How to Promote Your Novel to the Right Audience

by | Mar 5, 2024 | Bestseller Essentials

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It’s not easy getting noticed these days, especially if you’re writing fiction. And I get it, as an author myself I know how competitive the landscape is. You want to stand out, you want your book to get noticed, but moreover – you want to start selling copies to justify all your hard work.

I’ve taught several webinars already this year and more and more I’m seeing that authors are asking one thing: how can I sell more books? And when it comes right down to it, that’s really what it’s all about. You don’t mind doing “all the things” if these things help you leverage your book to a wider audience.

So, if you’re ready to take your writing career to the next level, let’s talk about how to promote your novel to the right people, so more of those critical impressions convert to sales.

The importance of promoting from day 1

I know this sounds like a no-brainer – I mean of course you have to market your book. But I get a lot of authors coming to my firm surprised that their book didn’t just “take off” after it launched on Amazon. Or they implemented a “wait and see” approach to see how the book would do without any extra effort and they’re talking to me 6 months or even a year later.

If you want to succeed, you need to be prepared to invest both time and money and you can’t waste time.

Understanding your genre and target audience

This is a big one. Because a lot of authors don’t really understand what their genre is. Meaning that they often overshoot their reader reach. Is it really upmarket women’s fiction, or contemporary fiction? Is it contemporary romance or sweet romance? You may want your book to be all the things because it seems like a great way to snag more sales, but trust me when I say that that’s the worst thing you can do.

Find your lane, find your exact lane, and you’ll see better sales conversions.

I taught a class recently and one author, who had a great book that was clearly for a YA audience, said that her readers ranged from “8 to 80” and this is what I mean by overshooting your audience.

Sure, you may have a reader who is 80 and loves your book, but is that your core reader? No. By the same token, if your book is a Young Adult read, it’s also not for 8-year-olds.

So how do you know if you’re marketing to the wrong readers? Well, start by reviewing similar books on Amazon that are hitting the bestseller list and take a good, hard look at them. Does your book have a “match” to this genre? Can it compete? Are you sure?

When determining how to promote your novel, just know that small missteps in branding will derail your success.

Building an author platform

When figuring out how to promote your novel your platform matters. And I realize when authors are told they need a “platform” they’re often left feeling confused. But in very simple terms, an author platform is a combination of your online presence, social media following, website, and email list. It’s a way to showcase your expertise, engage with readers, and promote your books.

Start by creating a professional author website that includes information about you, your books, and links to your social media profiles. Regularly update your website with fresh content, such as blog posts, interviews, and book updates. Engage with your audience on social media platforms that are popular among your target readers.

The importance of your Amazon book page

Your book page is an extension of your brand and platform, and if you’re still figuring out how to promote your novel it needs to be designed with a very specific audience in mind. A compelling book description and cover are essential for capturing the attention of potential readers but your book description should also provide a concise and enticing summary of your story, highlighting its unique selling points and intriguing elements.

Use vivid language to evoke emotions and create a sense of curiosity. Consider leading off your book description with an excerpt from a great review you’ve received.

Remember: people like what other people like, this includes people they don’t even know. So it’s not a matter of “knowing” who reviewed your book – just the fact that they gave you a favorable review can help convince a reader to invest their money and time.

Leveraging social media

I get it, we all have a love/hate relationship with social media. And you don’t have to be on multiple platforms to be successful. Just one platform is fine, if that works for you. Just make sure it’s the right one – because your reader audience should determine where you spend your time.

Research other authors you’d consider your competition and give them a follow on social and find out where they spend the majority of their time – also, check out what they’re posting. I’m not suggesting you copy anyone, but this kind of research should inspire some ideas both around which social platform might be best for you, as well as content that might resonate you’re your readers. It’s one thing to tell authors to “post content that gets engagement” but it’s quite another to figure out how to engage with your readers. Doing some market due diligence will help you to drill down into this.

Utilizing newsletter marketing

Email marketing is a powerful tool for engaging with your readers and promoting your books. By building an email list, you have a direct line of communication with your audience. Sending regular newsletters to keep your readers updated on new releases, promotions, and exclusive content is a great way to engage with your readers directly.

And you don’t have to send a newsletter out all the time – try doing a newsletter a month and see how your readers respond.

Engaging with influencers

Book influencers have a direct line to your target audience, so you want to network with as many of them as you can. Reach out to influencers who specialize in your genre and offer them free copies of your book in exchange for honest reviews or features (book spotlights!) on their platforms.

And don’t just make it about you, help them out, and show you’re invested by engaging with their content, leaving thoughtful comments and sharing their posts on your social media platforms.

Running book giveaways and contests

Running book giveaways and contests is an effective way to generate excitement and attract new readers. Offer signed copies of your book and merchandise (swag!) as prizes to entice participation. Promote your giveaways on social media, your website, and through your newsletter to maximize visibility. Encourage participants to share the giveaway with their friends and followers to reach a wider audience. Running giveaways and contests not only creates a buzz around your book but also allows you to collect valuable email addresses for future marketing efforts.

Using smart advertising strategies

If done correctly, advertising can be a powerful tool in reaching a wider audience and boosting book sales. I did a post on running ads for book promotion so I won’t spend a ton of time on that here – in the resource section below you’ll find a link to that content!

How to promote a novel knowing mistakes will be made

We like to talk a lot about watching metrics, but sometimes metrics can be deceiving. Part of the reason is that there’s no 1-to-1 correlation between a single marketing effort and a book sale. So sometimes measuring can be tough.

But I will say that if you’re pitching your book to influencers and you aren’t getting responses, it could be that you’re pitching the wrong people, your pitch isn’t great, or your book cover isn’t enticing enough.

So you really have to drill down and figure out what’s broken. Which I’ll admit, isn’t always easy to do.

But if you experiment with a variety of strategies you’ll find something that is working or does start to get you traction.

If you’re wondering how long it takes to get “traction” the short answer is: I don’t know – the longer answer is, it depends on a lot of things. Many of them I’ve addressed above. Because if the runway isn’t paved correctly, your book will never take flight.

That “pavement” is all the early work you do by making sure you’re going after the right readers, with an outstanding book cover and Amazon book page – aka your branding.

Success takes time, which I know is hard to hear after you’ve spent so long writing your novel – but books can and do take flight all the time.

With the right focus, the right target and the right marketing, you may just see your book soar.

Resources and Free Downloads

Download our free monthly book marketing planner.

Download our free Reader Profile Brainstorm.

How to advertise your book without wasting money.

Screenplay scams exposed!

Pitching your book to specialty stores and gift shops.

How your author bio helps you sell books.

Are you using these next-level marketing strategies?

A helpful list of book awards and contests.

Check out all the episodes of our book promotion podcast anywhere you listen to podcasts!

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1 Comment

  1. Bridget Austin

    Thanks for these great tips – as authors we should learn how to market our book right before we start conceiving the idea to write.


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