13 Book Marketing Tips for Before, During, and After Your Book Launch
Today, I'm giving you my best 13 book marketing tips for before, during, and after your book launch. So often authors reach out to me after their book has launched and they’re disappointed with sales and aren’t sure what to do to. This conundrum equally affects those who publish traditionally and independently. It's incredibly difficult to sort through all the book marketing tips and information available. I know . . . I do it on an almost daily basis.
At the beginning of your author journey, whether that’s during your querying phase or when you are proceeding down the path toward publishing independently, you MUST set up a website. This establishes your presence as a professional in the online world and serves as your business card. The site should be easy-to-navigate, include a way to contact you, and give a sense of the genre of the books you write. It may include info on your pre-published stories to the extent you feel comfortable sharing that information.
2. EMAIL SUBSCRIBER SYSTEM
I was not a fan of this idea in the beginning, but I was wrong. You must have an email subscriber sign-up form on your website that will help you to begin building your mailing list. Why? You don’t truly have direct control over the audiences that you build on social media--each platform has control and they regularly change the rules on how you’re allowed to interact with your followers. With your own mailing list, you have a way to send information directly to fans without the filter of social media algorithms.
3. SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE
Even with my advice under number 2, you must also have a social media presence. You may choose to interact predominantly on one platform, but you should have accounts on the other main platforms. (You can point people to the one you use the most.) Keep in mind where your ideal reader hangs out. For instance, if you write for young adults, you will want to be on Instagram.
If you're looking for help in this area, you may be interested in Building Your Online Author Image course, which covers all online areas, or Social Media for Authors which focuses on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn.
4. MARKET RESEARCH
Take the time to look at the other books in your genre—the books that will be on the same ‘shelf.’ Identify how your book is different and the same. How can you make it stand out? Also be aware if you’re finding that your book too different—maybe it belongs in a different category. Notice the cover designs. If you’re independently publishing and in charge of this design, you must be familiar with the expectations of covers in your genre.
If you’re publishing traditionally, this will be taken care of by your publisher, although it doesn’t hurt to be aware of this process. An indie pub author MUST delve into this and choose properly, there’s tons of information out there on how to choose the proper categories and keywords. There’s a strategy and it gets a little complex, but the Kindlepreneur website and their Publisher Rocket software is indispensable. (NOTE: these are affiliate links.*)
6. TRADITIONAL MEDIA OUTREACH
As your book release day approaches, you should develop a traditional media plan. You’ll need a media kit. (Grab my free Media Kit Checklist or sign up for my course How to Promote Your Books with Traditional Media. You’ll also need to create a list of the media in your area or potentially regionally. Traditional media outlets (TV, Radio, Newspaper, Magazines--online and print) are all looking for good content. If you can provide a hook as to why your book topic is relevant to the viewers, listeners, and readers, you will get media attention.
7. BOOK DISTRIBUTION – KINDLE SELECT OR NO?
If you are publishing independently or with a small press where you have input, you should consider enrolling your ebook in the Kindle Select exclusive program for (at least) the first 90 days. Kindle sells the vast majority of ebooks—that’s just a fact. I would suggest that you set aside any animosity you feel toward Amazon, because the truth is—being an author is a business and no successful businessperson ignores a location which sells 70% or more of their product. The Kindle Select program has benefits that can boost initial sales and/or reviews and interest in your book. In each 90-day enrollment period (where your ebook cannot be available anywhere else), you have the option of a free book giveaway for up to five days or a countdown deal (which allows you to change your price without lowering your royalty rate for up to seven days.) You may choose to distribute your ebooks more widely later, but these Kindle Select promotional tools are very helpful.
8. REVIEW SERVICES & EDITORIAL REVIEWS
There are many review services where you can list your book for review. Some of these are directly utilized by publishers and can be expensive for the indie author like NetGalley and Edelweiss, unless you use a third party system like Books Go Social to access a one to three months worth of access. (pssst – these are great for readers if you want to get in on the action and be a reviewer.) Others are quite accessible for both traditionally and indie published authors to do on their own. Check out Reedsy.com for list of book bloggers and services. One that gets excellent marks is BookSprout.co.
