There isn’t a magic bullet to promoting a book, unfortunately, I wish there was! So for all the hype that’s out there about certain strategies, the things that sell books are the smart, foundational strategies that help support testing other avenues of exposure.
And that’s the secret: consistent exposure to your target reader audience.
This may feel less sexy than making a bunch of fun videos for TikTok – but the best ways to promote your book are the strategies that get in front of your reader and speak to what your reader wants, what drives them, and what pushes their emotional buttons. If TikTok does that for your audience, then great. But this is a great time of year to assess and often reassess what’s working and what isn’t.
So let’s look at 7 of the best ways to promote your book!
Build and Optimize Your Author Website
A website is an author’s resume. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, in fact, some websites are just one page – which serves a new author particularly well. But a website is a great tool to grow your brand and promote your book because when done correctly, it makes you look professional. And if you’re selling a book you’re asking people for both their money and their time. It’s a big deal! And they don’t want to waste either on something (or someone) that doesn’t seem like a sure thing.
Get a website, and prove to the world you’re serious about what you’re bringing to the table.
Brand Marketing vs. Book Marketing
Authors often ask me about the best ways to promote a book before the official release. And whether you have 6 months before your book is out, or 6 weeks, it’s a great time to dig into brand marketing.
What is brand marketing? It’s getting out early and testing the waters on social media, finding out what posts resonate with your audience – or if you’re just starting out, it’s a great time to build followers.
It’s also a great time to test the waters and make mistakes (because you will make mistakes). Do some virtual networking. The best time to network is when you have nothing to sell. Get to know influencers and bloggers in your space – post comments on their social media posts or websites.
Doing some early legwork like this will help you as you get closer to launch so you aren’t the newbie on the block trying to sell them on your book – like I mentioned before, you’ll look more like a sure thing.
Brand marketing is when you dig into the prep work, and do things that will pave the way to your book launch!
Build an Email List
I get a lot of pushback when I recommend that authors build email lists. Most try to put it off by claiming they don’t have anything to say. Well, that’s very defeatist. Nothing happens without some effort. I suggest signing up for some author newsletters in your topic or genre. Another great way to get content ideas is by following other authors on social media.
But get after it, because cultivating a direct relationship with your readers through email marketing is a fabulous way to help spread the word about your book. Be sure to encourage website visitors to subscribe to your newsletter by offering exclusive content, updates, and special promotions, and regularly communicate with your email list to keep readers engaged and informed about your upcoming projects.
Collaborate with Influencers and Other Authors
Collaborations are having a moment, and they will be one of the best ways to promote your book in the future. Work together with similar authors to do a collaborative promotion. And work with influencers or bloggers to create a fun giveaway for your book, or see if they’re interested in pairing your book with something they currently offer.
A couple of years ago, we worked with an author who wanted to do a giveaway so she invited other authors to submit one of their books to be part of a prize pack. In exchange, they had to help promote the giveaway. Not only did it help expand the reach of this event, but it also introduced their books to new readers!
Put Your Book to Work
Many marketing experts talk about reviews being one of the best ways to market your book, and that’s a valid statement. Reviews are crucial for building credibility and attracting new readers. But in an age where there are over 8,200 books published each day, getting reviews can be challenging. That’s where a letter in the back of your book comes in. The letter thanks readers for spending time with your book and invites them to review it. Be sure to include a direct link to your book in the letter so if they’re reading the book in a digital format, they can click directly through to the Amazon page to leave a review.
Authors often forget to ask for reviews – and a letter in your book, right after the last page of the book (so not buried behind the index or the About the Author) will be a quick enticement for readers to reach out to you. Always include your website address in the letter, too.
Goodreads did a study some years ago and found that the number one thing that readers want to do when they get to the end of a book is engage with the author. So make sure that you’re using this to your advantage and making it easy for readers to contact you and leave a review.
Participate in Author Events
I love local book events, and you should never miss an opportunity to attend one in person. Though virtual events are great, there’s nothing like getting to meet readers face-to-face! So attend local book events, fairs, and signings and connect with readers in person. Bring copies of your book, business cards, fun swag or any promo materials you have.
Another thing to consider is a multi-author book event in a store. I’ve attended these locally, where six or more authors all came together on one night. It drove lots of traffic to the store and gave the authors a great opportunity to network and build their reader base. So get out there and introduce yourself to some local business owners that have potentially good venues for an event like this and start brainstorming ideas for co-hosting and promoting.
For most of us, Amazon will be our #1 sales tool – which means you want to make sure that you’re taking advantage of every promotional angle on that site as possible. Get comfortable doing Amazon ads, make sure your retail page is sheer perfection, add some A+ content to your Amazon book page, and make sure that your Author Central is optimized as well.
Amazon gives us a lot of tools to help expand our reach – make use of every single opportunity to get in front of your readers.
There’s a lot of guidance out there on the best ways to promote your book – and I get it, a lot of it is confusing and often time-consuming. However, there are foundational strategies that should be a part of every author’s book marketing kit. Promoting your book is a marathon, not a sprint. Be patient, be persistent.
Resources and Free Downloads
Be sure to sign up for our newsletter on the right-hand side of our blog homepage. If you haven’t opened a recent one your registration may have lapsed.