Friday, October 28, 2011

How Can I Market My Book?

I wish I had a dollar for each time someone asked me "How can I market my book?"  I get emails all the time from people I don't know asking me this.  So, here's a recent email exchange with some answers to that question.  The answers will differ depending on what your write, when you wrote it, and how it's published.  Some of these tactics do apply to everyone, however.

Emailer:  I am wondering about ways that you have marketed your books [that would help me].

To start, here are some questions I have for you:
Is your book fiction or non-fiction?
When was your book released?
Do you have a blog?
Is your book on your web site?
Where is your book available?
Are you on Twitter?
Are you on Facebook?
Let's see what your answers to those questions are and we can go from there.

Yes, all those questions really do make a difference.  It turns out that the book in question was self-published - in print only - and 3 years ago!  Of course, 3 years ago, self-publishing wasn't as "accepted" as it is today.  So, even though the book has been out since 2008, that doesn't mean it's a lost cause - its odds are better today than they were back when it came out.  However, the book isn't available anywhere except the author's web site.  The author is on Twitter and Facebook - but doesn't use those platforms to promote the book - at all.

After giving me the information I needed to formulate a response, the Emailer asked:  I am wondering, "What has given you the most results in exposure and sales or is it a combination of things?"


Unfortunately, there's no way of knowing what gives the most exposure since usually so many things are going on at the same time.  The things one would think provide the best exposure (i.e. television appearances - 2 of them!) have resulted in little or no traffic - let alone sales.  It really seems that it's a cumulative thing.
Honestly, the best thing to do is write more books.  If you're not planning on writing more books, then the best you can do is get yourself out there and hope people find you.
Non-fiction is much easier to market than fiction because you are an "expert" in the subject you wrote about.  Go to blogs and discussion boards on your topic and post comments - most important - with links to your website.  Don't make salesy comments - you need to establish yourself as someone with good input.  That's the point of that.  Join online groups and give your input on topics.  It's a lot of work, but it will pay off if you're diligent.
Who is your publisher?  Your book isn't available on their web site?  Many self-pub houses will charge a small fee to get your book into distribution.  I'd definitely check on that.  The eBook is extremely important.  Get yourself on Kindle and on Smashwords.  EBooks are outselling print books.
You should use Twitter.  Tweet at least once a day with some sort of interesting thing you're doing or some kind of advice based on your book's content.  Book signings, events, milestones - etc. - are great to tweet about.  Another good one is posting about other things you like - in my case hockey, photography, etc. - you can check out my tweets at @AuthorKSBrooks for example.  If you use Twitter solely for pushy sales tweets, it will alienate people.  Follow people who have interests similar to yours and some of them will follow you back but it will take time.  And you might actually enjoy what you read on there!  You can also set up Twitter so it posts the tweets to your facebook page and other social networking sites which will save you time.
Are you posting on your blog about your book?  You should also have guest bloggers who can post on your topic.  They'll bring their followers to your blog for a read and you can send out notices announcing the guest post which will refresh your followers', friends', and fans' memories that you exist. When my first book came out in 2001, it took 3 mentions of a product to spark familiarity to a shopper.  Now it takes 7, so getting out there using as many different venues and "excuses" as possible is more important than ever.  Do you have an e-newsletter?  If so, is there a way to subscribe on your web site?   Here's an example of a form to subscribe - and it's free -  Do you have sample chapters and/or excerpts on your web site?  And on your web site, do you have little buttons so people can follow you on twitter and Facebook?  See the bottom left of the page I just provided.
If you're planning on writing a bunch of books, you should have a facebook author page.  If you're planning on only having one book, you should have a facebook page geared towards your book.  Since I've got a bunch of books, I did an author page -
I have other marketing advice for writers on one of my blogs at  Posts are really geared towards helping writers with publicity if you'd like to take a look at those.

The Emailer replied:  Wonderful information, . . .thanks!  I've got my work cut out for me.

Yes, it is a lot of work.  Once you're set up, if you can get a rhythm going, it shouldn't be that hard to maintain.    Good luck...and keep writing!


  1. Great post, Kat. Very informative. I'm following you on twitter now.

  2. Thank you Rasana! And thanks for taking the time to stop by.