The Epic Guide to Book Marketing
81 Tried and True Book Marketing Ideas for Every Stage of the Self-Publishing Process.
The biggest fear many aspiring authors face is the idea that no one will read their work.
They’re afraid that they’ll put forth an incredible effort and create something that has the power to change someone’s life, but it’ll never have the chance to do well
Does this sound familiar?
Don’t worry, we’re here to help.
This guide is for you if you:
- Are currently writing a book and need to figure out how to sell it
- Have always wanted to be a best-selling author
- Would love to use a book to help you build your business and land speaking engagements
- Have already written and launched a book but are not sure what to do next
Every author is different, and everyone is on a different stage of the journey.
The guide is created to give you the exact information you need, based on what stage of the journey you are in.
How to Use This Guide
To get the most out of this guide you need to focus on your current book launch stage and only move forward once you have implemented the ideas in that stage.
This is a different approach compared to the hundreds of marketing idea lists out there, but we focus on getting results above everything else. The point of this guide is not to give you more ideas to consider but rather to make it easier for you to take action and gain the results you are looking for.
Let’s start your epic journey…
This is a LONG article. Make sure you grab the PDF version so you can easily refer to it in the future.
Chapter 1: Conception
Successful Book Marketing Starts on Day One.
Goal: Build a community around your ideas.
Nothing great has ever been built alone so the community you build in this initial stage will serve as your first buyers, your first reviewers, and your support system throughout the entire process.
1 Talk to Your Potential Readers
Trying to accomplish any creative work in a vacuum is a bad idea. Doing so with your book will lead to writing something that no one wants to read. Take the time to reach out to the people who could be your readers, find out what they liked and disliked about similar books, share your ideas with them. Ultimately you should aim to have multiple discussions that can help you refine your concept.
Building relationships with key influencers and media representatives takes time. They receive a lot of inbound requests and so reaching out to them as early as possible is highly recommended. Your goal here isn’t to pitch them on your book, it’s simply to make a new friendship that can potentially be leveraged when the time comes.
3Research Similar Books
No matter what your topic, there is a book out there that is just like it. This is a good thing, it means that someone else has already set the bar and you can easily plan to raise it. Take the time during this initial ideation and outlining stage to research what books and content exist on the topic and to identify what you’ll need to do in order to make it better.
4Join Facebook Groups
Community is king. In order to build a community you must first be a part of communities. Facebook groups represent a large and untapped opportunity to join these communities and start to build friendships and connections.
5Join LinkedIn Groups
Similar to Facebook Groups, LinkedIn communities are often a thriving place for connection and conversation for the right genre of book.
6Message Group Members Directly
Once you’ve found a few communities and have been involved in a few conversations you can start reaching out to other members directly. Use this opportunity to create an authentic connection, share your idea, and start to build deeper relationships.
Even if you do not actively participate in conversations within the communities you join, pay attention to the conversations that happen. Many of the conversations you see will serve as valuable research once you sit down to write.
8Build an Email List
As you build deeper relationships and share your ideas with others there is a great opportunity to start building an email list of people who may be interested in purchasing. With that said, don’t go about it by using a landing page or lead magnet just yet. Instead, you should ask people one by one as you speak to them about your ideas. This may be slow, but it creates a much deeper connection with the members of your list.
9Document the Journey
Try to document and share as much as you can. This means taking pictures of your workspace, crushed pieces of paper, creating a vlog, whatever you can do. Your work and your process can be used as content. Take advantage of it.
In addition to building your network of influencers and media you should take the time to connect with authors who have written similar books, speakers with similar topics, and anyone else who is creating in your niche. This will give you an opportunity to collaborate in the future.
11Attend Local Meetups
Don’t forget that online communities aren’t the only communities out there. The reach may be smaller but nothing creates and engages potential fans like good old face to face interaction. Go out on the town and meet the people who make up your community.
12Build a Launch Team
As you meet people you will find new friendships and connections that just “work”. Ask these people to give you honest feedback on your ideas. As you transition into the writing stage you should also leverage these relationships for feedback on the book itself.