Editorial reviewers require submission well in advance of publication. Most publishers will do this for you if you’re publishing traditionally. As an indie author, you’ll want to research where you can submit your book (not all will review indie published books) and carefully note their time restrictions. Many expect books to be submitted four months before the publication date. (Let me know if you’re looking for lists of editorial reviewers for an indie published book, that’s one of the services I provide.)
PRE & POST LAUNCH
9. REVIEW TEAM
Reach out to your fans/followers/email subscribers and ask them to be part of your review team. You can provide advance reader copies (ARCs) to those who sign up to write a review. The easiest and cheapest way to do this is by distributing digital/ebook copies. You’ll want to be very specific in what you’re asking. Be sure to communicate where you’d like the reviews posted (Amazon & Goodreads for sure) and if you have a deadline. Additionally, you can offer review writing tips, so the process doesn’t feel so daunting. Organize a spreadsheet to keep track of this team.
10. BOOK BLOG TOURS
Signing up for a book blog tour is an excellent way to reach new readers for a small investment. You’ll want to schedule your blog tour for during your launch or after but understand that you may have to schedule this well in advance—which is why this is listed in the pre and post launch category. I’ve had great luck with these and have gained reviews and social media followers and email subscribers. Many of these are genre specific, so again you’ll need to do your research. The Book Designer blog has an excellent article about Book Blog Tours and lists some of the best companies. Here’s another list with even more book blog tour operators sorted by genre.
11. FACEBOOK ADS
While you can use Facebook posts to create a buzz leading up to your launch and gain presales, I usually advise that any book advertising that leads viewers to a shopping page shouldn't begin until after your launch because readers like the immediate gratification of getting the book right away. Facebook ads take a little time to finesse and you need to be patient during the testing phase until you figure out the combination of image/text/target audience that work best, but these can help to boost your sales a lot! My tutorial walks you through the simplest way to get started with Facebook ads HERE. For a more detailed tutorial, don’t hesitate to reach out!
12. AMAZON ADS
Even more complex than Facebook ads, Amazon ads have a steep learning curve but can be very successful for all authors. For traditionally published books, a publisher may take the lead on this--although starting in 2022 you can access the Amazon Ad Console from your Author Central account. For indie authors, the portal to your Amazon Ad dashboard is via your Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) dashboard. Here's my Amazon Ad Guide or checkout these excellent tutorials from book marketing pros: David Gaughran, Dave Chesson/Kindlepreneur, Bryan Cohen, and Brian Meeks. (Note: Some of these are affiliate links.*)
13. BOOKBUB FEATURED DEAL (AND ADS)
BookBub is a website that sends out featured deals of free and discounted books each day to its subscribers/readers. Of all the websites that offer this type of service, BookBub is the gold standard. Deals of the day are featured deals where (if accepted) your book wins a coveted position in the BookBub email which is sent out to millions of readers each day. You pay for this placement, but you will likely have thousands of downloads. Most of the time you will be offering your book for a lower price or free as you’re competing with other books that are on sale or free. Additionally, BookBub offers advertising opportunities beyond the featured deals of the day. Check out my tutorial which explains it all HERE.
Like I said in the beginning, if you have a book already out in the world and there are things on this list you didn’t do—it’s not too late for most of them. I’m always happy to strategize on how to move forward and increase your sales.
Publishing a book is truly an incredibly time-consuming and complex process. I’m here to help you make sense of it all. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions! (Send me an email via the contact form on this website or check out my author services at www.LostLakePress.com.)
*AFFILIATE LINK NOTIFICATION: Please know that I only recommend books or writing-related products that I feel are worthy of your time! Some of the links included in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.
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