Marketing a book as a debut author is vastly different from marketing as a seasoned author with a large backlist. For one, you likely don’t have an existing fan base — and you also lack the experience to know what tactics work best to reach the right audience. So if you’re a debut author, what promotional strategies should you try when preparing for your first book launch?
A few weeks ago, I asked authors on Twitter for the one marketing tip they’d offer to a debut author.
The responses I received were so valuable, I had to compile some of the highlights to share with BookBub Partners Blog subscribers. Thanks to each of these authors for giving us permission to share their wonderful tips! You can click on any of the tweets below to view the full threads on Twitter.
What tips would you have for a debut author? Share yours in the comments below this post!
1. Keep a master interview sheet
Karen McManus, NYT bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying, recommends keeping a master document for interview answers and updating it whenever you do a written interview. This can save you a lot of time later!
2. Manage your marketing time strategically
Samira Ahmed, NYT bestselling author of Internment, suggested being strategic with your time by setting parameters (e.g. limiting the number of interview questions you’ll answer) and politely turning down certain requests.
3. Be selective about the marketing tactics you use
Mike Chen, author of Here and Now and Then, recommended preventing burnout by only taking on the marketing activities that work for you — which will often depend on your audience, your genre, and your personal preferences!
4. Don’t be entirely self-promotional on social media
Libby Cudmore, author of The Big Rewind, suggested developing a social media presence where you treat followers like friends, not customers. Several other authors made similar suggestions in this thread!
5. Keep your giveaways simple
Laura Silverman, author of You Asked for Perfect, recommended keeping giveaways simple, noting that some debut writers run complicated ones with too many rules. For example, on Twitter, simply ask for a follow and retweet to enter for the most interactions.
6. Befriend indie booksellers
Sandhya Menon, NYT bestselling author of When Dimple Met Rishi, encouraged debuts to befriend their indie booksellers. This is great advice we also heard at Muse & The Marketplace, as those booksellers handsell books to customers and run events for authors.
7. Build a mailing list
Dan Koboldt, author of The Rogue Retrieval, recommends building a mailing list. This way, you can send newsletters to communicate with your readers regularly. If you’re looking for an email service provider, Mailchimp is free up to 2,000 subscribers, and MailerLite is free up to 1,000 subscribers.
8. Use Storygram tours for promoting books on Instagram
Kit Frick, author of All Eyes on Us, recommended using Storygram Tours — an Instagram-based book blog tour service — as a relatively inexpensive way to drive exposure for a book.
9. Brand your phone with your book
Pernille Hughes, author of Probably the Best Kiss in the World, recommended branding your phone case with an image of your book cover. This is a clever way to be able to quickly show people your book while you’re out and about and spark recognition.
10. Use the 80/20 rule on social media
Rachel McMillan, author of Murder at the Flamingo, suggested using the 80/20 rule: 80% of the time, talk about other people’s books, and 20% of the time, you can be self-promotional.
11. Treat bloggers as team members
Kayla Ancrum, author of The Wicker King, reminded authors to treat bloggers as team members, and thank them for their time and effort in writing a review.
12. Use BookBub’s marketing tools
Sophia Elaine Hanson, bestselling author of Vinyl, gave a shout-out to BookBub as a form of paid advertisement that’s worth the investment. (Thanks, Sophia!)
13. Network authentically in the writing community
Jess Lauren, author and mentor, recommended being kind and encouraging to fellow authors, and paying it forward while expecting nothing in return.
14. Write another book!
Ally Carter, bestselling author of Heist Society, recommended writing another book! This was a common reply that I received, and it’s great advice — frontlist sells backlist, and the more books you publish, the more opportunities you’ll give new readers to discover you.
What tips would you have for a debut author? Share yours in the comments below!
Want to share this post? Here are ready-made tweets:
Click to tweet: See 14 authors’ book marketing advice for debut authors. This is a worthwhile read! #WritingCommunity http://bit.ly/2KYpMFF
Click to tweet: Super helpful! These book marketing tips for debut authors are definitely worth checking out. http://bit.ly/2KYpMFF