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101 Book Marketing Ideas For All Budgets - Clearly Explained

image loading... by Bo Bennett, PhD, Founder of eBookIt
posted Saturday Jul 02, 2016 07:34 AM

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Founder of eBookIt

About Bo Bennett, PhD

I started eBookIt.com back in 2010, because, as an author, I was frustrated with the lack of options for e-publishing. We have helped thousands of clients publish their books over the years, and we are looking forward to helping thousands more.

Note: This article is available as a free ebook and audiobook that you can download here.

101 Book Marketing IdeasI am a self-published author who has published five books so far. One of my books does phenomenally well, two of my books bring in decent sales month after month, and the other two.... well, I would rather not talk about those. In addition to my own experience as an author, I am also the Founder of eBookIt.com—a company that has worked with thousands of authors and many more books since 2010. This experience has allowed me systematically to study book marketing strategies and use a large pool of data to see what works, what doesn't, and most important, under what conditions. The success of these strategies in this article depend on many factors, some of which include

  • the author's budget
  • the author's available time
  • the author's level motivation
  • the kind of book (fiction or non-fiction)
  • the specific genre
  • the audience
  • the talents of the author (e.g., public speaking skills, copy writing, design, etc.)

So when reading through this extensive list of book promotion and marketing ideas, keep these factors in mind.

Wasting Your Time and Money Marketing Your Book

Another important consideration is that even though this list is quite extensive, there are many more ideas that you might find by conducting a basic search on the Internet. If I wanted to, I could have wasted my time and yours, and included these ideas in this list. I didn't (you can thank me later). There are so many ideas that might sound good but are simply not worth the effort or money required. In fact, you might find that many of the ideas in this article are not worth the effort or the money. The only difference between those ideas on this list and those ideas that I left out is that the ideas I left out are pretty much not worth it for any author. As a point of reference, I have implemented about half of these strategies for my books and the other half are just not worth it to me based on the factors listed above. Again, consider each strategy and how you think it will work for you and your book.

Marketing Your Book: The Magic Bullet

I used to say that there was no "magic bullet" when it came to marketing a book, but in a sense, there actually is. The "magic bullet" of which I speak is the idea that success in this area is a result of dozens of ideas all combined and working in harmony. The more of these ideas you put into practice, the more likely your book will succeed. But unlike other "magic," this is neither simple nor easy. It does require effort, persistence, and patience. Come to think of it, this is nothing like a magic bullet. Okay, I guess there is no magic bullet.

Your Budget and Your Time: Without Either, You're Screwed.

If you have no budget, and you are not willing to put a considerable amount of time into marketing your book, then the best you can hope for is that your book is amazing and it goes viral on its own. That might happen, but the odds are greatly stacked against you. Many people have little to no budget for book marketing, and that's okay, as long as they are willing to invest their time and effort. Many people don't have the time and are not willing to put the effort into book marketing but have a decent-sized budget allocated to the endeavor, which is also okay (actually, as a company that provides book promotion services we really appreciate that!) A decent budget and your willingness to put in time and effort will maximize your book's chances of success.

Take the eBookIt Challenge!

Here is my challenge to you, whether or not you are an eBookIt.com client. Take three actions each day toward marketing your book. These can be as simple as asking three friends to review your book, or as major as having your book converted into an audiobook. This is all about momentum and holding yourself accountable for the success of your book. We have created a free tool where you can keep track of your three daily promotional efforts at https://www.ebookit.com/tools/3g/Bo/eBookIt . Registration is required, but anyone can use this, and all entries are private.

To Your Marketing Success!

Bo Bennett, PhD
Founder, eBookIt.com

101 Book Marketing Ideas

I have grouped these ideas by general category, although, many of them can easily be put into several categories. I had a difficult time assigning an importance to each step, as the importance of each step often depends on the factors previously mentioned. So I have defined importance in this context based on what I consider to be the average author with the average book. The ideas in the dark blue boxes with 3 stars are most important, those in the yellow boxes with two stars are of moderate importance, and those in the light blue boxes with one star are of least importance (but still worth doing for many authors!)

Full disclosure: in the "resources" for some steps, I have listed do-it-yourself solutions as well as professional services. When we (eBookIt.com) provide the professional services, we link to our services. Not only does this make sense from a business perspective, but I sincerely believe that there is no better service out there! We can actually implement most of these ideas for you through our comprehensive book marketing service.

Appealing to a Larger Audience

Some top ideas include making sure your book is available to readers. This might seem obvious, but many people just do not realize how important they are.

IDEA
1

Make Sure Your Book is Available for Sale With All the Major Retailers

   


The term "major retailer" is subjective, meaning that there are no standardized criteria for what makes a retailer "major," so here is my list of the places that your book should really be in order to maximize your sales.

If you have an ebook:

  • Amazon
  • Apple / iTunes / iBooks
  • Barnes & Noble
  • Ingram Digital
  • Google Play
  • Kobo

If you have a physical book (print on demand) your book needs to be with Lightning Source (they make your book available to virtually all retailers). There are alternatives to Lightning Source, but I like them the best. Just make sure whoever is distributing your print on demand book has a wide enough distribution.

If you are distributing your book yourself, you will not be able to get full market penetration because many of these mentioned retailers do not work with authors unless they have 5 or 10 books. This is why going through an aggregator or book distributor such as eBookIt.com is your best course of action.

