5 Ways to Market Your Book

Article Index July 22,2013 Comments

The list below briefly describes 10 effective ways to promote - and sell more of - your books. You'll find that these are not one-time activities, but instead require regular engagement and effort. Because of this, it's important to not expect immediate results, since long-term success is the result of creative and persistent promotion.


1. Social Networking

A social network facilitates regular communication between individuals who are connected by friendship or common interest. You can use these networks to enhance your writing, writing career, personal network, and sales. The key is to use all appropriate functions of a given social network for maximum benefit. For example, Facebook allows you to create a profile, join groups of people with similar interests, discuss your personal interests, and communicate with friends. Similar general-interest networks are TwitterMySpace, and YouTube, each with different functions and advantages. These channels thrive on authentic social interactions, so be careful not to overtly sell your content to avoid alienating the connections you make. For example, rather than posting multiple messages about your book being available for sale, try to contribute meaningful dialogue in conversations about relevant topics. This will help position you as an expert, which will help build your author brand. Write fiction? Try creating a Facebook or Twitter account for your protagonist and hold conversations in the voice of that character.


There are also networks designed to connect business professionals such as LinkedInPlaxo,Ryze, and most recently, BranchOut (a Facebook/LinkedIn hybrid). You can target some networks based on the content of your book. For example, if you want to reach mothers, useCafeMom. To communicate with other authors and/or avid readers, try Shelfari or weReadwhere you can rate, review, and discuss your book, as well as books by other authors. UseMeetup to find and join in-person groups united by a common interest such as politics, books, games, movies, health, pets, careers, or hobbies. Sites like PintrestDelicious and Digg are social bookmarking services for storing, sharing, and discovering popular content. Find and use the best ones for your book and objectives.


2. Personal Networking

Networking is an organized method of creating links from the people you know to the people they know, allowing you to gain and use an ever-expanding base of contacts. It is the personal process of connecting with others to exchange information, advice, contacts, and support. Network at bookstore events, trade shows, conferences, writing groups, publishing association meetings, and anywhere you connect with people personally.


Your author biography may give you ideas of people to contact based on your networks, achievements, and interests. If you are not familiar with networking, start with people you know: friends, family, co-workers, alumni, and neighbors. Then move on to less-familiar people. Again, avoid overtly selling to people in your network; instead, ask them for referrals and to spread the word about your book. When personally networking, begin by introducing yourself and mentioning who referred you. Give your 30-second summary to provide an adequate frame of reference for the individual to give his or her recommendations. Ask pertinent questions, listen responsively and take notes. Once you have all the data you need, summarize the main points and find out how you may reciprocate. Be sure to ask whether or not you may use your contact person as a reference.


3. Create a Website that is Functional, Easy to Navigate and Active

Doing business in today's internet society requires a website. It is your online brochure describing you and your book in your terms, building your credibility as the author. Websites can and should be updated frequently, so it's a good idea to link your blog (see #8 below) to your site. Your website can also be your storefront through which you can sell your book 24/7. You can even link to your CreateSpace eStore so you don't have to fulfill orders on your own. A well-designed website instills confidence in your business as an independent author.


First, reserve a domain name that includes your name and/or the title of your book (sites like GoDaddy.com will host and design your site for you). Design your site to build your credibility and sell your books; show your book's cover and describe how it will benefit readers. If you write fiction, be sure to describe your plot in compelling terms (Read How to Write an Effective Book Description). Your website should make it easy to buy your book by providing links to retail outlets. You may also choose to sell your book directly on your site and offer incentives such as free shipping, a limited-time offer or a special price for an autographed book. A website is also a great place to showcase your bio, reviews, endorsements, and testimonials.


4. Basic Publicity

Publicity - also known as public relations (PR) - entails informing people about you and your book and encouraging word-of-mouth promotions. When planning your outreach, think about your target readers. What media do they watch, listen to, or read? You can reach a large number of people in a short period of time through broadcast appearances on TV and radio shows, print, and online media. Publicity is typically free and targeted to journalists, editors, and producers at media outlets. Media personnel are always looking for a story, so you and your book could potentially provide them with story ideas, interviews, background information, and other material. Read How to Give a Great Interview.


The basic element of publicity is the press release, a brief description that presents the most newsworthy aspect of your book - or the "hook" - in an interesting way. A good press release uses an attention-grabbing headline and lead paragraph. It is also free of overt commercialism. Subsequent paragraphs include background information, spokesperson quotations, and other information that helps put the newsworthiness of the story in perspective. Other forms of publicity include giving testimonials and endorsements; writing articles for print and online media and submitting letters to editors; sending a newsletter; and submitting your book for reviews.


5. Advanced Media Relations

After becoming comfortable with basic publicity, you can begin more concerted and targeted efforts to reach media. Create an informative press kit that has information about your book and why it is important to the outlet's audience. Include testimonials and a list of the topics you can discuss. When targeting press, it's often beneficial to start locally and then expand. For broadcast interviews, use the vocabulary of the audience. Avoid "ums" and telling the audience how they can benefit from your content by overtly selling your book. Second, project your voice at a steady volume and at a good pace, and enunciate properly. Finally, look the part of a successful author by dressing professionally and using body language and posture effectively.

Want to know more? Read 5 More Ways to Market Your book

Article written by Brian Jud. Brian Jud is an author, book-marketing consultant, seminar leader, television host and president of Book Marketing Works, LLC. Brian is the author of How to Make Real Money Selling Books (Without Worrying About Returns), Beyond the Bookstore (a Publishers Weekly book) and eight titles on book-marketing topics. Brian is the host of the television series The Book Authority and was an adjunct lecturer of marketing courses for graduate and undergraduate students at the University of Hartford and the University of Connecticut. Brian has a BS degree in marketing from the University of Cincinnati and an MBA in marketing from Xavier University.