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Writing

6 Tips to Successfully Market and Promote Your Book: Step-by-Step Guide

Written by MasterClass

Last updated: Oct 2, 2020 • 6 min read

Every author looks forward to the day they get to hold their book in their hands—whether it’s their first book or their tenth. But publishing a successful book—either through a traditional publisher or by self-publishing—requires more than just good writing: it requires a strong marketing plan.

A book marketing strategy will make sure your book gets seen by the type of people most likely to buy. Good book marketing is often what makes the difference between simply a published author and a bestselling author.

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6 Tips for a Successful Book Marketing Plan

A book marketing plan is your step-by-step guide to getting your book in front of the right people, at the right time and place, with the right budget. Think of your plan as a marketing campaign to make your book a bestseller.

Here are some helpful tips to help you learn how to market a book!

1. Define Your Audience.

You just finished writing your new book, and of course, you want everyone in the world to read it. But realistically, only a certain demographic of people will be interested based on the topic and genre. To maximize the number of potential readers for your book, build a plan to target those who are most likely to be interested.

  1. Use keywords to define your book. You can start to determine your target audience for advertising by figuring out what sorts of interests they may have that have to do with your book. Think about your book’s style and genre, then do a number of Google searches around those words to determine what words are best associated with your book. Knowing a few keywords can help you put digital ads in front of those most likely to be interested in your book.
  2. Find communities with interests related to your keywords. You don’t need to create a new circle of readers in order to sell your book—you should tap into the network of relevant readers that already exists. Find out where your target readers are getting together to talk about their interests. Are they on Instagram, Tumblr, or Facebook? You might look for local groups that meet up, like groups that meet to discuss science-fiction books or young-adult-fiction book clubs. There might even be yearly conventions for your book type or genre you could attend. Find out what your audience likes and where you can find them and you’ll be able to reach new readers in no time.
  3. Get to know these communities. As you find communities of people who may be interested in your book, get to know them so you’ll know even more of their preferences. What kind of content do they like to see? What other authors do they read? Knowing the answers to these will help you decide how best to reach them when advertising your book.
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2. Define Your Budget.

You need to determine how much you’re willing to spend on your book promotion so you can map out your marketing tactics and be prepared for them.

Think about your audience and what it will take to reach them, including the kind of content you will need to create and where it will go. WIll you be creating a book trailer? Will you be running Facebook ads? Are you publishing a print book, and have you already accounted for printing costs? Also consider if you will need to travel for book signings, conferences, readings, or speaking opportunities.

Create a spreadsheet that lists all of your potential costs and see how much money you will need to accomplish your goals.

3. Start Building an Online Presence Early.

It might seem strange to start marketing your book before it’s even published, but starting early will help ensure that, when your book finally comes out, you already have a large following that is excited and ready to purchase it on day one.

Decide which social media platforms you will be using based on your audience and start posting early. If you’re using Twitter, Instagram, or a Facebook page, you can post progress updates, sneak peeks of your work, or content related to your genre. Your social media following will grow as you post frequently and consistently. Be genuine and engage with your audience as they engage with you.

Build an author website that has your bio and your previous work. You can use your own website to host all of your content, like your tweets and social feed, a weekly blog, press releases, sample chapters, or a podcast. Encourage your website visitors to sign up for your email list; email marketing can be a great way to track engagement and build excitement for your launch.

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4. Prepare Advertising Materials.

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Once you start marketing your book, you’ll most likely have multiple marketing channels you should be posting to daily or weekly—and it’s easy to start feeling overwhelmed. Don’t put yourself in that position, where you expect yourself to come up with new content every day. Instead, plan ahead and prepare your content beforehand so you can schedule your posts in advance rather than creating all of your content the day of.

Take a moment to consider the type of content you want to post and what will get you the most engagement, and then create a calendar to schedule when you will post what content. Consider the following:

  • You can do giveaways for a free book where your followers tag their friends and have them follow for entries.
  • You can tease your cover design and eventually do a big book cover reveal across all of your channels.
  • Prepare a media kit—this is something that you can give to bookstores so that they have all the information they need to market your book. Your media kit should have a press release, your back-cover blurb, a list of your book signings, where to buy your book, and the publication date.
  • Make a list of blog-post topics and create a template for your email list. When it’s time to start your book promotion, you’ll have a schedule with all of your content ready for you to hit send.

5. Get Early Reviews.

Readers have a lot of books to choose from—and they don’t want to waste their time. Book reviews are extremely important in convincing a reader this book is worth their time and money.

Reach out to influencers, bloggers, fans of your genre, or popular reviewers and offer them a free copy for an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, your website, or anywhere else your book is being sold or searched. Reviews on many different sites can help build the perception that your book is being talked about; word of mouth is a powerful tool for book sales. On the day of your book launch, you’ll have multiple reviews queued up and ready to impress prospective buyers.

6. Accept Interviews and Speaking Opportunities.

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If you want to sell books, you need to get out there and sell your book. When your audience meets you in person and they hear how excited you are about your book, they’ll be much more likely to purchase.

Reach out to bookstores, libraries, schools, and other venues to plan book signings and guest lectures. Consider talking to media outlets like newspapers, literary journals and magazines, and popular websites to do an interview for your upcoming book. You could even write a guest post on another writer’s blog or be a guest on a podcast or radio show. Don’t wait for these opportunities to come to you—go out and find them!

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