I developed these book marketing tips to help writers and self-publishers avoid the promotional traps and concentrate on the things that work in the book promotion arena. I have spent a lot of time researching book promotion ideas to help you get started down the road to success with all of your books. The reason I had to do a lot of research is because I didn't fully understand how much was involved with the promotion aspect of writing until I was neck deep in it.
There's a little bit of money anywhere you advertise your books. Staying on top of all of your advertising campaigns and not over extending yourself is a must. The key is to concentrate on what works and what doesn't work as far as book promotion is concerned.
I've found over the years, every advertising source will produce a sale or two, but these direct sales are few and far between. Sure, it's income, but do you want to make one or two book sales or do you want to sell hundreds of books a month.
Here are some of my best book marketing tips from my own personal lessons learned.
Over the past 14 years, I really thought I knew what I was doing. I couldn't have been more wrong. From the time I published my first fiction book, I was very limited in my knowledge and selling mostly from my website development activities. And I was making sales here and there. I thought this was normal, but I quickly found out that search engine traffic alone is not the way to go.
Sure, people search for a topic and may come to your website, but the traffic is not very "hot" or not in the selling mood quite at that point.
Having a website alone is not the way to go if you want to sell books. It's a great platform for your marketing and sales process, but as the only lead magnet you have to get people to your website (search engines), it's a promotion method that doesn't work by itself.
Having your books published and sitting in Amazon is also not the way to sell books effectively. As one of my most important book marketing tips of what not to do, this is on top of the list. If you write a book, don't just jump on publishing it on Amazon and expect the sales to pour in. Even if you do all of the keyword research and have a great description and book cover, the sales will likely be one to ten a month depending on the genre and topic.
If all you do is publish your book and do nothing else, you will make minimal sales, period. This is a big no no if you want to make money with your books.
Only posting one advertisement on Facebook to all of your friends saying to buy your book is another method that doesn't work very well. Your friends and family may buy your book simply because they are proud of you and want to read what you wrote, but other than that, the sales pretty much end there.
Another one of my book marketing tips is buying an advertisement on Facebook or any other type of advertisement and sending people straight to your Amazon sales page. This doesn't work very well either. Again, you will make a few sales here and there, but mostly a lot of nothing but wasted money. Your sales page on Amazon has its own way of getting people to buy and if you don't have several good book reviews or a professionally written description that sells your book, then most people will just move on to the next title in the recommended books that is in the same topic with 100 five star reviews.
Not thinking you have a local market is one of the biggest mistakes one can make. Selling books in person is easier than online because people get to see you, meet you, talk to you, and you have the book right there for them to buy. Even if it is a Kindle book, you can hand them a card so they can buy your book the next chance they get. If you don't make the effort to seek out some offline local advertising, you are doing yourself an injustice.
You can piece together a lot of the things that work from the things that don't. Most of the methods above that I tried, I knew the answer but it didn't click in my mind at that point when I was advertising. Thinking book marketing was different from any other product marketing put me in a bad place and I lost a lot of motivation in selling my books.
Once you are steered on the right track and do the right promotions consistently, you will see your book sales skyrocket and things will get much better for your publisher business.
Below are some of the book marketing tips I incorporated into my marketing plan that totally turned my publishing business around.
The first and foremost thing to do, which I stated on other pages of this website, is to build an email list. An email list gives you access and control over people who are interested in your book's topic, are getting to know you, and may have already read some of your writing. These are hot prospects and are more willing to buy from you or buy from you again when you publish other books.
Next on book marketing tips is to have a book website as your primary marketing platform. This is where you send people for most of your advertising (online advertising at least) and the website does the rest. Once people get to your site, priority one is getting them to give you their name and email. Once you have that and they move on into your sales funnel, the website will walk them through teasers and sales pages to get them to buy your book.
Don't sell your book outright. Pre-sell it! Pre-selling is the process of talking up your product, in your case your book, and letting the person decide if they are going to buy it or not. Don't force it on them, especially if you just meet them. The website and your email autoresponder system should do most of the pre-selling to get them in the right state of mind (the buyers mindset).
Another of my book marketing tips is to start early, or don't wait until your book is published to start marketing it. You want to start promoting your book while you are still writing it. It doesn't have to be solid advertising, but you should be sending some teasers and announcements out to your lists (Facebook, Twitter, and email lists) to let them know it's coming. This gears them up to be looking out for the release messages you send out.
Expand your release announcements to groups, forums, and other blogs if you can. Make sure the groups, forums, and blogs are related to what you are writing about.
Budgeting for your advertisements is a must if you are going to use paid advertising. Throwing money out there in hopes to make a few sales is just like throwing it in the trash. You have to know how much each visitor is worth before spending any money on them.
Each visitor to your site doesn't make you money, but if you get 100 visitors to your website and 10 of them buy your book for $5.00, your cost per visitor would be $0.50 per visitor. Below is the math:
10 buyers x $5 = $50.00 income
$50.00 divided by 100 visitors = an income of $0.50 per visitor
That means if you are spending more than $0.50 per visitor to you site with any advertisement, then you are spending too much or more than you are making. Your goal with any advertisement is to make more money than you spend (profit).
Every time you run an advertising campaign, you should be tracking visitors, purchases, and earnings. Now let's put another number in there. Say it only cost you $10.00 to get those 100 visitors.
$10.00 divided by 100 = a cost of $0.10 per visitor
That means for every $10.00 you spend, you make $50.00, or profit $40.00.
This changes your numbers a bit. The first number ($0.50) gives you a maximum amount you can spend per visitor. You already know it costs $0.10 per visitor, so figure out how many books you want to sell and that's how much you spend.
Say you want to sell 100 books. If it took 100 visitors to sell 10 books, then to sell 100 books you need 1,000 visitors.
10 books / 100 visitors = 0.10
100 books / x visitors = 0.10
100 books / .10 = 1000 visitors
Once you know how many books you are selling for how many visits your website is getting from a promotion source, you can calculate a good cost per visitor.
This changes for each type of advertisement so you may have to do several calculations to stay in profit. Just because it may cost $0.10 per visitor on Facebook doesn't mean it will cost the same on Adwords or buying email list submissions.
Do the math. Determine cost per visitor instead of blindly throwing money at an advertising campaign that may or may not work.
The last of my book marketing tips is to make sure you book is ready to sell. Besides all of the time writing and preparing it for publishing (where you want the content of your book to be the best that it can be), you want to spend a good amount of time working on the book's cover, categories, keywords, and description.
The book cover is the potential buyer's first impression of your book, so you want to make sure it is the best it can be. Professionally made book covers are preferred and you may spend some money on them, but they should be good enough to pay for themselves quickly.
The category your book falls in is important from a book selling platforms categories standpoint. Some people don't search for books using the search bar; they browse through the category they are looking for to see what books are the top in that category. You want yours to be in the right category.
The keywords that you use for your website and on a book selling platform should be perfect for your topic with a high demand and low supply. High demand means a lot of people are entering these keywords in the search bars to find books related to those words. Low supply means there aren't a lot of online websites that have these keywords in their webpages.
Finally, the description of your book must interest your potential reader enough to buy it. This means interest grabbing headlines, curiosity driving content, and a call to action - what you want the person looking at the description to do.
All of these book marketing tips were determined through a long painful route of trial and error with very little guidance and direction. Don't follow the same route I took early on. Start your book marketing off right and learn how to make money writing the right way with very little do overs.
If you have any questions or lessons learned you'd like to share on this page, please let me know and I will add them in. The more book marketing tips people can read about, the better off their marketing will be.