Promoting a book before it’s published can help generate buzz and build awareness, which might convince readers to buy early. And driving preorder sales can help a book hit certain bestseller lists, since many retailers count preorders as launch day sales.
But how can you get readers to want to buy a book before it’s published, when they can’t read the book right away?? We’ve put together a list of strategies we’ve seen authors use to promote their book ahead of launch day. This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it should give you some ideas for getting started.
Establish your online presence
Before you start promoting your upcoming launch, you should have your author platform elements ready to go. Whether that includes a custom website, a Facebook page, or something else, it’s important to have places online where readers can find you!
Create an author website
Creating a website is a step many authors take when constructing their online platforms. With services such as Wix and Squarespace, it is easier than ever to create a website without any design or coding expertise! Make your website a hub where readers can learn about you and your upcoming book.
Colleen Coble’s website allows readers to sign up for her newsletter, learn about her latest releases and news, and more.
Here are several resources to help when you build your author website:
- What to include on your author website
- 45+ examples of author websites
- Platforms for easily creating an author website
Join social media platforms
Many readers today follow authors they love on social media. Get ahead of the curve by joining these platforms before your book comes out! You don’t need to join or participate in all of them; decide which to invest time in based on where your target audience hangs out, and also which you’re most comfortable with and excited to use. Engage with like-minded readers and gain a following that will be even more likely to buy your book when it launches.
Author Alyssa Cole is active on social media platforms like Twitter. Here, she interacts with her fans and creates a welcoming environment for new readers to find her.
Here are a couple of guides to get you started:
Claim your BookBub Author Profile
Claiming your BookBub Author Profile is a step in the right direction to reaching readers interested in discovering new books. By claiming your profile, you can follow other readers and authors, and recommend books to readers to stay top-of-mind. By doing this, your profile may be boosted in BookBub’s discovery algorithm! Your recommendation will also be shared with your existing followers.
Author Taylor Jenkins Reid’s BookBub profile is claimed, featuring her picture, a list of her published works, a biography, and also her own recommendations.
For more information on the how and why you should claim your profile and grow your following, click here!
Announce your book
Announcing your book is an exciting moment for any author, but also a great way to let existing fans know they’ll be able to read something new from you soon. It can also help you catch new readers’ attention.
Include it in your newsletter
If you have a mailing list, make sure you let them know about your upcoming release. In fact, you could even offer a sneak peek of the book or a behind-the-scenes look. These readers are subscribed to your mailing list — they want exclusive content, and to know what you’re working on!
Author S.J. West included her new release in her newsletter, with a description of the plot and a short blurb at the top to draw in readers. Additionally, she revealed the cover and included a link to preorder.
Learn more about how to make your newsletter engaging!
Blog about it
If you have a blog, you understand the importance of content marketing. If not, keeping an updated blog is a great way to stay in touch with your followers and an even better place to make long-form announcements. Perhaps you want to dive into the details behind what inspired this book. A blog is a great place to do just that.
Lee Goldberg used his blog to announce his new release, Lost Hills. In addition to the announcement, Goldberg mentioned that the book was available for preorder and included some pre-release blurbs in order to drive interest.
If you’re looking to start your blog, here are some more content ideas to get you started!
Post on social media
Not everyone will be following your blog or be on your mailing list, so it’s important to try to reach readers outside of these hubs. Posting about your book on social media will not only reach excited fans, but potentially reach new readers as well.
Here, Daniel Arenson posted on his Facebook page about his release, Earth Unleashed, the final book in a 12-book series. The two posts in different formats can appeal to different segments of his audience.
Learn more about using social media effectively:
Do a cover reveal to drive buzz
Hype up your new release! A cover reveal can drive lots of buzz for an upcoming book. You can do this on social media or even partner with a blogger to reach a wider audience.
Allen Eskens took to Twitter to post his cover reveal. In the post, he also added some background about the book and a link to preorder.
