Marketing your self-published book to generate more book sales and build your fan base can be exhausting work. But what if adding a few minor tweaks to your existing marketing efforts could have a huge impact on your sales figures? What if—instead of totally reinventing your promotional campaigns—you could make your existing book promotion strategies run more effectively with only a few minor marketing tweaks?
The book-selling strategists here at Self-Publishing Relief have forty-five super-simple and (best of all) FREE promotional hacks that will boost your book-selling endeavors without depleting your personal resources of time, money, and energy.
Tiny Tweaks That Can Boost Book Sales and Build Your Fan Base Using Your Author Website
- Determine your main focus. What do you want your website’s home page to do for you? Do you want fans to sign up for your email list? Or would you prefer that they immediately buy your book? If a visitor is only going to take one immediate action—what would you want that action to be? That should be the focus of the home page of your website. Learn more about how to design a call to action for your writer website home page.
- How do you spell SEO? Learn the basics of search engine optimization so that fans can actually find you on the Internet.
- Include linked “buy now” buttons. Make sure you have a “buy now” button on every page of your website (and at the bottom of every email you send to your fan base).
- Go mobile. Make sure your author website is smartphone-friendly. At the time of this writing the majority of webpage views occur via mobile phones.
- Link all images. Images should be linked to book-buying opportunities on your author website.
- Consider using a pop-up. A pop-up will prompt fans to sign up for your mailing list. Yes, it’s annoying, but pop-up prompts are shown to work when they are done right.
- Offer a cheap digital freebie. Use freebies, a contest opportunity, or a special discount to encourage email list sign-ups. Then be sure to promote it.
- Get personal. Your personal story as an author is one of the most powerful marketing tools in your writing arsenal. Learn more about the importance of sharing your personal story (and your personality) with friends and followers.
- Integrate your social media feeds. Nothing is more exciting to fans and followers than a website that is fresh and lively! Since you are updating your social media accounts anyway, use plugins to show off your latest posts on your author website. Not only does this make your website appear relevant and active, it can also move website visitors to follow you on social media platforms as well.
- Encourage sharing. Make it very easy for people to share your author website content via social media. Use plugins like ClicktoTweet.
- Integrate book reviews. The power of social proof lies in great book reviews. Consider using a plugin that posts real-time book reviews on your author website, like this one from Goodreads. (Hint: You can choose to share only your five- or four-star reviews.)
- Let fans contact you directly. Fans want to connect with you on a personal level. Here’s how to give them that opportunity: How To Provide Author Contact Info And Still Protect Your Personal Data. And you might want to leave a note that any reader who fills out your contact form will be automatically added to your author email list (with the option of opting out).
- Be our guest. Look for (or actively create) guest-blogging opportunities. Offer to host other writers on your blog as well. Add a note to your website that you are available for guest-blogging opportunities or guest-blog swaps—otherwise, visitors might not think to ask!
- Do good. Consider giving back through your book sales. It’s called “cause marketing,” and everyone is doing it for good reason (readers love it and writers do too)!
- Create a drip-marketing campaign. Use an email content management system to create an automatic series of emails that are delivered at predetermined intervals to new email subscribers. Here’s how writers can create their own drip-marketing email campaign.
- Create a page specifically for librarians, booksellers, and other publishing professionals. Let book publishing pros know that you are available for specific talks and seminars. Include fun pictures that show you and your audience having a great time. Let visitors know you are always happy to cross-promote seminars, readings, and talks—and be sure to emphasize the takeaway value for attendees.
- Create a downloadable media kit. Make it easy for bloggers and reporters to share your news with their readers. Your media kit can include sample interviews as well as prewritten press releases. Learn more about how to create a media kit to promote your book.
- Include a “forward this” button. Be sure to make this suggestion at the bottom of all your promotional emails.
Tiny Tweaks To Social Media That Will Grow Your Fan Base and Book Sales
- Ask fans to help. Today’s busy/distracted readers often need a little prompt to help them realize there is an action to be taken after reading a post. On your author website and in your private emails to your fan base, there’s no reason why you couldn’t ask your fans to take an action that will directly help support you. Go ahead and request that they kindly forward your email to friends or share the news of your book launch!That said, you may need to be more careful on social media if you are going to direct your followers to take an action. Facebook algorithms are known to bury posts that say “share this” or “please like this” at the bottom of the newsfeed heap. Focus on encouraging organic engagement instead of asking for explicit action. Here are some ways to say “please share/comment/like” that are less likely to trigger red flags:
- Do you happen to know anyone who might like this? Thank you for reaching out to them!
- I’m so excited about sharing this opportunity! Thanks to everyone who has already sent this info to friends and family!
- I’m reaching out today because I think this page may be relevant to my readers/fellow bookworms/friends. Take a look and see what you think!
- Thanks in advance for your support!
- Who’s with me?
- Thumbs-up if you agree.
- Agree or disagree?
- Focus posts on one thing and one thing only. Trying to pack too much information into a post rarely results in likes and shares. Keep things as simple as you possibly can.
- Create a schedule and stick to it. Post regularly. Include links to relevant third-party content, pithy observations about day-to-day life, and a smattering of book promotion.
- Get visual. Social media success is primarily driven by strong, emotional images that tell a story. Learn more about how to choose images for social media that encourage likes and shares. Plan to include at least one strong image with every social media post.
