Thursday, January 1, 2015

25 Free Ways to Market Your Book

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One question I get frequently from many writers and authors is, "Now that I have my new book out [or have one coming out], what is the best way for me to market it?" As a matter of fact, I got this very question via Twitter this past month which inspired this blog post. The short answer is, "Any way you can." A better answer might be, "Any way you can that works well with your personality, your schedule, your gifts, etc." But still, we need specific ways to market our books, don't we? It's not that hard. I quickly brainstormed 25 ways to market your book online for free.

Marketing is all about getting information about your book out there -- and not just once but time after time after time. The truth is, your book is just one of millions. So you must let people -- as many as possible -- know about your book, what it's about, and why they need it. (Tweet that!) Face it, nobody can buy your book if they don't know it exists. Furthermore, most buyers need to hear of a product multiple times before they buy it. (Tweet that!)

Now, with the internet and social media, we can get our names and book titles and information about our books out there more easily than previous generations of writers. There are a lot of opinions about how much and how often we should promote. I think generally the consensus is to market as much as you can without being obnoxious. But then opinions vary widely on what's obnoxious.

I recommend you work through this list and use all the ideas here that work for you. Don't try to do them all at once. Schedule time each week to work on something here. (Tweet that!) Don't fall into the trap of thinking you must do everything. (Tweet that!) Then brainstorm your own list and work through those. Return to both this list and your own frequently because many of these can be ongoing.

Without further ado, here are 25 free ways to market your book (Tweet that!):

1. Landing Page

This may be the only thing on this list that is required. The first thing you need is a place to send people. You can Tweet links and post links on Facebook and do all sorts of stuff, but if you don't have a set place where potential book buyers can go to get more information they want and, most importantly, purchase your book, it's all for nothing. Set up a web site, a blog page, on online store, or an Amazon author page (See #2!), or all of the above, where people can purchase your book. Then with everything you do, share a one-click link to this page or site.

2. Amazon Author Page

In order to have an author page on Amazon, you must have a book available for sale on Amazon. Even if you're a contributor to a book, such as a Chicken Soup book or have contributed a chapter or a story to a collection, you can claim that and get your author page.

If you don't have any of these, get your book on Amazon. The one-time fee is not that much. (It was $25 a dozen years ago when I did it.) If your book isn't ready yet, create a Kindle e-book, publish it through Kindle Direct Publishing, and get your author page.

Every author who has a book on Amazon should have their author page set up. I'm amazed at how many don't. Go to your book's page (or any book's page) on Amazon. Hover your mouse over the author's name (that should be a link) and a box should open. The bottom line of that little box asks, "Are you an author? Learn about Author Central." That last part is a link. Click that and it will take you to Amazon's Author Central where you can open your account (you simply create a user name and password) and then you can enter information about yourself and your book including your bio, your blog and Twitter feeds, upload a book video, and more.

For an example, here's mine: Dianne's Amazon Author Page.

Grab the link to your Amazon author page and use it in Facebook and LinkedIn posts and Tweets. Post it on your web site and blog. Add it to your email signature. Use it as a landing page and send potential book buyers there.

3. Blog

A blog is a monster that needs regular, continual feedings, so make sure you can keep it up before you start one. When you do, set up a page with info about your book(s), your book covers, and links to your Landing page or Amazon author page. For an example, here is one of my book pages on one of my blogs: Dianne's Prophecy Fulfilled Books.

Blog on a topic similar to your book, but don't use material from your book. (See #20 about writing articles for more on that.)

Please make sure you enable the Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+ share buttons at the bottom of each blog post so visitors can share your interesting posts with their contacts. Not much is more frustrating for me than to want to support other authors by sharing their materials and they've given me no easy way to do so. Yes, I can copy the url and paste it into a Tweet, but I'm busy and I no longer have the time to do that sort of thing. Furthermore, if I'm reading your post on my phone or Kindle, doing all that is such a hassle I'm just not going to anymore. So you just lost sharing your wonderful post with all of my contacts. Bummer. Don't let that be you!

4. Facebook 

There are Facebook "profiles" for individuals and then there are "pages" for businesses and organizations. Create a "page" for yourself as an author and then ask people to "follow" your page by Liking it.

