Would you still write your book if you knew less than 200 people would read it?
For most of you, I’m guessing the answer is no.
Authors don’t want to spend years writing a book that’ll fall flat in the public eye.
Unfortunately, too many writers concentrate on publishing a book without thinking about the book marketing strategies required to get people to read it.
Now, a new hypothetical: what if you knew your book would become a bestseller?
I can guarantee that this will happen.
Having an effective marketing plan could be the deciding factor on if your book becomes a bestseller or not.
I’ve included the best book promotion ideas we use with our clients to become bestselling authors.
Steal these ideas to see your book become a massive success and read by millions of people.
How to Develop a Rock-Solid Book Marketing Plan
As a writer, you must have a book marketing plan. You can’t adopt an “if you build it, they will come” mentality.
Is there a way to ensure your book is a success?
Below is the step-by-step book marketing plan we use to guarantee our clients become bestsellers.
Step 1: Begin With the End in Mind
New writers start excited, wanting to share their idea with the world.
The issue is that they don’t think about the long-term goal of their book. What do you want the book to accomplish 1, 2, or 5 years after publication?
To avoid this, determine the real goal of the book. You can figure this out by asking yourself a few questions:
- What are you trying to sell with your book?
- How can you use your book to reach your ideal client?
- How can you start a conversation with them?
- Are you trying to get on stage for speaking engagements?
- Do you want to develop an awareness of your business and offer?
Regardless of whether you want to make royalties, gain credibility, or sell speaking events, getting clear on the end goal could be the difference in success or not.
Step 2: Determine Your Market Reach
An integral part of book marketing involves ensuring your book isn’t like every other book in your niche.
You can do this with effective market research to know the type of person who benefits from reading your book.
Here is how to determine who your book appeals to:
Identify Your Readers
Your book isn’t for everyone.
Most authors want to cast a wide net, which is the wrong thing to do.
Be as narrow and specific as possible.
you can find your target audience by creating a reader profile. Figuring out the qualities and characteristics of who precisely your book serves helps you save time and effort on who your market is.
Ask questions such as:
- Demographics: age, gender, etc.
- What are their interests outside of your book?
- What is your audience’s primary feeling before reading your book? What is their immediate feeling after reading your book?
- What will they gain from reading your book?
Determine the Genre
Genres help categorize things that are similar to allow readers the opportunity to establish similarities quickly.
If you’re searching for books on veganism, you do not want to sift through historical fiction novels since they are two different topics. It helps avoid frustration and allows the opportunity to find books in which the reader is genuinely interested.
Genre research helps ensure you know the type of reader interested in your book. It is an effective book marketing strategy because if readers read books within your genre, they may also want to read your book.
Your book isn’t going to be the first written on a topic.
Even though you will have competitors, your book can still stand out.
You don’t need to start from scratch. You can already find what your competitors are doing simply by going to where the readers buy books.
Go to Amazon and look at the categories. Take a look at the competitors in your niche. Ask yourself:
- What are the top-rated books?
- What are reviews saying about the books? How many reviews are these books getting?
- What are the genres or topics of top sellers?
- Is there a new angle or insight that you bring to the table?
You can make it uniquely you since no one has the same experiences as you.
Step 3: Soft Launch
This step helps lay a foundation for proving your authority as an author and jump-starts your book marketing campaign.
During this time, focus on getting 4 or 5-star Amazon reviews; try to get at least 8-10 reviews. I am not talking about getting fake reviews — you want legitimate opinions from real people.
You can find these reviews by sharing the book with your current social media following or requesting a review in author groups.
If you aren’t afraid to ask, you will find 8-10 people willing to read and review your book.
Step 4: Hard Book Launch
Once you have a few published reviews, this final step involves getting thousands to millions of people searching for your book.
At this step, our client’s book overtakes the number one spot in at least one category, if not multiple. We get these results by incorporating three methods:
PR and Media
You do not need a PR team to put yourself out there.
Our PR plan focuses on two distinct types of media: specific and general.
“Specific media” means appearing on media your target audience already consumes, such as podcasts or blogs in your niche.
Niche interests are powerful. Talking on a podcast with less than 200 listeners could generate more money than being on national television.
You are already on a forum talking to potential readers who have an interest in your topic. They are more ready to hear what you have to say than trying to appeal to the masses.
“General media” is the opposite. This is a numbers game where you pitch yourself to hundreds of media outlets. Try to reach as many as possible — you may only get a handful of responses back.
