In today’s publishing marketplace, writers (even authors with big publishing houses behind them) need to find smart ways to promote their books. But what if you’ve self-published and are on a tight budget? When you need to carefully pick and choose your promotions, you might want to think twice before investing in these traditional book marketing strategies.
Book Marketing Tactics That Will Fail If Not Done Properly
Public speaking gigs. Showing up for a local public speaking gig or seminar is a great way to earn some name recognition and make some sales—but only if an audience is in the seats. For starters, create a seminar that people will actually want to go to. Then, work with organizers to ensure that you’ll pack the house on the day of your event. Finally, be sure to use your position as a speaker to grow your subscriber mailing list and nab a few sales.
Book signings. Whether you’re part of a group author book signing or just sitting alone at a table at the library, a traditional book signing might turn out to be a bust. In fact, some bookstores don’t host book signings at all, unless the writer in question is a “celebrity author.”
Author websites. An author website that is merely a flat digital poster for you and your work with no functional, audience-building interactive features is a wasted opportunity. Having any author website is better than having none at all. But to make the most of your author website, it needs to have the key features that will turn it into a readership-building machine.
Paid advertising. Generally speaking, publicists agree that traditional advertisements for books by unknown authors don’t lead directly to increased sales. Ads can make people look into your books online, but reviews and recommendations will make the actual sale. If you are going to pay for advertising, consider a targeted list of readers in your genre .
Guaranteed followers. Is it just us, or does any advertiser who screams GUARANTEED! make you cringe a little inside? If a web marketing company is promising you a certain number of immediate followers, there may be good reason to heed your instincts. Followers who aren’t authentic, active fans won’t really help your efforts—and may actually hurt them. Agents and editors care more about quality of followers than quantity. And robot followers aren’t really going to land you on the best-seller lists (unless those robot followers are supremely intelligent AI who have independently developed a deep sense of literary appreciation and who adore your writing).
Expensive promo items. Good promo goodies can send people forging into the wilds of the Internet to learn more about your book—but that’s only if your promo items capture their interest. Trick out your promo items with review quotes, 4/5 star review numbers, a gripping teaser synopsis, and/or killer cover art. Otherwise, your bookmarks, magnets, and postcards might increase your exposure but not necessarily lead to a sale. For an alternative (and cheaper) way of promoting, check out Cheap Digital Goodies To Give Away On Your Author Website.
Avoid The Biggest Book Marketing Budget-Buster Of All
Spending a lot on a single element of your book marketing strategy could be a waste of money if you haven’t created a comprehensive online author platform. Your author website should support growing your mailing list, your mailing list should support your social media activity, your social media should support your mailing list again, and your bookmarks should support your author website, which will send people to your social media—and the circle keeps going. It’s only by creating an interconnected web of outreach points that you’re more likely to build a vital following and turn followers into buyers.
Question: What element of book marketing has been MOST helpful in your experience? Which were not helpful? Share in our comments section to help your fellow writers!