Be aware that there are new rules for promoting your book on Facebook as of January 1, 2015. Here is an article about that by agent Janet Kobobel Grant of Books & Such Literary Management: What You Need to Know about Facebook’s Latest Revamp.

5. Twitter 

If you're not on Twitter, you need to be. I get most of my interaction through Twitter. I let thousands of people know about my blog and my books via Twitter. If you need help with Twitter, check out my post "Making the Most of Using Twitter." Especially pay attention to the three parts needed for a great Tweet -- your message, a hashtag, and a link -- and make sure you have those in every Tweet! For your link you're going to need someplace to link to. (See #1!)

6. World Literary Cafe

The World Literary Cafe has an amazing number of ways authors can help each other out, including ways to build up your Twitter followers and gain Facebook page Likes. (Tweet that!) Check it out!

They also offer to send your Tweet that markets your book out to their large number of Twitter followers! That's a great way to market your book! To find that look for their "Tweet Teams" page. You'll have to learn the formula they want, write your own Tweet, and wait your turn for your Tweet to go out, but it's worth it!

7. Goodreads 

You can do a ton of stuff for your book on Goodreads, including free giveaways which gets your book on the radar of thousands of readers, send posts to your followers, and much more. Learn more in my post "Discovering Goodreads."

8. Google+

If you haven't yet, you might join Google+. I did this past year and I'll confess I don't know a bunch about using it yet, but I do post all of my blog posts to Google+ (using the share button at the bottom of my blog post) and I know that brings me more blog readers, which in turn gets my books before their eyes. And that's the whole point: getting yourself known so people will want to know more about you ... and then they'll find your books.

9. LinkedIn

I notice more traffic to my blog posts (and therefore seeing my book covers) when I post a notice to LinkedIn. Sometimes that post is a comment about one of my books (with, of course, a link such as a link to the book on Amazon). To consistently send a post to LinkedIn I use a free account with Hootsuite.com to schedule posts to post automatically in the future. I try to post something interesting once a day or at least a couple times a week.

10. Pinterest

On Pinterest you can pin your book covers from online stores, like Amazon, or wherever your books are found. Also pin any articles or guest blog posts you write, author interviews, and posts from your own blog. Create a pin anytime you or your book appears online. Also create boards on topics of your book and pin articles your readers will find interesting.

You can also pin to other people's boards if they allow it. There are boards such as Christian Authors and Christian Nonfiction and Christian Web Sites, so I also pin there whenever I have an appropriate pin.

Note that in order to pin an article with Pinterest it must have an image (photo) with it. This is why you should always, always, always use a photo with every blog post and online article you write.

11. Instagram

This past weekend I heard a tech guy on a radio show state that for the first time the number of Instagram users has now passed that of Twitter. Guess I'd better join Instagram!

I did a quick search the other day and found some articles on how authors can use Instagram to market their books. You might try the same.

I know that IG, like Pinterest, requires a photo for each post. I haven't joined yet because I just couldn't figure out what to take photos of to post, and I didn't know how to make it benefit my marketing efforts (not that it's all about marketing, but at least part of it is). Interestingly only yesterday I saw a photo on Facebook from a friend who is enduring chemotherapy. She posted a photo of her Bible open to where she had a note card with a name and the caption explained she had committed to praying for a friend during each of her 28 chemo treatments. This photo was first shared on Instagram with that awesome message and then sent to Facebook from there. Ah. Now I'm starting to get it!

12. Maximize SEO

Learn about "search engine optimization" and then optimize everything you do online. Use your book title(s) and keywords in your blog titles, your YouTube video titles, guest posts, articles, etc. You can learn more about SEO in this post: "7 Keys to (SEO-Successful) Blog Posts."

13. YouTube

I recently learned how to make and edit YouTube videos. I made a dozen of them for the Christmas Advent season for my Bible Prophecies Fulfilled blog. It's not that hard. If I can do it, you can do it. Think of the book-marketing videos you can make! From book trailers to teaching videos about the topics of your books which you can post on your web site or blog (as a vlog = video blog).

My friend author Linda Evans Shepherd makes lots of videos for her chapters in her books.

