One of the major aspects that helps set a successful author apart from the millions of published writers, is how they approach the marketing-beast. Many people spend months or even years writing a book, and as soon as they receive the "Congratulations, you are published!" message from Amazon, they pour a glass of wine and put their feet up.
Serious authors know that the slog begins not when you first decide to put pen to paper. It starts once your writing has been released in the wild. Yup. Your marketing efforts will determine how many people get to see your book. The more people are directed to your eBook on Amazon, the books you sell, the more $ you make.
The commitment required for successful marketing is long term, not a one-night stand.
So how can an author approach marketing? In this post, I'll be covering some simple author marketing tools that you can start using even before your book is published.
Here is a great free read on the topic of book marketing from Smashwords founder - Mark Coaker.
3 Simple and Cheap Author Marketing Tools
Tool #1: Social Media
When you start writing, use your social media pages as a means to gain exposure for your book. By casually mentioning your progress once a week in a status update, you will start developing a devoted following. Drop the occasional hint to your followers that stimulates curiosity, and those friends will be the first to want to read your book when it's published.
Closer to completion, when you have your cover designed, it's time to create a Facebook page. By following your favourite authors on Facebook, you will quickly get an idea of the type of content they post on their author pages.
Tool #2: Blogging through your own website
An author website is crucial to your success as a professional author. You don't need a fancy website, as long as it is well laid out and uses the latest best practices in web design. Use your name as the domain name, because anyone who knows about you will be able to find your author website in seconds. The website should contain your bio, book reviews, a page for each book you have written, an events page (where you will list book signings), a press kit, and a blog.
If you're at a loss about topics for your blog, look at the types of content other authors in your genre blog about. Here are some ideas of those virgin bloggers:
- News about the city in which your book is set
- An "interview" with each of your characters
- News about the industry (if it's a nonfiction book)
- An encounter that loosely relates to your book
- Something you learned while writing your book
- Anything that makes your little heart happy!
Most importantly, be sure to insert a purchase link to your book on every page of your site.
Tool #3: Newsletters
Newsletter tools like Mailchimp make it affordable and easy for authors to stay in touch with their devoted readers. It provides a variety of resources to build and manage your list, and easily customizable templates (even if you're not a pro!)
What to include in your newsletters?
- A free sample chapter
- Event & book signing dates
- Author interviews
- Promotions & sales
- Blog post roundups
- Bonus materials for subscribers
- Discussion points in your book
- Interesting info about your writing process
The aim of newsletter marketing is to keep yourself on top of your readers' minds.
MORE Author Marketing Tips
In addition to the top 3 author marketing tools above, consider these useful tips:
- Enhance Your Author Page - Beef up your Amazon Author Profile.
- Perfect Your Elevator Pitch - Sum up your book in 60 seconds or less, for that moment when someone asks "So what is your book about?".
- Pinterest - Pin your book cover with a link to the purchase page on Pinterest.
- GoodReads - Create a GoodReads author profile and invite readers to review your book.
- Create and Author-Email Signature - Include a summary of your book and a link to the purchase page on every email you send out. How to create your own author email signature.
- Press Release - Write up a press release and publish it on as many PR distribution websites as possible.
- Libraries - Contact local libraries and offer to meet with their book club or to schedule a book signing.
- Visual Quotes - If you like playing around with design, you can create visual quotes using excerpts from your book, and promote it on Pinterest and Instagram.
- Local Paper - Contact your local newspapers, Press Release in hand, and ask if they'd like to interview you.
- Local Radio Show - Contact your local radio station, Press Release in hand, and ask if they'd like to interview you.
- Book Release Party - Host a party to celebrate the release of your book. No need to be elaborate, but try to use a theme that suits the book.
- Book Reading - Many places welcome book readings. Consider the main setting of your book, a local hospital, coffee shop, rehab, church, school, etc. Ask a friend to record the reading, and upload it to Youtube and Facebook.
Did we miss your favorite author marketing method?
We'd love to hear more about it! Please share in comments below!