Updated: Aug 1
Many authors I work with feel intimidated by the idea of marketing their books. But after investing so much time in writing, I hate to witness their fear of the unknown prevent them from connecting with an audience and maximizing sales. Learning more about book marketing can help you overcome hesitations and help you market your book successfully. After 8 years working as a book marketer, here are my expert answers to the top 10 FAQs about book marketing.
10 FAQs about book marketing
Here are my answers to the top 10 frequently asked questions about book marketing with links to my other blogs where you can learn more about each topic:
1. When should I market my book?
If you’re asking this question, start marketing as soon as possible. Regardless of which stage in the writing process you’re at, consider your marketing plan. When you build your audience now, whether it’s via social media or an email list, you’ll have more individuals to market your book to in the future.
If I had to put a timeline on it, I'd say start growing your social media and email audience yesterday (😉). This can and should be started early--perhaps even while you're still writing! When it comes to marketing your book around it's launch, I'd say start selling pre-orders (or at least start letting people know the book is coming) anywhere from 30-90 days before the launch date.
After the launch, you can set up evergreen marketing strategies that will continue to get your book in front of readers long after the initial release.
Read more: What Is Book Marketing? (With 10 Strategies)
2. Where should I be marketing my book?
Market your book using:
Social media: Platforms like Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and TikTok can help you develop a community that you can market your book to directly.
Email: Growing an author e-mail list provides you with easy access to individuals within your target audience who are likely to purchase your book.
Amazon Marketing Services: Use Amazon Marketing Services to market your book by leveraging targeted advertising campaigns and using promotional tools like Kindle Direct Publishing and Amazon Advertising.
Community and influencer support: Partnering with relevant influencers, engaging with book clubs, organizing author events, and leveraging social media platforms can help generate buzz and word-of-mouth promotion for your book.
3. What should I post on social media?
Post content that informs your reader what your book is about and why it’s the right book for them. Videos, images, and graphics that connect your reader to your book and its message encourage them to want to learn more about it.
The type of content you create and post will depend on which platform you and your target readers are active on.
4. Should I have an email list?
Definitely, because an email list is an excellent way to connect with your audience. When you use social media, you borrow those platforms. But email is a platform that you control that provides you with direct access to your reader.
If you're looking to grow your list of email subscribers, consider giving away a chapter from your book or other download your audience would find valuable in exchange for their email address.
5. How many books do I need to sell to be an Amazon bestseller?
This number depends on the category that you or your publisher lists your book in on Amazon. When you self-publish using Amazon KDP, you can choose the category for your book. If the category is specific (Self-Help - Art Therapy & Relaxation), you may need to sell just 10 copies to make it on the bestseller list. If you choose a general category (Self-Help), it can take anywhere from 300+ books to hit #1 in your category. Amazon updates its chart hourly, so these sales would need to occur within a short time frame, likely within a 24 hour period.
6. Should I invest in advertising?
Invest in ads if you have a sufficient marketing budget. Ads help give your book additional visibility and impressions on platforms that may be hot spots for your target reader, such as Facebook. With this said, ads are optional. There are more organic ways to reach your readers. These strategies may just take longer to gain traction. For example, it may take you months to get your posts in front of an audience organically, while you might hit the same number of impressions with a paid ad in a few days.
7. Should I have a launch team?
This is going to depend on (1) the genre of your book and (2) the platform where your target audience spends their time. If you’re writing a book for top executives, it may not be the best fit for a launch team. However, if your book is written for moms who starting a business at home while their kids are at school, you may find this target audience has more time and interest in joining a launch team.
There are authors who have been building up their audience for several years and have created a strong sense of community. If you’ve nurtured this relationship with your readers, and they want to help promote your book, take advantage of this opportunity. If you’re just starting to build an audience, you can still consider using a launch team. It may just be on a smaller scale, in which case you should adjust your expectations. Note that running and managing a launch team can be time consuming, so if this strategy makes sense for your book, manage your time wisely.
Read more: 8 Actions to Take if Your Book Isn’t Selling
8. How can I get my book into stores?
If you’re working with a publisher, talk to them about which brick and mortar stores will carry your book. If you’re self-publishing, getting your book into brick and mortar stores can be more difficult, but isn’t impossible. Begin by sharing your book with local and independent bookstores. Foster a relationship with these sellers by attending their events, purchasing from them, and show support in other ways. Then, when you’re ready to release your book, ask them if they’re interested in selling it.
Read more: How to Get Your Book on Bookstore Shelves
9. How do I get reviews?
The best way to get reviews organically is to keep asking people in your community to leave a review of your book. Getting verified reviews from individuals who purchased your book themselves is beneficial. If you’ve supplied individuals with an advance copy of the book in exchange for reviews, they can leave reviews on various online retailer websites, like Goodreads.
Make a point of checking in with readers regularly to ensure they write a review. There are some credible websites where you can submit your book to garner more reviews, like NetGalley or BookSirens. Avoid websites where you pay for reviews, as it goes against Amazon’s guidelines.
Read more: 7 Things Every First-time Author Should Know
10. How should I spend my time?
How you spend your time will depend on (1) the type of book you’re promoting and (2) your audience. First, research which marketing strategies are most effective for your genre. For example, if you’re marketing a business book, LinkedIn is a valuable tool. Next, determine where your target audience spends their time so you can establish a presence there. For example, if your target audience is on LinkedIn, it won’t be beneficial to spend most of your time on Instagram.
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.