Many new self-published authors think they need to have a book launch with lots of fanfare right after they hit the publish button. Actually, you can “launch” your book in the first few months after its official release date.
Here’s a list of marketing activities that I or authors I know have used to increase sales and visibility instead of – or in addition to – a book launch event.
A quick note: There are as many ways to market your book as there are authors. I’ve seen some really creative campaigns. It’s up to you to mix and match and experiment — because you may not know what will work for you or your audience until you try.
1. Use other people’s lists
If you’re just starting out and don’t have a lot of people in your social media circles or on your newsletter – you do have a newsletter, don’t you? (If not, get one. More on that below.) – then ask friends of yours to share the good news that your book is out.
2. Send a newsletter announcement
At the end of the day, social media channels may disappear, but your email list of fans, followers, and friends will be yours. I’ve been cultivating a list for years, even before I knew I would self-publish, and now I have over 1,400 people to whom I can send announcements. Many authors think a newsletter means that have to send out a monthly (or more often) newsletter. That’s an old idea. We can send out an announcement when there’s news, like when your book is published, you’ve released an audio edition, to highlight a great review, or when you’re giving a presentation. As you get ready to publish your book, you can build excitement by sending out an announcement to reveal the cover. Be sure to put your newsletter sign up box on your site or blog.
3. Put your book on sale
Many authors discount their books when they first publish them. If you’re a first-time author, or want to build buzz and excitement, put your book on sale. If your book is fiction, this is more common. Not so much with nonfiction.
4. List your book for free
Free works well in certain fiction genres. The Kindle Select program allows you to have your book for free in a 5-day period over 3 months. But you have to not have your book listed anywhere else.
Resource: KDP Select program — kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/KDPSelect
5. Run a blog tour
Organize a blog tour to use the power of other people’s blogs and their avid fans to spread the word about your books. Blog tours are great for increasing your visibility and getting your books in the hands of major influencers: book bloggers.
More about tips on running a blog tour here: www.writersfunzone.com/blog.
6. Organize a review request campaign
If you don’t want to do an extensive blog tour, you can create a book review request campaign. Essentially, you request reviews from friends, family, colleagues, readers and ask them to post their review on Amazon within a certain period, and enter all of them in a drawing for prizes.
7. Run a contest
I’ve seen some authors create contests like sending in photos, or videos, or stories. You pick a winner and give a prize. This type of activity can also work before the book comes out.
8. Give away gifts
Combine giveaways with a blog tour. People love free stuff! I recommend giving away something that’s related to your book, but people also really like gift cards. The more related the prizes are to your book the more you’ll hopefully attract lifelong fans.
9. Run a Pay With a Tweet campaign
This free tool is a fun way to give away a book, and works well if you already have a few books out, and can give away a book that feeds into your other books.
10. Invest in paid advertising
I’ve been hearing good results with BookBub.com, though have not tried it myself yet. Read through their instructions and subscribe first to see how they work.
Of course, the best way to market your book once it’s published is to do what you can to insure it has good word-of-mouth potential. That means:
1) good writing that delivers on its promise
2) good cover that touches the heart of the target audience
3) good title that grabs your target audience and lets them know what they’re getting into
4) tell people your book is published and available by using one or more, or a mashup of the strategies above.
If you have questions about launching your book, let us know in the comments section below.
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