If you’re anything like me (a huge introvert) the idea of sales and marketing might make you cringe. I mean, it seems like such an extroverted thing to do, right? Talking to people, convincing them that your book is awesome, putting yourself out there. Shudder. It’s an introvert’s nightmare. But, the truth is: marketing matters. Without a good marketing plan, your book sales will suffer, especially if you’re deciding to go the self publishing route. And even if you go the traditional publication route, a huge marketing budget is not guaranteed. More often than not, you’ll be in charge of marketing and selling your book.
Luckily, the internet makes book marketing so much easier than before. And if you’re inclined, you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas in order to do it! Ideally, marketing should start before your book is even published, however, if this isn’t an option for you, don’t panic! There are still ways you can market your book without 1) looking like a sleazy car salesperson and 2) spamming social media and annoying your friends and family.
Read on for some non-spammy tips on marketing your book.
1) Social media (the right way)
If you haven’t already, it’s a good idea to create separate social media accounts for your author persona and books. That way you can start building a fanbase and you know for certain that the people who choose to follow and/or “like” your page actually want to hear about your books.
Once you’ve created these accounts, it might be tempting to send out a “reminder” every few hours to everyone about your book and include links on where to buy. While it’s okay to post something like this once or twice, don’t overdo it! Instead, include links to where readers can buy your books in your profile descriptions, about pages, and author bios.
Ultimately, your social media accounts should be used for more than just peddling your books. Instead, use your platform to connect with readers, share peeks into your writing process, upload blog posts, share interesting articles and interviews related to your book, host giveaways, and promote your author friends (maybe even throw in the occasional meme if that fits your brand).
When you show that you are a genuine person who shares interesting content and enjoys connecting with others, people will be more likely to buy a book from you (no slimy sales techniques required).
2) Use your website
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, having your own author website is essential! A regularly updated website allows you to carve out your own little space on the internet and it can give you more freedom than social media does. You don’t have to worry about ever-changing algorithms or character limits. With your website, you can post what you want, whenever you want. You can use your website to, yes, market your books, but also share things like reviews, interviews, giveaways, and interesting blog content. A website is also a great way to build an email list of loyal readers.
When building your website (or newsletter), make sure you’re not just spamming everyone with a “Buy My Book” message. It’s important to include content that is useful and interesting to your readers. Here are some topic examples to get you started:
- Writing advice for beginners
- Q&A with readers
- Musical inspiration
- Behind-the-scenes (could include pictures of your writing space, how you write, or what inspires you to write)
- Giveaways and sales (these are especially good to do around the holidays!)
- Sneak peek at a chapter from an upcoming book
- Reviews of other books in your genre
3) Team up with other authors
Writing doesn’t have to be lonely! Do your best to connect with other authors in your genre. This can be through critique groups, online, or even in person if you’re part of a more formal writing program. Any time someone in your circle publishes a book, you can promote it on your own social media accounts and website, and they can do the same for you.
Outreach and cross promotion are great ways to make connections, build lasting relationships with other authors, and also open up more opportunities, so don’t be afraid to share the love!
4) Host a giveaway or sale
Okay, who doesn’t love free stuff? I know I’m a sucker for free books, and am always excited when one of my favorite authors has a sale going on.
Especially around the holidays, hosting giveaways can be a great way to boost your overall sales and promote your book. Bookmarks, buttons, t-shirts, and signed copies can also make excellent giveaway prizes.
When you do host a giveaway or sale, make sure you update your website and social media pages so everyone knows. And if you have a newsletter (which I discuss more below), make sure to include giveaway details there as well.
5) Start A Newsletter
Last, but certainly not least, newsletters are another fantastic way to promote your books without being too salesy. Just like with social media, though, moderation is key. With every newsletter you create and send, you should focus on providing your loyal readers with value. So, don’t just peddle the same “Buy My Book” message. Instead, really hone in on what you think your readers want to know (and if you’re not sure, ask!).
Newsletters don’t have to be complicated. You can create a quick roundup of the latest blogs on your website, announce any special giveaways or sales, and provide an update on any upcoming releases or new projects. You don’t have to write a novel for each newsletter; as a matter of fact, shorter is sometimes better! And if you must, you can always include links to your book(s) in the footer of your newsletter.
Back to you, writers (and readers)! When was the last time you bought a book? What made you want to buy that book? Let me know in the comments!
Manuela Williams is a Las Vegas-based writer and editor. She is the author of Ghost In Girl Costume, which won the 2017 Hard To Swallow Chapbook Contest. Her second poetry chapbook, Witch, is forthcoming from Dancing Girl Press. When she’s not writing, Manuela is busy drinking coffee and spending time with her blind Pomeranian, Redford. You can connect with her on LinkedIn and Pinterest.