13Join Relevant Forums
Forums may seem like a waste of time but for certain niche groups they are their home base. If you are fortunate enough to be writing within one of these niches you’ll do well to communicate on forums as you’ll likely find yourself speaking with much more dedicated communities of people who consider the forum to be their second home online.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Find your potential readers and ask them questions
- Start building relationships with the VIPs in your niche
- Research similar books to learn what worked and what didn’t
- Be an active member of the community you want to serve
- Start documenting the process
This section has focused primarily on building relationships and sharing your ideas. You may be thinking that these tips don’t highlight many “marketing” tactics and therefore can be skipped. I encourage you to reconsider that.
Following this section will allow you to develop the data points required to turn your idea into a truly epic book.
Great marketing only works if the product it is promoting is great, conversations will give you the tools to create that.
Chapter 2: Writing
Engage Your Audience to Create Raving Fans.
Goal: Grow your network and create raving fans.
Some of the best marketing options available to you are during this “creation” stage. Document the process, get audience feedback, and engage the community in order to turn your potential readers into your biggest fans.
1Post Excerpts from the Book on Medium
Writing your book in public can be an incredibly effective way of engineering demand. It also serves as a fantastic method of getting feedback and seeing which sections will “click”. Medium is a blogging platform with over 40 million active users that allows writers to ignore the technical side of blogging in order to create their best work. Publishing pieces of your book here gives it a chance to get in front of their large audience and gives you a chance to validate your ideas while writing them.
2Create a Facebook Group
Engaging with your audience doesn’t get any easier than with a Facebook group. Create a group and invite everyone you’ve spoken to so far. Invite other authors, invite potential readers, and invite people you’ve met in other communities. Having your community located in a group like this will allow for conversation not only between you and the person but also between two or more other members of the group.
3 Create Videos Expanding on Core Ideas
This is similar to the medium post idea but if you have the time and bandwidth you should consider reading excerpts from the book on video and then expanding on those ideas in new words. This will create an additional method of connecting with the content and has the added benefit of allowing you to explore your ideas in different ways which can improve your writing.
4 Turn Lines From the Book Into Tweets
As you write your book there will undoubtedly be lines that are inherently “tweetable”. Take advantage of this easy source of content.
5 Turn Lines From the Book Into Instagram Photos
As you find those “tweetable” lines you may want to also consider turning them into quote photos for Instagram and Facebook.
6 Use Snapchat to Document Your Routine
Snapchat’s “story” feature can be thought of as a micro-vlogging platform. As such, by using a combination of short videos and still photos you should be able to document your days and, more importantly, your process.
7 Write Guest Posts for Other Blogs
There are probably a few ideas in your book that could be given more time in the sun. Give it to them by expanding on the individual ideas and publishing those articles on other websites. This will lead to more exposure and is a smart use of content.
8 Create a Landing Page
Launching a landing page for your book is an excellent way to expedite the list building process. You should still approach this with an emphasis on one to one connection, but by adding a landing page to the process you gain a little more opportunity for scale.
9 Create a Podcast
Podcasts are all the rage and you should consider starting one. The good news is that doing so is merely a process of getting in front of a microphone and talking about the book you are writing and your ideas around it. It takes a little extra time but can lead to massive upside.
10 Interview Experts
Taking the time to sit down with and interview experts in your field is an incredible way to validate your concept, drastically build your network, and start to build your own authority and brand awareness in the space.
11 Create a Book Profile on Instagram
The Instagram community loves quotes which makes it an ideal place to share micro-content from your book. Set up an account for your book, set your website link to your landing page, start publishing quotes from the book in image form, and use relevant hashtags to boost discovery.
12 Get Interviewed on Podcasts
Since you are now writing the book it’s safe to say that you have a decent idea of what the core concept is and what directions it could possibly go in. That means it’s an ideal time to start sharing your ideas on a slightly bigger stage. Reaching out to podcasts and getting interviewed about your concept is a great way to get it in front of their audience while simultaneously being forced to explain the idea. Explaining leads to better writing.
13 Blog About the Process
Writing a book is hard work and documenting that process is always a good way to connect more closely with your audience. Take photos, share videos, and write about the journey itself.
