Over the course of my career, I have published through big publishers and through smaller, traditional presses. Of course, there are differences between what support a big and small publisher provides. But—and we all need to wrap our brains around this one truth—our responsibility as the author is fairly consistent. Today I’m going to share 7 book marketing secrets I’ve learned from experience, and some I’ve learned by watching other authors.
7 Book Marketing Secrets
1. Your audience of readers is interested in connecting with YOU, not your publisher.
Readers don’t care if you’ve landed a big deal with a big publisher or a small deal with a small one. What they want is good content and a place to connect with you. Part two of this is the fact that your readers want genuine and authentic interaction. If your readers follow you on social media and then discover that it’s not really you—only an assistant or lackey—interacting with them, they’ll feel betrayed. For newer writers who aren’t starting with huge audiences, this means you’re going to have to be on social media consistently four to five days a week. For those who are already big names, you may have to cut back on the amount of interaction so you have time to keep it genuine.
2. Don’t use the wrong URL for your book on Amazon.
Most of you have probably read about the fact that Amazon sometimes deletes legitimate reviews. Part of that problem is the long URL many authors include in their promo and social media information.
This is the WRONG link:
This is the RIGHT link:
You see, everything from ref on is a special code that allows Amazon to track when this link was shared. If I post the wrong link, it looks like all my reviews came from the same source and could have been paid for. There are other things coded into the longer part of the link, but trust me when I say it will cut way back on number of reviews Amazon lets you keep.
3. A small group of readers dedicated to helping you is an author’s secret weapon.
For the first time, I assembled a launch team. (Here are the links to two posts I shared – Street Teams for a Book Launch and How a Launch Team Helped Promote MyBook) In seven weeks, this team of twenty-eight helped my book visibility by giving me over 200,000 social media impressions. I did my best to make the launch not about me, but about what God was doing. I stayed in weekly contact with them, and provided a mini-study on praying for our children. The keys to a group like this are:
- Value for them
- Easily shareable content (my publisher generated memes and tweetables to take the work out of sharing for them)
4. Your readers don’t know the publishing biz so you have to let them know how to help you.
Readers aren’t writers. They aren’t aware of how important reviews are. As a matter of fact, most of them think only professionals write reviews. If you want your readers to write reviews, you’re going to have to ask for them and then provide instruction on how to do it. NOTE: keep it simple. Don’t haunt them with requests that make it seem like they’re back in school and being asked to write a book report.
5. Giveaways make a difference.
A gift basket with swag that you can share on social media, a drawing at a book signing, and extra downloads when they share or order your book will provide extra incentive. These don’t have to break the bank. I made a bunch of hand-beaded bookmarks for my book launch at our local Barnes & Noble and they were a huge hit—and helped sell a lot of extra books.
6. For better numbers, keep your interviews relevant to what’s going on.
For instance, in 2016, While My Child is Away released right before school started back in the fall. I had great response when I sent out interview requests when I tied it to the time of year. I used this hook: When I was growing up, back-to-school was a time of excitement. In today’s climate, it can be a time of anxiety—for parents and children. I have a book that addresses how prayer can bring peace in times of stress.
7. Don’t forget the pictures.
We’ve all heard the saying, A picture is worth a thousand words. There’s a reason—it’s true. Take pictures of yourself signing the contract, celebrating when you turn in your manuscript, getting a copy of your ARC, and especially that box of author copies. These things build momentum and enthusiasm. Your readers begin to anticipate what’s coming and cheer you on as a heroine. After the book arrives, keep the pics coming. Take shots of book signings, book tables at conference, where ever you happen to be. Always share these on social media.
And especially take pictures when your book is in stores and libraries. Then go one step further—TAG THE STORE IN THE PICTURE AND SOCIAL MEDIA POST. This is free advertising for them and they remember the authors who do this.
These are the things that I’ve learned about promoting and launching a book. I’d love to know what you’ve learned. We’re always better together!
Edie Melson is the author of numerous books, as well as a freelance writer and editor. Her blog, The Write Conversation, reaches thousands each month and has been named as one of Writer’s Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers. She’s the Director of the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference and vice president of the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA). She’s also the Social Media Director for Southern Writers Magazine. Connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.