You have to keep marketing to build an audience for your book, but there is a definitive difference between a marketing professional and writer. Writers usually aren’t as aware of all of the marketing methods, and they tend to forget a few things here and there. Here are some of the most essential areas that are ripe for marketing. While you don’t need to do everything on this list, you should ensure that you have a far marketing reach.
Yes, you absolutely need a blog. Simply put, just buy a domain, self-host WordPress and starting writing weekly about your book, yourself as an author or anything that interests you. However, if you already have a blog, then I’m sure there’s a few things that you can do to improve it.
The biggest is SEO. If your blog isn’t optimized, then people won’t find it. Use keywords, ensure that your titles are set to mimic your post names. include images with meta data and download an SEO plugin (All in One SEO is the de facto leader). Also, link your blog to your book’s product page and social media accounts.
Some people think that they only need a blog or social media account, but you really need both. You can often copy/paste your blog posts and thoughts from one medium to another, so writing for both shouldn’t be too difficult. While there are plenty of social media outlets, the essential ones include Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn if you want to be taken more professionally (like if you write trade books). Google Plus and Pinterest are also important.
Join forums for both readers and writers. These are people who love books, and it’s great to build buzz and get tips from these forums. You can find out about the current publishing environment, and make some good connections that can boost your audience via guest posts, shared podcasts, etc. Just write thoughtful replies, link to your blog and you’re set.
This is better for people who have a marketing budget, but you need to advertise your book. You can place an ad in the newspaper, a relevant magazine or some other print publication to improve your readership. You might also want to try radio ads and even TV ones have worked, but this is only for bigger launches where you have a huge budget. Even pinning up a flyer around campus can be enough to push sales.
After publishing your book, you might hear from organizations that want you to speak. Some of these gigs will be paid, but most of them will be unpaid at first. It’s best to take the gig so that you can sell books there and build an even bigger audience. This also allows people to get to know you face to face, which can create lifetime customers. The press might also be present, which can give you a good press release.
Make an Affiliate Program
This is most commonly used with information products, but regular book authors can use this as well. Amazon offers an affiliate program, so you can persuade people to use that to advertise your book. You can also setup your own affiliate program (there are many websites like Clickbank and JVZoo that help with this) and get people to affiliate for you directly.
Podcasting is a newer type of marketing, but many writers have been able to successfully use it to build buzz around a book launch. Just make a podcast series about 6-10 weeks before your book will be released. You can also do it after the book is released, but this usually isn’t as effective. You can talk about yourself, what went into the book and even ask for live contributors.
Go to trade shows and conventions about writing or your genre. You can buy a booth or table and sell your book, and you can hand out business cards to other writers and potential readers. Be sure to put your URL on the card. This allows people to easily find you online, which can either improve sales, or help with your marketing if you can team up with another popular writer.