How To Market A Book That Doesn't Exist Yet
Wait, what? Let's discuss.
Creating a comprehensive book marketing plan involves multiple tactics and strategies to effectively promote your book and reach your target audience. Here's a detailed plan to get you started.
You don’t need to be everywhere, even though it may feel that way. Also, keep in mind that readers don’t want to be sold to or ‘spammed’ with constant and repeated ‘buy my book’ links - and doing that is also considered a violation of the TOS (terms of service) for most social media platforms.
Let’s break it down!
1. Pre-launch Phase:
Define Your Target Audience: Identify the specific demographics and interests of your ideal readers. This will help tailor your marketing efforts to effectively reach and engage them, as well as where you want to spend your precious marketing time.
Not sure how to do this? Take a look at my last newsletter or click below!
Set Clear Goals: Determine your objectives for the book launch, such as the number of copies you want to sell, bestseller list placement, or increasing your author platform.
That said, have realistic expectations. Selling a few thousand books your first week might not be in the cards for you - sorry! But how about ten or maybe fifty?
Let’s make expectations realistic. Start low, go slow.
Create a Compelling Online Presence:
Build or update your author website. I highly recommend Authorbytes for beautiful author sites (see their examples here at authorbytes.com):
Develop engaging social media profiles on platforms where your target audience hangs out. Not sure where that is? Start with Pew Research to see the latest social media platform numbers broken out by age, gender, etc.
Try out Canva or an app like BookBrush (both have free options) to create visual quotes and videos, promo materials, or create quotes. I prefer the Pro versions on both for more options, but the free plan is likely plenty for your needs.
Want to learn more about audiences and platforms? Visit my site!
Teaser Campaign: Start sharing snippets, quotes, and images related to your book on social media.
Pre-launch Giveaways: Organize contests or giveaways to create excitement. I like using either Rafflecopter or KingSumo (I see KingSumo is running a $49-lifetime deal, so be sure to check it out. Both are pretty easy to figure out. )
2. Launch Phase:
Build a Launch Team: Recruit influencers, beta readers, book bloggers, or fans who can help spread the word about your book.
Leverage Book Reviews:
Send advance copies to bloggers, reviewers, and influencers for early reviews.
Encourage readers to leave reviews on platforms like Amazon, Goodreads, Bookbub, and Barnes & Noble.*
*Did you know: a reader cannot leave you an Amazon review if they haven’t spent $50 (on anything) on the site in the past year? Be aware.
Host a Virtual Launch Event:
Organize a live online launch event via platforms like Zoom, or Facebook, IG, or TikTok Lives.
Live video not your thing? Try audiospaces - super popular the past few years. I do weekly spaces on Twitter/X - LinkedIn and Clubhouse also offer audio-only options.
Include readings, visual quotes, teasers, Q&A sessions, and giveaways.
Design eye-catching book covers, banners, and graphics.
Create book trailers or promotional videos.
3. Post-launch Phase:
Continued Social Media Engagement:
Share behind-the-scenes content.
Highlight reader testimonials and reviews.
Post engaging content related to the themes of your book.
Build an email list to maintain direct communication with readers. Check out a $50 promo from Booksweeps. You’ll get thousands of real email subscribers, or Amazon/Bookbub followers. Totes worth it.
Send regular updates, exclusive content, and promotions.
Don’t have a newsletter yet? Create one here (it’s free!)
Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Twitter/X, and Google Ads can help target your ideal readers. You don’t have to spend a fortune - start with $1/day. Max.
Consider platforms like BookBub for dedicated book promotions.
Write blog posts, articles, or guest posts on relevant websites to establish your expertise.
Offer valuable insights related to the topics in your book.
Book Tours and Author Interviews:
Participate in podcasts, radio interviews, and virtual book tours to expand your reach.
4. Long-term Strategy:
Sustain a Consistent Social Media Presence:
Continue sharing content related to your book's themes as well as your other interests (see this article on Branding for specifics).
Interact with your audience and respond to comments.
Talk about your topics of interest - writing, obvi, but what else fascinates you or what do you want to learn more about? We are three-dimensional beings with three-dimensional interests. If you only speak on your book topic 24/7, it becomes robotic.
Engage with Your Readers:
Host online discussions, Q&A sessions, or webinars related to your book's subject matter.
Local Bookstores and Libraries:
Partner with local bookshops for signings or workshops. Many indie bookstores will offer to host you but be aware - you have to approach them (or your PR person or publisher, if you go that route).
Approach libraries for potential author talks.
Collaborations and Partnerships:
Work with other authors, influencers, or organizations on joint promotions.
Cross-promote each other's work.
Monitor and Adjust:
Regularly review your marketing strategies' effectiveness.
Analyze sales data, website traffic, and engagement metrics. Almost all social media platforms offer free analytics.
If you’re not using free Booklinker (universal book links for Amazon and Apple Books worldwide - ONE link), try it! No strings.
Remember that consistency is key in book marketing. Your plan should evolve based on the results you see and the feedback you receive.
Flexibility and a willingness to adapt will help you refine your strategies over time and effectively promote your fiction book.
All writers are welcome! Join my audio space #BookMarketingChat - a free, weekly space I host on Twitter/X, generously sponsored by Booklinker.
Upcoming #BookMarketingChat Twitter/X Spaces, every Wednesday at 11 am pst/2 pm est - click the orange highlighted link below to set a reminder now:
on how they are specifically using AI to aid their writing and marketing.
9/6: No Space (my son is having his wisdom teeth out - who remembers? 😬)
*Spaces are audio-only. Click on the above links to set a reminder now.
Reader Question of the Week featuring :
Q: What are the biggest mistakes writers make with regard to social media marketing and their books?
A: OOH, great question. Now that I’ve written my own eight books and have helped hundreds of others with their books, three mistakes stand out:
Only following or connecting with other writers. Sure, we’re a great group! But are writers your target demographic? Probably not. Follow readers, book bloggers, book reviewers, agents, publishers, as well as other writers.
Trying to be everywhere. It’s just not possible to be active and consistent on every social media platform. The best way to manage this issue is to use a social media management tool (I’ve used Hootsuite andfor years to manage all my accounts on ONE screen).
Many tools offer lifetime deals on AppSumo, a free marketplace for apps and software with amazing deals. This one adoption to your workflow will make a huge difference in how you budget your time.
Not having realistic expectations. With 4700 books released daily, it’s important to be realistic. Will you be a NYTimes bestseller? Will Oprah choose your book for her book club? Not likely with your first book (though it has happened and we all thrive on the possibility…).
Make it simple: I want to sell 5 books per week. Or, I want my book to be featured in someone’s XSpace - why not mine? Then make it happen.
How? Networking. More on that next time.
That’s it for this week. Want to be featured in my next newsletter? Ask a question here in the comments, and you’re automatically entered! Find this helpful? Please share and/or subscribe.
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