on a daily basis. There a number of caveats and nuances but here is universally the best strategy. I should also emphasize this is focus on eBooks. This strategy does not apply as effectively to print as of course you have to cover the cost of printing and postage. When you launch your book, particularly as a new author offer it for free for a limited time. Then up your price slowly. Increase to £0.99 once it is selling well. Then again to £1.99 (equivalent in $USD of course) and again once you feel confident sales are growing. Do this as the reviews for your book increase and the buzz around your book grows.
24. Launching a series? Drop the price of your first book when the second comes out
If you are launching your second book and promoting this people are going to want to read the first book. Your existing audience can jump straight in but new readers will want to read the first book. Drop the price of the first so the barrier to entry is lower. They can read more about your first book and then move on to the second.
25. Press release
We do this for all our authors. Create a press release which is essentially a pitch regarding why people should read, review, interview you or feature your book. It is your book description and author bio rolled into one with added oomph! You really need to express why your book should be featured.
26. Media opportunities
Media opportunities are vital. They offer you access to very large audiences. They can be difficult to obtain and you will face many rejections but keep pushing, keep pitching and you will get there!
27. Local TV and radio coverage
Local TV and radio are always the most supportive of new authors in our experience. The topics are often interesting to their local audience. There is the added benefit of your familiarity with the local area and that connection is something listeners and potential readers like to discover. We urge you to start with local TV and radio. It is a great way to build momentum and then move to the larger outlets.
Podcasts are incredibly powerful for promoting your book. They are hugely popular and have thousands and sometimes millions of subscribers. It is a way for readers to get to know you and hear more about your story. They have the added benefit that people will revisit their favourites and new listeners are discovering the podcast all the time.
If you could like help with promoting your book or have questions about any of the book marketing ideas above please get in touch.