10 Tips To Up Your Book Marketing Skills Right Now

Many authors are intimidated by the thought of marketing their books. As I mention in this post on my blog recently, the concept of an author platform makes most writers run away or start talking to the dust bunnies in the corner.

What Is Book Marketing Anyway?

The basic premise of book marketing is this: write great books that people want to read, then effectively market them. If you’re self-published, use professional editors, designers, and formatters so your book looks amazing. I self-pub’d my first three books and invested in those services through scrimping and saving. Now you can crowdfund. It’s doable.

If you’re traditional pub’d, you will still be doing the majority of your own marketing. This fantasy that your publisher will do everything for you is just that – why do writers think that they’ll just write in their office while sipping tea and petting their cat? Look at top writers like Rowling, King, Weiner, John Green (!) – they all do massive social media and online marketing.

I have an agent now and am published by a boutique literary agency out of NYC. While they do a small bit of marketing, I do 90%. My BadRedhead Media business clients are a mix of NYTimes bestsellers and successful indie authors, and they, too, are doing their own marketing (or well, hiring me to help them).

10 Tips To Up Your Book Marketing Skills Right Now, BadRedheadMedia.com, BadRedhead Media, @badredheadmedia, Books

“Can’t I Just Write Books?” 

Sure, you can do anything you want. You can write and write and write. And you should — the best way to let people know about your books is to write the next one, and the one after that, and the one after that. Backlists are awesome.

However, will anyone purchase them and read them? That is an entirely different question. You must market your books so people can know about them. With 1,000 books released daily (Source: OutThinkGroup), how can a reader read a book they’ve never heard of? Additionally:

  • The average U.S. nonfiction book is now selling less than 250 copies per year and less than 3,000 copies over its lifetime.
  • A book has less than a 1% chance of being stocked in an average bookstore.
  • For every available bookstore shelf space, there are 100 to 1,000 or more titles competing for that shelf space.

Here Are My Top Ten Tips To Help You Market Your Books:

  1. Know your demographic. Who is your ideal reader? Most authors have no clue (I know I didn’t at first, either). The best place to start: Pew Research Center. Tip: Everyone is not your demographic, no matter how much you want that to be true.
  2. Where is your ideal reader spending time online? That’s where you need to be. Most authors spend their time on Facebook, whining about how their books aren’t selling. Facebook is the largest social media channel in the world – but is it where your readers are? If your books are YA, you need to be on Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, and YouTube, which skews younger. Additionally, all those Facebook personal account posts don’t help you in Google Search.
  3. Be social on social media. Too many authors blast and spam (“Buy my book!”) with little to no interaction, which is not only ineffective, it also violates almost every social media channel’s rules. Listen, retweet and share, interact and reply. It’s not all about you. And for all that’s holy, cancel that automated DM (direct message) welcome on Twitter. Newbie mistake.
  4. Blog at least once weekly. This is effective for your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Not sure what to blog about? Focus on your branding and keywords. What are you most excited about? Remember, we brand the author not the book. Write about what you are authentically passionate about or an expert in (Hint: it doesn’t have to be writing!).
  5. Add your social media icons to your website and blog. This seems so obvious, but so many authors don’t do it. If you make people search for ways to find you (or share your content or books), they’re out.10 Tips To Up Your Book Marketing Skills Right Now, BadRedheadMedia.com, BadRedhead Media, @badredheadmedia, Books
  6. Add your books to your site/blog. One author complained recently that nobody was purchasing her books. I looked at her site and you couldn’t find a single purchase link anywhere! Lesson: add your books and link to Amazon (and other purchase sites).
  7. Be authentic. Not sure what to tweet/post/blog about? It’s really easy: what interests you? Share that, even if it’s not at all about your book. So what? Unclear about your branding? Read more here: Branding 101.
  8. Use tools to manage it all. I love social media management tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, CoSchedule, ManageFlitter that shorten and organize my online time. Most offer free options and are zombie-easy to use.
  9. [share ]Have a plan, work the plan[/share]. I find most authors will flit from here to there, trying a bit of this and a bit of that, with no strategy or clear goals in place. Create a marketing plan, have goals, and measure those goals. Reset as needed.
  10. Above all else, write a damn great book. None of the above will matter if your book is awful. Learn your craft. Spend the time and effort to work with professionals (can’t afford it? Crowdfund.) Use beta readers. Send out ARCs.

I’ve attached a lot of links as resources in this article (mine and others) for further reading. Additionally, make sure your book is as close to perfect before release to have the best possible chance at success!


The BadRedhead Media 30-Day Book Marketing Challenge is now available! Do you want to learn how to energize your book sales in a month? Then you need to buy this book.




*This post was originally published on BookMachine.com and is reprinted here with their permission.


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