14. Find Readers With Twitter Search
If you go to Twitter and use their search feature it allows you to find people who are talking about your exact topic. When used correctly this is a powerful thing as it enables you to jump into conversations, share resources, or even just observe what the conversations look like.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Write your book in “public” using Medium, Facebook, or LinkedIn
- Utilize PR techniques to land interviews and media exposure
- Interview the leaders in your field
- Find conversations around your topic online
The main focus in this section has been on finding ways to use the writing process that you are already going through as a means of connecting with your audience on a deeper level.
By building those relationships, sharing your process, and spotlighting specific pieces of the book during this stage you are engineering a demand and a desire for the book. This will come in handy on launch day.
Chapter 3: Production
Get Your Fans Involved in the Process.
Goal: Engage your fans and set the groundwork for launch.
It’s time to make creative decisions like what to edit, which cover to use, and what the title of your book should be. Document that process and get your fans involved in key decisions, it will pay off on launch day.
1 Facebook Live Video
Facebook Live video generates massive engagement within the platform. In fact, according to Facebook’s own data, Live videos on the platform are watched on average three times longer than regular videos. Take advantage of this during the production process by live streaming as you make key decisions about the book such as choosing the artwork, title, and launch date.
2 Poll Your Fans
Polls are an incredible way to better understand who your audience is and what they actually want. Try coming up with three or four different title options and see which performs the best in the communities that you are a part of. Doing so will lead to more informed decisions while simultaneously giving your potential readers some sense of ownership.
3 Split Test Your Creative
In a similar vein to polling, it’s a good idea to use advertising tools like Facebook as a way of testing titles and cover artwork in a much more public setting. Run an ad split-testing multiple title choices, the one with the most engagement wins. Doing this will give you a better idea of what the entire market is looking for.
4 Create Q&A Videos
Q&A is a fantastic format that people tend to gravitate towards because it provides specific context. Using Facebook Live, or even just regular video, try taking the time to collect a few questions about your topic or your book from your community and give thoughtful answers to them.
5 Create a Q&A Podcast
The beauty of video is that once you are finished with it you will also have perfectly good audio to work with. If you’ve done the Q&A video I would suggest that you pull the audio from those files and turn it into a podcast for some additional reach.
6 Create a Book Trailer
If you have the time and the dollars to spend, creating a book trailer can be a fantastic way to promote additional excitement for your book launch. The best book trailers focus on the main problem that the book intends to solve while not giving away too much information.
7 Create an Explainer Video
If you don’t have the dollars to get a professional book trailer done or if you just want to create more videos, consider getting in front of the camera and simply explaining what the book is about, what problem it solves, and who it’s for. It may not be fancy, but clearly explaining your book is never a bad thing.
8 Work With Your Book Launch Team
As you move into the pre-launch stage of your journey you will need to start recruiting people to be on your book launch team. These are the people who will be your biggest advocates. They’ll write your early reviews, they’ll introduce your book to their friends and audiences, and they’ll help you get the initial rankings that you’ll need to build a sustained machine. Reach out to the community you’ve built thus far in order to recruit.
9 Send Out Review Copies
Don’t wait until two weeks before the launch to send review copies to people who have the power to drive massive awareness. Your goal should be to send them review copies with more than enough time for them to go through it and formulate an actual opinion. Once your final draft is done look into sending them out immediately to get that process started.
10 Get Early Amazon Reviews
This is the same concept as above, send members of your book launch team early copies so that they can have honest reviews prepared for launch day.
11 Create a Media Kit
As you move into the pre-launch stage you are going to be doing quite a bit of “pitching”. Take the time in this stage to create a media kit that will save you time and energy in the long run while helping you to look a bit more polished when compared to other self-published authors.
12 Use HARO to Get Media Mentions
Help A Reporter Out (HARO) can be a fantastic tool for getting media mentions and getting featured on various websites. By signing up you’ll receive an email whenever a reporter is looking for something you may be able to weigh in on so it’s a fairly “passive” source of gaining additional exposure before the real push starts.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Get your fans engaged in the production of your book
- Interview the leaders in your field
- Start getting review commitments
- Set the groundwork for PR and media
During this stage, you should be focused on going deeper with the audience you’ve built. Use the production period of your book to start creating a demand for your launch within the community that has already shown interest in following you by sharing the process, getting them engaged with making decisions, and giving them context as to how your book solves their specific problem.