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2

Make Sure Your Book Is Available in All Ebook Formats

   


If you only have your book in print, you are missing out on more than 50% of the market. If you have an ebook but only have your ebook in .mobi format for Amazon, you still are missing out on a huge segment of the ebook market. Make your sure book is in .epub, .mobi, and .pdf formats for maximum distribution. An exception to this rule is if you have a fixed-layout book where it is cost prohibitive to create the book for both Amazon and Apple, then just do what you can.

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Make Your Book Available In Print

 


If you book is only in ebook format, then it's not likely that you will sell your book to readers who don't read ebooks. As of this writing, physical books account for about 50% of the book market. However, I recommend that you establish a decent ebook sales track record first before jumping into the world of print books—especially if you do not have the technical and/or artistic talents of creating a print-ready interior and cover. Do the math. Having a print book available in addition to an ebook can, depending on the audience and book, essentially double your sales.

You might want to start with a hardcover, then make your book available in paperback. This has been the traditional pattern in publishing because hardcover books are generally more profitable.

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Make Your Book Available In Audio

 


The audiobook market is huge—2.8 billion dollars globally according to one estimate. It is clear that people like to listen to books when they drive, exercise, or otherwise cannot safely read. The question is, is your book right for audio? Some books, such as textbooks or photo books, do NOT make good audiobooks. However, most books do work very well in audio format. Although the cost of narration can be quite a bit for a long book, the sales and profitability of audiobooks can make it worthwhile.

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Translate Your Book In More Than One Language

 


If your book sells very well in English, the chances are it will sell well in Spanish, French, German, and perhaps many other languages. Do some market research and see if it makes sense to go through the expense of having your book translated. I have not used any translation services, so I am hesitant to recommend any, but a quick Google search turns up many results. One caution, however: do not rely upon Google Translate (or a similar automated translation tool) to accurately translate your book to another language. If you do use such a service, it is critical to have someone fluent in both languages review the translation, as many words have multiple meanings, and idiomatic expressions in one language often do not make sense in another language. Relying upon Google Translate is a sure way to disappoint readers and generate bad reviews. 


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6

Temporarily Lower the Price of Your eBook to $2.99 or $.99 USD

 


It is basic math—you will get more people to buy your book at a lower price than a higher one. Of course, profitability is what you should be most concerned about, but this idea is not about profitability; it is about increasing your exposure and getting more readers who will talk about your book and share it with others. This is a temporary strategy where you sacrifice some profit for promotion through the increased number of readers.

Doing It Better

While you probably already did a fantastic job with your book, there might be some things that you can do even better that will lead to more sales.

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7

Write a Book Description that Entices Prospective Readers to Buy

   


Your book description is your book's "sales copy." This is what prospective readers read when deciding if they want to buy your book or not. Treat the description as sales copy with the goal of having the prospective reader take action. Book descriptions should be about 3 paragraphs—not so short that the reader cannot tell what the book is about, and not so long that the reader will give up trying to find out what the book is about.

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8

Create an Attractive Cover

   


Readers do judge a book by its cover. Most readers perceive the attractiveness of the cover as an indicator of the overall quality of the book. A less than professional cover may communicate to readers that the author does not care that much about his or her book. If it appears not a lot of care went into the “outside” of the book, why should a reader expect a lot of effort went into the “inside”? If you have artistic talent or a little extra money, spend it on creating an attractive cover for your book.

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Have Your Book Professionally Proofread and/or Edited

 


Errors are common with self-published books, but they don't have to be. Free services exist that can help you find and correct a good chunk of the errors in your book, so at the very least, you should consider using one of these services. If you have the funds, it is wise to have your book professionally edited. Poor editing results in bad reviews and lower sales. Don't let this happen to your book.

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Harmless Bribery

Offering people an incentive for doing something works. There is a fine line that authors can (but should not) cross, such as paying someone who did not even read the book to leave a positive review. The kind of incentive I suggest in the following section is harmless, that is, not ethically objectionable (at least according to my ethical standards).

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10

Reward Your Fans

 


Do you have fans? I like to define “fans” as readers who are enthusiastic about your work. Let your fans know how much you appreciate them by showering them with gifts—advanced copies of your next book, special contact with you, t-shirts, autographed photos, etc. Rewarded fans will become more enthusiastic about your work and tell more people. This is what you want.


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11

Hold a Contest

 


What kind of contest can you hold that would also promote your book? If you are writing a sequel, you might have a contest to come up with a character name. Maybe you can create a fan fiction contest to see who can write the best short story based on your book? The options are endless, just make sure the prize is something of value to your readers and prospective readers.


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Set Up an Online Book Giveaway at Goodreads.com

 


Goodreads.com has a book giveaway opportunity for its members where authors give away any number of books to the winners. This is a solid way of promoting your book as well as receiving reviews (as winners are encouraged by Goodreads to write reviews).

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Give Away Your Books in Exchange for Reviews at LibraryThing

 


Similar to Goodreads, you can run a book giveaway at LibraryThing.com, but they have a specific program that requires readers give you reviews in exchange for free copies. This might not be the best idea if your book is not seen as favorable by the readers, so keep that in mind.

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Encourage Your Readers To Market Your Book Through an Affiliate Program

 


An affiliate program is a program in which people can make money by selling a product or service. In this case, the product is your book. Amazon has a very simple and immensely popular affiliate program that your readers can join and then market your book. I would suggest you provide your users with simple instructions to do this.

Another option is to create your own affiliate program through your own website. Setting this up requires some technical expertise. Ask your webmaster (if you have one).

