Imagine: you’ve slaved over your book for months, maybe years—put yourself through the wringer trying to get it published, and now it’s finally in your hands. It’s tangible.
You get it to the shelves. You wait for the first round of sales to come in, only to find out…
…you’ve only managed to sell fifty copies.
It’s every author’s worst nightmare.
But what if I could guarantee a way to prevent that outcome?
What if I could guarantee you the title of a bestselling author?
Spoiler: I can.
All it takes is a good book promotion strategy.
Don’t Move Forward with Book Promotion Until You Do This…
Too many authors assume that a finished book guarantees a waiting audience.
This mentality couldn’t be farther from the truth.
In order to actually get your book off the shelf, you’ll need a marketing plan.
And you’ll need to develop your marketing plan before you even consider promotional strategies.
I know this to be true because it’s the process we use at Best Seller Publishing to create bestselling authors.
Well, we start with these four steps to determine a marketing plan:
- Begin with your end in mind
- Determine your market research
- Soft launch
Once you have a solid marketing plan, it’s time to move on to specific book promotion strategies.
The problem is: there are thousands of ways to promote your book.
How do you know which strategies will bring your campaign the most success?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered:
How to Pick the 3-5 Specific Book Promotion Strategies to Use
At the end of the day, your promotion strategies should align with what your target audience will respond to.
(It’s also important to narrow down your choices to three to five; too many strategies will result in a convoluted launch with very minimal sales potential.)
Let’s refer back to the marketing plan steps for a moment.
If your “end” goal is selling speaking events, it may benefit you to incorporate speaking engagements into your promotional strategy.
You won’t be speaking to a packed stadium from the get-go, but this is a great way to attract an audience that will be invested in your future endeavors.
Now let’s say you’ve completed step two: determining your market research.
You’ve decided that your target readers are ages 18-24 and likely have a strong presence on social media.
It would follow, then, to incorporate a social media promotional strategy into your campaign.
Do you see the pattern?
Each promotional strategy is a logical development from the audience identified in your marketing plan.
The result is a campaign that follows through on the goal(s) you set for your book from the beginning, and neatly ties your book promotion back to your target audience.
How to Promote Your Book: # Strategies That Drive Sales
Remember: there are strategies in this list that might not be a good fit for you, and that’s okay.
Pick the 3-5 that make the most sense for your marketing plan and run with them.
1. Media & PR Coverage
Take every opportunity to put your book in front of the world.
And contrary to popular belief—you don’t need a PR team to do this.
You can score media coverage all on your own by pursuing these two types:
- Specific media
- General media
We target both at Best Seller Publishing to get our clients as much coverage as possible.
Specific media focuses on media your target audience already consumes, while general media casts a wider net that involves pitching your book to as many media outlets as possible.
While completely different, each media type is equally beneficial to book launches.
Specific media can draw in niche audiences full of readers that are much more likely to invest in your book.
General media, while a roll-of-the-dice at times, can lead to lucrative sales and position you as an authority figure to your audience.
These strategies will put your book in front of valuable audiences across the board.
2. Speaking Engagements
Before we talk about the value of speaking engagements, I want to talk about how you can actually book one, first.
Here’s the step-by-step process we use at Best Seller Publishing for our clients:
- Identify your top 50 speaking events
- Find the event coordinator on LinkedIn or hunter.io
- Send them a cover letter and a free copy of your book
But does this kind of cold-querying work?
Yes, it does—your book does credibility-building for you. If you have something solid to familiarize the event coordinator with your work, you have a much better chance of booking engagements.
Now, why are speaking engagements such powerful promotional strategies?
Your first speech won’t exactly be a TED Talk, after all.
Speaking engagements—especially local ones—are great network-building opportunities.
And once you’ve worked your way up to focused events, you’ll be talking directly to an audience in your niche.
And, if your end goal revolves around speaking on a regular basis, this is good practice to hone your skills.
3. Live Functions
If speaking engagements aren’t your thing, don’t worry. There are plenty of other ways to put your book in front of a live audience.
This is also a great strategy for authors with a local target audience.
- Host a live or virtual book signing
- A live Q&A session
- Hold a giveaway
- Go to an author fair
- Book an interview at a local bookstore
Consumers value authenticity now more than ever. It’s important to let your audience know that you’re real—that you value their time and loyalty.
Live functions offer a way to connect with your audience that just isn’t possible on the Internet.
4. Advertise on Other People’s Platforms
This is another easy way to expose your book to new audiences and increase book sales.
To get started, choose a handful of relevant creators with followings in your industry.
Query them about an interview, or ask if they’d be willing to review your book on their platform. This may look like:
- A podcast interview
- A blog review
- A collaboration on social media
But a word of advice: don’t rely solely on this strategy. The ultimate goal is to build an audience of your own—advertising exclusively on other platforms will limit you as an author.
5. Run High-Converting Social Media Ads
I won’t sugarcoat it—creating a high-converting book advertisement is tough work.
There are dozens of factors that come into play (like your budget, offer, and numbers), but when executed correctly, social media ads have the potential to generate massive ROIs for your book.
Here are a few of my best tips for success:
- Create a book funnel—book ads convert best when they lead back to a funnel with upselling opportunities (see step #12).