It is essential to remember that you may make very few book sales from appearing on TIME Magazine or NBC, even if millions of people see you.
Yet, you shouldn’t give this up because appearing on this media type aims to increase your authority and credibility.
Your book positions you as an expert. Advertising yourself by showing up on these large media platforms allows a potential client to trust your expertise.
Our book marketing strategy also involves writing and launching at least three press releases to varying media outlets. The ones we choose get tens of thousands of viewers.
Figure out which platform is best for your social media. We use our client’s social media accounts to reach people who are already interested in them.
If you don’t have a solid social media following, reach out to people who do. Inform them how your book benefits their followers.
We also promote with paid advertising. We pay for these ads and track their conversion rate on websites with millions of monthly views.
An effective ad campaign involves ones with a high CTR (click-through rate). Ads that do well are:
- User-Generated Content. People trust other people. If someone reviewed your book positively, you could turn it into a clickable ad, either as a quote or video testimonial.
- Carousel ads allow users to scroll through a variety of images and videos.
22 Book Marketing Ideas That Simply Work
Capitalize on Your Book’s Front and Back Cover
1. Use an Effective Title and Subtitle
The title and subtitles are one of the first impressions your reader will learn about you. You have seconds to capture their attention and convince them to keep reading.
So how do you convince the reader to want to pick up your book and learn more?
Make sure your title provokes curiosity. An easy way to do this is to keep your title between 1-3 words.
For instance, Atomic Habits by James Clear still dominates the bestseller list in psychology and self-help. The title certainly helps — it is concise, sticky, and simply explains the book’s premise.
As far as your subtitle, make sure it draws people in by listing the benefits of the book.
How can you succinctly paraphrase the solution to the reader’s pain point in one sentence?
The subtitle for Atomic Habits is An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones.
It tells you that the book will help you with actionable steps to create or break habits.
It may help to write out a list of benefits your book provides. That way, you can identify the one that appeals the most to your target audience.
2. Design Appealing Book Cover Imagery
We are visual creatures.
How you design your book can have a profound impact on your audience.
Let’s compare two completely different books:
Just in imagery alone, you can quickly figure out that they are two completely different genres with different appeals. However, they have some significant similarities:
- Clarity. Both are simple, just listing the author and title. The background image in The Name of the Wind does not make the title hard to read.
- Consistent. Both are similar to other books of their genre. It would look unnatural if they switched the designs.
3. Capture Attention With Your Back Book Cover
People go directly from the front to the back of the book. Yet, too many new authors make back cover mistakes that cause the reader to lose interest.
Your back cover should continue driving curiosity.
To do that, you want a back cover blurb that attracts your reader. In just a few sentences, you have to convince your readers that you understand their problem and know how to solve it.
Fiction book blurbs introduce the main character and the conflict without giving away too much information.
Most back covers also include an author bio. Keep in mind that the author’s bio is not about you. Use the bio to showcase why the reader should trust you by explaining your prior expertise and how it benefits the reader.
Finally, if you can get testimonials, they should be from well-known people in your industry. Less is more, as long as it is an authoritative source.
4. Don’t Forget the Thumbnail
The majority of people will see your book online. Often, they’ll see your book for the first time as nothing more than a small thumbnail.
You want your cover to be readable even if the book’s cover is displayed smaller than you prefer. Ensure that your book cover is uncluttered, with large fonts and contrasting colors.
Use the Book to Create Buzz
5. Slowly Reveal the Cover
If you haven’t launched your book yet, show just a portion of the cover with the promise of a complete reveal later. You could also slowly reveal parts of the cover design over a few days before finally revealing the whole cover.
When you eventually show the cover, use similar color schemes and fonts throughout your social media, website, and ads to help people recognize your book’s brand.
6. Provide Merchandise Options and Promotions
You can create merchandise to go alongside your book. Some people might find your inventory even before your book.
Use merchandise for advertising your book and building your brand. Popular items include totes, mugs, and journals, but you want to consider what appeals to your target audience.
You can do a giveaway or a timed discounted promotion. It might be hard for more expensive items, but smaller items such as buttons or bookmarks are a great way to market yourself quickly.
If physical items do not make sense for your niche, you can offer services such as a 1:1 coaching call or a detailed audit of their homepage copy.
7. Allow Audience Participation
People love to have a say in something. Incorporate your followers by giving them that opportunity.