Resources:


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15

Give a Portion of Your Sales to a Good Cause That Will Resonate with Your Readers

 


If your book is the kind of book that focuses on a social issue or cause, this might be the ideal marketing idea for you. Your readers might even buy your book simply to support the cause in which they obviously agree. Of course, you will be doing a good thing in the process—and the fact that you will sell more books is a nice side benefit :)

Internal Promotion

There are many ways you can create momentum within your existing readership. I refer to this as "internal promotion" because you are promoting to your existing readers, and not directly reaching out to new prospects.


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Advertise Your Previous Books in Each Book You Publish

 


It is not uncommon for authors to reserve a page in the back of their books to promote their other books. This usually just one page, which includes the title of the book, a description, cover image, and instructions on how to purchase. If you include too many pages, your book may get rejected by the major retailers for over-promoting.


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Provide a Way in Your Books for Readers to Contact You

 


Contact with readers can and often does lead to opportunities to expand your readership. Make sure you make it easy for your readers to contact you, such as including your website, email address, and social media links within the front or back matter of your book. We know some authors who have even listed their phone number. When you are so famous that you cannot handle communicating directly with your readers anymore, then hire a publicist.


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18

Create One or More Free Ebooks That Serve as "Teasers" for Your Book

 


The key here is to make sure the free ebook is not one big ad for your book. Think value. Since it is free, a little promotion is not a problem, but don't go overboard, and make sure the free ebook provides real value for the readers. People get annoyed with too much promotion. This idea is sponsored by eBookIt.com.


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19

Turn Each Chapter Into a Blog Post

 


This can be a risky move, but one that can pay off extremely well. Remember I said that one of my books does phenomenally well? This is my book Logically Fallacious, where I actually have 100% of the content online and available for free, without registration or condition. So why do so many people buy the book when all the content is available online for free?

  • Although the content is available, it is inconvenient to click through one section at a time to read all the content (it is not in friendly ebook format).
  • People generally do not read lots of content from their computers—they prefer print or ebook reading devices where they can read and relax.
  • The free content stimulates great interest in the book, which significantly increases sales
  • The content is shared (in link form) all over the Internet, which significantly increases sales

The bottom line: don't be greedy with your content. Sharing is a very good thing for sales (unless, of course, they are illegally sharing your complete ebook files).

Local Promotion

Although when it comes to promoting your book you usually want to think globally (or at least nationally), many books have special geographical significance and the marketing should focus on that geographical area (usually local to the author). But even with books that have no geographical significance, an author can take advantage of some local promotion techniques.


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20

Pitch Your Local Media

 


Depending on your local market, local media is usually hungry for anything even remotely newsworthy. If they have the opportunity to do a puff piece on a local author, they will probably take it. Do a little research and find your local media outlets. Think paper, radio, and television. Send them an introductory email making sure you stress the fact that you are local. Include a press release or press kit if you have one.


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21

Set Up a Book Signing Tour

 


When I published my first book, Year To Success, it was available in print, thus available to brick-and-mortar bookstores across the country. I contacted all the Barnes & Noble stores in a 60-mile radius and asked them if they could arrange a book signing. All of them agreed—until I told them my real name was Bo Bennett and not Tom Clancy. But seriously, most of them did agree. I am not going to sugar coat this experience... it was a lot of work and extremely frustrating at times when no one showed up. But if I had to do it all over again, I would, and here's why:

  • When you are scheduled for a book signing, the bookstore purchases many copies of your book from the distributor (usually a couple dozen). If you sign them all, the bookstore has to keep them and cannot return them.
  • You get to interact with readers in person, which can be both educational and rewarding.
  • You build awareness for your book.
  • You get to meet many great people, see new places and have unique experiences.

Books signings also give you something to promote on social media. Those in your social networks are less likely to be “offended” by posts promoting an event (compared with repeated posts asking people to “buy my book”). Bring someone along with you to take a photograph of you seated at the table with a stack of your books. Even if there is a low turnout, you can still do a follow-up post because those who didn’t attend will not know that the turnout was low! So post the photo(s), thank the hosting location, and thank those who attended. This will provide you another chance to mention your book to your social media contacts, but again, in a non-annoying way.


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22

Have a Book Release Party and Give Away Signed Copies

 


This is one of those ideas that I could never use—I am just not the host-my-own-book-party type of person. But many of our clients are, and many have had book launch parties and reported success. I would guess this would be a great idea if the author is already famous, or it is a launch of a sequel or a book that has been anticipated by local fans. This can be an effective way to build buzz around your book.


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23

Perform Book Readings or Presentations Based On Your Book at Local Venues

 


Here is where you need to take this general idea and do some brainstorming. The success of this idea depends greatly on your book, genre, and group that you might read to. Use the website meetup.com to search for local groups that would be a good fit for your book's content. Think about reserving a hotel meeting room and giving a presentation about your content (best if non-fiction) or if a fiction book, consider giving a presentation to aspiring writers on the writing and publishing process. Be creative!

Marketing Foundations

There are some strategies learned in Marketing 101 that are quite important when doing marketing for your book. These generally make all the other marketing and promotion go more smoothly and even make your efforts more successful.


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24

Identify Your Audience

   


This should be one of the first things you do when thinking about how to promote your book. Define your audience. Who are your readers? Think about demographics. For example, consider

  • age range
  • gender
  • geographic
  • belief system
  • political leaning
  • income
  • education
  • membership in certain organizations
  • any other demographical data that could help you with targeted marketing efforts.

