The Complete Guide to Book Marketing
Publishing your work doesn’t have to be a difficult, complex process.
Publishing a book can feel like a monumental task, especially when you do it on your own. There’s a whole world of design choices, marketing strategies, and printing options that you need to navigate before your book finds its audience. Count on Palmetto Publishing to guide you along the way.
To stand out in today’s competitive book market, it’s essential to know how to market a book. You’ve done the hard work and finally completed your masterpiece. Now, it’s time to turn that work into a product that actually reaches your audience.
As an author, marketing might not be your forte, and figuring out how to grow an audience for your work can seem daunting. Luckily, marketing is actually about storytelling, too— it’s about communicating an idea with an audience that grabs their attention.
In this complete guide to marketing a book, we’re going to break down everything you need to know to actually sell your work. From finding your audience to Amazon marketing, keep reading to learn how to get your work into your readers’ hands.
Understanding Your Market
Before implementing any book marketing strategies, you need to understand your market. For each genre of book, there is a slightly different market and audience. To understand your market, you will need to do research on your book’s genre, bestsellers in your genre, and the demographic of your genre. Consider collecting research on the following:
- Best-selling genres on Amazon
- Titles, covers, and content of bestsellers
- Best-selling books within your genre
- Online presence of bestselling authors in your genre (social media, websites, Amazon profiles, etc.)
- Types of people reading your genre
- What readers look for in a book with your genre
This process is called market research, and it’s essential for figuring out how to successfully market your product. Take note of all your observations, and save them for future reference.
Marketing to Your Audience
Now that you’ve done some market research, it’s time to narrow down your audience. Rather than marketing your book to everyone, it’s best to get specific about who you’re targeting. The type of person who reads your genre will be the audience you want to focus on. These people will be the most interested in actually reading your book, after all.
Think back to the demographic of your book’s genre. What kind of person reads this genre? How old are they? What is their income level? How much do they read? What interests them? What style of cover do they gravitate toward? Get specific and create a reader avatar for your book, or the theoretical person who will read your book. As you’re marketing your book, look back to your reader avatar and make sure you’re marketing directly to them.
For example, if your reader loves to fill their shelves with aesthetically-pleasing covers, you’ll need to make sure your cover catches their eye. If your reader is obsessed with all things fantasy, you’ll want to share fantasy-related posts on social media. If your reader doesn’t enjoy long reads, you’ll need to make sure your book is the right length.
Focusing on a specific person to market to will make your book marketing strategies more successful. You will be able to authentically speak to your audience and engage them with your work, which is essential for making sales.
Online Book Marketing
In the digital age we live in, it’s essential to use online platforms to promote your book. Building an online presence can help you reach hundreds, thousands, or even millions of potential readers. Scaling online audiences, however, takes a lot of time and effort. Thus, it’s important to get started as soon as possible — even before your book is released.
You can use a variety of different platforms for online marketing, such as social media, author websites, and Amazon profiles. There are also different book marketing strategies to keep in mind like email marketing, search engine optimization (or “SEO” for short), paid advertisements, and more.
Social Media Marketing
Social media is perhaps the largest aspect of online marketing. Growing an audience on social media platforms is one of the best ways to get sales for your book. Posting on social media is free, making it one of the most accessible marketing strategies out there.
The hardest part about social media marketing is growing your initial audience. It takes a lot of time and dedication, but once you have an established audience, you’ll be able to directly engage with them.
With all the social media platforms out there, it’s key to make sure you’re using the right one(s) for your audience. Each social media platform also has specific types of content and ways to grow followings. Optimizing your social media strategy takes trial and error, so the best thing you can do to grow your online presence is to start now.
With the largest audience of all social media platforms, Facebook is one of the best social networks to grow your online audience. Facebook is particularly successful for reaching an older audience, with the majority of users being ages 25–50.
To grow a Facebook audience, you can start a Facebook page for yourself or your book, and start posting organically. Some tips to grow a following are to use relevant hashtags, post quality content, and join Facebook groups for authors.
Facebook is an excellent platform to utilize paid ads. Facebook ads have the best return on investment compared to other social media ads.
YouTube is an excellent and often overlooked platform for growing an audience for your book. Here, you can create your own YouTube videos to promote your book. You can share book-reading videos, videos about your writing process, and more.
YouTube also has a community dedicated to discussing books, called BookTube. As an author, you can collaborate with BookTubers to promote your book in their videos. BookTubers with large audiences — those with hundreds of thousands to millions of subscribers — may charge higher costs to collaborate with. New BookTubers or ones with smaller audience reach may be willing to review your book by simply being offered a free copy.
Instagram is one of the best platforms to promote your book, but it can also be the hardest platform on which to grow an audience from scratch. Using relevant hashtags such as #bookstagram and interacting with fellow authors will be essential to growing your following.
Instagram also offers paid ads, which can bring in direct sales and grow a following at the same time. Like YouTube, Instagram also has book influencers to potentially collaborate with.
