by Penny Sansevieri
For many authors, creating a successful book marketing campaign seems as difficult and mysterious as effectively whipping up a delicious chocolate souffle. What are the ingredients, what are the tricks, what are the best tools and in what order should I be using them?
While there is an art to baking and also an art to marketing, you don’t have to be a professional to find your way to the sweet smell of success. Marketing amateurs can make great progress toward a terrific book marketing campaign by working on bite-sized pieces. So instead of chocolate souffle, think Snickers fun-size – and let yourself have that fun!
Today, I have some small but mighty book marketing strategies for you; many of them are quick and/or free.
You might think about sprinkling them through your week, doing one a night. Or maybe grab a handful and settle in on a weekend afternoon. You’ll find you’re in a much better position, marketing-wise, when Monday rolls around.
Claim your Amazon Author Page. It’s Amazon. This is a Must Do and you already know that. If you’ve been reluctant, decide you’ll just add your bio. Baby steps ARE steps.
Claim your Author Profile on Bookbub and get your books listed. It’s free to submit your book to be added to your profile.
Claim and fill out your author page on Goodreads and claim ALL your books. At minimum you should have representation on this site, even if you haven’t taken steps to use all of its features as part of your well-rounded author marketing approach…yet.
Celebrate declining Covid cases by masking up and making your way out into the world to leave five of your author business cards around town this weekend. If you have a way for someone to use a coupon code on your website – jot that down as well to really up the ante!
Brainstorm a bunch of ideas for your next blog posts. Don’t overthink it, don’t commit to all of them, just jot down every single idea that comes to you. Overthinking can be one of your biggest author marketing downfalls.
Publish one of your popular blog posts on Medium. It’s fast and super easy to find new readers and extend your author marketing.
Look at your blog or website and find three improvements you can make. Or, look at other authors’ sites and steal a few ideas you’re missing out on.
Read your author bio on Amazon and social media. Spend five minutes thinking about how you could improve it and make notes.
Plan an upcoming newsletter to send to your mailing list. You don’t have to plan it, write it, illustrate it, revise it, edit it, and send it all in one sitting. Break it into manageable chunks and take satisfaction in chipping away at the process to get to a great product!
Comment on a post on a popular blog or on a newspaper article. Commenting is one of the most effective ways to get noticed as an indie author. If there is the option to reply to already posted comments, even better, as you will be entering into a conversation and getting a chance to show off your knowledge or experience in a key area of interest to those who frequent that site.
Join a writers’ group. Sometimes other writers have good ideas you can steal!
Follow 100 people on Twitter. On average about 20 will follow you back. Do it regularly and you will build a solid following to help your author marketing on Twitter.
Follow 10 friends of your friends on Facebook. You’ll be surprised how many will accept your request because they will see that you are in some way connected to them. You never know, you might be connecting with new fans!
Follow 10 authors in your genre on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (or whatever platforms you frequent). Not only is this good networking, you’ll also likely pick up some tips and tricks of the trade and learn from their own author marketing activities.
Share five posts of interest on Twitter, Facebook, or any of your social media accounts. It’s amazing how many people will notice and perhaps follow you back because you are sharing and playing nice, not shoving your books down people’s throats.
Find five new blogs that cater to your genre and add them to your master blogger list. Before you click out of each, leave a comment. Everyone wants feedback and bloggers will remember and be appreciative of whatever tracks you leave behind.
Google search ‘book marketing for 2021’ and read two articles. You won’t ever come up with new ideas if you’re not always trying to learn. Learning does take time, but it’s free – pick your battles.
Read up on SEO and learn to write your blog posts around keywords to increase visitor traffic.
List some new materials or tools you’d like to master and then choose one to spend an hour on. Maybe you’d like to learn more about using Canva (which is free!) so you spend your time making a few practice social media posts featuring your dog. Perhaps you’ve been wanting to up your Zoom game so you do some research on ring lights and the best way to set up your desk for video chats.