Some authors create an imaginary composite of their target reader. They will name the person, imagine their personality, what they look like, etc. Some authors find this helps them tailor their marketing efforts and messages, because instead of trying to “write to the masses”, they can tailor their message to this one imaginary person, who represents their target audience. Whether you choose to use this technique or not, the point is to be sure to define your audience. Once you’ve done that, all your marketing efforts will be based on this audience, and that can save you lots of money and countless hours by not wasting your time going after the wrong readers.


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25

Identify Keywords Associated with Your Book

   


Keywords are used by virtually all of the major book retailers in the listing of your book. Although we don't know exactly how much weight they are given, in my experience, they are important—important enough to spend some time on defining. Keywords are even more important if you have a website. Think about what words your readers might search for when looking for your book. You are generally limited to about 7 keywords.

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26

Prepare an "Elevator Pitch" on Your Book

   


You should always be ready to give a very detailed, persuasive, and succinct (15-30 second) pitch for your book to anyone willing to listen. Ideal pitches are ones that evoke curiosity and persuade the person listening to want to buy—they are also ones that actually take place in an elevator because even people not willing to listen have no place to run.

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Collect Reader Feedback for Updates and Future Books

 


Accepting criticism on your writing is not easy. Not only is it an emotional process, but it is a personal one, as well. Do your best to disassociate yourself from your writing and try to be as objective as possible when feedback about your book is shared. You can take this feedback and make frequent updates to your book since both ebooks and print on demand are relatively easy and inexpensive to update. This process of continual improvement leads to a better product that is likely to sell better. A word of caution: sometimes people may fail to see your genius right away and some criticism is best ignored. Deciding what criticism to accept and which to ignore is the challenging part.

Networking

Networking is the process of communicating with others either locally or virtually, where the communication is focused on what you can do for them and what they can do for you. Of course, you can "wow" them with your book.


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Participate in Online Discussions

 


Do a little research to find online forums and discussion groups where you can participate and do subtle (non-spammy) promotion of your book. For example, as a social psychologist, I contribute to several online forums where my perspective adds to the conversation. In several of my posts, I might reference an article that I wrote on the topic being discussed. Those who click through will find many mentions of my books. This is a way to build your reputation as an expert in your chosen field.

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Make Use of Forum Signatures

 


When you participate in online discussions, be sure to make full use of your profile. This is how others find out more about you. Complete your bio, contact information, website URL, etc. Most important, if there is the option to add a signature to all of your posts, do it! This is the few lines of text that can link directly to your book on Amazon or your website.


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Participate in Joint Ventures

 


Think about other people or organizations who have large lists of members who might be interested in your book. How can you partner with these list owners to create a win-win situation?

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Old School Marketing

As new media rapidly takes over the old, the old media providers are getting desperate for business. This means you can generally find some great deals with these more traditional advertising and marketing methods. You can also reach a more "seasoned" demographic.


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Sell Your Books on Consignment

 


Retail outlets don't like risk, andif you have a self-published book, they will likely view your book as “risky”. To alleviate their concern and mitigate the risk, provide your books on consignment, which means you provide them inventory, but only charge them for the books they sell. It is a win-win arrangement because it will cost the retailer nothing, it costs you nothing, and you both have the opportunity to make money.


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Consider Selling Your Books In Bulk to Organizations

 


If you are an author of a book on how to sell real estate, then you might consider offering to sell a few cases of your books to local brokers who have many agents working under them. Of course, you would sell the books at a discount.


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Create Business Cards with Your Book's Information on Them

 


You want to hand these out to everyone you meet, and leave them behind when appropriate. Be proud of your book.


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Take Part in Some Old School Advertising

 


As online advertising begins to dominate, "old school" media is getting worried—and lowering their prices. This means you can find some great deals on newspaper, television, radio, advertising specialties (keychains, t-shirts, pens, etc.) and other forms of media that dominated when Madonna and Huey Lewis and the News topped the charts.


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Donate Copies of Your Book

 


By donating your book, you are essentially advertising. Consider your book as one big ad for your book! Readers talk about what they are reading and can be good word-of-mouth marketers for you. Some places you might want to consider donating your book:

  • doctor's offices, hair salons, or any places that have waiting rooms
  • homeless shelters
  • retirement homes
  • local libraries
  • senior centers
  • rehab centers

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Back-of-the-Room Sales

 


Whenever there is an event that attracts many prospective readers, consider setting up a table in the back of the room where you can sell your book. This is usually a given where you are a speaker at the event, but you might be able to work something out with the organizers of other events, as well.

Public Relations

Much of public relations has to do with dealing with "the press," which for our purposes is loosely defined as people or organizations that will help you promote your book. This also includes building your brand.


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Write a Press Release

   


The exercise alone of writing a press release (or working with a professional press release writer) helps you become a better salesperson of your own book and self-promoter. Once you write your press release, you can send it to your e-mail contacts or post it on your website.

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Distribute Your Press Release

   


Beyond just posting your release on your own site or sending it to your contacts, you should distribute it to media sources via one of the many PR aggregators. Some of these services have free press release distribution, and some charge hundreds of dollars. In my experience, the low-cost packages appear to be just as effective for authors as the higher cost packages.

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Create a PR Kit

 


A PR kit, or press kit, is material that authors send to media sources about their book. In the past, these were printed documents that authors paid thousands of dollars for. Today, this is unnecessary (and a waste of money, in my opinion). Press kits are now digital, usually in the form of a PDF file with external links to professional-quality photos of the book and author. Other content for a press kit may include author/publicist contact information, book excerpts, reviews, purchasing information, questions to ask for an interview, etc.