If your book is targeted to young adults, TikTok is a must for gaining a following. TikTok has the potential to create an audience fast, with the ability to go viral more possible here than on any other platform.
Just like #bookstagram, TikTok has #BookTok for the book-loving community. To get started on TikTok, create quality videos that your audience will enjoy. Then, interact with the BookTok community by following accounts and commenting on their videos.
Twitter is also a helpful platform for authors to use. Here, you can network with fellow authors, promote your book, and engage with readers in your genre. Replying to related tweets is a great way to interact with accounts and grab people’s attention.
Seeing one’s book in the window of their favorite bookstore is every author’s dream. However, it’s important to remember that Amazon is still the number one book retailer. Amazon rules the market, and most of your book sales will come from Amazon. Luckily, since Amazon is the ruler of the publishing industry, it can also be used to your advantage.
To successfully market your book on Amazon, it’s important to have a quality book page. The book page is where your book is listed for sale, and it includes:
- Photos of your book
- A description of your book’s plot
- Press reviews
- Amazon customer reviews
You’ll want your page to hook readers with an interesting description. Think back to your reader avatar and make sure you’re speaking to them here. You’ll also want to optimize your page with keywords and the right categories.
Keeping it more specific than broad will help you reach a smaller number of the right readers, rather than a larger number of the wrong readers. Once your page gains more visibility, Amazon will actually do the work for you and suggest your book to readers with similar interests.
Another tool to consider with Amazon is pre-orders. Setting up pre-orders before your official launch is a great way to boost your launch’s success. Selling pre-orders on Amazon is particularly useful because readers can leave their reviews directly on your book page.
Paid advertisements are a great investment for boosting your book sales. In addition to purchasing paid ads on Facebook and Instagram, you can also use Amazon and Google ads.
Amazon ads are useful as they target people who are already browsing books to buy. Amazon ads boost your book in the search results and suggested products section. It’s important to make sure your book page will actually interest those it’s suggested to by optimizing your page to that specific audience.
Google ads boost your book link to the top of the search results. It’s an effective way to reach new audiences online. To ensure your Google ad is worth your money, you can run a pay-per-click ad, meaning you only pay if your link is actually clicked on. Paid ads might require some trial and error to see what works best for you, but it’s worth the effort.
Another essential step to marketing your book is creating an author website. Your website will be the central point for your readers, publishers, press, etc. to both learn more about and stay connected with you. On your site, you can publish news, gain email subscribers, link social media accounts, direct readers to purchase your work, and provide a contact option.
To gain traffic to your website, you’ll need to use search engine optimization, or SEO, to rank higher in search results. To improve SEO, you can write blog posts with internal linking and keywords. You can also link your site on social media platforms to boost SEO. This shows search engines like Google that your site is popular and legitimate.
Just like with writing a book, you want to make sure your site has a specific voice that remains consistent and appeals to your audience. An author site should also have a clean design that’s easy to navigate. Palmetto Publishing offers an Author Website package for $1,799 to create the perfect custom website for you and your work.
Email marketing is another useful tool for book marketing. Creating a mailing list and sending author newsletters, book updates, and other content your audience will enjoy is a great way to build an engaged community.
To grow your mailing list, set up a subscription section on your website. You can incentivize people to subscribe to emails by offering:
- Exclusive access to blogs, news, and book sneak-peaks
- Pre-orders and early access to books
- Entry to your gated website
- Discounts on books or merchandise
Make sure to nurture your mailing list and stay consistent — this is your tight-knit community of people who are truly interested in your work.
Your mailing list subscribers are some of the best people to market your book launch to. You can also utilize your mailing list to ask for reviews on your website or Amazon page. You might want to consider giving your subscribers early access to your books and encouraging them to leave reviews before your official launch.
Similar to collaborating with BookTubers and #bookstagram influencers, you can collaborate with book websites and blogs to promote your work. You can also connect with media outlets to gain exposure through radio, podcast, and magazine interviews.
A press release helps get the word out on your upcoming book launch, and it’s a great way to attract some attention. Press releases can also lead to other kinds of media exposure. Press releases require a specific format that top publishers expect to see. Palmetto Publishing offers press release and distribution services to over 780,000 media contacts and up to 1,000 media outlets.
How Much Does it Cost to Market a Book?
Although marketing a book could cost as little as $0 with organic marketing, you will likely see the best results from investing more in your marketing strategies. The cost to market one’s book typically ranges from $50 to over $2,000 depending on the services.
Investing money in a professional publisher is often the key to a book’s success. Palmetto Publishing offers a full Marketing Package for only $1,899 that includes a press release, press release distribution, marketing copy, and more.
Collaborate With Book Marketing Experts
Hiring a professional marketing team for your book can help you optimize your sales and let you focus on what you do best: being an author. Plus, it’s more affordable than you might think.
Palmetto Publishing is a top-tier publishing company offering quality book marketing services for independent authors — including marketing copy, press releases, author websites, and more. Reach out today to finally get your book into the hands of your readers.