I hear this a lot at conferences I attend, authors wondering how to market a book before it’s published and I love this kind of brainstorming – mostly because it means the author is really trying to plan ahead for their success.
The key is timing. Yes, there’s no reason you can’t learn all you can about how to market a book and plan far in advance, but you really want to find the sweet spot between building buzz for your release, and starting so early you lose steam or your potential buyers lose interest while waiting.
This kind of work is called “brand marketing” – vs. book marketing. So you’re pushing your brand out there, ahead of your book. Not only is this a great way to start greasing the book marketing wheels (so to speak) but it’s also a terrific way to start getting your hands around the kinds of promotion you might do for your book.
So, if you’re a go-getter author looking to build early buzz, wondering how to market your book before it’s published, here are 10 easy, yet smart ways to make that happen:
Put It Up On Your Website
Obviously I encourage authors to have a website, even if it’s a simple, one-page site to call home base. These are really easy to create now, and customize, and it takes your brand up quite a few notches.
Be sure your book is prominently featured on the home page with the release date. It can live somewhere else after it’s been out awhile, like a dedicated book page, but give it the credit it deserves by making it the focal point leading up to the release.
Create a Blog Entry About It
If you have a website, you should have a blog page where you can create content, include keywords, and improve your SEO. And of course, I want to see you do a blog post or a few about your upcoming book.
Simple but fun ideas include “behind the curtain” posts that tell potential readers about your research, your inspiration, your connection to your topic or genre, your favorite books from the genre you wrote in – there are so many creative, interesting ways to talk about your book without selling your book – and that’s the goal.
Post About it on Social
You should have at least one social account for your author brand. I always say, don’t worry about being everywhere, but be where it matters.
So, consider who your target buyer market is, and where they like to hang out on social. Is your crowd more the Twitter type or the Instagram type?
You should know this, and you should be there.
And here’s where the smart brand marketing comes in, use the ideas you’ve brainstormed for your blog, and convert those into social posts. Work smarter, not harder.
Give potential readers an insider look into your process and who you are as a person, because that personal connection will sell more books than any display ad ever will!
Tap Into Your Network
Ask friends to share your book, shamelessly! Create an email they can forward.
Create great images for your book they can share on social. Your people want to support you, now is not the time to be shy or humble with them!
Create a Fun Video to Market Your Book
Video is the best way to support your brand because it’s incredibly personal – no one can compete with your authenticity on video – and that’s marketing and branding gold.
Video is also a great way to break up posting written content to promote your book, which can get repetitive. People will start to scroll by if you’re always posting the same “check out my book” content, but video will re-engage them in a valuable way.
Video doesn’t have to be long, 30 seconds is plenty, and here we go again – tap into the ideas you brainstormed for your blog, that I encouraged you to turn into social posts, and now I’m encouraging you to use those same ideas to come up with video topics. Repurposing good ideas is smart marketing and a great way to beef up your content.
Send it Out in Your Newsletter
If you don’t have a newsletter, start one! The earlier you start the faster you can start building your list. Add the sign up to your website with an incentive, like a free sample of the book, or some other fun swag you have prepped for the launch.
Perhaps your newsletter is just your personal network, that’s fine. Ask them to share it, and encourage their friends to sign up.
You should also promote the sign up on your social.
But either way, be sure to send out a newsletter announcing your release, and any other fun info you have for people. Consider creating a Q&A for yourself as a creative way to share more information about you and your book.
Create Promotions to Give Out Advance Copies
When figuring out how to promote your book before it’s published you always want to work in opportunities to get books in hands early. Advance copies also help generate reviews on Amazon sooner.
Tap into your network, your social media connections, and let them know you’re giving away 20 advance copies to readers who are willing to post an honest review on Amazon when the book comes out. Those who contact you should also go on your newsletter list!
And sure, you could worry that a couple people might flake on you and forget to post on time, but do your follow ups, and focus on the majority of the people who will come through for you and how amazing those early reviews are!
Post in the Advanced Copies for Review & Book Giveaways Group on Goodreads
You should be on Goodreads as a user for sure. You can’t get an author account until your first book is published on Amazon, but that doesn’t prevent you from sharing your book on this awesome group as a regular user who also happens to be an up and coming author! Its a great way to market a book before its published on Amazon.
Be Sure To Do A Countdown
In the last 10 days before your release, do a countdown. If you’re really creative you can come up with 10 fun things to post about that relate to your book, your genre, your brand etc.
Post 1 thing each day leading up to your release. If you’re a superfan of your genre, you could recommend a book a day for 10 days leading up to your release – it’s a great way to network with other authors, it’s really helpful content for your fans and followers, AND you get to talk up your book too.
If your book has mythological elements, do some cool facts every day. If you write crime novels, share a bit of insight into your research process each day and what you uncovered.
If you write non-fiction share really helpful, mind-blowing tips related to your topic that people can run with.
Now I hope you’re feeling a bit more confident about how to promote your book before it’s published, and I would love to hear any other strategies you’ve executed in the past.