“The journey of selling 1,000 books begins with a single sale.”
—Adapted from an old Chinese proverb
Your book has finally been published. It’s time to pop the champagne! You have the right to be proud of all of your efforts. But if you want to sell more than 100 copies of your book, then you can’t call it quits just yet.
The publication of your book is the end of one journey and the beginning of another. You (and your publisher, if you have one) have got to get out there and promote your book, if you aren’t already. After all, it’s not the writing unfortunately that makes a best-selling book. It’s the book promotion that gets your book into the right hands—the audience of people who are willing to buy your book and who will derive the most value from reading it. But what can you do, you ask? Here are some of the best ways that you can use to start promoting your book today.
#1. Run Targeted Ads
The reason why advertising still exists is that it works. But while it can be expensive to advertise on television and in high-profile magazines, it can be cost effective for authors and their publishers to advertise books only to likely potential readers. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, and search advertising platforms, such as Google Adwords and Bing Ads, provide authors, publishers and others with the opportunity to run targeted ads.
For example, if you’ve written a book for accountants, you and/or your publisher could create and set up LinkedIn ads that will only show your ad text to people who currently work as accountants. Or if you’ve written a book filled with bodybuilding tips, you could run Facebook ads that only target people who indicated an interest in bodybuilding. Different platforms offer you different ways to target the most likely readers of your book, such as demographics, interests, behaviors, location, keywords, etc.
#2. Get Recommended
Most authors can only dream of what their book being picked for Oprah’s Book Club could mean for their book sales (hint: a lot!). However, you don’t have to wait for Oprah to come knocking. Instead, you can seek out your own local equivalent who is willing to give you their seal of approval and all of the increased credibility and free advertising that can come along with it.
I know some authors and other creative folks who count Hollywood actors, other authors, successful business people and other high-profile types among their friends, extended family or business contacts. These lucky souls often find that their high-profile contacts are happy to lend their seal of approval for a worthwhile book or project spearheaded by a friendly face. But if you’re scratching your head thinking that you don’t know anyone like that, then it’s time to put out your feelers and do some networking on behalf of your book. Maybe you do know someone like that!
After all, your spouse’s coworker might be able to introduce you to an award-winning documentary filmmaker who might give your book a great testimonial and link to your book sales page from their website. Or your friend from college might be able to introduce you to the most widely-read legal blogger who might recommend your book to the readers of their blog. Either way, now is the time to read up on the six degrees of separation idea.
#3. Create Related How-To Videos
Have you ever tried to do something that you know you could do if you just had the right bits of knowledge? (Using certain features of various computer programs, I’m looking at you!) In this day and age, if you didn’t turn to the all-knowing person seated next to you, then it’s likely that you turned to a search engine on your computer. Google is just one example. Depending on what you wanted to do, the search engine results may have shown you options like blog posts, website tutorials or even step-by-step videos. Bingo!
Let’s say your book is about home repair for women. You could create a series of helpful how-to videos for YouTube, Vimeo or other video platforms. Each video could explain how to do a certain repair task or even how to use a specific tool. At the end of the video, you could promote your book, allowing people who found value in your video to then find value in your book itself. Just don’t forget to promote your book (with a buy link!) in the video’s description and on your (video platform) account’s profile page as well.
#4. Run A Contest
For readers, what is the one thing that is better than helpful or interesting books? Helpful or interesting books that are free, of course! You and/or your publisher could run a contest offering free copies of your book. Each winning participant would receive a free book and everyone else would get to hear about the virtues of your book, which has the potential to reach more readers and drum up more book sales.
The details of the contest are up to you and/or your publisher, as long as you’re transparent about the process with potential participants (and you follow any legal requirements, if your jurisdiction has some). How can someone win the contest? What is the criteria that will be used? How many free copies of the book will be distributed? When will the book be distributed, and how?
There are many types of contests you could have. You could make it a trivia contest, requiring the winner to be the first one to correctly answer a specific question. You could make it a random drawing, where you randomly pick a certain number of participant names out of a hat in order to receive a copy of your book.