I was following the other day a conversation on the best book marketing strategies on LinkedIn. Authors Trish LeSage and Simon Denman, among others, shared some valuable insight, which I think interests us all. The conclusions of the conversation can be summed up as follows:
- Blog, writing helpful and useful material. When you post them on Facebook groups, add a copyright notice at the bottom with a back link. If you write your posts like magazine articles, you can also submit them to print magazines and ezines (digital magazines).
- Get published in ezines (online magazines) and magazines. Search Google for “ezine” or “magazine” and the subject of your books. You could also go to yor local bookstore and browse through the magazine racks, writing down the names of magazines that may publish your articles. Then look up their websites online and submit your articles to them.
- Get booked on radio shows. Do a google search for the keywords “radio show” and whatever subject your book is about. You can also join Radio Guide List. It’s free, and they’ll automatically email you lists of radio shows that need guests.
- Do author joint venture launches for your books and participate in other authors’ ones. When you do your own book launch, ask each author for a free gift to those who purchase your book – usually a copy of their own book. Include a link to each author’s free gift on your book launch page that will take your customers to the other authors’ websites. To get a general idea of how to structure an online joint venture book launch, you can visit Trish’ book launch page.
- Guest blogging – Submit your blog articles to other authors’ blogs. They always include back links to your blog/website, and often give you an opportunity to mention your work.
- Host other authors’ guest posts. When you do, post links on your Facebook page and on the walls of the Facebook groups that you are a member of, with the same copyright notice and back links mentioned above. This will allow you to both drive traffic to your blog, and help other authors.
- To connect with the right kind of followers, you can visit the websites of other authors who write books in your genre and find the link to their Twitter page. Once there, you can browse through the list of all of their followers. Follow people who are book readers (I avoid marketers, and steer clear of those who promise to increase your followers) and people who enjoy your genre. This will prompt them to follow you back, or at least check you out. Make sure your Twitter profile includes a link to your blog/website and a brief description of the kinds of books that you write. An added bonus is that books of authors in the same genre as you will be linked to your books on Amazon, if enough of your common followers also buy your books. So, every time they do a promotional event and sell a bunch of books, your books will also get exposed to a bunch of new customers.
- Speaking of Amazon, you can change some of the keywords for your books there to the names of authors who write books similar to yours, and/or to their book titles. Whenever someone searches for them or their books on Amazon, your books will also show up. The more sales you have, the higher you will jump up on that list.Update: According to MT (see comment below), this could backfire, so use this tip at your own risk. Apparently, back in the days of Amazon tags, authors used to use the names of other authors in the tagging section. There were lots of tag me and I’ll tag you back kinds of threads with ‘please add x y or z tags to my books’ plus link. Unfortunately, the Amazon.com forum police decided that this practice was unethical. They would tag the books with comments to the effect that the author was paying for shill reviews, unprincipled or behaving badly, that the book was therefore poor and should be boycotted etc. Their practices ranged from stopping there, to raining down one star ratings and reviews on the strength of the look inside sample, and ever onward, to hounding the author across the internet, basically, until the person stopped writing. There is another group of equally odious people who act, supposedly, on behalf of the authors, hounding their targets the same way. These are the kinds of people who will check searches for well known authors and target any indies who come up for their “bad” behaviour. Yes they are that obsessed and that rigorous in collecting their “proof”.
- Run periodic free, discount and giveaway promos. Promote these through the 30 or so biggest book promo sites. I use the Author Marketing Club’s Free Kindle book submission tool, while there’s also Readers in the Know (focusing in the UK). You can read my experience with free days on my A-Z guide: How both my books reached #1 on Amazon. This is important, as promos lead to reviews. Since only about 1 in every 300-500 people who buy your book will actually post a review, you need some 30,000 – 50,000 sales (or free downloads) to have 100 reviews.
- Join a book club. You all know my experience with the Rave Reviews Book Club. It has increased my visibility and my sales, while generating a lot of new reviews.
- And a suggestion by Charles: if you can, take part in a convention or organize a library event (eg a book signing, if you can get it). These tend to show up in local papers and newsletters, which have an on-line component. Mandy expanded on this, by pointing out that local events and bookstores have been more successful for her book sales than online sales. She takes great care in exhibiting each book to its best advantage with themed displays, bookmarks, pre-order forms, competition details and entry forms. She also (rightly) advises against spamming out ‘buy my book’, which just turns people off, although you do need to be involved and interact with other authors and as well as readers. In her case, what worked was using her personal network and taking it from from there.
As always, I’d love to hear what has worked for you!
Reblogged this on Book Cover Design & Illustration by Michelle Rene.
Just use similar descriptor tags for your book if it’s similar to another author’s book. The tag “Dating & abuse” was used for Laurie Halse Anderson’s “Speak,” which is the closest comparison I can make to my own novel, so I used that tag as well.
Guest blogging is good, too, but I’d say I get two responses back for every dozen queries I send out. I guess several weeks of no response is a rejection, but it would be nice to be told, finally, “Thanks but not interested.” At what point do you stop querying the same places? For bigger online journals, like Convergent Books and Relevant, I’ve sent a pitch once every couple months. This is like dating all over again, just waiting for that special someone to call you back…
Hi Beth and welcome! Many thanks for the tip.
