Bestselling Authors Share Creative Ways To Market Your Book

More than one million books are published in the United States every year, although you likely have never heard of most of them. The word never got out as the marketing was flat or non-existent. Many authors think that they will write a book and people will come flocking to buy and read it. Sadly, that is not how it works.

Writing a book is hard. It is isolating as you are alone with your thoughts and your laptop staring at a screen with far fewer words than it needs if you are to make your deadline. You know you need to write more, but the words are lost; they are stuck. The more you look at your blank screen with the flashing cursor, the greater your frustration builds.

Eventually, you write your book as you get immersed in ebb and flow periods. Sometimes the words come out faster than you can type them, and at other times, your creative juices are not working, and the room becomes painfully silent. When you are done, you edit the words, and ultimately it is something you are proud of, exceptionally proud. You believe to the deepest parts of your soul that your book is perfect and can make a difference in people’s lives.

But nobody outside your family, friends, and colleagues knows of you and your work. Writing a book is far more than sitting at your desk and penning sentences in sequence. But what is more demanding than writing a book? Marketing your book is even more challenging. It would help if you reached people far beyond your friend group.

A small handful of authors, such as Daniel Pink and Brene Brown, sell record-level numbers of books and are featured on the New York Times bestseller list the moment their book is released. But for the thousands of authors who do not have such an enormous fan base, the path to selling more books is incredibly challenging.

One of the most common ways to get the word out about your book is by appearing on podcasts. Many authors make it a habit of being interviewed on 150 podcasts to coincide with their book launch. Even the smallest podcasts have about 50 listeners who listen to you and your message in its entirety. In addition, the interview is evergreen as it lives on the various podcast platforms, so new listeners can always come back.

A virtual or in-person tour is very common when a new book is launched. Waiving speaker fees for the purchase of a set number of books is also a common strategy to get the word out.

A few best-selling authors shared their creative strategies with me for marketing your book if you do not have an enormous fan base.

Laura Gossner Otting

Author, Limitless

Washington Post Bestseller

I told people how important the pre-order period was to authors who didn’t have a big enough platform to pre-sell to that audience. But, unfortunately, your friends, colleagues, and family have no idea that the pre-sell period makes such a huge difference, indicates to bookstores the early interest that encourages them to carry the book, and gets your numbers to count for the big lists .

Michael Bungay Stainer

Author, How to Begin

Wall Street Journal bestseller of The Coaching Habit

Instead of chasing endorsements from people who you think are a big deal but your potential readers may not know of, consider getting blurbs from people in companies that are well recognized.

Dorie Clark

Author, The Long Game

Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Find a “podcast doppelganger” to identify shows that might be interested in featuring you. This should be someone who ideally wrote a book within the past 6-12 months on a topic similar to yours and who is just a little better known than you are- maybe 2-3 years ahead of where you are. You can search for them in your podcasting app of choice and see which shows they’ve appeared on, listen to the episodes, and then pitch those shows saying, “I know you’re interested in X topic, and I really enjoyed your recent chat with {PERSON}.My book on a similar topic, {NAME OF BOOK}, was just released, and I was wondering if you’d be interested in exploring a related topic, including X or Y or Z?” Your hit rate will be much higher than blindly pitching!

It’s also good to read through your book before its release, specifically with an eye to which sections you can excerpt. Your goal should be to identify anywhere from 10-20 (or more!) sections that could be standalone articles, adaptations, or excerpts, so you’re ready to pitch them to relevant media outlets, alumni publications, etc.

Kinga Stabryla is a marketing consultant for nonfiction authors and the founder of the British marketing agency, Brandspire. When working with authors, she encourages them to “remain consistent in their marketing efforts, introduce delivery variation, and not be afraid to use snippets of their book in marketing.

The best results come from a holistic and consistent approach that supports your next business goal. Don’t just do social media marketing. Introduce some PR activities, and conduct offline marketing also. Your potential reader has a life outside of social media.

Consider guest-starring on podcasts, encouraging friends and business acquaintances to promote your book, writing a guest blog for a high-traffic website, printing collateral to support your keynote, and gifting copies for competitions. Remember, marketing is most effective when it is persistent.

You do not need to have an enormous following to get the word out about your book. Instead, consider creative marketing, and remember that amplifying the word about your book stretches far beyond the launch.

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