Chapter 4: Pre-Launch
Get Yourself Ready for a Kick-Ass Launch.
Goal: Organize your launch strategy and team.
In order to have a winning launch you first have to take the time to make a plan, get organized, and create systems. The book marketing ideas in this section will help.
1 Create Promotion Checklists
The easiest way to get someone to share your book with others is to make it as simple as possible for them to do so. This is where promotion checklists come into play. By creating a simple checklist for everyone on your launch team or in your support group to follow you will drastically increase the chances of them actually going through with their role in your launch.
2 Choose a “Review Period” for Your Launch
Amazon’s ranking algorithm is very similar to the ranking algorithm on other marketplace websites. This means that your book ranking during your launch will be determined in part by the amount of positive reviews you receive in a certain period of time. Your job is to identify a time period and organize your launch team or initial reviewers so that their reviews are published within that period. Doing so will maximize the initial exposure your book gets which will ultimately lead to more sales.
3 Identify Your Ideal Promotional Channels
Not every channel is going to be valuable to you. Your book marketing efforts may perform better on YouTube instead of Instagram. Take the time to figure out which platforms do work best for getting the word out and start to cut back on the others. By doing this you’ll have a much leaner system to work with for the actual book launch.
4 Secure Media Features
Since you sent review copies out to your media contacts early you should now have an idea of who will be willing to write a review and who won’t. Make sure to collect this information and decide on a date for the reviews to be published.
5 Add a Countdown Timer to Website
Now that you are approaching the actual launch date it’s a good idea to add a countdown timer to your existing landing page. This timer will add an additional sense of excitement for those who find the page and for those in your community who perhaps haven’t already signed up to be notified.
6 Run a “Giveaway” Contest
Contests and free stuff are always a good way to get people to spread the word about your book. Using a tool like vyper.io you should consider running a book giveaway contest in exchange for their social shares. Essentially, when someone enters the contest they will get additional entries if they share it on their social media platforms. An extra step you can take here is to partner with other authors in your space and create a “book bundle” that can be given as the prize. This will drive additional shares from the influencers and authors themselves.
7 Use Facebook Ads to Promote Landing Page
Starting to spend some money on promotion is a good idea when you are this close to the launch of the book. Facebook Ads are an ideal advertising solution because of how deep you can go as it relates to targeting. For example, using the email list you’ve already built you can create a “lookalike” audience and run ads for your book launch to them. This tactic will increase the engagement and conversions you get from the ads because the recipients will be people that are similar to your existing community.
8 Organize Book Signing Tour
There’s nothing like a good old fashioned book tour to engage your audience and meet new faces. Take the time to call local bookstores, libraries, and schools and ask if they can host you for the event. This tactic is much easier if you already have a decent sized audience built but is certainly doable regardless.
9 Pick Your Launch Date
This may not seem like an overly important piece of the puzzle but choosing your date for launch is definitely worth the attention. Ensuring that the date coincides with a time period that allows your potential readers to be active online (so family holidays may not be the best choice) will do wonders for potential conversations and hype around your book.
10 Organize Thunder Clap
Thunder Clap is a tool that allows you to coordinate a social post on multiple platforms with multiple people. Using it on your launch day could be a good way to ensure the message is broadcast to as many people as possible. Get your launch team to agree to the Thunder Clap and on launch day each of their accounts will broadcast the exact same message.
11 Submit Your Book to Promotion Sites
Book promotion sites are a great way to get your book in front of audiences who aren’t already searching for it or who regularly look for book curators to find their next read.
12 Collect Early Reviews for Landing Page
Social proof is one of the biggest drivers of sales online. By reaching out to your launch team and your community to get a few early reviews that can be published to the landing page you are setting yourself up to drive even more excitement around the launch.
13 Build Your Website
On launch day it will be a good idea to have a full website complete with a free sample chapter, information about you, and a contact page. Take the time during this stage to get that site created.
