Updated: Aug 1
While many authors are talented writers, creating an effective marketing plan can be an intimidating concept. As an experienced book marketer, trust me when I tell you that authors I’ve worked with in the past - who lacked experience in marketing - used marketing tactics that lead to a successful book launch. Whether you’re an author planning for your book’s release or have already launched your book, learning more about book marketing strategies can help you develop a plan to drive sales. In this post, I’ll answer “What is book marketing?” and share ten marketing strategies you can use to grow your audience and sell more copies.
What is book marketing?
Learning to answer “What is book marketing?” can help you discover strategies to promote and sell your book. Book marketing is the strategies that authors use to get their book in front of their target readers with the goal of selling more copies. Many authors use various marketing tactics to develop a marketing plan. It’s worth noting not every book is the same, so your marketing plan will probably differ from other authors. The tactics that work for you may not be as effective for another author. This may be because they have a different audience or resources at their disposal, such as a different advertising budget or network of people.
Learn more: 8 Actions to Take if Your Book Isn’t Selling
10 book marketing strategies
Here are ten book marketing strategies you can incorporate in your marketing plan:
1. Social media
Many authors find success using social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to organically promote and/or advertise their books. If you want to incorporate social media, begin by identifying your target audience and then determine which platform they use the most. While sharing content about your book on your social feeds can drive sales, posting content that allows potential readers to get to know you better can help you establish a loyal following, which is beneficial for your longevity as an author. If you want to learn more about using social media to market your book, check out these blog posts I’ve written on the topic:
2. E-mail newsletter
An e-mail newsletter, author e-mail list, mailing list, or subscriber’s list is a collection of e-mail addresses that an author collects from people via their website or blog. When a person adds their e-mail address to your mailing list, they permit you to contact them at any time via e-mail.
You can use this list to send marketing materials, such as book updates, offers, and event information to many recipients at once.
An effective strategy to get users to subscribe to your e-mail newsletter is to offer a lead magnet, which is essentially a “gift” they’ll receive if they subscribe. For example, you might offer new subscribers free sample chapters, advice, or even an ebook download. In the following two blog posts, I explain the importance of developing an e-mail newsletter, provide steps for building one, and share ideas for lead magnets:
3. Book reviews
When a potential buyer notices a book has positive reviews, they’re more likely to purchase it. Consider sending your book to people who could choose to provide honest reviews on a retailer websites like Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble.
It's important to note that it goes against review guidelines to pay or reward someone in exchange for leaving a review. You can gift people a copy of your book, or pay for a service to get a copy of your book to relevant readers, but the reader must voluntarily make the choice to review or not review.
4. Launch teams
Authors can assemble a team of supporters, such as friends, family members, or fans, who can help spread the word about the book during its release. Typically, the author gives this team specific instructions regarding what and when to share to amplify the book launch. You may find people willing to help in your network, as it consists of individuals who are likely invested in you as an author or a friend. Don’t be shy about asking them to share a link to purchase your book. You can make it easier for them by sending shareable graphics and suggested captions to post on social media.
5. Influencer marketing
Some authors use influencer marketing to promote their book by partnering with social media influencers who have large followings and influence within their target audience. You may achieve this through sponsored posts, reviews, or endorsements on social media platforms, such as Instagram or Facebook. For example, you might provide notable connections with free copies to give away to their followers. By leveraging the influencer's reach and credibility, you can reach a wider audience and generate buzz around your book, leading to increased visibility, book sales, and potential long-term fans.
6. Amazon advertising
Even if you don’t have a huge budget to market your book, it might be worthwhile to invest in Amazon advertising. If you’re a new author with a small platform, ads can be crucial in getting your book in front of potential readers searching for books on Amazon. Using Amazon ads, you can bid on relevant keywords so your book comes up higher in the search when readers are looking for similar books to yours. Amazon also offers A+ Content, which is a feature you can use to make your book seem more appealing to consumers visiting your Amazon book page.
7. Bookbub advertising
BookBub is a popular platform for book discovery and marketing that allows authors to promote their books to a large audience of avid readers. Many readers use BookBub to learn about new books, especially ebooks that are discounted or free. You can use this platform to advertise your book through featured deals, new release announcements, and targeted e-mail campaigns to readers who have shown interest in the genre. By leveraging BookBub's extensive reach and highly engaged audience, authors can increase their book's visibility and sales potential, leading to higher book rankings, reviews, and word-of-mouth recommendations.
8. Goodreads giveaway
A book giveaway on Goodreads is a promotional tool used by authors and publishers to offer free copies of their books to Goodreads members in exchange for potential readers' interest in their work. Goodreads members can enter the giveaway by adding the book to their "to-read" shelf, and winners are chosen at random by Goodreads. Book giveaways can lead to sales by increasing the book's visibility and generating buzz among readers who may recommend the book to others or purchase it themselves after reading it.
9. Ebook promotions
You can use ebook discounts to promote your book by offering temporary price reductions on digital copies of your book. For example, you might reduce your ebook to $1 and advertise it heavily. By strategically timing and promoting these discounts through various channels such as e-mail newsletters, social media, and book deal websites, you can reach a larger audience and generate excitement around your book.
10. Blog tours
An author can use blog tours to market their book by partnering with bloggers in their book's genre to promote their book through a series of blog posts, interviews, reviews, and guest articles. By reaching out to book bloggers and coordinating a blog tour, authors can increase their book's visibility among avid readers, generate buzz around their work, and potentially attract new fans. Blog tours can also help authors gain valuable feedback and reviews from readers and improve their overall marketing strategy.
While I’ve compiled a list of ten book marketing strategies you can use, know that there’s a difference between utilizing all these tactics and putting them together in an effective marketing plan. Many of these strategies complement each other. For example, you might run a social media ad advertising a sample chapter. To access this sample chapter, a user might provide their e-mail address, which builds your e-mail newsletter subscribers. As a final note, if you want to create an effective book marketing strategy, researching which tactics successful authors within your genre are using can help give you some additional ideas.
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.