You can get your readers to participate in different aspects of the book. For instance, you could A/B test two other covers and ask them to vote for their favorite. Or ask them to choose which character to write a short spin-off.
Ask these questions in author groups or on social media to get your readers more connected and excited to see your upcoming content.
Engage in Social Media
8. Connect With Others
Be mindful of your social media platforms because it is too time-consuming to be active on all of them. Generally, I suggest LinkedIn if you are writing a non-fiction book and TikTok or Instagram for fiction.
Regardless of platform, you must reach out to influencers in your niche, especially if you are an unknown author. Reach out to them and offer them a free copy of your book.
Yes, for free.
It is tempting to want to make a sale with your book. But think of the book as a way to build your expertise and status. Giving away your book can lead to speaking events, free publicity, or additional clients.
9. Place Yourself Where Your Audience Is
So much of book marketing is simply visibility.
If someone has heard of your book, seeing you appear in their social media feed can influence them to view you as an authority. The person buys your book to learn what you have to say.
You can show up on other authors’ content by:
- Interviewing on a podcast or YouTube
- Reacting to videos on TikTok
- Giving writing tips on Instagram Live
Authors like to help out other authors. If you’re unsure about pitching yourself, just remember:
No one likes receiving a generic, copy-and-pasted request for a favor.
Spend time tailoring your message to each individual. You can mention what you like about their content or comment on a few posts. Better yet, buy their book and give them a review. They will start recognizing you and appreciate your interaction with their content before initiating any messages.
10. Participate in Author Groups
Author groups are a great way to connect with other new and aspiring authors.
Since there are so many options, don’t waste your time joining all of them. Choose a few that relate the most to your niche. Join groups that provide specific benefits, such as writing tips, review for review, or book marketing advice.
Find these groups locally with Meetup or join any of the large online networks. A quick Google or Facebook search will give you thousands of options.
11. Create High-Converting Social Media Ads
Over 4 billion people use social media around the globe.
How many of them are you reaching?
Using social media advertising effectively attracts prospects who don’t know about you or your book.
But knowing what types of ads do well will help ensure that you are not wasting money on ads that won’t convert.
An easy ad to run is reusing old posts that did well. If a post went viral or generated more comments than usual, that’s a post you know registered with your audience. You can turn that post into a sponsored ad.
Another method is to animate the book cover. Especially for fiction books, videos and moving images draw people and make your book look more exciting.
One final method is using any type of media of you on high-profile appearances. If you appeared on TV or did a radio show, use clips of that to create an ad. It allows people to see your face and that you are credible.
Execute Your Book Marketing Strategy on Other Platforms
12. Fine-Tune Your Author Website
Putting in the effort to create content on social media or other platforms is like renting. You don’t know what will happen to that platform in the future.
Owning is publishing content on your website that you control.
Benefits of having an author website include:
- Proving your authority. You can post your credentials. Plus, simply having a professional-looking website books credibility.
- Giving value. Repurpose your content through blog posts or free resources.
- Increasing traffic. Reach people who search using Google or aren’t active on social media.
- Allows readers to learn more about you. If you offer other books or coaching services, listing them on your website is a quick way to showcase them.
13. Gain Traction on Medium
Posting on Medium allows you to reach over 100 million readers. Anyone can post an article on practically any topic.
You can publish on Medium before finishing your book. Use modified content or provide a macro overview of what will appear in your book. Mention that your upcoming book will have the complete picture, and include a link to direct readers to your website or social media accounts.
If you are unsure what to post, here are some ideas of what you can publish.
14. Get Invited to Events
Events have thousands of people in your industry together in one place, eager to network and learn.
How can you get all these people to notice you?
Get invited to speak at these events.
If it sounds overwhelming, there is a step-by-step process we do for our clients that you can also use:
- List the top 50 events you want to speak at.
- Find the event coordinator in charge of the event. You can find this contact information on the event website, LinkedIn, or with hunter.io.
- Send this person a cover letter and a free copy of your book.
This method works because having a book proves your credibility and expertise. The event coordinator can confidently get you a speaking event if they feel familiar with your work.
Using this method, one of our clients received $700,000 in sales from one event.
15. Don’t Forget Your Referral Network
Word of mouth is one of the most powerful testimonials out there.
People become convinced if someone they know already has experience.
If you have clients, use this referral strategy by sending your book to previous and current clients. Send them 2-3 each to give away to their friends and family.