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Get a Professional Author Photo Taken

 


The author photo, like the cover, is a reflection of the book's content—at least as generally perceived by readers. Make sure your photo is a professional one and not a selfie.

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Leverage Your Contacts

 


Many people are uncomfortable with this idea, myself included. I have to convince myself that I am proud of my work and that my friends, family, and other contacts will get "social credit" by sharing my work. It doesn't hurt to ask your contact to share your book with their contacts, share your website, Amazon link, etc. Don't make it high pressure or too pushy, and it should be fine.


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Ask for Endorsements

 


A good endorsement can do wonders for book sales. In 2004, I got Donald Trump to endorse my book, Year To Success (this was Trump the business man, not Trump the politician). How did I do it? I asked him through a carefully-crafted and sincere personal letter, along with a copy of my book. In fact, I sent an endorsement request out to dozens of people, but only a few replied. This is a numbers game. Don't be afraid to ask.

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Become an Award-Winning Author and Advertise That

 


There are literally hundreds of contests you can enter that will allow you adopt the title "award-winning." Of course, anyone can make up an award so you will want to make sure the award actually means something. Google "book awards" and consider entering some of them.


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Use Google Alerts

 


Google Alerts is a free service that notifies you whenever a keyword or phrase is posted on the Internet. Set up a Google Alert for your name, and another for the title of your book. This is a great way to monitor buzz about you or your book, or follow discussions in which you can participate that relates to your book.

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Registering Accounts

I thought this category would be helpful and is worth separating from social media because a) the accounts described do not necessarily meet the criteria of social media and b) simply registering accounts and completing your profile can be of great benefit when it comes to marketing your book.


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Register at Amazon's Author Central

 


Since Amazon is likely to be the major source of your book sales, you really want to build your author profile there. Read their site for all the things you can do.

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Register as an Author at Goodreads.com

 


Here is another place where you can have a robust author profile, promote your books, and interact with readers.

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Register as an Author at LibraryThing.com

 


Here is another place where you can have a robust author profile, promote your books, and interact with readers.

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Claim Your Author Profile at BookBub

 


Here is another place where you can have a robust author profile, promote your books, and interact with readers.

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Become a HARO Source

 


HARO stands for "Helping A Reporter Out" and as the name implies, you become a source to reporters who are writing about your area of expertise. When you are quoted in an article, very often you can be identified how you like, such as "Dr. Bo Bennett, Author of Reason: Book I." Of course, depending on the source, this can be a fantastic way to build your credibility and sell more books.

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Reviews

Reviews are critical when it comes to sales. There are many creative ways to get favorable reviews but be forewarned, a bad book will eventually get bad reviews. These ideas are no substitution for a good quality book that readers will enjoy.


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Ask Readers To Post Reviews on Goodreads and Amazon

   


Unless you have negative reviews at other review sites (such as BN.com), I would not bother asking people to post reviews on any sites besides Goodreads and Amazon. Of course, some people don't have accounts on these sites and only have accounts at other online stores where they bought your book, so take what you can get. One of the best ways to get reviews is by offering free books in exchange for "honest and fair" reviews of your book. Positive reviews provide social proof for your book, and that can really help with sales.

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Ask Your Friends and Close Contacts to Review Your Book

   


This is another idea that I am personally not too comfortable with, but can be extremely effective (if you have supportive friends and close contacts). Make sure they actually have your book—don't ask for bogus reviews. Also, double check with the review policies on the sites where you are asking reviewers to post. For example, Amazon has strict rules about family members reviewing your book.


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Get Your Book Reviewed by Major Review Sources

 


It would be nice if the New York Times decided to review your book, but that is unlikely. But there are many smaller, but still influential sources in your niche that may be open to review your book.  Ask them! Also, consider paid review sources such as Kirkus Reviews.

Social Media

There are many social media platforms that one can use for book publicity and promotion. However, only a few of them are probably worth your time and effort. One can literally spend their entire day maintaining their social media accounts (and many do), but you are an author, not a 13-year-old. Rather than cheat you with dozens of ideas for each platform in different steps, many ideas are combined into each idea in the following section.


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Use Facebook

 


As of July 2016, Facebook has over a billion monthly visitors. It is an incredibly diverse demographic of users and presents many opportunities for publishers. Here are some ideas you should consider when using Facebook:

  • Create a fan page for yourself as an author (if you have or plan to have multiple related books) or create a fan page for your book.
  • Share your blog/web content.
  • Consider using Facebook's targeted marketing campaigns to reach more readers.
  • Ask people to post reviews on your Facebook page.
  • Create a Facebook group to discuss topics relevant to your book.
  • Engage with your fans/readers/prospective readers on Facebook by commenting and liking.
  • Ask your fans to post pictures of themselves holding your book.

Resources:


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Use YouTube

 


YouTube also has over a billion visitors per month and can be an excellent way to attract new readers and interact with existing ones.

  • Create a robust profile.
  • Share your blog/web content in video format (takes work and may not be worth it).
  • Look for videos related to your content and participate in the comments, sharing your video(s).
  • "Respond" to videos from other users with your own.
  • Post your own content related to your book.
  • Create a playlist on your own channel that contains videos related to your content—or videos that your prospective readers would particularly enjoy.

Resources:


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Use Twitter

 


The great thing about Twitter is that posting and responding are very quick, because you are limited to only 140 characters. Although Twitter does not currently have as many users as Facebook or YouTube, there are still too many users to ignore this popular resource.

