"How can I sell more of my books?"
It’s the most common question I come across almost daily when interacting with authors and talking to them about their biggest struggles.
Creating an effective book marketing campaign seems like such a huge, daunting task, filled with so many steps and things for us to do, it’s no wonder it’s overwhelming to the point that many authors virtually shut down at the mere mention of “book marketing.”
Inside this post!
Fear not! I have great news for you!
There are really only five crucial steps to creating a successful book marketing strategy.
But before I break down the five steps you need to take to increase your odds of selling enough books to make a profit, or at least break even, let me address one glaring, way off-base but common misconception when it comes to book marketing.
This is where so many authors go wrong. You absolutely should start implementing your marketing campaign as soon as you begin writing your book and know you’re serious about meeting your publishing goals.
I could go on about this one forever, but the biggest reason is pretty simple in its logic once you think about it.
The more time you have to devote to finding and growing your readership, the bigger it can grow. And you want as large an audience as possible when you launch your book! More reader = more book sales = more cash in your pocket!
Okay, with that ridiculous notion dispelled, let’s go ahead and dive into those five crucial steps, shall we?
Step 1: Set up a basic author website to establish your online presence.
Humans are a curious species by nature. Especially in this modern era, where information is available at the tips of our fingers and in a few short keyboard clicks.
Eventually, as you grow your brand and following, readers will want to cyberstalk you. And if they do this and find nothing…fair or unfair, you’ll be dismissed as “not a legitimate author.”
So, even if you’re “old school” or “set in your ways,” it’s time to embrace the twenty-first century already and set up a basic website where readers can go to learn more about you, your brand, and your books.
And eventually (here’s the secret cause now), the goal of an indie author should be to one day publish their own books and list them right smack on their website.
Do you know why? Let me break it down for you in this here little graphic, which shows the HUGE difference in profits you can (and will) make when you reach the place in your career where you don’t need Amazon, Kobo, or any other distributor to act as the middle man!
And here’s some good news! Setting up your starter site is faster and easier than you think. As a newbie author, before you have a book launched or any media appearances to list, you only need these four pages, which you can build by dragging and dropping widgets in a totally FREE trial of Wix.com:
- About Me
- My Book(s)
- Contact Me
For a step-by-step tutorial, including a checklist of the necessary content to include on your website, check out my newest FREE Resource: 4 Crucial Steps to Immediately Increase Your Book Sales!
Step 2: Start an email marketing campaign and begin sending regular newsletters.
This is a hill I will die on. So, hear me now. You cannot rely solely on social media to find, connect with, and engage with your readers!
If you do, you’re building your house on the proverbial foundation of sand. It will not withstand the test of time, and if social media disappeared tomorrow, you’d lose all your contacts in a split second, as well as your ability to sell them your books!
Here’s another way to think about it.
When you add followers and friends on social media, you are RENTING those contacts from Mark Z, Meta, and whoever the heck owns the rest of the apps. And if Marky Mark Z decided one day he had enough billions to swim around in, and he pulled the plug on even just Facebook and Instagram, in a heartbeat, you’ve lost THOUSANDS of contacts!
Somewhere, buried in the teeny tiny fine print of the “User Agreement” you clicked on and agreed to years ago when you first signed up, it clearly states that those names and the right to contact them belongs entirely to Meta (or whoever) and you have been granted “temporary permission” to access them!
However, if you start from day one by building a subscriber list and email marketing campaign, guess what? You OWN the rights to contact those people, and no one can up and take them away from you (except that contact if they unsubscribe, of course).
Step 3: Build 3 social media platforms, spend time growing your following, and engage with them.
Now, on the flip side, you absolutely do still need a social media presence. You just can’t rely on it solely.
I was appalled recently when I searched online and found that several well-known “writing experts” still say that authors don’t NEED social media as part of their book marketing campaigns! Nonsense!
All I can say to that is, most of those “experts” haven’t updated their content or stayed on top of business and marketing trends in YEARS, and there’s a reason they’re losing traction lately.
Listen. It’s 2022. Our lives are played out online these days. Nearly everything is virtual, and we even buy groceries, order rides, pay our bills, and meet our soulmates on the internet. Of course we need to be on social media! That’s where a huge majority of consumer research is done these days.
Don’t believe me? Check out these jaw dropping statistics:
Told you! So, the next time you hear a “big name” expert in this industry say that authors can get by just fine without using social media to sell their books, you can simply smile your Cheshire Cat smile, knowing they’re dinosaurs on the verge of becoming extinct, and advice like that is just one example of why.
