Promoting a book is not quite the same as promoting a company or a brand. The words you put down on paper, birthed on the pages of a book, contain insights that are meant to draw in a specific group of people. If your book is about leadership, you're hoping to talk to leaders. If you are writing about a startup, the goal is to captivate entrepreneurs.
Interestingly, many authors sometimes miss this simple fact: Marketing and promotion has to be geared for a certain audience, otherwise you speak into a void. To sell your ideas, it's important to determine who will buy those ideas. That's why, when I wrote my first book, I wanted to hone in on a target market (in my case, it means spending a lot of time at churches). I decided to focus on that group initially.
At the same time, I've discovered many other ways to promote the book, mostly from people who have sent me their smart ideas. Here are the best I've found.
1. Create a Facebook ad that targets influencers
Author and speaker Jenny Randle says to create a Facebook ad that specifically targets influencers. First, you create an ad with a quote, say from a magazine like Inc. Magazine. Then, you create the ad and target an audience of people who like Inc. I created an ad from some one who endorsed my book, and it's already leading to more traffic.
2. Go on a podcast tour, not a radio tour
Forget book tours. Author Jen Ruiz says to arrange a podcast tour (which doesn't usually require any travel). It helps to hold one at least once a week prior to your book launch. I'm way behind on this, but plan to start contacting podcasters next week.
3. Bring your readers behind the scenes
Alastair McDermott, who runs a site called Website Doctor, suggested letting readers go behind the scenes. I started a Medium blog to let readers know what's happening with my book. You can post behind the scenes videos of your book launch, or a site in progress.
4. Practice first with smaller podcasts
If you don't have a ton of experience doing radio shows, try smaller podcasts first, says podcasting expert Michelle Ngome. It helps you learn the ropes. Those who know me will agree--I'm all about small group discussions, and small podcasts will work out great.
5. Find a local bookstore and do a launch party
Book promoter Michele Smith says to find a small bookstore and do a lunch party. Not every author can start with Barnes & Noble, but a party gives the book credibility. For me, I found a small bookstore near my house and dropped in unannounced.
6. Find influencers on Instagram
You might think this technique only works for the fashion industry. David Johnson from Strategic Vision PR Group suggested targeting specific influencers, in my case those in religious circles. He says, depending on the number of followers, an endorsement could work wonders. This is on my short list of action items.
7. Create a Google alert
I didn't think of this one, but it makes sense. If anyone mentions your book, you can follow-up and find out more and develop the relationship, says author Ruth King. I like this tip because it was easy and yet notifies me about a potential lead.
8. Make the ask
Book promoter Jonathan Jacobs from Digital Natives Group says it's smart to ask people directly, sometimes for something as simple as a tweet about your book. We all have friends who can help, but there's nothing quite like a direct request for promo.
9. Create a press release
Levi Olmstead, the Community Manager at G2 Crowd, told me to try making a press release. It wasn't on my radar, because there's no "company" behind my book (just a publisher). Yet, it's smart because it allows me to distribute information about the book and reach a wider audience.
10. Create a book link that contains search terms
Rick Ramos, the CMO at HealthJoy, gave me a wonderful tip. He says the "official" link I use should include search terms for Amazon. This helps with Google SEO. He also recommended a link shortener to make it easier to share.
11. Start interacting on Reddit
Anthony Capetola from the company Sales & Orders mentioned how Reddit can be a place to develop relationships. He advised against jumping in and promoting my book, but said it's smart to start contributing and discussing topics. Eventually, I'll earn the right to mention my book. (By the way, I decided to name my user profile after my book--no harm in that, right?)
12. Find LinkedIn groups in your category
Most of us already know about LinkedIn groups and their value, but publicist Mike Onorato says it's important to find groups on the same topic as your book and start engaging with people. I found a few in my category and started posting a few questions to get things started.
13. Always carry books with you
Another idea that seems obvious but also makes sense. Author Ruth King told me about how important it is to always carry your own book with you. It's helpful for those impromptu moments when you meet an influencer or want to arrange a speaking engagement.
14. Offer a GoodReads giveaway
Giveaways work, which is one tip that kept coming up again and again. It's an incentive to look into the book. However, book author Brigitte Brulz says it is smart to do a GoodReads giveaway, once you claim your author page, because it's also a promotion. My only issue? My GoodReads link lists the wrong John Brandon. I'm getting that fixed.
Have your own tip? I'd love to hear about it. Just send me an email here.