  • Create a robust profile.
  • Share your blog/web content.
  • Create a Twitter account for yourself as an author (if you have or plan to have multiple related books) or create an account for your book.
  • Consider using Twitter's targeted marketing campaigns to reach more readers.
  • Create a hashtag related to your book and ask a controversial question
  • Engage with your fans/readers/prospective readers on Twitter by replying and favoring tweets.
  • Ask your fans to post pictures of themselves holding your book.
  • Link your book to trending topics (providing you have a reason to, that is, it is somehow related to the trending topic).

Resources:


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Use LinkedIn

 


LinkedIn is considered more of a professional network, and writing a book is certainly a professional endeavor. There are several ways you can make use of this tool.

  • Provide another way to interact with your readers.
  • Share your blog/web content.
  • Build a robust profile and list your books you have written.
  • Participate in the many groups that might be relevant to your book.

Resources:


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Use Google+

 


Google Plus is a social network on Google. Again, there are many people who use this—many of whom can be your readers or prospective readers.

  • Create a robust profile.
  • Share your blog/web content.
  • Connect with readers and prospective readers.

Resources:


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Use Pinterest

 


Pinterest is a content sharing service that allows members to "pin" images, videos and other objects to their pinboard. Again, many prospective readers use this tool.

  • Create a robust profile.
  • Share your blog/web content.
  • Connect with readers and prospective readers.
  • Consider making images or memes of some key quotes in your book and pinning them.

Resources:

Using E-mail

E-mail is still one of the most useful tools in any marketer's bag of tools, and book marketers are no different. Whatever you do, avoid spamming. If you don't know what constitutes spamming, Google it before you participate in any kind of e-mail campaign.


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Update Your E-mail Signature

   


Your e-mail signature is the text or image that comes after every e-mail you send. Take advantage of this and make sure you let people know about your book! You may also want to provide a link to the book. For example,

--------------------------------------------------
Dr. Bo Bennett, Author of Logically Fallacious
https://www.logicallyfallacious.com

Be sure to update this signature on all your devices: Desktop computer, mobile device, Gmail, etc.


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Create a Mailing List

 


Every good marketer should have an e-mail list or two: one for existing customers and perhaps one for prospective customers. Authors can get away with a single list because it is difficult to keep track of who has your book and who doesn't. You will want to send regular mailings out to this list. Engage your list members, provide them with information, and also ask them to buy!

Using Video

Video is a very powerful way to communicate and sell, but it is also something that takes skill and/or money.


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Create a Video Book Trailer

 


Video book trailers can be very effective if done properly. Not everyone has a $10,000 budget to produce a 3-minute trailer on par with best-sellers, but that is not the only way to make a trailer that sells books and attracts more readers. You can do it yourself if you have the right equipment, or pay for a professional service that does something for you for less than $1000. You can see the trailer I created for my book, Logically Fallacious, here. It did not cost me anything (besides my dignity), but it did take me several hours of filming and editing. I also used equipment I already had including an HD camcorder, a wireless mic, and video editing software.


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Create a Viral Video that Promotes Your Book

 


This is kind of like telling you to "write a book that will sell millions of copies" in that the "viralness" of a video really is not up to you, but up to the response of the viewers. That being said, there are things you can do to increase the chances that a video will go viral. For a hilarious example of this, see here.


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Ask for Video Testimonials

 


Ask your readers to video record testimonials for your book and upload them to YouTube. You can link to them from your website or blog.


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64

Give a Webinar to Aspiring Writers

 


Giving a webinar is quite easy with the software available these days. Do a little research and give this a try. In your webinar, use your book as an example and make sure the participants know how to get your book. You may also want to give them a special discount.

Website Marketing

Many non-technical authors don't like to hear this, but having your own website is a must. And by "must" I mean that it is well worth the money in exposure, credibility, and sales. Website hosting fees range from free to thousands of dollars per month. Obviously, a thousand-dollar-per-month website is an overkill for a self-published author, and I would strongly recommend staying far away from the free sites. Check out HostingAuthors.com that I designed specifically for authors and book websites. The ideas in this section are mostly ideas that can be applied to any author/book website, but some of the ideas rely on the tools built for HostingAuthors.com clients.


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Get a Website!

   


Decide if you want to have an author website focusing on you or several of your books, or a book website where the website is dedicated to just one book. If you have the resources, I would suggest dedicating one website to each book, providing the books are different enough. For example, if you have a series of books, you should just have one website for the series.

Resources:


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Create an Author Blog

   


This is the best way to keep your readers updated, attract new readers by posting articles using keywords prospective readers are searching, and keep readers interested in your content. Blog software is often included as part of your hosting package.


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Have a "Contact the Author" Link That Goes to a Contact Form

   


Don't use an e-mail address for this, use a web-based contact form to prevent spam. You will need to make it very easy for people to contact you. It could be the media, booksellers, or the Pope trying to get in touch with you.


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Optimize Your Website

 


Search engine optimization, or SEO, is a vital part of having a website. Not doing SEO is like having a pool and not putting in any chemicals, not vacuuming it, and not covering it in the winter. Doing SEO right can bring countless new prospective readers to your website. This is something that can be learned, but it is not easy. You might also want to consider hiring a reputable firm.

Resources:


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Make Regular Blog Posts That Are Optimized for Your Keywords

 


Google likes an active website—one with content that is fresh and frequently changing and being updated. Use your blog to write articles that search engines will "like" based on the keywords associated with your book (the keywords that you established in an earlier idea).


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Display a Calendar of Events

 


If you have several speaking gigs lined up, will be signing books at different locations, or are doing some virtual (or in person) meetups, use an interactive calendar tool to display these events so your readers will know how and when they can interact with you. HostingAuthors.com comes with a calendar program ideal for this purpose.