Check out a few websites and blogs for writers and independent authors with an eye toward free downloadable information. You might emerge from a dedicated surf session with everything from a monthly book marketing planner to a reader profile sheet. We routinely offer both of these tools at the end of Author Marketing Experts blog posts.
Book marketing doesn’t have to be a scary slog through the unknown if you make use of what you already have, build on your current success, look for holes in your learning, connect to others with like-minded interests, and, most importantly, enjoy the ride.
Best of luck to you!
What small actions have made a big difference in your book marketing efforts? Share them with us down in the comments!
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Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out in Spring 2021.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.
Copyright © 2023 Writers In The Storm - All Rights Reserved
Wow, what helpful information, Penny, thank you! I've already done one of them today, and will do more!
Fast work, Laura! Penny is my marketing idol with all her smart tips. 🙂
Thank you both so much - I love writing for this blog!
Oh my gosh that's so fabulous, thank you so much!!
I’ve gotta agree with Laura, Penny! Wow. Just, wow. And not only is everything helpful, you’ve actually made it sound like it’d be fun to do every one of your quickie projects. Who’d a thunk it?
I thought the same thing when I read over the post, Faith. Penny made all these items seem so accessible, and even fun.
Faith thank you - you're so kind! And such a fabulous editor - thanks for always making me look good 🙂
Your advice to break it down into chunks is the key. I get so overwhelmed by trying to do everything or having the goal of completing a big, complicated (technical) task. Just take baby steps...
I get overwhelmed by the big jobs too, lrtrovi. Even with stories, I have to break it down or I get supremely overwhelmed.
Penny, despite having published six novels and a memoir, I'm still completely overwhelmed whenever I think about the whole topic of marketing--which is of course what every writer must think about even before publication these days. You've managed to deliver some advice that makes the whole process sound MUCH less terrifying. Thank you! My favorite line in your post is about how even baby steps ARE steps.
I'm so happy to see this comment, Holly! You write such beautiful books...I wholly support any marketing efforts that help get them noticed. 🙂
Oh my gosh YES - everything counts. Also, keep track of every small step you take - for one, it's a great mental boost, but also it's just great for tracking. Because often we do things and we're so surprised when they work and then we have to reverse engineer them to figure out how we got there 🙂 Good luck!!
This is great! I love bite-sized. Thank you for generously sharing.
So, so helpful! Doesn't hurt to do a bunch of these even before your book is out there. This is a keeper.
I was thinking that same thought, Barb. Why wait? 🙂
YES I love that - plan ahead and get some of this out of the way ahead of launch, great idea!
Good info. I've saved this in my professional development folder.
Excellent! I'll bet that folder is stuffed with magic. 🙂
Love the bite-sized approach to marketing. I'm working through the list. Thank you!
Yay! Great news, Jacquolyn.
This is wonderful! I didn't know some of these! I'm working on setting up my BookBub now. Didn't realize that was an option.
It's such a great site, you'll love it! Good luck with it and have fun!
Penny, since I much prefer writing to marketing, I appreciate a plan to do marketing in bite-sized bits. Thank you!
I get it! Marketing can feel like a lot of work - but chunking it down to bite size pieces feels so much better and it's much easier to manage! Good luck!
I'm always wary of people trying to friend me as a friend of a friend. If I can't see why, other than we have author friends in common, I delete the request. So many trolls, so little time.
Do not friend someone and turn around and ask them to friend your author page--rude. Many will unfollow and block you.
Don't follow 100 people on Twitter at one time or you'll be in Twitter jail for a bit. Know, at a certain point, you will be capped at how many you can follow until you have a certain percentage of followers or hit the ~1k mark.
This is such a terrific article that I am printing it out to keep right at my PC. I'm off to BookBub.
Excellent! I think you'll love it - it's a great place to be!
Super helpful, Penny--thank you!
Very practical and achievable! I just completed the twitter follow suggestion and I'm getting a ton of new followers. This is fun!
Great ideas! Thank you.