Updated: Nov 4, 2020
When it comes to book marketing ideas, there’s an endless stream of strategies you can use to get your book out into the world and on the road to success.
Yes, you can read until you’re blue in the face about the benefits of hosting webinars through which you should plug your book and sell ebooks you’re expected to write on the successes you’ve made and how you made them, but that may just not be your style.
Right now, it’s certainly not mine.
Here’s a simple list of some ideas you can use that will get your juices flowing, and help SELL YOUR BOOK.
This is obvious, but surprisingly, a lot of authors use it wrong.
“What’s the point of using Instagram as an author? You can only post so many pictures of your book.” someone recently complained on a Facebook author group I regularly stalk.
I couldn’t type quick enough. Instagram is teeming with (dirty word coming) ‘influencers’, users with lots of followers who are willing and ready to endorse anything and everything thrown at them. Often they want money in return for plugging your product, though not all of them - most will be content with some free stuff. Influencers understand the exposure they will also receive, and in turn more followers, and more opportunities for them to ‘influence’ in future. Sending a free copy of your cookbook to a mummy food blogger on Insta with 250k followers will essentially show your book to a quarter of a million brand new possible customers. Mummy blogger takes a photo in her kitchen (wearing clothes you’d more likely strut a catwalk in) with her kiddo covered in flour looking cute and your book is front and centre, glowing in pride and ready to fly off the shelves.
Facebook and Instagram stories are great places to show behind the scenes footage of your book and it’s journey. Having a signing in a bookstore or popular family park? Have a friend or spouse make a few stories and tag the location. People get FOMO as the stories disappear after 24 hours, so these make great marketing platforms. If you’re having a great day of sales and posting a bunch of books off, make a story out of it! People will think they’re missing out.
Getting out there.
That’s right, into the big bad physical world. As the global pandemic hype dies down, businesses begin to pop their little daisy heads up through the frost that remains from the nine-month snowstorm that was the coronavirus pandemic. ‘Hey guys, we’re still here and we survived!’, they want you to know. And people who’ve been locked inside three seasons of this year want to get out and start actually DOING things. Have a kid’s book about a dog? Team up with your local shelter and pop a table down at one of their events. You will
a) get to hang out with animals all day, and
b) all the people there will be dog lovers - essentially your target market, and
c) why not donate a percentage of the day’s profits back to the rescue, as they’ll likely invite you around again, plus give out some precious word of mouth advertising to their families and friends.
Why not check out some local author groups while you’re in the mood of getting out and about? Have some business cards made up and make sure you dress and hold yourself well - holy cow, you’re the picture of success! What do you say when people ask you what you do? ‘I’m an author’, of course.
Hold a competition.
Recently I was sitting around trying to think outside the box in the world of book marketing ideas when a big old lightbulb flicked on.
‘Draw in your style’ competitions are hot on Instagram right now, and relevant to my book’s illustrations. I started a competition for my upcoming children’s book ‘Alfredo’, based on an illustration of my two main characters, colourful parrots. I instantly designed a flyer and DM’d a million artists and mums on Instagram, informing them of the competition, with a cash prize.
Entrants made a version of one of my illustrations, in their very own style of drawing or painting. It makes for great content, shows how everyone is unique and has their own style, and it connects likeminded people. Artists have been sending me gorgeous renditions of my characters and I’ve even shed a tear of joy more than once at the cheek and personality they’ve injected into these characters’ eyes. They’ve followed me, I’ve followed them, they’ve posted the art they were proud of making, and so have I. So many new connections.
You’ve got a blog, I’ve got a blog.
Why don’t I post one of your blogs on my website? And you can do the same in return. Alternatively, we can write a collaborative blog together, which we both post. Blogging is time-consuming, sometimes soul-sucking, but it’s a huge tool in the ladder of success for authors. Behind every book is an author, and behind every author is their own story. The non-fiction kind. Your blog can tell your story, and people who enjoy your book will want to read it.
People love free stuff. At the last convention I went to (a disability expo), people ran around in a zombie-eyed daze coveting pens and mouse mats like a bear gathering food before hibernation. Create some free colouring sheets for your children’s book, or free floral stickers with your website printed on them for your gardening book. Free, free, free. You can give them away in public, not just with the sale of your book, and people will learn of you and your book’s existence.
Similarly to social media influencers, why not look further for the same thing?
Draft an email and keep it to tailor to each person you’d like to reach out to. Also, please - spell check it! It’s important to make each connection real, and show the person you haven’t just bulk sent the same few paragraphs to a hundred people, with them lost somewhere facelessly in the middle.
Basically what you’re saying is, ‘I’m ____, author of ____, I’d like to send you a free book/ebook, if you’d endorse it, that would be great. Your endorsement will be connected with my book. PS love your work.’ They’ll understand if a good book has their name attached to it, it looks good on their part too. These people could be experts in your subject matter, famous people interested in the subject you’ve written about, or other authors of similar books.
For example, you’ve written a book on the echolocation skills of whales (go you, smarty pants!), so you might want to look up notable marine biologists, or even marine rescuers such as Sea Shepherd, and find an email address or phone number you can use to get in touch. Having their name on your author website might be a big draw for them, and you can ask the same in return.
That’s it for now. There are endless book marketing ideas you can utilise, but you’re only human and there’s only so many hours in the day. In addition to your book marketing, sales and probably also juggling a day job and family/partner like me, don’t forget to look after yourself, take time for yourself and switch off from the screen once in a while.