Keeping your books in front of readers is a challenging task, especially over a long writing career. I’ve tried many different strategies, and I continue to experiment as the publishing industry evolves. It’s important to remember that what worked last year might not work this year. You can never get complacent!
When I think about marketing, I think about two different audiences:
- Existing fans. These are the readers I already have — those who have emailed me, followed me on social media, and are on my newsletter list. This is a warm audience, and it’s important to remember to market to those readers. Sometimes, in our quest to garner a bigger audience, we overlook readers we already have.
- New readers. These are the readers who I hope would like my books but haven’t discovered them yet. This is a cold audience, and reaching out to those readers requires different tactics.
I’m going to show you some of the time-tested book marketing strategies I employ that continue to bring positive results in reaching both audiences.
1. Create exclusive content for readers through a “Members Only” page
Creating a “Members Only” page on my website has given me a way to not only grow my newsletter list, but also to reward my subscribers. It’s a win-win for both cold and warm audiences.
On the “Members Only” page, I offer:
- A featured free downloadable book from my backlist
- Longer sneak peeks at my next book
- Exclusive videos
- Puzzles, quizzes, and games
- Other content that can only be found on this page
I try to change up the material on the page as often as possible to keep readers coming back. In order to “unlock” this content, visitors simply need to provide an email address:
I drive traffic to this page by linking to it in my website’s top navigation:
I also include calls-to-action to sign up throughout my website:
2. Generate clickable and engaging newsletter content
Putting the right content in my newsletter is also crucial to my marketing strategy. I try for a blend of personal and professional. I want my readers to feel like they’re getting information in the newsletter that they can’t get anywhere else. This might include an excerpt, an inside look at my writing and research process, a personal photo, or some insight into the inspiration behind my book. I always include buy links to all retailers and make it easy for them to purchase my books.
3. Work the backlist and run BookBub Featured Deals
Once you have four or more books in your catalog, you need to think about using those books to drive sales for new releases. If you’re a new writer and four books sounds like a lot, just remember that it’s much easier to sell books when you have more books to sell. Each book brings new readers and helps you gain momentum — and each book gives you more marketing collateral once it’s time to release your next title. One of the best ways to work the backlist is by running a price promotion for one book and submitting it for a Featured Deal on BookBub. This will drive a high volume of sales to new readers who then may go on to buy your newest title.
I usually make the first books in my series free (for a limited time) to get as many readers as possible into the series. For mid-series books or standalones, I will often run a $0.99 deal. Then I always make sure that the back matter of the book I’m promoting includes an excerpt and retailer link to the next book I want readers to buy (the next-in-series book or a new release). What I love about BookBub Deals is that I can reach readers on all platforms. This allows me to hit bestseller lists at more than one retailer.
4. Give away excerpts everywhere!
The best way to promote your books is by putting your books or portions of your books in front of readers whenever you can. This goes for both backlist books and new releases.
For new releases, I use the excerpt to tease preorders. For older books, I post excerpts in my newsletters when I’m in between new releases. I do the same on social media. While books may start to feel old to you, they are always new to a reader who hasn’t read them yet. A great teaser will entice a reader to give your book a try and then hopefully they’ll be hooked. Excerpts can also be used in giveaways or transformed into a teaser booklet and given away at book signings and conferences.
5. Build personal connections through a reader group
I’ve found the best engagement on social media to be in my reader group, which I host using a Facebook group. Here I have an opportunity to directly engage with my readers. I like to bring them into my writing process. I’ll ask them for ideas while I’m writing my next book — for example, to name a dog or a place, or whatever I might need. Whatever I can do to get them invested in the books I’m writing helps generate sales. Plus, I get to know my readers. It’s two-way communication that you don’t have with a newsletter or an ad. Building a reader group from the very beginning of your career is one of the best things you can do.
I hope you’ll find some of my tips helpful. What is one book marketing strategy you think all authors need to try? Let me know in the comments below!
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Click to tweet: Authors, have you tried all of these book marketing strategies? Which worked best for you? #WritingCommunity http://bit.ly/2WM9WOV
Click to tweet: Interesting book marketing strategies covered here:
1. Exclusive content for readers
2. Engaging newsletter content
3. Backlist promotion & discounting
4. Giving away excerpts
5. Reader groups