Book Marketing

How to Market Your First Book (For New Authors!)

marketing ideas for your first book

Seeking insights on how to get your book out there? You got it. Here’s your ultimate marketing help for first time authors. I go over how to market your first book with a list of essentials plus the best tactics to know.

5 marketing essentials: publishing tips for first time authors

Selling your book as an indie author requires marketing as much as writing. That’s just the nature of self-publishing: you own the publishing process. To ensure a successful debut, take some time to blueprint and develop your marketing plan. Consider these –

#1: Craft your author brand

Branding helps control how people see you. It shapes all marketing collaterals whether drafting a newsletter or designing a social media graphic. When thinking about your brand, ask questions like: What’s my tone of voice when I interact with my audience? What and how much background info do I share? What aspects of my persona do I want to highlight? Read more about creating a marketing plan for authors.

#2: Set up your website and social media

Self-publishing happens online. A dedicated website and/or social media page is crucial for your author brand. Setting up an online hub allows readers to learn more about you and stay connected.

Your website should contain your bio, photos, book excerpts, links to buy your book, links to find you on social media, and any reviews. This doesn’t have to look fancy. A simple one-pager works. Hire a freelancer or try out DIY platforms like Wordpress or Wix to build a site. If not a website, get started on at least one social media channel such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

#3: Start an email list

“Sign up to receive my updates straight to your email inbox!” An email list is a direct way to target readers interested in your work. This work is about nurturing customers and up-selling your work. Place the link to sign up to your email list on your social media, website, and even the back of your book. See how to set up a mailing list for authors.

#4: Ensure your best cover design and book description

The goal of all your marketing efforts is to funnel people to your store link where they can click “buy”. Most bookstores display the book’s cover design and description. These are the first elements we come across when browsing for books. Does your design and description entice people to buy and read? Learn about optimizing your book cover design and book description.

#5: Land book reviews

book reviews

Before spending any serious money on promotions, land at least five solid book reviews. In the world of e-commerce, people won’t spend money on a product with no reviews. Ask your network and reach out to influential bloggers in your genre.

P.S. PublishDrive helps distribute your book to hundreds of stores like Amazon, Google, and more.

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7 book marketing tactics to know

You’ve got the basics. But how to promote your first book, exactly? Here are seven tactics –

#1: Start with a pre-order period

Major bookstores like Amazon count book sales on the first day of release. That means by collecting pre-order sales, you get a higher chance to land in bestseller lists come launch day. Use this time to tease your book and generate buzz.

#2: Throw a book launch party

You want to know how to promote your first novel? Make it special. Celebrating your launch with an event is not only fun but effective. Invite people via social media, email (where your mailing list comes in handy), and other communication channels. Remember to give yourself enough time to prep the ins and outs of your event. See how to plan a virtual book launch.

#3: Schedule a price promotion

After launching, try offering your book at a discounted or free price. Listing your book for free on stores like Amazon is one way to get noticed among a sea of competition. Run a campaign for one to two weeks and see what happens. Over 800 authors who ran price promos with PublishDrive saw 10x more sales.

#4: Buy promotional spots

Advertise your book through newsletters and promotional sites. Freebooksy has over 368,000 users looking for free book deals. Bargain Booksy has over 277,000 users looking for titles prices $3.99 and lower.

#5: Buy Amazon ads

“Amazon is the mecca of online books. Its Amazon Marketing Services (AMS) gets your content in front of visitors based on related products, keywords, and consumer interests.” Author Karen Myers saw a significant spike in sales after running her Amazon book ads:

amazon ads for books

For tips on Amazon ads, BookBub ads, and beyond, see how to advertise a book?

#6: Create a reading magnet

NY Book Editors explained “a lead magnet is anything you give away in exchange for your reader’s contact information. You could, for example, provide the first chapter of your book to readers who provide their email addresses. Lead magnets are essential for catching people’s attention who will ideally convert to paying customers down the line.”

#7: Network

Get involved in the community. There are plenty of online groups and forums like Reddit’s Self Published Writers group. Join reading and writing groups in your genre. Establish your author brand by sharing tips and fostering connections. Attend book festivals to meet readers, industry pros, and other authors.

Bonus → Distribute in multiple book formats and stores: I’ll end by stressing this point. As an indie, you want to maximize your revenue streams. To maximize your money bag, you gotta maximize your reach. Do this by publishing your book in more than one format like ebook, audiobook, and print. Publish in more than one store as well. Go beyond Amazon and sell in channels like Apple, Google, and Kobo.

Reach hundreds of bookstores around the globe.

After learning how to write and sell your first novel, hop on PublishDrive to make your publishing goals a reality.

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