how to market a book

Marketing a Book: A 7-Step Guide to a Successful Author Career

For many authors writing and publishing their book serves as two of the biggest tasks. And they leave marketing a book up to the publisher. 

Thinking that the publishers will market their book as efficiently as they write in the publishing contract, they don’t put in an extra effort from their side. This is where the need to know marketing a book becomes important.

But the methods and ways have evolved even though the principles remain the same. Now, you don’t have to wait for your book to complete to begin marketing. You begin the process before you have finished your manuscript. 

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You interact with people, grow your audience, attract the like-minded people, give solutions and feedback to the fellow authors and writers before you can expect to receive the same.

In this process, you learn what the readers are looking for, you understand their experiences with the other books in your genre. This process helps you with building relationships, expanding your readership even before your book is out. 

And when you have finally published your book, you will already have a fan base of readers who would like to read what you have written. 

“Writing is about you. Publishing is about the book. Marketing is about the reader.”

-Joanna Penn

Marketing a book is as important as writing the book. If as an author, you do not market your book, how will you ensure people read your stuff? If you do not know how to market your book effectively, how will you make your product that is your book available to the ones who like reading stuff in your genre? 

It all begins with a mindset and an attitude towards marketing. Considering marketing a negative prospect makes the whole process of finally getting your book in the reader’s hands, harder. 

Knowing how to market your book is necessary if you want your books to have a decent sale. Let us delve deeper into the process and the journey of marketing your book by looking at the requisites of Marketing.

Requisites of Marketing

1. Your attitude towards Marketing a Book

As I mentioned earlier, marketing requires an attitude where you don’t consider it an additional hassle. If you want book sales, you gotta know the skill of how to market your book.  

With a positive mindset towards marketing, you will not only learn how this works but enjoy the journey of being closer to the readers. 

“Marketing is parcelling out what you love to the people who would love to hear it”

The modern-day definition of marketing speaks about personalizing the process by sharing what you love and have with the people who share similar interests and have similar likes. 

If you have written a book on becoming rich as an online entrepreneur, it’s likely that you have done so and made millions, and want to help people. 

If you have written a fantasy novel, you are most likely a fantasy novel reader. And you would definitely want to give to the readers something to immerse themselves into. 

And you should not feel embarrassed about sharing what you love with the people who would gladly welcome and accept it, who will eventually fall under the category of your fans. 

With this attitude, you take up marketing as a skill to learn, to implement and to benefit from. 

2. Reader is the King

As Joanna Penn believes, marketing is about the reader. Why? It’s simple. Because your product will be consumed, or in this case, your book will be read by the readers. What is important is their reaction, their experience, and an outcome for them. 

This thinking will help you with the material you would like to attract your readers with. The right words and images to impress the right audience in a right manner will boost your book sales. 

3. Have a house on the Internet

Now that you have written a book, and are on the path of marketing the book, you require a platform or a place where your readers can reach you online. 

There must be something else you write about besides your book. And your readers may be interested in knowing you more. 

You must have your website on the internet where people can follow you and interact with you. The website may be yours if you have paid for the hosting and domain. It may also be a free site that is owned by someone else. 

Photo by Tranmautritam from Pexels

But it’s always great to have your own website, because what if the company that owns your free site goes bankrupt? 

Don’t just rely on the Facebook Pages, Instagram verified accounts or Twitter verified handles. They are good for direct interaction with your readers but they may also need something more from you. 

For example: How you became an author, what it takes to become a writer, how does one become a best-selling author, how to write a spectacular fantasy novel. 

Your readers list may include some aspiring writers who are inspired by you. They may want to learn from you. And by having your own website and publishing articles like these on it you can not only grow your readership but also loyal visitors. 

Creating a website is easy and cheap, you can check it out here.

4. Metadata 

Any information about your book ranging from the title, sub-title, book blurb, keywords, categories and the author’s bio is Metadata. And all this information is used in marketing a book. Using the keywords in your genre for your book to be in the search results, specific categories, a spectacular book blurb, etc. will lead the readers to look for books in your genre to your book. 

5. How to get Attention! 

Millions of books exist in the world and millions more get published everyday. How, amidst such a massive crowd of great books, do you get readers’ attention towards your book(s)? 

You do the following things:

  1. Blogging/ Writing articles on your website. Guest Posting on other authors’ websites. 

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  1. Writing articles on sites like EzineArticles, Medium, Hubpages.
  1. Post Images, Videos, Live-videos on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram 

  1. Paid advertisements 
    1. on Search Marketing Sites- Google, Amazon.
    2. Paid advertisements as Social  Ads- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, BoobBub Ads. 
  1. Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, StumbleUpon, Shots, Vine, Imgur, SlideShare, Peach, etc. are the visual social media platforms
  1. YouTube, Vimeo, Vidyard, Wistia, Cincopa, Brightcove, etc. are the video platforms where you can do live streaming, recording and sharing the videos about your book. 
  1. Podcasting on iTunes, Stitcher, Spotify, SoundCloud, JioSaavn, etc. are the audio platforms where you can speak about your book, interviews with the other authors, talks with the book reviewers.

