5 Tips for Marketing a Book with a Free Excerpt

by | Nov 13, 2018 | Book Marketing Basics

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Marketing a book can seem like an uphill battle, especially when you feel like you’ve tried all the usual book promotion strategies listed over and over on this blog and others.

I get it, I really do, because even I get discouraged with my own book marketing.

But when was the last time you used a really great excerpt to promote your book?

If the answer is never, then I encourage you to give this book promotion strategy a shot, because not only is it something different to try, you get the added bonus of creating new content that you can even add to Amazon.

So let’s run through some tips for marketing a book with an excerpt that I feel all of you are capable of tackling!

1. Be sure you’re including enough to really give the reader a feel for what you can deliver with your writing.

You might come up with the cut off immediately based the arc of your story, but if not, I would recommend the first three chapters. Once chapter just isn’t enough and for most of us, while it can set the stage, it’s likely not enough to really get to “I must have the full story!”

And if you haven’t done a reader profile in awhile, or ever, I’d like you to do one as part of this effort, because it will definitely help you uncover new places and new angles for marketing your book.

I’ve created a free reader profile download and a few quick tips here.

Bonus Tip: I encourage you to create your excerpt in multiple formats, at minimum a PDF and a MOBI file, because MOBIs can be sent to Kindle reading devices and apps, which makes reading that much simpler – and simpler means more takers! Here are Amazon’s instructions.

2. Be sure you’re selling your full book with your back matter.

Marketing a book is about making connections between all your efforts. So you definitely want the last page to speak to the reader in a really personal way, and of course you want to send them to Amazon to buy the book.

If you have any other standout offerings, like a newsletter with a bonus, or really active, engaging social media accounts, include those too. You want to give the reader multiple avenues for staying connected with you.

3. Consider using your excerpt as a way to get newsletter sign ups.

You can create a basic landing page on paid sites like Leadpages, to make it look really professional, and this is a great option if you do speaking or have lots of different content you can potentially offer – because you’ll use it more than once.

If you’re a fiction author or a non-fiction author who’s still building a relatively unknown brand, just re-work a page on your site.

Offering a bonus like an excerpt is an excellent way to market a book while also building your contact list.

Any why do you need a contact list? I get asked this a lot actually, but a lot of authors default to thinking they don’t have much to say outside of what they put in their books.

But that’s a self-defeating attitude I want you to shake off. Instead you should always be brainstorming additional offerings for your readers and potential buyers. Excerpts are just one option, but novellas work amazingly well, worksheets, a series of tips, reading guides, book club resources, and character profiles are all fantastic options.

4. Post your excerpts on sites that allow you to tap into new reader populations.

Sites like Wattpad, Smashwords and Scribd are solid places to start, but based on your genre and topic there are definitely others out there that are similar.

You should also share your excerpts on social media, including your Goodreads profile and in Goodreads groups. Marketing a book on Goodreads is almost essential in today’s market, especially if you write fiction, and especially if women make up a good (if not the entire) portion of your buyer market.

I have an entire section on my blog dedicated to Goodreads book promotion and I strongly urge you to check it out.

5. Marketing a book means being shameless about asking friends and fans to share.

Most authors I know are actually quite timid about marketing a book to current fans, family and friends.

And I get it, but I want to encourage you to push the envelope for what you’re comfortable with because I’d be willing to bet money you’re erring on the side of not doing enough.

People get busy but generally have good intentions.

And think of how many products you buy and you don’t review? But on the same token, how much you rely on reviews when making a purchase?

We all forget how important it is to contribute reviews and spread positive word of mouth!

So get that excerpt ready, ideally have it set up as part of a newsletter sign up, but if that’s not your thing, get an account on a file sharing service like Dropbox or WeTransfer and create a link to your excerpt.

Then send that link around to your current list and ask them to please share the excerpt with anyone they feel would enjoy your book.

Post on social too, ask them to share.

And work in a reminder for them to post a review if they haven’t yet!

Reminding people how much their support means to you really hits home, especially this time of year, so make the most of it while marketing your book.

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