Marketing BEFORE Publishing
We want to make it clear that marketing starts well before your book is finished. If you wait till your book is being published you come from behind. Generating the buzz (As my own first book suggests) will increase sales when your book is published. It creates momentum and excitement which leads to more sales and new readers.
Here’s how to market your book before it is even published.
- Tap into groups of other authors to cross-promote each other’s books. You can use both Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter to find groups that have other books that are similar to you…this will definitely increase sales.
- Start blogging your book…and as you get your cover done, post it on your blog. Regularly post snippets of the content of your book to begin garnering interest. This helps to get people engaged and interested.
- Ask for followers to read your book even before it is published. This creates excitement, plus provides excellent feedback. Often those who read your book pre publication will tell others. This will also help with getting reviews once the book is published. You can find people to be your “test readers” from your email list and from social media.
- Create a paperback (or Kindle) version – Your book should be in as many formats as possible. If you planned your book as a Kindle edition, be sure to create a paperback version (easily) with Createspace.com. If it’s in paperback form, you can easily create a Kindle edition of your book with Kindle Direct Publishing. Give your readers options to maximize your sales!
- Determine your pricing strategy – If you plan to use discounts or offer your book for free for a limited time at launch, then be sure to plan out your promotions. Contact free ebook sites or bargain ebook sites to get those promotions all lined up!
- Brainstorm keywords for your book – There are many different places you will use keywords for your book. Your book is about various topics, so create a list of those topics, ideas, similar authors, etc. This will help you to identify keywords to use on KDP, in your book’s description, on your blog, in ad campaigns, and for the types of sites you should reach out to (more on all of these options later on in the list).
- Find hashtags used by readers in your genre/topics – Use Twitter’s search functions and sites like TwiTag.com and Hashtags.org to find hash tags that are used by readers of books like yours. This will help you to find readers to follow as well as give you a good idea of the hashtags you should use when promoting your books on Twitter!
- Find Facebook groups and pages that relate to your book – Using the keyword list you generated before, find Facebook pages and Facebook groups that you can be a part of and contribute to. Don’t use these groups to just say “BUY MY BOOK!!!!!” Be helpful, answer questions, follow the promotions policy of the page/group, and be a helpful contributor. You will gain more fans by being helpful than by constantly promoting your book.
- Find Google+ communities related to your genre – Google Plus has many different communities and there are probably some related to your genre. Do a search on Google Plus and you will find the right groups for you to be a part of. Follow the same etiquette mentioned in the tip above about Facebook groups.
- Find forums dedicated to your genre – Are you a romance writer? Find forums that are dedicated to romance books. These forums will often give you direct access to fans, and they will usually allow authors to contribute by having a signature or a post about their books. Connect on these forums and be sure to link to your author website when and where you are allowed to.
- Find blogs that review books in your genre – There are blogs out there that would love to receive an advance copy of your book to give you a review. Seek out sites that are genre-specific to get a better response rate!
- Determine when you are going to launch the book – Just publishing when you are done with a book is a mistake. Figure out when the best day of the week will be to launch your book, the best time of the month, and if there are any holidays to take into consideration. Plus, you want to give yourself enough time to setup your launch promotions.
- Book a blog tour – Connect with blogs that will allow you to write a guest post or share about your book. If you can line up 2-3 blogs per day for 2 weeks after your launch, that would help you to create some solid momentum for your book. Use those keywords you thought up earlier to find blogs to reach out to. Be sure to answer any questions from fans in the comment area of the blogs you are featured on!
- Brainstorm who your fans are – Much like coming up with keywords, you will want to determine who would love to read your book. Does your main character love her cat? Cat lovers will probably like your book. Does your main character has autism? Reaching out to the autism community would be a good idea. Think about these topics and figure out who would love your book.
- Find forums and blogs where your potential fans hang out – Once you have identified who your future fans are, then you need to find out where they hang out online. Just like the forums and blogs
- related to your genre from earlier, each site will have different rules, so be sure to find the rules and be a contributing member of the community. These people want to be your avid fans, you just have to introduce them to you and your books!
These steps are for your success! Pick and choose and do not go into overwhelm. Your book isn’t even published yet, and you have so much to do!
If you do these things, it will pay off! All of this prep work will make your book launch exciting and successful!
The next steps should be completed right before you actually publish the book.
Now you are ready to publish your book. There are a few steps that you can take at this phase right before you hit publish to help you in your book marketing efforts.
- Insert links to your other books in the back of the book – If readers get to the end of your book, they will definitely want to read more so putting links to your other books is a great way to get people to buy and read more of your books. Also, edit the files for your other books to include a link to this new book you are about to publish.
- Insert other links in the back of the book – You can add other information to draw the readers who finished your book to your website and social profiles in the back of the book (be sure to do this for all books too)…
Here is a little list to help you:
- Put a link to your website in the back of the book.
- Put a link to your Facebook page in the back.
- Put a link to your Twitter profile in the back.
