Book promotion comes in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few things to keep in mind.
Book Visuals and Pricing
It starts with your book cover. The Book Designer talks about recent cover trends that may give you some ideas (what colors to use, how to use typography, types of images, and more).
For print books especially, you’ll also want to work on the spine and the back cover.
Another thing to consider is the price of your book. Again The Book Designer has some advice, which includes analyzing prices on Amazon with the KDP Pricing Support service, taking into account length and genre, and changing your prices.
Part of book promotion may include submitting your book for awards. Some awards to consider include:
- BookLife Prize, which supports indie authors,
- The Sarahs, which is for audio fiction, and
- Audie Awards, which is for audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment.
For more ideas for awards to apply for, check out TLC Book Design.
Promotional Books and Advertising
Giving away books in exchange for an email or way to keep in touch with an enthusiastic reader is a great way to build an audience. One way to do this is with ebook dropcards, where you create gift cards to give away to people, and the cards have ways to let people download your ebook.
You can also pay for advertising. David Gaughran talks about clever ways authors can use BookBub ads, which include getting preorders, boosting a new release, and stacking promotions.
Book Publicists and Media Kits
Book publicists can help you with your promotion efforts. If you’re looking for a book publicist to work with, The Book Designer has tips on questions to ask your potential publicist before signing an agreement. Questions include how you’ll communicate and work together, how you’ll measure success, and what kind of experience they have, and also make sure you like each other.
You may also want to put together a media kit. Part of your media kit should include your author bio. You may even want to prepare multiple author bios, to fit various platforms. Other materials in your kit could include posters and banners, sell sheets, and business cards.
If you decide to do events, make sure to plan ahead properly, have all your materials, and leverage your event.
In the end, it comes down to reaching out to the press in some way. When you pitch to the press, you’ll want to give them an angle they can work with. A popular one is to tie your book to some sort of holiday.
Promotion is a piece of marketing, but it seemed worth talking about some specific book marketing ideas here. The first one is paying attention to your keywords. The Book Designer did some tests about keywords on Amazon and found that long-tail keywords worked best.
Jane Friedman also talks about growing your fanbase, by building awareness, first through keywords, then through author websites and blogs, and then through reviews.
Additionally, when it comes to marketing, it’s helpful to build a persona for your ideal reader. BookWorks shares how to build an ideal reader avatar, which means coming up with demographics and psychographics. You should identify and connect with your ideal reader by looking at your book and reverse engineering who might be interested in it, and then finding out where they hang out online.
One way to connect is via podcasts, because you can reach new audiences and build relationships with them via your voice. Speaking of podcasts and marketing, KunzOnPublishing has an episode talking about the difference between “sympathy” and “empathy,” and how that helps you boost your book sales.
Self-publishing is a business. With that in mind, you may want to think about how to structure your content before you start writing. Maybe you want to write a series. If you do, is it worth launching the whole series at once? Peter Bartram did it, and found he expanded his presence online and got a lot of sales.
Anne R. Allen has some similar advice, about waiting to publish a book until you have multiple pieces of content ready and then release them all quickly. Also, do your research, do joint promos with other authors, and think globally.
Last, BookWorks has some advice on how to get your books into actual stores. A big part of it is proving to book buyers at those stores that your book will sell. You can let them know your plan of how to get more readers, which could include hosting a book club online, writing articles, or getting interviews.
Any other promotion tips? Share in the comments!