Book Marketing 101: Book Promotion Tips (Part 1)
In the first draft of The Online Writer’s Companion I included a closing chapter in which I announced that this book would be my sign-off. I planned to take a break from freelancing, maybe an indefinite one. I won’t bore you with the details on that (not now, anyway), but needless to say, it didn’t happen. By the time the final edit came around, I had decided that I would be freelancing for at least for another year and so I removed that chapter.
However, the release of that book has actually forced me to take a break. My duties as an author mean that I have very little time to freelance. I now spend my days promoting, doing all I can to ensure that the aforementioned book—as well as my fiction titles—is a success. I have learned a lot, and while I am still navigating that learning curve, I feel like I have picked up enough to pass on some advice. So, if you’re self-published, if you’ve just signed a contract or if you simply want to boost sales, this exhaustive guide on book promotion tips might be able to help.
Book Promotion Tip #1: Social Media
I never used social media to advertise when I was self-published. I was exclusive to Amazon back then and it didn’t make much sense to appeal to a broad marketplace when only a small minority (those who own Kindles and shop on Amazon) would actually be interested in buying my book.
Now that I am traditionally published, I have discovered the benefits of social media. The only problem is, to make this work, you need to have money. You also need to focus on Facebook, because sponsored tweets, sponsored exposure and everything else that Twitter offers just doesn’t seem to work for writers.
Set up a Facebook page under your author name and use this to publicise your books. Try and post as often as you can, but don’t flood the page. In the beginning, you want to limit it to a maximum of 1 post a day, otherwise people will stop liking (and start un-liking) your page.
Setup a Facebook Ads account but don’t promote your page or your website (two promotions they will constantly dangle in front of you). Instead, create a visual post about your book and then promote this. In my experience, the fewer words and more pictures you use, the better. A simple book cover linked to the Amazon page usually works as the image, with the text displaying a quote or a review.
You then need to sponsor this post, running an ad for at least a week and paying a set amount each day, as opposed to blowing it all in one day. Target readers, target people who like similar authors. You can even target those authors. If you’re sure that a Stephen King fan will enjoy your book, then use “Stephen King” as a keyword and Facebook will target his fans.
As the post begins to get likes, you can click on these likes and then click the “Invite” option next to each account. I find that at least half of all invited accounts will like your page. This option is much cheaper than going through the traditional route. It’ll cost you between $0.50 and $2 per like if you sponsor your page (the standard method for getting likes through Facebook ads), but if you use this method instead it can cost as little as $0.05. What’s more, all of the likes will be from genuine accounts and from people who actually have an interest in your book or your genre.
Book Promotion Tip #2: Organising Book Giveaways
The more you give something away, the more you will get in return. If you’re someone who is repulsed by the idea of giving away free books, then there’s probably nothing I can do to convince you. Just skip to the next section or guide. I’ve worked with many authors of the same mindset and no amount of proof wins them over so I just stop trying.
If you’re open to the idea, read on.
Goodreads: Prior to every release, my publisher runs a giveaway for my books. This is limited to the US and Canada, where they are based, but they still generate a lot of interest. Everyone who enters will receive a notice when the book is released and most of them will add it to their “To-Read” list. What’s more, you don’t need to do any advertising, as the freebie hunters will find your book regardless. In exchange for giving away a couple of copies, my publisher typically gets between 700 and 1500 entries, many of which will go on to buy the book when they do not win.
Facebook: Going back to Facebook, one of the most effective sponsored posts you can run is a giveaway, preferably offering signed and numbered copies. This works very well on new releases and future releases. And if you’re traditionally published, you can just giveaway the free copies that you receive from your publisher. As soon as I receive these copies, I like to create a promotion and then run that until the release day. As a result, I am able to generate a lot of interest all the way up to the release and throughout that time the preorders roll in.
Amazon: I relied on the Amazon KDP Select program as a self-published author, and without it, I wouldn’t have sold as many copies as I did. This should always be your main focus if you’re self-published, as this is what can establish your book in the Amazon system. First, you need to get some reviews for your book, you need to make sure you have an eye-catching cover and an interesting blurb, and you need to set a 3 day giveaway for a few weeks in the future. As you wait, promote your book on as many blogs and newsletters as you can (E Book Booster is perfect for this) and then wait. I find that any book that tops 1,000 downloads a day will go on to sell at least 100 copies a day when that promotion ends. As an example, my first book was downloaded 5,000 times in 3 days and when that promotion ended it sold 10k copies in a month. And this is despite no money being spent and no marketing being done on anything other than the free promotion.
More Book Promotion Tips
I plan to write many more parts to this guide. Just do a search on FWU or my author profile to find them. If they’re not available yet, don’t worry, as they’ll be written and added soon.