As an indie author or publisher, running your business is about taking care of different things. After publishing a book, it’s crucial to follow up with a solid promotion plan.
The Ultimate Guide: Book Promotion Services & Strategies
The good news is, you’re not alone in the world of self-publishing. Here’s your ultimate guide on how to promote a book and the best book promotion services to know about.
1. Book marketing strategy
Foremost, take some time to sit down and develop your marketing plan. Like most things, it’s important to get some brainstorming and research done before finalizing your game plan. To get started, ask yourself questions like:
📖Who is your ideal reader?
📚What is your genre?
✍️ ✍🏻 ✍🏾Any similar books and authors?
Collect examples of other successful authors in your genre and then study what they did for promotions. Analyze their book covers, ratings, reviews, and rankings on stores like Amazon. See here for more steps on how to put together a high quality plan.
2. Operational plan
Beyond your strategy, figure out the operational and logistical things. This includes panning out how much time (and money) it’ll take to complete the manuscript and book cover design. Settle on an official launch date, too.
Based on your marketing strategy, decide on the tools you’ll use:
🖥️Social media (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram)
Additionally, think about the kind of resources you’ll need for promo activities like:
- Collecting book reviews
- Hosting a launch party
- Author readings and signings
- Featuring in stores and newsletters
Check out our ultimate list of self-publishing resources. And keep reading because we expand on the tools and tactics above.
- Free: where you set a book for free to garner attention
- Price promotion: where you run a special discounted books campaign (like on a holiday)
It’s easy to set different pricing strategies for multiple stores such as Amazon, Apple, and Google on PublishDrive.
Also, we suggest concluding on the pricing even when starting with a pre-order.
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PublishDrive writers increased digital book sales by 85%, distributing to thousands of stores worldwide
Here’s why pre-orders are a must. For stores like Amazon, they count purchases on the first day of the book release. That means you can set up your title and store link in advance and collect pre-orders to shoot up your ranking on the official launch date.
We highly recommend setting up your pre-order as early as possible. On PublishDrive, you can do so for up to a year. All you need are placeholder files for the cover and body manuscript. You don’t have to update these files until two weeks before your release date.
Try this cool idea. Schedule reveal dates for your book cover, title, and description to engage readers on social media or email as a part of your pre-order campaign.
See how easy it is to upload a book for global publishing:
5. Email list
Maintaining an email list is an effective way to communicate with readers. For the basics of email marketing, see here. To put it simply, you’d need a way for people to sign up for your mailing list. An email software helps with this plus the creation of professional newsletters. Try out platforms, Mailchimp or MailerLite.
For building up your email list, use reader magnets. These are usually free books or chapters intended to attract readers. Try this reader magnet tactic: at the end of your book, add a “sign up for a newsletter” option where readers can receive a special chapter.
Reader magnets can be anything from additional info about the author to an exclusive behind-the-scenes interview. The goal here is capturing email addresses and marketing books to a bigger audience down the funnel.
Curious as to what stores we get you into? Have a look for yourself!
6. Paid advertising
With marketing trends in 2020, authors saw success with paid advertising on book promotion sites like BookBub. On PublishDrive, indies buy placements in various channels to reach tens of thousands of readers.
Facebook and Amazon advertising reap enormous benefits when done right. Before spending anything, know how much you want to invest. (We mention free book promotion options further down.) With Facebook ads, your budget can be as low as $10 a month. On Amazon, as low as $1.
Amazon ads appear on product pages and search results – quite powerful for reaching new readers and driving sales. PublishDrive’s AI-supported tool helps you easily set up and optimize ads for Amazon book promotions. Here’s a helpful guide.
7. Social media
Everyone is on social media these days. At the least, create an author page on Facebook, Amazon, and Goodreads. Twitter and Instagram are also great spaces to connect with book lovers. With digital being the norm, establishing a social media presence is a prerequisite to online promotions.
Post engaging content by sharing more about yourself. Get creative and use pictures, gifs, memes, and videos. Share a favorite quote from your book. Add your pre-order or store link in the bio of your social accounts. Interact with the book community by taking time to comment or re-share posts.
8. Review copies and ARCs
You can’t scale tactics like paid advertising before landing at least a handful of book reviews. Think of collecting reviews as your top marketing priority. People like to get the opinions of others before making a purchase. Book reviews build credibility for your book and author brand.
Compile a list of book bloggers in your genre to reach out to. Swap reviews with other authors. Post in online forums. For extra support, consider an ARC (advance review copy) team.
To find book bloggers, check these out:
- Top 100 Book Review Blogs, Websites, & Influencers
- The Indie Book Reviewers List
- Book Bloggers on Instagram Master List
PublishDrive has a nifty tool for sending review copies to readers on Apple Books and Google Play Books. These copies are DRM protected, meaning they can not be copied and expire in 28 days. All you need are the email addresses of your recipients. Copies get delivered straight to their reading devices.
9. Book launch parties
Throwing a book launch party is a fun way to engage with readers. When done virtually, you not only reach a wider audience but save on costs. We thought what indie author Amani Robers did for his virtual event was pretty special. He had musicians perform and DJed music himself:
List of things to do when planning your own:
- Set your launch date
- Set up a pre-order
- Decide on expenses
- Prepare your equipment and party items
- Prepare your setting (physical venue or streaming platform)
- Plan itinerary (book reading, signing, contests, Q&A, etc.)
- Have a set of creatives ready (invite, social media graphics, etc.)
For more tips, go here.
We mentioned buying placements in channels like BookBub. But if you’re on a tight budget, consider the wide array of free options out there.
We regularly compile free campaigns running with hundreds of PublishDrive’s store and newsletter partners. All you need to do is submit your title to our editorial team for a quick review. We have a 90% approval rate when sending books to our partners.
More on featuring with our major partners:
- Amazon: If you’re in the US, take part in Kindle Unlimited daily and monthly deals program where selected books display in special sections in the Kindle store.
- Apple Books: We recommend (mostly new) titles.
- Kobo: We recommend (mostly new) titles.
- Scribd, Odilo, and OverDrive: We recommend titles according to the stores’ marketing calendars where they regularly feature books in specific categories.
- BookBub: We can get you featured in their newsletter to over 12 million readers.
11. Tracking performance
Don’t forget to set up a process where you can analyze and understand your marketing efforts. Doing so will help you identify which promotions work and don’t work. Being organized and transparent is key. See this write-up for essential marketing numbers to know.
As a team that develops tech tools for authors and publishers, we got you covered when it comes to tracking performance. PublishDrive’s sales analytics dashboard gives you a bird’s-eye view of your book sales across stores and markets. Follow sales in real-time (along with rankings and reviews) and generate financial reports. We want you to make the best decisions for your book publishing gig.
Fun fact: PublishDrive takes 0% commission on your book sales.