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Invite Guest Bloggers To Post on Your Blog

 


Why would someone else do all the work for you? Because they can benefit from your name or reputation. You benefit by having an article that your readers/prospective readers will like.


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72

Sell Your Autographed Book(s) From Your Own Bookstore

 


You can't autograph ebooks and you can't autograph your print books sold on Amazon or through other distributors who use the print-on-demand service for your books, but you can purchase a small supply of your own books and sign them on demand for those who buy them through your website. You can charge a premium for this. You will need to ship them, but that is not too much of a hassle if you are not far from a post office.


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Create a Testimonial Page on Your Website

 


Buyers like social proof. We like to know that others have purchased your book and were happy with the purchase. This is why reviews are so important. A testimonial is a form of review, but it is usually solicited by the author (although sometimes readers who love your book may send you an unsolicited review). Include these on your website.


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Create an Impressive "About the Author" Page

 


If you wrote a fiction book, this is less of a selling point and more of a way to satisfy the curiosity of your readers. But if you are non-fiction author then this is your chance to sell yourself (don't hold back)! Convince prospective readers that you are a qualified and credible source of information on your topic.


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Link Your Social Media Accounts To Your Website

 


Your website should your central hub online, where all of your content can be found. Make sure you make it easy for your readers and prospective readers to find all of your social media sites.


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Link Build

 


Link building is a technique to increase your website's visibility in the search engines by getting other websites to link to your book.

Resources:


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Provide Free Samples of Your Book

 


Samples entice buying, and samples are sometimes shared. When you create your ebook, create sample files that provide the start of your book. Depending on the length of your book, I’d recommend approximately 10-25% of the book Make these sample files in as many formats as you can (.mobi, .epub, .pdf) and make sure users can easily download them from your website.


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Create an "Ask The Author" Resource

 


If using HostingAuthors.com, the Q&A Tool can be used for an "ask the author" resource where your readers will use the online form to ask questions and you, as the author, provide public answers that are searchable and browsable.

Resources:


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Turn Your Non-Fiction or How To Book Into an Online Course

 


You can use audio, video, and interactive tools to enhance your book in an online course and find a whole new source of readers and revenue. Take a look at the examples below. This online course software is part of the premium HostingAuthors.com package.

Resources:


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Create a Multi-Media Introduction To Your Book

 


If you lack the equipment and software, consider using the multi-media presenter tool at HostingAuthors.com to easily create an online presentation of your book. (I have used several examples of these in the Resources section throughout the book).


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Create Multiple E-mail Lists That Users Can Subscribe To

 


We talked about creating one or maybe two lists, but if you have software that allows (like the Relationship Manager with HostingAuthors.com), you can create many more lists that are specialized for individual books or topics.


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82

Bring In Prospects Through a Google AdWords Campaign

 


Google AdWords is a wonderful way to bring in serious revenue, but I have generally not found it to be successful when trying to sell books. This is because books are one-time, low-profit purchases, which make it difficult to justify spending more than 50 cents or so per click. However, if your goal is to get exposure, then this can be worth the investment. (Perhaps Oprah will see your ad!)

Resources:


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83

Sell Themed Merchandise That Promotes Your Book

 


How cool would it be to have pens, t-shirts, coffee mugs, and other items with your book details on them? There are places on the Internet where you can get these items for little investment and sell them through your own online store. This can be a nice little side income as well as a way to promote your book.

Resources:


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84

Send Video Postcards

 


Video postcards is a tool in the HostingAuthors.com suite of tools for authors that allows you to record a video of yourself and send it via social media or e-mail with a fancy postcard design. This is a different way to get attention and spread buzz about your book. You can also use our free tool for this (registration is required). Use your book image as the stamp! See the resources below.

Resources:


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85

Use Custom Webpages to Create a Full PR Kit Online

 


Since downloading is still an extra action the user has to take, providing your press kit in HTML format is preferable to many users.


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Use the Appointment Manager to Organize and Accept Appointments from Media Sources

 


The Appointment Manager, a HostingAuthors.com tool, allows you to set your general schedule while users select dates and times to schedule time with you. It makes you look important :)


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Auction Yourself, Signed Books, or Other Unique Items Associated With Your Book

 


Unlike a regular online store, selling via auction works well for unique items of limited quantity that have no set price, but whose price is based on how much the market will bear. As an author, you can auction off your time in the form of lunch dates with fans, private readings at birthday parties, etc. You can also auction off signed copies of your book. The auction idea works great if you do have many fans, otherwise attempting to auction these things will just lead to a bruised ego and a night of heavy drinking.


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Create a "Who's Who" Character List From Your Book

 


This works best for fiction books, but can work for non-fiction books with several characters. Create a sort-of biography for each character. HostingAuthors.com provides the "People Tool" for this purpose.

Working With Bloggers

Bloggers can be more effective than journalists from major media outlets because bloggers can often expose your book to a more highly-targeted audience of readers within your niche. A blogger can be an author's best friend!


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Identify Bloggers Who You Would Want Writing About Your Book

 


The easiest way to do this is by Googling keywords associated with your book and looking at the bloggers that come up near the top of your list. Find the contact information for these bloggers.


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Offer Bloggers Advanced Copies of Your Book

 


Bloggers want some kind of advantage over other bloggers. Offer (one of them at a time) an advanced copy of your book if they agree to write about it. Make sure you put an expiration date and time on the offer, because when you move on to the next blogger, you don't want multiple bloggers accepting your offer. Keep in mind that this is a risk because if they don't like your book, they can trash it. Choose your bloggers wisely and look at how they treated other authors in the past.

