You’ve written a book. You’ve gone through the book printing process and found online retailers that will list your book for sale. Now you wait for the sales to come rolling in. Right?
First, you need to tell people your book exists.
A profitable book marketing strategy will get traffic to those book-selling sites. But don’t worry if you’re not a marketer. These simple techniques will help you build an audience and get your work into readers’ hands.
Finding Your Audience
Your first step is to find your audience— the people who want to buy your book. Marketing is much easier and more effective if you reach people who are a good match for your book.
Are you a young adult (YA) author? You’ll want to get your book on BookTok and #bookstagram. They’re the book-loving communities of TikTok and Instagram, the go-to platforms for young readers.
Facebook is the place to be if your readers span a broader or older age range. It also lets you run paid ads to target a particular audience group, like romance novel readers in their 30s. Targeting audiences helps you identify what kinds of people would read your book.
Online Book Marketing
For best results, mention your book on multiple online channels; social media and paid ads are must-haves.
Social Media Marketing
Social media book marketing is all about building relationships. Someone who finds you on Instagram won’t always run out to buy a copy of your book. But, they might follow you and get familiar with your work.
Google “social media demographics” to learn where your reader base hangs out, then set up accounts there.
Post to those accounts regularly. Add bi-weekly or weekly reminders to your calendar if it helps. You can also boost your presence by purchasing ads on your favorite platforms.
Amazon makes it easy for authors to advertise their books on its platform. When you log into your account, set up a campaign for your book and choose the best keywords to target for your novel or genre. Not sure what keywords will work best? Automatic targeting lets Amazon choose your keywords for you.
The downside is that Amazon will only advertise books sold on its platform. All your other sales will need another channel.
Google and Other Paid Ads
Paid search ads, also known as pay-per-click (PPC) ads, bump your book listing to the top of a search page. Yes, it costs money, but it increases your chances of reaching new audiences.
The best place for new authors to run paid ads is on Google. It gives you the largest potential audience and is an intuitive platform to use.
To run a PPC campaign, create an ad and bid the amount you’re willing to pay each time someone clicks on it. You choose the search terms you want to compete for, and if your bid wins, Google will run the ad at the top of search pages.
Optimizing Your Author Site
Ads and social media pages are great, but they’re not enough. You also need a website dedicated exclusively to you and your writing — yes, even if you’re a first-time author.
What Is an Author Website?
Your website is your home base on the internet. It should include:
- Your author bio
- A contact page with your preferred information
- A media page with links to your social accounts, articles about your book, etc.
- A mailing list signup page where people can opt into updates
Also, make sure your site is attractive to search engines. This process is called search engine optimization (SEO), possibly the most important concept in digital marketing.
SEO for Independent Authors
Your website’s ranking on search results pages matters. The top result gets more clicks by a long shot, and fewer than 1% of searchers click on a second-page result.
These can be scary statistics for new authors. If you just wrote a book on gardening and want to rank for searches like “healthy gardenias” how can you compete with the top sites already out there?
The short answer? Keywords.
Keywords are the phrases people use to search for your book or topic. Search engines use keywords to match a user’s search intent with websites that will help.
Keywords for Author Websites
You want to rank for terms that will lead a reader to your book. That means:
- Identifying the keywords your readers would use
- Integrating those words into your website text
Fiction authors will probably use keywords related to their genre, such as “mystery novel” or “romance author”. In the nonfiction space, your keywords will relate to your topic like “gardening books” or “budgeting for couples.”
Use your target keywords in each of your page titles — known to techies as Title Tags — and in your page content.
Keywords are important for SEO, but they’re not everything. Your site also needs to be cleanly laid out with sections and headlines. Plus, the text needs to be easy to read.
Readable online content has short paragraphs and snappy sentences. If you’re a flowery prose writer, have someone else read your website content or plug it into a site like the Hemingway App, which will scan for easy readability. You may love words, but search engines prefer simplicity.
Websites also love fresh content, so add to your website regularly. One way to do this is to start a blog. You can cover anything related to your topic, from “trends in 21st-century science fiction” for the sci-fi author to “best fertilizers of the year” for the nonfiction gardening guru.
Bringing Your Book to the World
Book marketing can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Palmetto Publishing is a top-tier self-publishing house that can help you every step of the way, starting with book editing and a polished, professionally designed book. We offer book layout help that touches on all important elements, such as:
Palmetto also offers professional book marketing services customized to your needs. Order services a la carte or choose our popular book marketing package.
Not sure what you need? We can help with that too. Reach out today to get started. Your readers are waiting.