“Getting a book published is 10% writing, 15% publishing and 75% marketing.” — the late Dan Poynter, self-publishing guru, lecturer and author
TOP 10 “STARTER” BOOK PROMOTION TOOLS
AMAZON (amazon.com) controls 70% + of the online book market. Take advantage of the tools they have to help authors sell books ― customer reviews, Top Amazon Reviewers, “Look Inside” program, Author Central page, author bio and photos, author blog link, author videos. Important: Learn how-to pick categories, keyword strings, themes. Ditto for Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP.com).
BOOK REVIEWS – Reviews sell books. Beg everyone you know to put a comment about your book on your Amazon book page. Get blogger reviews. Check the annual Book Reviewer Yellow Pages (Amazon and Kindle); Google for blogs on your book’s topic. Contact a few a week.
CONTESTS – Enter them! Search for “writing contests” or book awards. Contest doesn’t have to be prestigious. Winning or being a semi-finalist is good PR. If you get a gold seal, slap it on all your handouts. See annual Writer’s Market for information on contests.
ELEVATOR PITCH – Memorize a 15-second pitch and a 30-second pitch about your book — just in case someone asks what you’re up to. Focus on your book’s title, theme, and benefits to readers. Google for pitching tips. You’ll get multi-uses out of pitches and book descriptions.
EMAIL SIGNATURE – Create a little “ad” for your book at the bottom of your e-mail stationary, perhaps including a logo, blurb, or graphic. Add a link to your Amazon book page, website or blog.
HANDOUTS: People love handouts ― bookmarks, postcards, business cards (with the book cover on one side and purchase information on the other). Try vistaprint.com or gotprint.com.
NETWORKING – Go where the authors go. Join things. Meet people who are in the writing world and many will end up helping you and vice-versa. Sign up with writing groups and organizations; attend workshops, panels, book fairs, library talks, book signings and publishing events.
SOCIAL MEDIA – Facebook has 1.3 billion users (NYTimes 9/18/17). There’s also Twitter. LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, SnapChat and more. Overwhelming? Just pick one or two to do consistently. Keep your shares about your work, not your personal life.
PRESS RELEASES (NEWS RELEASES) – Email a press release for each book-related event, such as a book launch, book signing event, or contest win. Google “free press release sites.” Send out one at least every two weeks.
WEBSITES – Websites, while important, aren’t a must. You can set up a one-page landing page instead (check out Fiverr.com) or use your Amazon’s Central page. If you have a free WordPress.com blog, you can set up a static front page to be your “website” page.
ONLINE MEDIA KIT
You can put so much more in an online press kit, unlike the old-fashioned (but still useful) paper press kit. You can have links to a variety of author photos (formal to casual poses depending on the needs of the story they’ll illustrate), sample chapters from the book, links to articles from by the author, links to book reviews, a link to Amazon and Kindle versions, a link to the publisher’s website if there is one. Everything you can stuff into the paper press kit (below) you can stuff into the online media kit — and so much more.
The PRESS KIT (PAPER)
The “One-Sheet” – Get it all on one page!
Another “one-sheet” format that you can DIY. Carry a bunch of them around with you. Also create smaller versions on postcards and bookmarks for on-the-spot marketing.
WRITING “HOMEWORK” TO HELP YOU WITH BOOK PROMOTION
- BLOG – Writing a blog on your book’s topic is a good way to market it. There are millions of blogs, thousands that accept guest blogs. Check out annual Book Reviewers Yellow Pages (Amazon), Google for “author blogs” or search for blog directories for blogs on your topic.
- PRESS KIT (MEDIA KIT) – Mentioned above as one of the top 10 “starter” book promotion actions, get writing! Author Bio, Overview, News Release, Suggested Interview Questions. Make a few paper / physical kits because some people still ask for them.
- RADIO – There are thousands of radio stations in the U.S. that gobble up even more thousands of guests a day. You could be one of them. Google “radio talk shows + keyword” (your topic). Write pitches that match the shows; call for interviews
- BIO: Write 3 versions of your bio — short, medium and long.
- BOOK DESCRIPTION: Starting with the book description you’ll write on the Amazon form that will show up next to your book cover when you publish, book descriptions are critical. Write a logline (a two-line description plus benefits to readers), then a short, medium and long (less than a page double-spaced) book description. They will come in handy over and over again.
- ARTICLES: Write a bunch of short 200 words articles on different topics related to your book that you can use on Facebook, Press Releases, Local newspapers, online Ezines, etc.). Have them handy to plug in to letters, emails, or use as scripts for phone calls.
This is only the beginning but you’ve got to start somewhere!