- Use social media to build anticipation. Got a great new opportunity up your sleeve for readers? Hint at it to build anticipation!
- Use hashtags when appropriate. If you are going to be posting on social media anyway, you might as well incorporate hashtags. Although hashtags are not very popular on Facebook, the use of hashtags on Twitter can help you connect to a larger audience. Learn more: 55 Social Media Hashtags For Book Authors (And How To Use Them) | Web Design Relief.
Tiny Tweaks And Tips For More Effective Hand-Selling And Person-To-Person Marketing
- Go old-school. Use traditional physical business cards to move people to your website or social media profiles. Here’s how.
- Host giveaways at your book marketing events. If you are going to give a presentation at an event, you might as well use your time to establish connections with your audience that will last indefinitely. Host a contest that allows entrants to enter your giveaway by signing up for your mailing list. At the end of your talk/reading/seminar, you pull the winner’s name from a bag/hat/vessel of choice.
- Make use of your email signature line. When your email signature line includes connected marketing content, you create opportunities every time you do something as simple as reach out to a new washing machine repair person. You just never know who you might connect with if you give yourself the opportunity! Include your books’ titles linked to retailer webpages. You can also include small book cover images, as well as any easily summarized accolades (like review snippets or number of four- or five-star reviews and counting).
- Create an author lifeboat or power promo team. Use established connections to create cross-promotion opportunities.
- Don’t wait. If you’re sitting next to someone at a writing conference who could be a potential influencer, reach out to them immediately on social media. You can say, “Let me just grab my phone and connect with you on Facebook while we are still thinking about it!” That person may be more likely to remember you later on.
- Embrace smart promotional items. If you do have a budget for creating promotional freebies like pens or notebooks, share them generously! The best promotional items are the kind that are regularly seen and that effectively tell the story of your author brand.
- Ask for book promotion leads. While you’re chatting with other authors, you might as well ask good questions. “What are you doing to promote your book these days?” could give you some great ideas. Or ask: “Is there anyone you can think of who might be able to help me spread the word about my book?” Be sure that you offer helpful information or opportunities in return.
Tiny Tweaks To Increase Self-Published Book Sales At A Book Signing Event
- Stand up for yourself. Stand in front of your book signing table, not behind it. Or sit on it casually to make yourself appear more approachable.
- Take a lesson from perfume sellers. Okay, we don’t mean spritz people in the face. But you can hand goodies to passersby. Or simply extend your hand. Few people will walk right by without stopping to talk to you when you greet them with a friendly smile and a gift.
- Ask friends to work the room. Strategically placed friends can point people in your direction. Be sure they are giving fans a good reason to find you, like entering a fabulous contest or collecting an irresistible freebie.
- Bookmark that. Every time you sign a book, tuck a promotional bookmark (or two) into the pages and ask your fan to share it with a friend.
- Offer to take a selfie. Your fan might be too shy to ask for a picture with you. Or he or she simply might not think of it in a crowded room. Why not suggest the opportunity yourself—and make it easy for your fan to share his or her big news about meeting you? Say, “If you post this on social media, please tag me so I can share it too!”
- Get flashy. Neon signs, interesting costumes, unusual displays—these are things that will make people spend a little extra time talking to you.
Tiny Tweaks That Will Make The Most Of Your Author Bio And Maximize Book Sales
Your author bio is not just a collection of facts; it’s an opportunity to build fans and sell books. Every time your author bio appears online or in print, it is a chance to drive sales. Here’s how you can make your author bio work harder for you:
- Include a (linked) URL. Help your fans—and agents and editors—find your author website.
- Include social media links. Let fans connect with you online (and make sure you give them a great reason to do it!).
- Give away the goods for free. Let readers know about website freebies and giveaways so you can build your mailing list when they come visit you online.
- Mention forthcoming projects. Build anticipation and encourage readers to stay in touch with you to find out more!
- Brag about your strategic current projects. This is a smart way to let book publishing professionals know that opportunities are available if they want to work with you.
More Free Tiny Tweaks That Can Generate Better Book Sales For Self-Published Authors
- Make the most of your book’s back matter (or final pages). Last impressions count! Point your readers to opportunities for freebies that they can earn by helping you spread the word.
- Try inbound marketing. You’re already a writer, so why not use your love of words and your curious nature to help market your books? By writing articles for magazines or other blogs, you may be able to drive traffic to your author website via your author byline. Bonus—you might even get paid!
- Give free copies of your book to these seven key people in your life. Although you have to shell out the cost of the reader copies, the effort may pay for itself in marketing and promotional support.
Book Sales: Market Smarter Instead Of Marketing MORE
You most likely gravitate toward the marketing and promotion strategies that you enjoy—instead of forcing yourself to engage in bookselling activities that don’t spark your interest. Trust that instinct. A smart way to make the most of your time and energy is to “follow your bliss.”
Put your best effort into the book-marketing activities that energize you. Focus on creating new strategies that are emotionally sustainable, and consider letting the others go. Instead of forcing yourself to invest in marketing strategies you don’t like, consider how you might augment and improve on the strategies that you do enjoy. By playing to your strengths as a book author and entrepreneur, you may see your book sales rise!
Writer, Can You Help? What other free book-marketing strategies have we missed? Share your expertise and experience with your fellow authors via our comments section!