- Determine the best platform—do your research to determine where your audience spends the most time, then target those platforms strategically.
- Make the creative—this should include a short CTA, enticing images/videos, and a little A/B testing.
- Write the copy—keep it short, simple, and pain-point-driven.
- Test and iterate—don’t waste your whole budget on testing, but it’s important to know what works best in an environment as fluid as social media.
Remember: social media ads won’t work for every audience, so make sure you’ve done your market research before you waste your money.
6. Offer Free Value
This could include a giveaway, a free PDF download, a trial, or a free plus shipping book funnel.
It’s becoming more and more difficult to make a sale without first providing value to your customer.
Audiences want to know what they’re getting into before they make a purchase—they want to know they can trust you, first.
One way to accomplish this is by giving away something for free. And don’t worry, you’ll make the money back later. This is just the entry point into your funnel.
After you’ve gotten them on the hook, they might feel inclined to purchase your book, at which point you can make them a few back-end offers like a training course or a consulting call.
7. Take Advantage of Your Mailing List
Too many authors forget about their email list during book promotions.
They don’t want to bombard their audience with pushy offers, so they miss out on mailing list opportunities altogether.
But guess what?
You don’t have to write about promotions to run a successful email campaign.
It’s not about your offer, anyway—it’s about the value you provide to your audience.
They don’t have to make a purchase in order to benefit from you.
- Write about the dos and don’ts in your industry
- Give them a list of free resources
- Include bonus content from your book
- Personal anecdotes from your book writing process
Like the free value strategy, the goal is to get your customer interested in your brand so they’ll happily make a purchase down the line.
8. Create an Amazon Strategy
Here’s the three-step process we use to turn our client’s books into Amazon bestsellers:
- 4-5 Star Reviews—we aim for 8-10 four or five-star reviews right off the bat by taking advantage of author groups, friends and family, and relevant connections.
- Setup—while we’re working on reviews, we put the Amazon link on news outlets, press releases, and paid advertisements.
- Social media—during the setup process, we encourage authors to share the Amazon link on their social media and email lists for additional coverage.
Obviously, not all of these resources will be available to every author—especially if you’re promoting without a team.
But the sentiment of our process is this: get the Amazon link in front of as many people as possible, and ensure there are good reviews in place for potential customers.
You may have to get creative, but it’s certainly possible to generate buzz for your book on Amazon without a team of professionals.
9. Offer Merchandise Options
I know what you’re thinking: why would I sell merchandise before I have an audience that’s asking for it?
If you play your cards right, it’s possible that customers may discover your merchandise before they find your book. Using popular items like tote bags, mugs, t-shirts, and accessories are a great way to appeal to your target audience.
If your merchandise is functioning like a lead magnet, then it becomes an opportunity to build on your brand and advertising.
You don’t have to go overkill on the production costs, either: consider small items like pens or bookmarks.
Refer back to your market research to determine which merchandise items are right for your audience.
10. Post on Medium
Medium is a free way to promote your book to over 100 million users.
Think of it like an informal press release: include a synopsis of your book, where readers can purchase it, and links to other relevant media.
You could potentially build an audience from scratch on Medium alone, or use it to give your current audience a new way to interact with you.
And if you already publish content on a separate platform, you could gain traction by republishing it Medium with little effort.
11. Use Your Referral Network
Don’t underestimate the power of your referral network.
You can use it to spread your book like a virus: just send 2-3 copies of your book to old and current clients and encourage them to share it with friends and family.
And if you don’t already have a referral network, there are other options.
Reach out to your connections to see if they might have any clients who would benefit from your book.
You could even research other experts in your industry to query—leave no stone unturned.
12. Create a Free Plus Book Funnel
I saved the most valuable tip for last: creating a free plus shipping book funnel.
This funnel serves a multitude of purposes, but most importantly: it allows you to profit through high-value upsells.
I have a detailed guide on how to create a free plus shipping book funnel, but here’s a run down for you:
- Decide on your offer—this should be a no-brainer offer that’s near impossible to refuse. This is where “free plus shipping” comes in: your customer is getting your book for FREE. The only cost they’ll have to pay is for shipping and handling.
- Write your ad copy—as previously mentioned, your ad copy should be short, simple, and pain-point driven.
- Customer info—next you’ll create a landing page to get your customer’s contact and billing info (which can be used to sign-up customers for your email list).
- Upsell—after a purchase, you’ll want to offer high-value upsells like training courses or consultation calls (this is how you profit).
I know it seems counterintuitive to give away your book for free.
At Best Seller Publishing, we’ve lost $92,000 in book sales in six months through our free plus shipping sales funnel.
But we’ve made almost $2 million back.
With a little effort, this kind of funnel can be an extremely lucrative promotional strategy for your book.
It’s Time to Choose Your Book Promotion Strategies
Now it’s your turn to create your own marketing strategy.
Remember: you only need 3-5 strategies from this guide.
Choose the ideas that make the most sense for your target audience, work hard to execute them, then sit back and watch the sales flood in.
Need a more detailed guide to promoting your book?
Check out my bestseller, Publish. Promote. Profit., where I share additional insights on how to become a bestseller in no time.