Writing a book can be a daunting project without having to worry about sales. Many new authors self-publish or partner with a small publishing company. In both cases, they usually do not have the staff, budget or expertise to properly execute a communications plan.
According to The Authors Guild 2015 Member Survey, authors’ time spent marketing and communicating with readers skyrocketed by 59% since 2009. They believe the increase stems from traditional publishers’ promotional budgets drying up and newer contracts requiring authors to maintain a web and social media presence on their own. Unfortunately, their PR and marketing efforts usually consist of a sole press release announcement and minimal social media postings because they are busy orchestrating sales opportunities with online vendors and local and national bookstores.
At Blu Lotus, we help guide authors through integrated public relations and marketing strategies that can help increase sales by promoting their brand and book. This allows authors to focus on their writing and vendor relationship management. To help new authors, we’ve highlighted three areas in which they can leverage to promote a new book.
With tight budgets, social media marketing – both paid and organic – can be a huge driver in book sales and promotion. Paid social media efforts allow you to pinpoint advertising to a very specific set of target audiences that can be much more effective than a traditional advertisement, saving you money and producing a better return on investment (ROI).
Facebook has more than one billion people active on its platform. If you’re promoting a children’s Christmas book through Facebook, advertising filters will allow you to specifically target those interested in the holiday and parents with toddlers (1-2 years) and preschoolers (3-5 years) all on one platform. With other digital and traditional ad buy options, money is wasted by spending advertising dollars in multiple places to hit the same types of people. Facebook also has engagement options that allow you to include call-to-action buttons in your ads, making it easier to purchase your product.
Organic social media can’t simply consist of posting a link to your book. Social platforms are vibrant communities that crave different types of content and engagement. If done correctly, it will not only spur sales towards your book but also capitalize on word-of-mouth sharing and branding awareness.
Strategies can include contest giveaways and highlighting customers through photos and videos. Featuring real parents reading your Christmas book to their children puts a human element into your marketing and encourages them to engage with the post and share it with their audiences. This makes for great content on such platforms as Instagram, which has more than 800 million people engaging every month, and Pinterest, where 93% of active pinners said they use the platform to plan for purchases.
Third party endorsements add credibility to your product and increase brand awareness by allowing you to leverage their audiences. It’s important to implement PR strategies to acquire media placements in influential blogs and media outlets. Popular bloggers have built-in, loyal audiences that trust the recommendations they read, which can spur sales. Also, some of the best bloggers have active social media accounts where they promote their content, and in turn your book, and can also run contests on your behalf.
It can take just one media hit in a popular media outlet to spur exponential sales. For example, national and local morning shows love featuring gift guide segments during the holidays. A Christmas author could have their book featured as a potential holiday gift, exposing their product to a wide audience. The Today Show alone has millions of viewers that can be motivated into purchasing your book.
It’s a wonderful idea for authors to meet face-to-face with potential customers. Many bookstores are open to authors hosting book signings and readings, which can attract new customers and on-site purchases.
Don’t forget to think outside the box! If you’re selling a children’s book, arrange for an event at a local YMCA. If your book focuses on stress management, reserve booth space at business and health conferences. Many local festivals and fairs have low prices for setting up a table where you can promote your book too.
Additionally, it’s great to host a book launch to announce its debut. You can invite community members, family, and friends to help celebrate your success and promote the book. It’s important to pick a venue that can accommodate enough attendees. This isn’t simply about trying to fit as many people as possible, but rather fitting the estimated amount. If you believe 50 people will attend, don’t book a venue that will fit 300 people. It could make your launch look unsuccessful. Also, pick a date and time that won’t compete with important holidays, life events and peak travel periods.
Last but not least, combine your efforts! Your book launch can garner quality media hits by inviting reporters to your event. Leverage social media by inviting people to your book launch, posting during the event, and encouraging attendees to post on their social media platforms using a customized hashtag. You can also add an engaging element to your event by streaming through Facebook Live or broadcasting through Instagram.