  1. Webinars and Summits; many authors turned entrepreneurs practice this to get in touch with readers from across the world. 
  2. Newsletters, emails to the readers who like to read the books in your niche or genre. The newsletters come from your website. And Emails come from the paid email list like BookBub, The Fussy Librarian, BookSends, BookPerk,

  1. Interacting with fellow authors on Facebook writing groups and communities, Reddit writing and poetry subreddits, Quora Forums for writing, etc. 

Now don’t expect people to jump right on your website and hustle for your book. It always takes time for people to take notice of you. 

How you communicate with other writers in the groups, communities, forums, and societies. How you answer their queries, give them genuine and expert advice, are always willing to learn and build relationships. It is all included in the interaction process and helps with marketing your book.

Eventually, people start looking you up and your works which ultimately leads to an increased readership of your book(s). 

These are the modern age ways to get the attention of the people who like to read stuff in your genre. But there are traditional ways too:

  1. Keep writing the books for people to keep reading.
  1. Send out free samplers to the readers to hook them in on a specific day of the week.
  1. Keep releasing a book after book for the readers to take a notice of you. 
  1. Collaborate with different authors who have already published books in your genre.
  1. Give your book(s) for free to libraries, reading clubs, local bookshops, coffee houses, hotels.
  1. Join Author Conventions, Book Clubs, Writers Conferences like Tata Literature Live, Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival, Goa Arts and Literature Festival. 
  1. Publish your short stories, articles in the magazines like Out of Print Magazine, the Little Magazine, The Caravan, Nether, Indian Literature, The Bombay Literary Magazine, Muse India, etc. 
  1. Go to Book Signing Events in Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune. Local Radio channels of your city. You can also go for local TV talk-shows where you can talk about your book. 
  1. Apply for literature awards, book awards- Sahitya Akademi Awards, Crossword Book Award, JCB Prize, Indian Literary Awards

6.  Create and Build your Author Brand 

Your author brand is the way your readers know you, remember you and admire you. It is what you deliver to them by way your work, words, images and solutions. 

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The classic way of creating and building an author brand is by Book Cover. Haruki Murakami has his books with similar color elements, font, and graphics. He is distinguished and can be known from afar. 

Apart from the book cover design, it’s your pseudonym that makes your name and works stand out. Think of Eric Authur Blair, most of us know him as George Orwell. Think of Joanne Rowling, we know her as J.K. Rowling. 

And it’s not just them, it’s many other distinguished, loved and renowned authors who have built their buthor brand by their pen-names. 

There are ways via which you create and build your author brand. Let’s take a look:

  • Identify and connect with the right audience; you would not want to reach fitness enthusiasts with your book about delicious cheesy foods. Similarly, you would not want to connect with the non-fiction/business/politics readers with your fantasy/ crime fiction/ psychological thrillers. 

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  • Have a broad understanding of the market and competition. Know the potential collaborators, industry influencers and competitors in your genre or niche.
    • Research the market in your genre
    • Know the best-selling authors in your genre

  • Look for their strengths and weaknesses in their author branding, marketing campaigns, book promotions and audience engagement.
  • Learn their pricing models- for how much is their books selling, when do they do giveaways, when do they give out free books.

Photo by Timur Saglambilek from Pexels

  • If you have written a book on how to enhance your online business, find out how your potential readers are searching for solutions online. This makes your task of reaching them more effective. Look for what your potential readers are searching for online and offline.
marketing a book

Photo by Anthony Martino on Unsplash

  • Learn the language, verbal style of the authors in your genre that they use to reach the audience and readers. 
  • Learn those tactics and strategies and do better.
  • Know your uniqueness and capitalise it. Make your work stand out with a reflection in it of your personality, beliefs, core values, vision, mission and purpose. 
  • Make the quality of your product your priority. Look out for: 
    • Spelling Errors
    • Grammatical Errors
    • Formatting Errors
    • General Typos
  • Create an ‘experience’ for your readers. Find answers to the following questions:
    • Does your website offer your readers what they search for?
    • Does your book(s) have the solutions to their problems?
    • Can your readers connect with you?
    • Does your work live up to the genre and industry’s expectations?
    • Do you post textual/visual/video content that offers value to your readers?
    • Do the readers reach the solutions you offer quickly?
  • Make sure your readers find you. How can they do that? Take a look:
    • Paid ads on Facebook, Amazon, Instagram
    • Blog Articles 
    • Instagram posts 
    • A search for your keywords 
    • An event where you speak of the solutions to their problems. 

7. Measure the Marketing

How do you know if your marketing is paying off? How will you know if the promotion of your book has been successful?

The answer is very simple: your book sales. Marketing a book is meant to increase book sales. The sales of your book(S) will escalate if you have succeeded in marketing.

Measuring the success of marketing becomes relatively easier if you are a self-published author. You get the sales report on a daily basis. Rankings of your book(s) in the online stores will also tell you the difference marketing makes.

Digital marketing gives you a better and a quicker insight of your book’s performance. Marketing a book online allows you to track results. This way, you understand what is working out for you or not.

Marketing your books, building an audience, a loyal readership of books and sustainable book sales means that you are succeeding as both an author and an entrepreneur.

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