14 Organize Email Blasts
There are quite a few digital “book clubs” and newsletters online that could potentially get your book in front of thousands of readers. Take the time to email each of these and figure out what it will take to get them to support your launch. Landing a single one would be worth the effort.
15 Organize Speaking Tour
Writing a book has always been seen as a way to launch a speaking career, but speaking should also be viewed as an excellent way to promote a book. Start reaching out to small groups and communities that would have you speak and share the core topics and ideas behind your book on stage.
16 Give Your Book Away
This is a less obvious approach but sharing your book for free, or part of your book for free, on file-sharing sites has the potential to drive a massive amount of awareness around your brand. While it may not make sense from a short-term sales point of view it could lead to incredible long-term benefits as more and more people become aware of who you are and what you have written about.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Build buzz around your upcoming launch
- Get your launch team excited to promote
- Create assets to make promotion easy
- Double check to make sure everything is ready for launch day
In this section we’ve focused on laying the groundwork for our launch. We’ve started leveraging the relationships we’ve built and have gotten ourselves organized and ready to open the doors.
Chapter 5: Launch
Become a #1 Bestseller.
Goal: Leverage your groundwork to sell books.
It’s finally time to launch your book but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for sales to roll in. In fact, there are quite a few things you could be doing to maximize the efforts you’ve put in so far.
1 Release the Book for Free
Using Amazon’s publishing platform you can release the kindle book at a cost of $0.00. Doing so will bring the barrier to entry down for early buyers and should lead to greater long term sales.
2 Focus on Amazon Reviews
Reviews on Amazon’s platform count directly towards their ranking algorithm. This means that the more reviews you have, the more exposure your book will get. Additionally, reviews are a fantastic method of displaying social proof which will lead to more sales and momentum.
3 Get Podcast Interviews Published
If you’ve been getting yourself interviewed on podcasts now is the time to make sure they are published. Most podcast hosts will be perfectly happy to delay the release of your episode until after the book has gone live so be sure to take advantage of this and coordinate accordingly.
4 Get Media Features Published
If you are fortunate enough to land any major media reviews or features you’ll want to coordinate the release of those articles to coincide with your book launch as well. Doing so will give their audiences a direct action they can take after they’ve decided that they want to read the book.
5 Deploy Your Launch Team
If you’ve prepared correctly your launch team should know exactly what to do today. Ensure that their checklists are prepared and optimized. Give them the resources they need to promote your book. Support them when they need it. But most importantly, don’t forget to thank them for their efforts.
6 Create a Launch Contest
For certain industries there is a big benefit in holding a launch contest where the winner gets a one on one Q&A session with you (or whatever prize you think is fitting). This will give people an extra incentive to actually buy the book and give it a read.
7 Host a Local Launch Event
Coordinate with the various meetup groups and communities in your local area to host a launch event and book signing. This is a great opportunity to sell some books directly to the communities you have been engaging with.
8 Broadcast Your Launch
Using a tool like Facebook Live to capture your launch event is a great way to give your larger web communities a way to feel as though they are a part of the process as well. This could even drive new exposure with people you’ve connected with but who aren’t directly a part of your book community.
9 Promote Your Book with Facebook Ads
If you have the cash to spend consider running facebook ads to a sales page for you book. While there is a cost attached to this it can be incredibly beneficial if the right targeting is in place.
10 Advertise on Instagram
Instagram ads are the new kids on the block but thanks to their connection with Facebook you should be able to target your advertising just as precisely. Try running ads on your book’s instagram account to it’s followers, these should be the most engaged audience on the platform with the highest likelihood of making a purchase.
11 Increase Kindle Price
One semi-sneaky tactic is to increase the price of your kindle book during it’s free period. To explain why this works consider this, if a book is listed at $0.99 but is available for free there is no real incentive to give it a shot. If a book is listed at $12.99 and is available for free, the value of it being free is perceived as much higher.
12 Submit a Press Release
Press releases are a fantastic way to get additional exposure to your book launch and platforms like PRWeb make it easy for those releases to be distributed across a wide variety of destinations.
