Never stop promoting your book!
“Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.”
–Thomas J. Watson Jr.
Not every book, no matter how well written or ultimately how popular, will appeal to everyone. Not even J.K. Rowling or Gabriel García Márquez can please every reader. So with that in mind, just forget about anyone who isn’t in your book’s target audience. To be a commercially-successful author, you should concentrate instead on bringing your book to the people who will derive the most value from reading it. But how?
Let’s continue our three-part series on some of the different ways that you (and your publisher, if you have one) can use to promote your book today and get your book into more of the right hands.
#8. Participate In Forums
Online forums are an easy way for people to exchange ideas without the restrictions of geography, and forums have been set up around practically any topic you can think of. But more importantly for our purposes, forums can help readers who are seeking the information you have to find you and your book more easily.
First, go to the forums where your book’s target audience congregates for advice or support. Next, make an account and commit to being a regular presence there. Help others and share your knowledge where you can.
The key is that many forums allows their users to add signature lines so that they can insert links or messages to promote themselves. If you have helped someone, forum readers will often want to know more about you and will follow the links in your signature. In this way, you and your book can gain more visibility among your target audience and make more sales. Two examples include StartupNation, for entrepreneurs, and BAexpats, for expats in Buenos Aires.
#9. Send Emails To Your List
It doesn’t matter if you’re an author, a singer, a pie maker or a plumber, the first thing you’ll need nowadays if you want to stay in business is to create (and grow) an email list where you can promote yourself.
As an author, you can use your email list to cultivate relationships with your readers and increase your book sales. You’ll want to send out occasional emails to promote your book, as well as other related relationship-building emails.
You can start your list by asking your contacts or any other current audiences you have if they would like to join your email list. The key is to get people’s permission to email them. To help, I would recommend using a service like Mailchimp. They provide tools so that prospective list members can easily subscribe to (or unsubscribe from) your email list, and so that you can send out your email messages on the days and times you choose.
If what you send to your email list is useful and interesting, people will want to keep hearing from you.
#10. Be Interviewed
All forms of media, including TV shows, newspapers, magazines, websites, radio programs and podcasts, regularly feature interviews with book authors. In this way, media programs get to offer something new or interesting to their viewers, readers or listeners, and the book author gains visibility among new audiences. And if the audience is right, then the author will be able to sell more books as a result.
Try pitching individual media outlets as a book author to be interviewed, but do start out with very niche offerings before working your way up to bigger audience opportunities. This way you can hone your skills and demonstrate the previous successes you’ve had if you need to. Also remember that the fact that you are a book author is generally NOT what media folks care about. They want to know what intriguing or helpful information you can provide to their audience. Focus on that in your pitch.
In addition, you can sign up for Help a Reporter Out (HARO), which matches sources with journalists and bloggers. For an upcoming story, you just might be the source a reporter is looking for.
#11. Use Social Media
Are you active on one or more social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn or Pinterest? Do you have a good number of engaged followers there? Or if you don’t yet, would this be something of interest to you?
If you have an engaged following on social media among people who belong to your book’s target audience, then promoting your book there can be a great way to increase your book sales.
You don’t want to overwhelm your social media followers with your book promotion efforts, but you don’t want those efforts to go unnoticed either, so be prepared to promote your book regularly on your social media accounts, but do talk about other things as well. Most social media pros recommend just 20-25% of your posts should be promotional; the rest should be regular friendly connections. And if you have a Twitter account, try making one of your book-related tweets “sticky” so that it permanently stays at the top of your account feed. But for all of your social media accounts, try using interesting and relevant photos and graphics when you promote your book, as they are more eye-catching and can encourage more engagement.
To keep increasing your book sales through your social media efforts, work on increasing the amount of followers you have that belong to your book’s target audience.
#12. Give A Talk
Good speakers will inspire their audience. And for book authors who speak, inspiring an audience can also inspire more book sales.
Depending on who your book’s target audience is, try giving a talk at a school, university, church group, business, community center, book club or other organization. If you’re speaking to a book club, you might consider starting your talk by introducing your book along with yourself. However, the right time to talk about your book can vary by audience, venue and your own preference.
To increase your book sales, you could sell your books at the back of the room after your talk, or pass out business cards that feature your book’s website where people can purchase a copy. Either way, the key is to emphasize what the book will do for your audience and inspire them to action.
With this three-part series I hope that you’ve learned some great new ways that you (and your publisher, if you have one) can use to promote your book. But remember, book promotion should be done regularly with the right audience in order to be effective. And if you need some assistance, I can help.