As with social media, digital marketing tends to fluctuate with the change of the calendar each year. Here are the top marketing trends we saw in 2018 for what worked . . . and what didn’t . . . in the world of book marketing.

Instagram is a must.

Visual posts are growing in popularity and demand. We have been encouraging our authors to use Instagram, and to post personal photos to supplement book content or work-related posts. See, for instance, Cheryl Bachelder. Audiences love it! The key is to share what makes a difference to you, share your own unique voice, share engaging graphics that draw others in, and most of all, be yourself. Bonus points for trying out IGTV!

Launch groups are a bust.

Participation in these groups has waned over the past few years, and we’ve seen very little return on the time investment needed to manage these groups. Authors are less interested in keeping up with posting in them every day, and audiences would rather simply sign up elsewhere for a review copy and then follow the author’s public page.

What works instead?

  • Webinars. A 30-60 minute “live” discussion provides high exposure for your work and your book, plus it offers a more personal experience for your audience. Share the key message of your book, plan an interview to liven things up, and involve other people in the discussion as much as possible. Bonus points if you provide time for a Q&A!
  • Clear calls-to-action. How do you want people to support your or your book launch? Give them clear, personalized asks (i.e., not generic mass-emails) and easy ways to implement your requests. Provide a link to your book page on Amazon, and explain clearly how they can leave a review. Or request that they forward the email to someone in their organization with a note of their own.

Showing up is no longer optional.

Although not a new concept, authors who actively engage their own networks seem to have a higher impact launch. For instance, several of our authors have chosen to send out personal notes to key influencers with a gift and/or copy of the book. Others have focused on engaging their email networks with consistent, compelling messages. All of them have seen fantastic response in terms of continued audience engagement.

Another successful approach has been newsjacking — inserting authors’ expertise into conversations already happening in the news cycle, rather than simply pitching the news of a new book. New books come out everyday, that’s not what is novel — what’s novel is the content of your book. By highlighting the timeliness and relevance of a book, rather than simply announcing its existence, you highlight why your book matters to that audience at that moment.

Tell me something! What worked — or didn’t work — for YOUR book marketing this year?