You wrote a book, you are writing a book, or you have a book inside of you that is waiting to be written.
You are a passionate person who knows that your thoughts, ideas, and dreams can deeply impact others.
You are a writer.
The one problem: thousands of books are being published per day, and you need to find a way to stand out. You need a marketing plan.
There is so much information on the internet and in print about book marketing, and countless publicists, PR firms, and marketing firms that you can pay to market your book for you. If you choose a partner who understands and believes in your work, you very may well see the success you are looking for. Many of these individuals and firms have spent years developing and streamlining their processes, and are a great option for those who can afford to invest.
But not everyone has thousands of dollars to spend on marketing services, and thankfully, there are tried and true techniques that virtually anyone with grit, determination, and focus can implement.
The Basic Formula
Leverage your networks. We cannot overemphasize the importance of leveraging networks. Your networks are anyone that you have a relationship with: family, friends, coworkers, acquaintances, and online friends. You should be getting together an email list, creating buzz around your book on social media, and generally talking up your book with your networks as early as six months before your book launch (or even earlier!). Though you may feel uncomfortable bringing all of these people into your book marketing loop, they will ultimately be your best tool in getting the word out there. We encourage our clients to make specific asks of those people, such as “please share this post about my book” or, during launch week, “please buy my book today.” In most cases, people are very gracious and generous in supporting book launches.
Use your content wisely. Your book’s content is one of your most valuable assets—use it! You can take quotes from your book and make them into tweets, Facebook posts, or beautiful graphic images. No graphic design skills? There are many free, easy-to-use tools out there, such as Canva and Pablo. You can host a webinar or, if you’re on a budget, a Facebook live event where you discuss the content in your book. Your content can become articles that you share on your blog or LinkedIn, or as guest posts on other relevant blogs. By effectively re-purposing your book’s content, you can share the messages from your book with a wider audience.
Keep your content organized. We recommend creating a simple spreadsheet and adding the title, type of content, and a link for any blog posts, articles, or videos you have on the web. If your content exists elsewhere, on a hard drive or in a paper file, indicate that on your spreadsheet as well. Categorize your content and consider which categories are most relevant to your current book project. You can learn more about how to set up your content library in this 30-minute recorded webinar.
Be consistent. Block a minimum of 20 minutes a day off on your calendar and devote this time to marketing. If you have more time, great—but even in 20 minutes a day, you can make a big difference. Use this time wisely: spend time scheduling social media posts (we recommend Buffer for scheduling), responding to others on social media (that’s how relationships are built), reaching out to bloggers who may want to feature your book or have you write a guest post, and perhaps getting your book marketing website together. You will be amazed by the difference 20 minutes a day can make.
It doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Book marketing may feel overwhelming, and we understand why—there are a lot of moving parts! But it doesn’t have to be. By leveraging your networks, using your content effectively, and being consistent in your marketing efforts, you can make major advances towards sharing your book, your passion, with the wider world.
Some free resources for DIY marketers:
Questions about book marketing? Ready to take the DIY route? Join our Book Marketing Facebook group for authors, marketers, and publishers. We’re here to help you succeed!
Looking to learn from the experts? Weaving Influence Lab, the online learning division of Weaving Influence, regularly hosts free 30-minute book marketing webinars with experts in the field. Sign up to learn about our webinars and view webinar recordings here.
Read to dive into your DIY launch? The Book Marketing Action Guide is an online course for authors who want to have a successful book launch without hiring a publicist. The BMAG includes all of our best practices, checklists, videos, and downloadable resources for every step of the way. Learn more at weavinginfluencelab.com.
Margy Kerr-Jarrett enjoys reading, writing, and spending time in nature with her husband and daughter. Born and raised in Indianapolis, IN, Margy has been living in Jerusalem, Israel for the past three years.