14. Make a Book Trailer 

You can use YouTube to make a book trailer and then post it on Facebook and your web site. You can embed your video on your blog in a vlog (video blog) post or in a sidebar (that stays permanently on the side of your blog). You can post a  book trailer on Goodreads. You can send the link out regularly in a Tweet.

You can also make a 30 second book trailer for free at Animoto.com. Learn more about that in my post: "Make Your Own Book Trailer - Easy and Free!"

One thing you can no longer do is post your YouTube video on your Amazon page. I don't know why, but Amazon doesn't accept YouTube videos any longer. So you'll have to create a book trailer with a different program for Amazon. I know that Amazon will take a .mov file and you can make those if you're willing to pay a subscription to Animoto, but you can't make a .mov video through the free account.

15. Hold a booksigning 

This is an in-person event where you can go out and meet people and tell them about your book. I've blogged about how to set this up and what to do when you're there in these posts:
Would anyone like all this information on how to hold an in-store book signing in an e-book? I'm sure I could fill an e-book with info on that!

16. Schedule a Facebook Event

Whether you have an in-person book signing event coming up or just want to create some kind of an online special event to market your book, you can post or even host the event on Facebook. On Facebook, go to your author page. Then click on "Events." Then click "Create Event" and fill in the information.

I have two events scheduled you can look at as examples. They might give you ideas. Also, I'd be pleased if you "joined" these events by clicking "Going" and then also "share" them and invite your friends.

17. Create E-books

It may sound a bit crazy but another way you can market your books is to create e-books. You can create them on related topics of your existing books or entirely different topics. But you can use them to market your existing books by putting an ad about your books at the end of your e-book. On some e-book platforms, such as Amazon's Kindle, you can even include links to your other books on Amazon.

If you make your e-book exclusive to Amazon's Kindle, Amazon gives you certain privileges such as creating free book giveaways or countdown sales, as well as making your book available in the lending library (where you get paid for each library borrow).

However you can forgo those privileges and also publish your e-book on other platforms. I've been looking into Smashwords and hope to get around to trying it soon.

Speaking of e-books, have you seen the series of e-books for writers I'm publishing? The first was How to Get Published for beginning writers. A few weeks ago the second in the series released: Cutting the Passive Voice for only 99 cents. I'm thinking about my next e-book for writers and I have several I could choose from including one based on my workshop "Ten Tools for Marketing Your Book." Please visit my survey to let me know which new e-book you'd like to have next: Dianne's One-Question Survey! 

You can keep up with all my e-books for writers by visiting Dianne's Amazon Author Page. Also watch that page for when a coming book is available for pre-release sales. You can also sign up for e-mails from Amazon when I release a new book.

18. Acquire Amazon book reviews

I recently learned that if you get 100 reviews, Amazon will begin featuring your book. It doesn't seem to matter how many stars each reviewer gives, so don't worry if you get less than 5-star reviews.

While a great marketing tool for your book is reviews, I'm not sure how to get that many of them. I wish I had more reviews for all of my books. The one thing I do know is that we shouldn't solicit them. For example it's not proper to promise a free copy of your book in exchange for a review. That's like buying reviews and is frowned upon. You can give free review copies, but there should be no obligation to write a review, much less a positive or 5-star review. Perhaps the best way to accumulate reviews is to simply ask for them? If you know of a good way to get Amazon reviews, please share it with us as a comment below. Thanks.

When you do get a nice review, you can also use it elsewhere -- on your web site or blog's book page or in your email signature -- for book marketing purposes.

19. Regularly offer your expertise and help

While we are always trying to get the word out about our books so people will buy them, one way to market is to offer something to your readers without expecting anything back. I enjoy offering help to writers through this blog. And I'm pretty sure you don't mind when I occasionally mention one of my products. Build up good will with your followers and readers, and then they will champion you to their contacts. Offering something of value, like information, without always "selling" also helps us to not always sounds like we're just saying "buy my book buy my book"!

20. Write print articles

Back before internet days, pretty much all we had to read was magazines, books, and junk mail. Then it was common for writers to write articles for print magazines. Now there's so much we do online we can forget there are still print magazines out there that we can write for.

You can write an article on the same or similar topic as your book. Be careful not to use too much material in your book. Most publishing contracts restrict how much you can give away. Why would people buy your book if you're giving the same information away for free? Even if you published your book yourself you might follow the same principal for the same reason.