13 Host a Goodreads Giveaway
Goodreads is one of the largest digital book communities on the web and doing a giveaway on the platform is a great way to get additional exposure with a minimal amount of effort.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Be everywhere and spread the word
- Make sure you are seen
In this stage, you should be focusing on leveraging all of the work you’ve done so far and all of the relationships you’ve built in order to get the maximum amount of exposure to your launch as possible.
Chapter 6: Post-Launch
Turn Your New Book Into Unlimited Opportunities.
Goal: Use your book to create unlimited opportunities.
Just because your book has been published and your launch period is over doesn’t mean that your marketing work is done. Writing a book is an excellent tool to create other opportunities, your job is to find those opportunities and explore the ones that make the most sense for you.
1 Create Ongoing Series
Now that your book is live it may be a smart idea to turn its content and concept into a podcast or video series. The content you create will serve to expand on your original ideas, create new connections, and introduce new readers to the book itself.
2 Launch a Mastermind Group
Taking your community and finding a way to create the most value for them is an important part of the process. After all, they are the ones who have supported you through this entire process. Try turning your facebook group, email list, and other communities into a mastermind group. A place where community members can go to learn from each other, keep each other accountable, and get direct support from you.
3 Engage Your Community
Try introducing your community to the work of other authors, speakers, and influencers by hosting interviews specifically for the community. Doing this will deepen your relationships with other professionals in your space while simultaneously encouraging your community to continue learning and growing.
4 Share Lessons Learned
Now that you’ve gone through the process of writing, publishing, and launching a book it’s time to use that experience and share it with others. Being interviewed about the process and the mistakes you made during it is a great way to get that knowledge out there and shine a light on your brand.
5 Create a Book Club
Since you are an author your readers will naturally trust your recommendations for books. One way to leverage this trust while supporting other authors is to simply start your own digital “book club” and start recommending books you personally like.
6 Join the Speaking Circuit
This takes a bit of effort but having a book published means being seen as an “expert” by many. Use that expertise to get on stage and share your ideas. Doing so could lead to an additional revenue stream as well as more exposure for the book.
7 Host a Twitter Chat
There are no end to the weekly chats that are happening on Twitter. So why shouldn’t your topic be one of them? Choose a unique hashtag and start inviting people to talk about a specific idea each week. This will help engage your readers while inviting new people to join the community.
8 Only Write Guest Posts
Now that you have launched the book it’s a good idea to switch your focus back to building your audience and growing your connections. Guest posting is still a remarkably efficient way of doing so while allowing you to drive those readers back to your email list.
9 Keep Evolving the Message
Create new content, share new ideas, contradict yourself. Your book and the ideas around it should never stop evolving. This means that the conversations you have with your community should never stop.
10 Share Unreleased Content
There is nothing more engaging to a fan than getting a chance to see the things that you didn’t want the world to see. Consider releasing old drafts, crumpled notes, and all of the random ideas that came out of the process of writing your book. Doing so may turn a fan into a superfan.
11 Create Author’s Notes
Your ideas will never stop evolving. Having an author’s notes section or column online is a great way to revisit your old thoughts and add new commentary to the material.
12 Host Q&A Sessions
Once you’ve launched your book and attracted readers there will no doubt be a slew of questions about how to apply this information to real life. Hosting Q&A sessions will allow you to address these questions directly
13 Say “Thank You”
You did not get to this point alone. Throughout the entire process you’ve had a community of people doing everything they can to support you and help you move forward. Don’t forget to thank them for their support.
“Quick Win” Action Items:
- Leverage your book to create more opportunities
- Build a bigger audience and authority
- Decide on your next move
This stage of your process has been all about maximizing the long-term benefits of writing a book. Becoming an author isn’t the end of the journey, in fact, it can often be the very beginning. Your job is to find the new paths that have opened up for you and do the best you can to take advantage of them.
Chapter 7: Conclusion
You Did It.
Writing and launching a book is hard work. With that said, if it’s done well, it can change thousands of lives while setting the groundwork for massive growth within your own life. If you are travelling down the path of a non-fiction author it will be difficult, but the 81 book marketing ideas we outlined in this guide should help.
This is a LONG article. Make sure you grab the PDF version so you can easily refer to it in the future.