So, set up three social media accounts to start with. (You can always add another later, but you have so much on your plate already with the other steps in your marketing plan, not to mention finishing your book and preparing for your launch.)
Spend time each day learning what you can about effective strategies for each of the 3 platforms, create a content plan of what to post each week, and carve out 15-20 minutes each day per app to engage with your reader followers!
For a 30-Day Content Idea planner, as well as my best advice on which platforms are best for authors and how to build your strategy on social media, check out my latest FREE Resource:
Step 4: Start working as your own publicist and book yourself on media platforms.
Yep. That’s right.
You do NOT need to spend thousands of dollars on a high-end publicist! Not at this stage in the game, anyway. In fact, maybe never.
Nowadays, there are so many resources online to teach you how to be your own publicist, as well as tools and apps that allow you to search for and pitch media outlets, you absolutely can save yourself a ton of money by doing it your dang self.
First and foremost, though, you need a Media Kit.
This is a one to two page PDF you can create in Canva (or Photoshop if you’re gifted with that ability) that summarized your story, your brand, and your book(s) and gives media outlets a sneak peek at you and increases your odds of being chosen.
No clue how to even start creating a Media Kit? I gotchu!
My second most popular resource in my Etsy shop is my Author Branding Starter Kit, which (for less than $5) walks you through building your unique, effective author brand and even includes a template so you can build your own one-sheet!
Once you have this built, you need to pitch yourself for these types of media “appearances:”
- Blog Posts
- Online Magazines
- Author Events
Start with one type of media at a time, keep track of all your pitches in a neat little spreadsheet, and move on to the next.
Just don’t overbook yourself!
Remember…your first priority is your book, and only after that come your launch plan and marketing efforts. But don’t skip this step! Even if you’re an introvert, at least pitch the online magazines and blogs because every time I have made any media appearances, I see a HUGE uptick in website traffic, followers, and potential new clients!
You’ll see the same type of results with your readers!
There. Now you know exactly which are the most important elements of your effective and successful book marketing strategy.
But wait! There’s more! (Of course, there is!)
This was already turning into a lengthier blog post than I intended, so there was no way I could list for you all the best tools, websites, and resources to help you build and effectuate your marketing campaign, let alone provide you with the step-by-step guide on each part of the plan.
I struggle enough as it is with verbosity, for goodness’s sake!
Fear not. I have everything you need in one handy dandy e-book, as I’ve mentioned a few times above.
4 Crucial Steps to Increase Your Book Sales Now! is an e-book filled with almost 50 full-color PDF pages and is jam packed with every step you need to take to follow the above plan, including:
- How to build your author website (and what pages you need/don’t need)!
- How to create your newsletter/email marketing campaign (and lead magnet)!
- Which social media apps have worked for my 300+ clients to date and how to use them!
- The best ways to pitch yourself for podcasts, blogs, and more!
It includes editable/fillable pages, such as worksheets, checklists, notes pages, and mapping pages, as well as a list of the BEST resources you can find online, most of which come with a free trial thanks to my partnership with some of them, as well as links you can click on directly from inside the e-book to take advantage of said offers!
And here’s the best part…IT’S ENTIRELY FREE!
Yup. My gift to you. Because I adore you.
All I ask in exchange is that you leave your lovely little email address in the pop-up form, and as soon as you click “SUBMIT,” you’ll receive your totally FREE Marketing Guide!
Sounds like you have lots of good advice. I mainly need advice for book launches and someone to make my pop up “leave your email here to get a free story,” work in mailer lite. Guess I’ll watch their videos one more time to see if I can get it right. By the way, I like your picture. You look friendly. You were recommended by Shayla Raquel.
Carolyn, I just saw your comment, and thank you for that. Please reach out to me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org! Let’s sit down for a chat and see how I can help! Christina
Whether you self-promote or seek professional help, consider the time, money, and energy necessary to promote a book entirely. Determine the publishing route (self-publishing, traditional, hybrid) and format (eBook, print, print on demand, or a combination). Whether a self-publishing marketing plan or a traditional marketing plan, do your research before deciding.
Dominic, That’s great input. Thanks for sharing. You’re so right. Christina
One of the best marketing strategy for any business is book marketing. book marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on the publishing and distribution of the books of a company or organization. this is essential to build brand reputation, promote your business and help in increasing the sales.
Yes. That’s the entire purpose of this post. Thanks.