From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, May 16, 2013

7 Book Marketing Tips, Tricks and Ideas

So, here's the deal. I'm not a professional marketer or anything, and my degree was in English, not PR. However, I have been around the blogosphere long enough to have amassed quite an awesome collection of marketing savvy and advice from all the uber-wise bloggers out there. I'm still figuring out how to implement all these ideas, and every situation is unique, but I thought it would be fun and useful to go through my notebook and see how many things I've jotted down in the past while that I can collect in one post.

1. Use a spreadsheet for your social media: I've talked about this before, but it bears repeating. Keeping track of all your social media in one spreadsheet, and what you hope to accomplish on each site every day, hopefully simplifies things and reduces the stress and the pressure. It is much easier to be like, five blog comments, two tweets and one pin a day, rather than just AHHHH SOCIAL MEDIA!!!

2. Learn to make the algorithms work for you: So this is one I haven't even looked at yet, but it's true that algorithms can sell more books than social media can. A good place to start, and where I plan to start, is this blog post on The Creative Penn.

3. Give away something for Free: Free is a magic word when it comes to marketing. It doesn't have to be huge, maybe give away a free ebook for people who sign up for your newsletter or like your Facebook page. 

4. Treat your website like a Billboard: People are driving past billboards at 80 mph, and they're surfing the web at pretty much the same speed. You have approximately .6 seconds to grab someone's attention before they're out of there. Make your site beautiful and catchy, yes, but also make sure you have two things immediately clear. 1) Who you are, what you do, and 2) What you want them to do (i.e. books for sale, Facebook page likes, signing up for newsletter, etc.)

5. Narrow your focus: I recently changed the banner on my Facebook page to a quote from C.S. Lewis. I caught myself being hesitant about it at first, and I realized that it was because I was worried that someone would find my page and leave immediately because for one reason or another they had a big thing against Lewis. But then I thought, if they really dislike Lewis that much, then they're probably not going to like me much either. And for people who adore Lewis like me, it will be a point of kinship. Most people aren't going to care terribly much one way or the other anyway, but my point is that if you are, say, a Christian romance novelist, not only shouldn't you waste effort trying to put adds in like a hunting magazine, but also, narrowing your focus down to people who like the same things you do (like maybe C. S. Lewis) still leaves you with a huge audience. Who are more likely to pay attention to you anyway.

6. Listen, don't spam: Think of it this way. Have you ever bought the book of a Twitter friend? Is it because they DM'd you something like, "Hey! Thanks for following! Check out my book on Amazon, now only $.99!"? Uh, probably not. Did you buy their book because you've communicated a few times, bonded over Dr. Who and the drudgery of doing the dishes, and you know you like this person? Maybe...

7. 5 contacts a day: So, to have a really successful book you need more done than one person can do themselves, right? You need reviews and media buzz and maybe an award. It all seems intimidating and nearly impossible until you think of it as 5 contacts a day. If you're self-publishing then you're doing all the marketing yourself anyway, but even if you're traditionally published with a house publicist on your side, your efforts can still have huge pay-off. Send in your book to competitions, get in touch with newspaper book reviewers, bloggers, vloggers, conference organizers, magazine editors, book club leaders, etc.

What other marketing strategies do you employ? What has brought you the most success?

Sarah Allen


  1. Truthfully, I need to put more books out there. Right now, I have a stand alone. It's sold about 3,000 copies and has come to a stand still.

    So I'm working on three shorts to be published by the end of summer. None of which are paranormal. I've written on time travel, being bullied in the workplace, and a mother/daughter conflict involving abortion.

    I'm hoping to publish 2 more novels by December of this year.

    Good post!

    Hugs and chocolate,

  2. Brilliant post. The spam one is particularly annoying for me. I actually now have the fact I don't open DMs on my profile. I know a lot of them are automated, but at least I don't feel bad about not reading them! I do get less though.

  3. I have actually unfollowed people on Twitter because every tweet was about this or that fabulous review of their book or an ad for it. You're right there. I too bond over everyday things and when I do put in a link to a review or a blog update, someone usually RTs it. You're right about needing to market even if you don't self publish. I don't self publish and I still need to work at it, because the in house publicist works for you only until the book has been released. After that she has the next thing to work on. They will co operate if you have ideas of your own, but otherwise, you're on your own as soon as the book is out. It's a good idea to keep your web site up to date. I have gone looking for the site of many a writer only to find they haven't posted in a year and what's there is only about their books and where you can get them, not about themselves.

  4. I would add one: listen to your gut. I think there's a lot of advice about how best to do a blog or platform, and the truth is, some of the best blogs and platforms don't follow any of the rules. People want to get to know you and feel a connection, however you best do that. Having said that, yes, these are definitely good rules of thumb!

  5. Super advice breakdown. I'm booking marking this page. A few friends of mine have made sure they spread out the blog tours for their books so if momentum wanes, they have another publicity wave on the way.

  6. Start your blog workout by revamping your headlines. Headlines make a significant difference in whether a reader will click through to the blog or not but writing great headlines is hard.
    Better blogging


I absolutely love hearing from you! Thank you so, so much for your thoughts and comments, they really do make my day. Consider yourself awesome. Also, I do my best to respond to every comment within 24 hours, so I invite you to come back and continue the conversation :)

To have weekly posts delivered to your inbox, just sign up here!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...