Hosting a cover reveal can attract readers. To do this, make sure you
Drive early sales and build buzz for the preorder
Create engaging graphics to promote the book
There’s more to book promotion than just tweeting about your book. Create engaging material to go along with it, whether that’s a graphic with a quote on it, an illustration, or an interactive quiz. You can use free tools such as Canva or RelayThat to easily create eye-catching images for your social media posts.
Corinne Michaels designed graphics for her books, typically with quotes on them, to supplement her social posts. This kind of design creates a sneak peek into the book and entices readers to pick it up.
Don’t underestimate the power of the image:
- Images generate 36% more engagement than videos on Instagram
- On Facebook, posts with images see 2.3x more engagement than those without
Send a BookBub Preorder Alert
For many authors and publishers, the preorder is a crucial part of the sales cycle. By sending out a BookBub Preorder Alert, you will reach all of your BookBub followers, who are interested in receiving alerts about your books.
Here, A.D. Popovich sent a BookBub Preorder Alert to over 1,000 of her BookBub followers.
Partner with other authors, bloggers, and influencers
If you don’t already have a large following, partnering with other authors, bloggers, and influencers could help expose your book to a whole new audience. Network when possible, and reach out to your connections with an exclusive or incentive to get them to boost your book!
Katie MacAlister promoted her book, Fireborn, with a tour across various Instagram influencers’ feeds. Here, a bookstagrammer posted a visually-appealing photo and promoted the book in the description.
Get more tips on how you can cross-promote books with other authors here!
Do a blog tour
Blog tours are a way for authors to reach different audiences by being featured on different blogs pertaining to their work. Authors can reach out to blogs to schedule days in which they can get interviewed, be featured in a review post, or guest write. By doing a blog tour, you and your upcoming book will get exposure to new audiences on different avenues of the internet.
Here, Mindee Arnett did a blog tour for her book, Shadow & Flame, the second book in a series. Below, there is a list of “tour dates.”
Learn more about guest blogging here:
Run a BookBub Ads campaign
BookBub Ads is a self-serve advertising platform that lets you easily reach an audience of active book buyers. But did you know that you can run BookBub Ads for your preorders? You can fine-tune your targeting to reach readers interested in specific authors and/or categories. Running a campaign to a relevant audience can be a great way to generate early sales.
AJ Adams used BookBub Ads to promote the preorder of her book, Twisted. The ad is simple, boasting the low preorder price to grab people’s attention, and drawing readers to click on the button.
Run a giveaway
A great way to boost awareness and hype for your book before it’s published is to run a giveaway! If you are able to give away an ARC, that can drive lots of exposure. If not, you can still host a giveaway offering prizes such as:
- Exclusive chapter samplers
- Promotional swag such as buttons or pins
- Signed piece of artwork
- Gift cards
- Bonus content from a previous book
Joanna Ruth Meyer ran a giveaway on Twitter for a signed advance copy of her upcoming release. By having her followers retweet the post, she boosted awareness and built buzz around her book.
Want to run a giveaway to promote your preorder? Here are some prize ideas!
Incentivize your preorder
Many authors and publishers run incentive campaigns for the preorder; meaning, they’ll give everyone who preorders some sort of gift. Readers usually need to email a copy, screenshot, or picture of their receipt to receive the gift. This gives them instant gratification, since they can’t read the book right away. Sometimes the gift is something mailable, like a swag pack or signed bookmarks; other times, authors provide a digital gift, like a multi-chapter excerpt, printable art, or a deleted scene from a previous book.
Abigail Johnson offered gifts in exchange for preordering Even If I Fall. Those who preordered receive a bookmark, a signed bookplate, a necklace, and more!
Learn about other ways to incentivize your preorder here.
Create a countdown to launch day
Get creative by introducing a countdown on your platform of choice! Whether it’s a post on Instagram every day or a clock on your website, this is a way to get readers excited for your release and remind them of the launch date.
In this Instagram story, Nana Malone is celebrating the end of the countdown to her new book.
To learn more about using Instagram stories, click here.
Have you used any of these tactics? Let us know how you promote your books before they’re published!
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