You can still build a referral network if you do not yet have clients.
Research the type of person who would see you as a credible expert and can refer their clients to you. For instance, a financial advisor may build a referral network of real estate agents to receive clients who mention wanting a house but have money troubles.
Your Email List Is Still #1
16. Don’t Include ONLY Offers in Your Emails
No one likes a pushy salesperson.
Like a telemarketer who won’t stop calling you, sending emails asking for your reader to buy from you will annoy them until they finally unsubscribe.
To avoid this, focus on writing high-quality emails with helpful content.
You do not even need to have an offer in every email. Instead, write emails that have:
- Additional content that didn’t make it into the book
- Free resources that you recommend
- Mistakes you learned during your journey
When you make an offer, ensure it is at the end of a valuable email. If you have a promotion you want to run, you could include it at the end of an email funnel.
17. Continue to Show Up
Most effective book marketing simply involves consistency.
Continuing to put yourself out there, give value, and connect with your audience is half the battle.
It feels hard to juggle email marketing along with everything else.
But your email list is solely yours. They are the readers most interested in what you have to say.
Send at least one email weekly with content, information, and other offers that interest them.
You don’t know when your audience is ready. You may be emailing someone curious about you but isn’t prepared to buy. Nurture that reader and provide valuable content consistently. They may become willing to purchase from you in a month.
18. Revive Dead Leads
If there are prospects that you haven’t contacted in a few months, you are losing out on warm leads.
How do you reconnect with these leads without sounding like a sales pitch?
Send them the 9-word email, which may look like this:
Are you still interested in writing a book?”
Whatever pain point your book addresses is what you want to question.
This marketing tool, made famous by Dean Jackson, works because you send a one-line email to open the door easily. You are re-engaging in a non-confrontational way.
This email works because you can use it even if you don’t have an extensive email list. If you have a few hundred subscribers, you can still send them this email.
19. Convince Your Audience to Keep Coming Back
75% of website visitors will see you once and never return.
To persuade those one-time visitors to hear what you have to say, provide them free content in the form of a lead magnet. Use these lead magnets to get readers onto your email list.
Once on your email list, continue to give valuable content. After all, free content convinces your audience that your book or service is worth the money.
Some examples of effective lead magnets include:
- Templates for your reader to copy and paste
- Chapter excerpt
Give Things Away
20. Give Out Your Book for Free
If you want your book marketing to make money, start by giving away your book.
By doing this, we’ve lost $92,000 in book sales in 6 months. However, we’ve made $2 million back.
This process is called the “free plus shipping” book funnel.
First, you give out your book for free — instead of paying $20 for a book, your reader pays just $7.95 for shipping. This converts a reader who may have been previously on the fence.
After they’ve bought and read your book, you offer them a few great back-end offers, such as an online course for $50 or group training for $297.
The reader, convinced by your expertise in your book, excitedly buys your coaching or done for you services.
21. Offer Free Strategy Calls
Your time is valuable, but so is your reader’s time. They won’t hear what you have to say unless they think you’re worth it.
As part of your book marketing plan, offer free 15 minutes video calls to interested prospects. They may ask you questions related to your expertise as a writer or quick advice on the pain point you address.
To make it easy for you, set up a Calendly link on your website to avoid going back and forth with emails.
If you are writing a fiction book, you can still use these calls by offering advice to aspiring writers or critiquing someone’s query letter.
However, keep in mind that offering free calls may not be worth your time unless you sell something higher ticket like coaching or done-for-you services.
22. Present Helpful Webinars
Webinars get you email sign-ups, sales, and new clients.
Below are things to keep in mind when making a good webinar:
- Provide something specific. Discuss one particular pain point or a unique struggle you went through when writing.
- Have a compelling slide deck. No one likes boring PowerPoint slides. You should not be reading from it – it should add visuals to your words.
- Talk to your audience. Don’t make it just a speech. Connect with your audience by asking and answering questions and reading the chat aloud.
Use These Book Marketing Ideas to Create Your New Bestseller
We use these tools and Best Seller Publishing to guarantee our clients get best-selling books and make more money.
Now it’s your turn.
Follow the step-by-step marketing plan to get TV appearances and more eyes on your book.
Use any book promotion examples for marketing your book to new audiences.
But even though you now have the tools to do it yourself, it means nothing if you don’t implement those strategies.
You won’t get results if you don’t put in the work. But I know you are willing to do it, and now you know how to get there.