Updated: Aug 1
Marketing a fiction book can seem daunting if you’re unsure of who your target audience is and the marketing tools that are available. Fortunately, this process can also be an exciting extension of your creativity and a way to introduce your book to your audience. With some planning and effort, you can successfully market your fiction book with great results. In this post, I share seven marketing tips for fiction authors to help you have a successful book launch.
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7 marketing tips for fiction authors
After helping countless authors market their books, I'm happy to share seven of my marketing tips for fiction authors:
1. Determine your target audience
Before you develop your book’s marketing plan, it’s essential that you identify your target audience. To determine who’s likely to purchase your book, you might consider broad demographics such as age and gender, but being more specific can help you hone your marketing and have a more successful book launch. For example, instead of claiming your audience is all men interested in science-fiction, you might narrow your scope to men in their 20s who enjoy apocalyptic/dystopian science fiction novels.
If you’re struggling to determine your target audience, consider best-selling books that are similar and identify who’s reading them. If you have a sizable social media following, see who’s interacting with you, as they may be likely to purchase your book as well. Once you’ve determined your target audience, you can begin creating a marketing plan that speaks about your book in a way that applies to them.
2. Utilize Goodreads and BookBub
Goodreads and BookBub are very popular among fiction readers and can be a great place to promote your fiction book. Here’s some more information for using each platform:
Once your published (or soon-to-be-published) book is in the Goodreads’ database, you can join the Goodreads Author Program, which allows you to promote your book and engage with potential readers. For example, you might run a giveaway, answer your readers’ questions, and connect your other socials to your author profile. Encourage your social media followers and/or email subscribers to add your book(s) to their Goodreads shelves to increase your book's exposure on the platform.
BookBub allows you to connect with other authors’ audiences that are similar to yours and are more likely to want to purchase your book. For example, if you write adventure novels for teenagers, BookBub can advertise your book directly to an audience of another author who’s found success in the genre. Here is more information about how to use this platform to promote your book.
3. Find creative ways to utilize social media
When marketing your fiction book on social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok, you want to be creative and spark interest in your book without giving away too much information about its contents. When posting and interacting on social media, consider where your target audience spends their time and what content they find engaging. While there are countless possibilities, here are some fun ideas you can use:
Cover reveal: You can debut the cover of your book in a creative way on any social media platform.
GIFs/memes: Your target audience may find GIFs or memes related to your book comedic or interesting and may encourage them to learn more about you and your work.
BookTok trends: You may use TikTok to share intriguing information about your book or recommend other books you’re enjoying.
Character introductions: Sharing a brief introduction to your book’s character(s) can intrigue potential readers and encourage them to purchase the book.
Q&A livestream: You can go live on platforms like Instagram and Facebook to answer readers’ questions.
If you’re looking for additional inspiration when marketing your fiction book on social media, you can check out my post, 5 Social Media Post Ideas That Every Author Can Try!
4. Build your email list
I can’t express enough the importance of having an email list, which is a collection of email addresses that an author gathers from individuals visiting their website or blog. When someone adds their email address to your mailing list, they permit you to contact them by email. You can take advantage of this tool by sending marketing materials, like book updates, offers, and event information, to multiple recipients at once.
To entice people to subscribe to your email list, you can offer a lead magnet. A lead magnet is a free item or service that you can give to people for subscribing to your email list. Here are some ideas for lead magnets you can use:
book club guides
I’ve created a step-by-step guide to build an author email list that you can use to create one today!
5. Write a prequel
You can write a prequel that gives your readers a taste of the upcoming book or series. If you have a strong prequel that leaves questions unanswered or makes a reader want to learn more about a character, they’re more likely to purchase your book. You might offer a prequel as a lead magnet to entice readers to subscribe to your email list. You can also list it on Amazon at a discounted price, which can help boost visibility.
6. Discount the first book in your series
If your e-books are available on Amazon, consider dropping the price for the first book in your series to entice readers to purchase it. If readers like the first book, they’re more likely to purchase book 2,3, etc. at full price. Ensure you promote the e-book discount using promotional newsletters and BookBub ads to maximize visibility.
Learn more: 8 Actions to Take if Your Book Isn't Selling
7. Network with and promote other authors in your genre
Networking with and promoting other authors who write in the same genre as you is beneficial to both parties. You might share another author’s work with your readers so that when your book releases, they may share your book with their audience as well. When other respected authors endorse your book, it helps establish your credibility and is free promotion.
Hot take: Many authors feel the need to compete with similar authors when the actual competition is their audiences’ consumption of other forms of media, such as television or video games. It’s crucial that authors work together to promote each other’s books to their readers, with the goal of keeping their audience reading. Contributing to this cycle increases the chance that your audience will purchase your book when they’re ready for the next one.
Whether you’re in the midst of the writing process or have already finished your book, now is the perfect time to consider a marketing strategy. To help you get started, I’m offering a FREE download of my guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch. This valuable resource is packed with expert tips and strategies to empower you to craft an effective book launch and connect with a larger audience of eager readers.