- Put a link to your Google+ profile in the back.
- Mention your free gift that people can get for signing up to your mailing list in the back of the book and provide a link to the page with the email sign up form.
- Include a “Note from the Author” in the back of the book asking for the reader to post a review – Many times the only readers who leave a review are those with something negative to say. A little prompting at the back of the book to your reader should get them to leave a review for you!
- Include the keywords that you brainstormed earlier in your book description – Amazon is a website like any other website so including those keywords in your book’s description can help you rank better in search engines like Google. Amazon is also a search engine itself, so including such keywords in the description, in a tactful and natural manner, will help you rank better within Amazon’s search results as well.
- Include the keywords you brainstormed earlier as keywords when publishing – Amazon asks for up to 7 keywords when publishing on KDP, so pick and use the best of the keywords that you brainstormed earlier.
Alright… now you can publish your book! Now the major promotion for your book begins, and this marketing engine you have setup so far will help to keep the sales going and will multiply your future marketing efforts.
Alright, your book is published… now what? You’ve hopefully made some connections, found relevant websites, you’ve setup your author brand to get people onto your mailing list and connecting with you socially, and you’re directing them to your books via those social profiles and your website. Now is the time to put all of those avenues together and get the word out about your book!
Here are things that you need to do once you have published your book:
- Embark on blog tour – Hopefully you followed the advice given earlier to line up a blog tour before publishing your book. Now it’s time to go on your blog tour and get the word out about your new release! Even if you have a book that has been published, you can follow the same steps to setup a blog tour for that book!
- Promote your book to your mailing list – You know that mailing list you setup and got readers to join? Well, now you can send them an email about your new book and they will have the purchase link directly in their inbox next time they check their email!
- Promote your book on social media – If you have Twitter followers, Facebook fans, and if people have you in their Google+ circles, then let them know about your new release too! Don’t spam all day about it, but a few posts a day, especially when it is a brand new release, will help get the word out to the fans who prefer to follow your social media accounts!
- Post to Facebook
- Post to Twitter
- Post to Google+
- Promote your book on the forums you’ve connected with – On those forums you joined earlier in this process, find the spot to announce new releases, and promote your book! Also, if you’re allowed to have a signature, then add your newest book to your signature!
- Discount the first book in a series – If your newest book is a part of a series, then running a promotion for the first book in the series is a good way to generate excitement about the entire series. Just discount the first book or make it free, and be sure to mention the newest release in the series! Also, in the description of your newest book, mention the first book being discounted in case people are just finding out about you because of this latest book.
Most of the leg-work for your marketing is done before your book even launches. Once your book is published, then all you have to do is utilize the connections that you have already built and tell them about your book! The hard part is building up the fan base, but once you have a list of fans, it’s so much easier to promote your book to them since they WANT to hear about your latest releases and you have the systems in place to get that information to them instantly!
The rest is just on-going marketing efforts to keep your book sales going strong.
Marketing is not a one-time event. It is an on-going process, and there are creative things that you can do to get people excited about your brand and your books. The key is to get people on your lists, connected on your social media profiles, and buying your books. Your on-going marketing efforts should revolve around these three things.
Here are some ideas for marketing your book and brand on an on-going basis:
- Talk about your milestones – Use your mailing list, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ to tell your fans about your milestones. When you’ve sold 100 books, tell them! When you’ve sold 500, 1000, 1500, etc, let your fans know! People will want to be a part of that and celebrate with you, and some will buy your books that they haven’t bought yet to help you with the next milestone!
- Continue to talk about your books, especially new releases – Use Facebook, Twitter, Google+, your blog, and your mailing list to point people to your books. You especially want to promote your newest releases.
- Create special bonus content for your readers – Can you write a short story or novelette as a prequel or a side-story for a popular series of yours? What about getting a friend to create some art for you. You may even have a fan that would love to get a free book or two in exchange for creating art based on your book. This special content can be used to get people interested in your books, and to get them onto your mailing list, by making it an exclusive item only for people on the list!
- Thank your readers for good reviews – If you receive good reviews from fans, then use your social media profiles to send a shout out to the fan! This creates good will, and will encourage others to write reviews so that you will hopefully mention them as well!
- Run occasional promotions for your books – Discounting your books and making them free occasionally will help to generate buzz about your books. Be sure to promote these promotions by telling free ebook sites and bargain book sites about your promo about 2 weeks before the promo begins. That way you can get maximum exposure and benefit from your book!
- Track the success of your promotions – Promotions are important, but only if they get you more sales. There are sites that may try to scam you into paying money to promote your book for you, but if you aren’t getting a return on that investment, it’s not worth the money spent. Track how your sales did before and after the promo.
Marketing never ends, but it doesn’t need to be cumbersome. Much like when you write a book, if you make a plan and execute that plan, you will have success. The key is to continue promoting your books and you will get more readers, and those readers will tell others about your book and they will be eager for your next book to come out.
Time to wrap it all up and to print out your checklist!
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