An example of this is my Bible Prophecies Fulfilled blog. I'm blogging on the same topic as my "Prophecies Fulfilled" series, but I'm not using any of the information from my books. If readers like what they're reading on my blog, they'll get more similar material when they buy my books.

Even if your article is on a topic completely unrelated to your book, you can still market your book through it by including your title and/or web site url (See #1!) in your bio at the end of the article (if the magazine allows or uses one).

As long as you still own the rights to your article, after it's published you can reshaped or repurpose the article as a blog post or even an e-book. My most recent e-book, Cutting the Passive Voice, was originally a magazine article from 1996. I made it into an inexpensive e-book so I could share this helpful information with many more writers for only $. 99.

As a bonus, most of the time you get paid for writing print articles.

21. Write a Guest Blog Post

Seek out other bloggers who are interested in your topic and see if they would like a guest blog post. Many bloggers take guest posts. Some just need an occasional break from blogging to take a vacation or meet a deadline. So if you have an idea for a guest post that fits the blog, let the blogger know your idea and politely ask if they would like the post from you. Most will then give you a link to your landing page (See #1!) or allow you to mention your book. Not all bloggers want guest posts so don't feel hurt if they say no.

You might also trade guest posts with other bloggers, allowing them to guest on your blog. Some bloggers create "blog hops" and other events. Doing so can gain you readers from their blog and gain them readers from your blog, which helps you both. And that's the point! Getting your name and book information out to ever more people is the name of the game.

22. Co-op with other authors

Working together to market each other's books and cross-promote each other can multiply your efforts. Some organizations are created just for this purpose. You might be able to find a group to join or gather some author friends and start your own.

23. Create a newsletter

You can build up a mailing list with a newsletter. People who subscribe will be interested in you and what you have to offer, so the likelihood of them being interested in your book is increased. And of course you can always mention your book and give a link to it (See #1!) in every issue.

I've recently renewed my former newsletter from a few years ago. I'm now using MailChimp,com which is free until I reach a certain number of subscribers. You may have encountered a pop-up subscription box when you came here. If not, find the subscribe box in the upper right corner of this blog and please subscribe! I usually send out a newsletter once a month.

24. Create a survey

Create an interesting survey that will spark interest about your book or its topic or give you opportunities to talk about your book. I used Survey Monkey to create my one-question survey about which e-book writers would like me to write next: Which E-Book For Writers Would You Want Next? Would you please click there and let me know what your vote is? Thanks!

25. Create a pretty poster

A fun and creative way to let people know about your book is to create a lovely poster with an inspiring or important message or quotation from your book. Be sure to include your book's title as the source. You can also add a url in the corner of the poster. (See #1!)

You can then post your creation on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and web site. Ask your friends to share it via their social media outlets too.

I've used Pick Monkey to create some of these. You can read more about this and find other resources for this purpose here: "Create Your Own Text on Images for Your Blogs and Marketing Your Books."


There you have it. There are 25 free ways to market your book. (Tweet that!)

Let these 25 free ways to market your book be just a starting place. Use your imagination and brainstorm more. I'm sure you can come up with many, and surely some of them will be unique for you and your personality. When you come up with an idea that can benefit others, please share it in the comments section below. Happy book marketing!

7 comments:

  1. Wow Dianne! A volume of great tips! And perfect timing as I just published my ebook to Kindle. Thanks for the help taking the next step!

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    1. Well you're so welcome, Sally! I'm glad you found helpful info here. What is your new ebook on Kindle? Give us the title and a link.

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    2. How to Plan a Women's Retreat
      http://www.amazon.com/Plan-Womens-Retreat-Sally-Ferguson-ebook/dp/B00ROX7FMC/ref=la_B00RPPVYVW_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1421268137&sr=1-3
      And I'm passing your article on to my facebook page!
      https://www.facebook.com/HowToPlanAWomensRetreat
      Keep up the good work!

      Delete
  2. Thanks Dianne. These are awesome tips and wonderful information. I too wish I could figure out how to get to a hundred reviews. The best thing is reading reviews from strangers who iove your book. Six reviews for A Secret Love, 94 to go.

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