This is a guest post from Joanna Penn, blogger at www.TheCreativePenn.com and author of the bestselling book, How To Market A Book. The fully updated 2014 version is included in The Indie Author PowerPack, available now from Nook at just $.99.
The fundamentals of book marketing are critical to put into place. You need a great book, a fantastic cover, a sales description that will pull people in and an enticing price. Plus, you need to build an email list and use some way to reach out to readers online and through social media.
But if you’ve done all that, and you’re ready to kickstart your marketing, here are some new ways to get attention for your book.
(1) Image Marketing
So, you’re on Twitter or Facebook scrolling through your feed and something catches your eye. Is it a well-crafted article? Or is it an image that really pops? Or does an infographic capture your attention? Or are you, in fact, scrolling through image networks like Instagram or Pinterest because the visual aspect is so very enticing?
Yes, we’re writers first, but in a busy online marketplace, it’s easier to stand out with images than text. Try using canva.com to create professional and funky images with quotes from your books, or use SlideShare to communicate the research behind your work. Build a board on Pinterest that relates to the themes of your book, and remember to always include a stand-out image on any blog post you write.
Podcasting has really taken off in the last year, with the popularity of smart phones and the ease of downloading episodes, as well as a preference to learn while multi-tasking. I listen to podcasts while I’m walking, commuting into town or doing chores, as do millions of others. With an overwhelming amount of written content online, audio is a great way to delve deeper into a topic, for listeners to get to know you more personally and it gives you a chance to connect with others online. You can also still stand out in the audio space, as Social Media Examiner reports that only 6% of marketers are using podcasting at the moment.
If you don’t want to start your own podcast, then search online for podcasters in your niche and pitch to appear on their show, or submit an audio advert. I recommend listening to the show first to see whether it’s a good fit and being both personal and professional in your approach to the host.
(3) Speaking live
Speaking at events is another great way to stand out in the crowd, because most authors would rather do anything BUT speak in public. We all get nervous, but if you can control that energy and reframe it as adrenalin for performance, you will be able to connect with people and they may be interested in your writing.
Non-fiction authors can do workshops and events around the topics of their book, and fiction authors can appear at literary festivals, book fairs or writers’ events. You are likely to sell a few books when appearing in person, but I have also found that serendipity occurs down the line as a result of speaking in person. People form a connection, remember you later and more opportunities come your way. It can also be another income stream, always a welcome thing for authors!
(4) Mobile marketing
I spend a lot of my travel time reading on my phone. Even if you don’t consume books that way, a lot of other people do the same and it is a growing phenomenon. How can you reach mobile consumers in a world where the multi-functional device is replacing computers and becoming the main source of internet access in developing countries?
Make sure that your book is available on mobile apps like NOOK and that your cover is optimised for the size of the screen i.e. don’t include tiny writing. Try using wattpad.com to serialise your content so mobile readers can find it more easily and hopefully cross over to your paid content. Make sure your author website and blog is optimised for mobile browsing and upgrade your website theme if it’s not done yet. Test it yourself on a smartphone and put yourself in the position of the customer. Are you easy to find and are your books easy to buy on a mobile device?
(5) Relationships and collaboration
It only takes a few hours to read a book in a genre you love and if you’re a power reader like me, you finish a few books a week. Readers want more stories, more information, more inspiration and one author can never satisfy that need.
But if you work together with authors in your niche, you can provide a reader with a value packed experience and they can discover new authors they love. One example of this type of collaboration is creating multi-author box-sets with authors writing for a similar audience. In March 2014, one of my books, Day of the Vikings, was included in the Deadly Dozen box-set which hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists. Now, I’m working with non-fiction author friends in the Indie Powerpack box-set, aimed at helping authors. Whatever your genre or niche, consider connecting with similar authors and work together on promotions targeted to the same audience.
For more advice on writing, publishing and book marketing, check out the The Indie Author PowerPack, available now from Nook at just 99c. It contains Joanna’s fully updated book, How To Market a Book, as well as Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran and Write, Publish, Repeat by Sean Platt & Johnny B. Truant.