Book promotion can feel like a terrifying and mysterious art to many writers, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. With some planning and studying, you can start building a buzz around your work and reach a wider audience. Below are surefire ways to make that happen.
Create a list of keywords to target.
Salespeople use keywords to tailor their pitches to their customers. You should also do the same when publishing your books (or even when you’re only posting short stories online).
To begin, research your target audience, and write a list of words and phrases they might use when they’re looking for a book like yours. You can look for similar books under your work’s genre. Then, visit their respective sales pages and observe the tags or highlighted words used in their blurbs.
After compiling a list of keywords, take them into account when creating your book’s blurbs and other advertising content. You can also add them as tags for your blog and social media posts.
Join and communicate on online groups.
No one understands the struggles of online book promotions better than your fellow authors. As such, it’s not surprising that there are also virtual communities for this very endeavor.
Regardless of where you start, you should check out the forum boards, subreddits and blogs dedicated to the digital landscape of your genre. These excel at keeping writers abreast of the newest trends and hacks. They’re also a great place to meet fans and make connections with more experienced authors than yourself.
Engaging with the online community around a genre can be an important way to build reputation as a new author. There are many ways of using group interactions to your advantage, whether you’re starting a literary movement, shaping a genre, or just trying to reach a large audience for your book promotions. Posting questions, suggestions and opinion pieces as forum or group topics is one way. Finding a critique partner in the group is another option. You can also participate in webinars and live events backed by the group or key members.
Take advantage of social media platforms.
Social media sites aren’t just for joining writing communities. They also function as platforms for you to promote yourself and your work.
Tapping social media for marketing isn’t easy though. Even if you spend hours on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr on a daily basis, it can still feel awkward to post regularly about your book. Over-posting can be counterproductive, so it’s a good idea to employ marketing strategies.
One of the best social media strategies is simply to build up the anticipation about your book, but not too much. Your followers need to have some sort of goal in mind. Rather than saying outright, “My book comes out today!”, you should make your followers feel like they’re a part of it by tapping into a readerly community spirit. Intrigue people with possible chapter titles or images. Tease at the genre or plot. Then slowly progress through a countdown.
If your work got featured on book lists, such as Wired for Youth book lists, or if it’s reviewed, share the links on your social media pages, too. Having a third party talking positively about your work helps improve your reputation as an author.
Don’t forget to go over the marketing analytics on each social media platform you use. Discover which posts have the highest and lowest engagement rates. Find out the audience that’s most responsive to your content. Afterwards, consider these factors when you’re gearing up for paid ads on your preferred platform.
Start your newsletter.
A newsletter is a great idea for getting people up to date on your publication history. As a form of email marketing, this also allows you to give your readers a teaser look at what kinds of content you plan to release in the future.
For this marketing strategy, choose a newsletter name and stick to it, no matter what platform or application you’re going to produce it on. Have an email sign-up button or form on your official author’s website. Include clear and honest information about what kind of content you’ll send to subscribers, and when your emails will be going out. Make sure you have a distinctive and professional-looking header image that’s different from your cover art, and publish on a regular schedule.
Get your book translated.
Breaking into the global market is hard. If you don’t write in another language, even having a bestseller in the U.S. may leave most of the world unappreciative of your talent. As such, it’s no surprise that American authors are increasingly turning to translations and foreign publications as a way to grow their audience. Having your novel translated can also enhance your reputation and make you more money.
The question now is what kind of opportunities are available for translating or publishing your book in another country. While there are several different kinds of translation licenses, many authors choose to work with a translation and “world rights” agent. Translation agents can invoice the publisher to get a percentage of proceeds from book sales, translating fees, and sometimes even film rights. This is a great choice for popular authors who, not coincidentally, command a higher price per book sold. Otherwise, you may need to pay a small fee per page or word to a freelance translator.
Another option is to make a deal with a foreign publisher. Foreign publication deals usually translate your book into the local language and sell to their local market. However, contact the publisher to see how much of your commission is returned. Specific deals vary greatly, so be sure to evaluate them all.
Publish your book on Amazon.
Much like having your work translated or getting a foreign publication deal, publishing your book globally on Amazon gives you exposure to readers anywhere in the world. It’s also an easy way to start programming your book to the search algorithm.
The key to success with the said ecommerce platform is using their many amenities to their full extent. Keyword selection, book cover type, and pricing are just the beginning. Social media integration rounds out the incredible functionality for interaction on Amazon.
Once you offer your book on Kindle Direct Publishing, you can begin interacting directly with your target audience. Take time to review notes and highlight stories that strike you, and engage with those commenters by asking them questions about their highlights or offering your viewpoint if it fits.
In typical conversations between authors and readers, the reader may become excited about your book. If they have ready access to your full title and description, they can click the ‘buy’ button directly away.
Use podcasting as a marketing tool.
Podcasting can be a great way to promote your book without burning your fingers, provided that you can reach an audience. However, don’t rush in with starry-eyed dreams of podcast fame. You should remember that if you don’t connect with a large number of listeners quickly, you may be left with an expensive hobby that nobody will show up to.
Listen to other podcasts that have caught your attention before you set out on your own adventure. Then practice producing your own work. The more quality podcasts you listen to, the better podcasts you will produce.
Don’t worry about how to promote your book online before you’ve come up with engaging ideas for your episodes. This will be old news to a few of you out there, but students and newbie podcasters should not forget that they have to give their listeners something worth listening to. Honest, funny and well-researched content is necessary. Strive for a lively delivery, too.
As you carry out online promotions for your book, you’ll realize which of your strategies are more effective than others. For strategies that yield good results, keep doing them. For those that don’t, drop them or research more about how to improve them, then revise.
Hayley Zelda is a writer and marketer at heart. She’s written on all the major writing platforms and worked with a number of self-published authors on marketing books to the YA audience.
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.