If your book is already released, then just offer them a free copy if they would consider reviewing it. Don't make reviewing your book a condition of you sending them the book.


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Become a Guest Blogger

 


Do some guest blogging. Remember where we suggested that you invite guest bloggers on your blog? This is the reverse. Both parties need to benefit, so explain how you will write a great article that will attract readers for the blogger. Make sure you promote your book in the article so it is worth your time.


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Become an Active Commenter On Other Blogs

 


You would want to do this on the blogs you have identified earlier. Your comments should contain value (to the readers, not just you) and still subtly promote your book. Or, you can promote your book in your profile and just let people who like what you have to say check out your profile. It is all about exposure.

Working With Podcasters

Podcasters, like bloggers, can be an excellent resource for authors. If you are fairly eloquent and comfortable on radio, consider these ideas.


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93

Identify Podcasters You Would Want Talking About Your Book

 


I prefer using iTunes to search words relating to my book and find the podcasts that come up first. Then, you can find the website associated with the podcasts and ultimately find the contacts for the podcasts. Virtually all podcasts have listener feedback e-mail addresses or phone lines.


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Offer Podcasters Advanced Copies of Your Book

 


Like bloggers, podcasters want some kind of advantage over other podcasters. Offer (one of them at a time) an advanced copy of your book if they agree to either speak about it on their podcast or have you on the show to speak about it (preferred). Make sure you put an expiration date and time on the offer, because when you move on to the next podcaster, you don't want multiple podcasters accepting your offer. The same warning goes for podcasters as with bloggers—keep in mind the possibility that they may not like your book.

If your book is already released, then just offer them a free copy if they would consider having you on their podcast. Don't make this a condition of you sending them the book.

Other Ideas

These ideas are just some other ideas that did not fit neatly in any of the previous categories, or did, but they were late ideas that have come in after the numbering was done and I was too lazy to put them in the correct category and renumber everything.


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95

Come Up with a Killer Title

   


The title of your book can lead to more sales and certainly more buzz if chosen correctly. Although somewhat of a cheap trick that plays on people's weaknesses for instant gratification, simplicity, or curiosity, appealing to this nature can get people talking about your book. Here are some examples of turning decent titles into titles that get buzz.

  • The Story of Rocco and Andy vs. Forbidden Romance: The Story of Rocco and Andy
  • Learning Math vs. Become a Math Whiz in 21 Days
  • Book Marketing Ideas vs. 101 Book Marketing Ideas for All Budgets That Will Make You Filthy Rich, Make Other People Envious of You, and Solve the Problem of World Hunger

(I may have gone a bit too far on that last one.)


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Display Your Book at a Trade or Bookshow

 


There are many of these kinds of shows all over the world, some of which might be free for exhibitors, and some which can cost thousands of dollars even for a small booth.


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Follow Up

 


So far you have been introduced to many ideas that require communication between you and another party. Often, the proverbial ball is in their court. You want the ball in your court—make sure you keep track of who you are contacting and follow up to make sure they did not forget about you.


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Send Postcards via Snail Mail

 


Consider getting postcards printed advertising your book and purchasing a list of addresses of prospects that match your demographic. This can be a costly option, so make sure your list is well-defined.


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Pitch Story Ideas

 


When working with the media, bloggers, or podcasters, pitch story ideas rather than your book. For example, if your book is about saving the rainforest, think of piggy-backing off of a story that is currently in the news. Perhaps you would pitch a story about how the current presidential candidates' policies would affect the rainforest.


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See What Your Competition is Doing

 


What authors are you competing with? What are they doing? What do their websites look like? How about their Amazon profiles? Can you find them on Google? Do they display their books at tradeshows, and if so which ones? Learn as much as you can about them. This information will help give you some ideas on how to promote your book.


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Apply a Healthy Dose of Skepticism Before Paying Anyone To Market Your Book For You

   


Book marketing and promotion takes time and effort for results to materialize, and you can never really know with certainty that a specific effort led to a successful outcome. For this reason, there are many people who use this to their advantage and make pie-in-the-sky promises about getting "amazing" results. If you don't get the results you hoped for, it could be just that your book wasn't good enough, and they are off the hook. Ask questions. Think about how much they are asking for and if you are willing to risk that amount. Consider their reputation. As an author who wants desperately for their book to succeed, you are more likely to subconsciously ignore the warning signs that the person you are working with is a con-artist, or at least not being very truthful with you. Skepticism is my area of academic expertise so I hope you will seriously consider this idea; it could save you lots of time, money, and frustration.

Bonus Ideas

As long as the ideas keep coming in...

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Bring In Prospects Through a Facebook Ad Campaign


Facebook provides amazing targeted marketing which works very well for most authors. For example, if you want to get your book in the hands of professors, you can do this through Facebook. Unlike Google where the person has to be searching for something related to your book, Facebook shows prospects your ad based on their demographics and/or interests.


Wrapping It All Up

I have presented you with a lot of ideas for marketing your book. I have noted which I think are of the highest importance, mid importance, and low importance, and provided some resources for the ideas where appropriate. It is now up to you to put some of these ideas to work for you. Again, I suggest challenging yourself and keeping track of your efforts using the "3 Daily Book Marketing Efforts" at https://www.ebookit.com/tools/3g/Bo/eBookIt.

Good luck. Now go sell your book!


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