As an INFP (married to an INFJ), I identify with your frustration and promise you that I’d love to read a guest post by you, as long as it’s about books. 🙂
Another friend of authors is Paul Martin, over at https://selfpublishersshowcase.com. He’s always open to guest posts, has great visibility and it’s where I cut my teeth at blogging.
Best of luck!
Thanks! I do a weekly series on life as an indie author, is that still under the umbrella of books? Also brainstorming on a post about being a grown-up who loves YA. Just let me know what you’re looking for (I also feature guest bloggers for my indie author series, if you know anyone who might want to contribute) 🙂
I’m all about the local summer festivals. Buy a tent, a table, and a chair, find a festival, reserve a space, print some bookmarks, and get ready for a fun-filled day 🙂
I remember seeing your photos from your last do. It looked like you were having fun!
But the video with you selling books in the cold… I needed some hot cocoa just watching it! 😀
It was SO cold that day. Actually, now that I think about it, the last two summers in Canada have been ridiculously chilly. Maybe I should move to Greece — thoughts? 🙂
It’s a tough decision. Why don’t you ponder your options at our place, if you don’t mind two rather nosy cats and a dog? 😉
This is wonderful information. I thank for for it. Something to digest until I can put it into use. 🙂
Each author experiences promotion differently for me it is locally based initially and then build it up.https://www.calamusworks.com/author-interview-series-mandy-eve-barnett/
Welcome, Mandy, and thanks for the interesting comment and link! I will add the local events to the post, it’s a good idea.
For me, their usefulness is fairly limited, as I live in Greece but write in English. Local events, therefore, have obvious limitations. It also helps that I’ve been working as a web developer for the past 20-odd years, so I’m pretty experienced in the ins and outs of the Internet. 🙂
Fascinating how we all have different methods of getting our work out there! Welcome to my blog I hope you find it informative and fun.
Go with works for you, is my motto. 🙂 Thanks for the warm welcome and the great posts! 🙂
Great to connect! Happy writing
I am currently reading the ebook Let’s Get Visible (on Amazon) and it happens to mention the practice of using other authors’ names in tags. It says it’s unethical and I totally agree, it’s exploiting someone else’s hard work without permission. The same book recommends above all advertising sites to use Pixel of Ink and E-reader for some reason. I found your post very highly informative as always, Nicholas. Thanks a lot for sharing this 🙂
A pleasure! To be honest, I try to avoid labels like “ethical” and “unethical”. I mean, if you write books in the style of an author you admire, I guess it’s OK to say so.
For example, I promote Pearseus with the words “Game of Thrones meets Dune” ever since this was written in a review. Some might argue I’m capitalizing in the success of others, while others will see it as a shorthand way of explaining my writing style in five words (sort of fantasy meets sci-fi).
I have used both Pixel of Ink and ENT. ENT worked better for me, but neither was too successful, probably because of my genre. Romance and mystery always do much better.
Great advice. Very detailed. Thank you!
Thanks, glad you found it useful! 🙂
Might be down the road for some, but a convention or doing something at a library (book signing if you can get it) is another idea. These tend to show up in local papers and newsletters, which have an on-line component. Agree with the ‘author name tag’ issue and it sounds similar to the ‘review swapping’ that the forum police go after too.
Good idea, I’m adding it to the post! Thanks! 🙂
All fine and dandy Nicholas, but if a writer slavishly does everything you list, it follows that they are not writing. Moderation in all things is my credo…
You’re absolutely right! Everyone must find their own balance, and it’s not always an easy thing to do.
I would be leery about using another author’s name as a keyword. With my reader hat on, it seems perfectly logical but as an author, not. Here’s why.
Back in the days of Amazon tags, authors used to use the names of other authors in the tagging section. There were lots of tag me and I’ll tag you back kinds of threads with ‘please add x y or z tags to my books’ plus link. Unfortunately, the Amazon dot com forum police decided that this practise was unethical. They would tag the books with comments to the effect that the author was paying for shill reviews, unprincipled or behaving badly, that the book was therefore poor and should be boycotted etc. Their practises ranged from stopping there, to raining down one star ratings and reviews on the strength of the look inside sample, and ever onwards, to hounding the author across the internet, basically, until the person stopped writing. There is another group of equally odious people who act, supposedly, on behalf of the authors, hounding the their targets the same way. Neither bunch has read the Crucible, by Arthur Millar, but all of them should because that’s the kind of pointless, brainless hysteria we’re talking here. One bunch has a thread on the Amazon.com romance forum if you want to check it out, the other has a blog about stopping bullying on goodreads. Both bunches are absolutely barking dappy loolah.
These are the kinds of people who will check searches for well known authors and target any indies who come up for their bad behaviour. Yes they are that obsessed and that rigorous in collecting their ‘proof’.
So, personally, I’d advise against doing anything that might drag you into a conflict with either of these groups of people. Because they’ll be all over you like scrofula, they won’t go away and there’s no known cure. And, since that might, I’d avoid it. Which is a pity, because, if these idiots ever find something better to do with their time, it’s a good idea.
Sorry that this post is a bit of a rant but these people really get on my tits.
That’s an amazing story, thank you so much for sharing! I’m copying it into the post, as everyone should be aware of this.
Yeh, it was a couple of years ago but I believe they’re still active. I try to stay out of any forums where they operate as you just end up with a hijacked thread and two bunches of people voting each other’s comments into oblivion. They’re well worth keeping clear of.