How to market your book
When a new Hollywood blockbuster is announced, that multi-million pound budget is spent on far more than just the big name stars and the production. The average major studio movie costs around $65m – but then you can add on a further, staggering $35m for distribution and marketing.
While even the biggest, best-selling book won’t have a budget anything like this, what this illustrates is just how important marketing is to any creative process and the success of a project.
The most lucrative books are those which have become a brand – think of Harry Potter and the endless spin-offs, from movies to experiences at theme parks.
Realistically those kind of results come about once in a lifetime, but by adopting some clever marketing techniques, thinking out of the box and being a bit savvy, you could help drive awareness – and those all-important sales.
Build your audience
If your ambition is to really produce a best seller, then the work starts long before your book is actually published.
Think about who it might appeal to – is it a historical novel based on fact, is it a futuristic tale, is it a romance?
Once you’ve decided it’s genre then it’s worth looking at other authors who operate in the same space. Perhaps follow them on social media and tag in about your book so you can tap into their audience. Comment on their posts, follow people they are following and start to build your community.
Identify groups or organisations which have a particular interest in what you’re writing about and make contact, they could well be potential buyers.
Send out social media teasers about the story to start to gain interest or post a sample chapter on line- start to create a real buzz.
Ask people for their feedback – everyone loves to think their opinion matters and it’s a great way to engage with your possible readers.
You can take matters into your own hand and look at campaigns such as Facebook ads, where for a relatively low cost you can do some targeted promotion.
Why not make a short video that you can use on Instagram or Tik Tok with you talking about your book – being able to actually see the person behind the publication will help people engage with you. Market yourself and create a brand identity, then people will become interested in the face behind the book as well as the words on the page!
Marketing to the media
The world of books is a very overcrowded one and although getting a national publication to review your offering might not be impossible, it is very difficult.
It would need to be something truly unique and unusual to capture the attention of a journalist who will literally be bombarded by publishing houses on a regular basis, so perhaps set some more realistic goals.
That’s not to say that you shouldn’t send them a review copy of your book of course – but make sure you include a covering letter about the book, why you wrote it and a bit about yourself.
Sometimes the human interest angle is enough to make a publication more appealing, so if there is a story behind the story make sure you share it.
Contact the local media in your area – newspapers, magazines and radio stations – and send them a copy to see if they’ll review it or be interested in doing an interview.
The fact that you’re from the area may be enough to clinch the deal and give you some much needed publicity.
At the same time there are a number of well used online book review sites such as www.goodreads.com where you can try and get your book listed.
How about a competition?
You might be reluctant to start handing out books for free, but sometimes speculating to accumulate is definitely a position worth considering.
Speak to local radio stations or newspapers and see if they want to do a giveaway or even social media influencers in your area.
You could also consider teaming up with local attractions or a hotel or restaurant and put a prize package together which would benefit everyone and that everyone involved could cross promote.
If there’s an independent bookshop in your area see if they’d let you do a signing session – offer to help publicise and market it so it’s an added incentive for them to get people through the doors.
Don’t look at giving copies away as an expense, it’s a valuable tool in driving sales and creating loyalty.
Make a website
Setting up a website can be an important tool in your marketing. It gives you the opportunity for readers to engage directly with you, sign up to be the first to know about further publications and also order books from you directly.
You can enhance your website with some blogs and keep updating the content so people have a reason to come back. When you create your website, make sure to look into things like SEO and PPC to take the most advantage of the online space as possible!
Pay the professionals
Of course if all of this seems a little daunting, then there’s no harm in getting some professional help if your budget allows.
There are companies which specialise in promoting self-published books but if you decide to go down that road check out their track record and speak to other authors who have used them – otherwise you might be throwing a huge amount of money at something that simply doesn’t work.
Just remember that a brilliant written book isn’t enough on its own – so make sure you factor in a marketing campaign as part of your strategy. It’s also important to invest in a quality book printing service, so that your book physically looks attractive and entices people to pick up, buy and read!
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