In our modern, interconnected world there are countless ways to promote a book. Plenty of the following techniques don't cost any money, though some do have fees attached. The key to effective marketing is focus, consistency, and targeting.
Author Website: In our digital age, the first place people will look you up is often online. Having a polished and professional author website is key to being taken seriously. A color scheme or design that ties in with the aesthetic of your personal 'brand' or your book cover will make a great impression. A professional author photo will also help establish your brand: what kind of author are you? How do you want your readers to perceive you? Will your photo be in black and white or colour? Against an interior or exterior background?
All of this information allows you to funnel potential readers to a single destination where you can promote book signings and events, provide direct links to buy your book, and display reviews you've received and information on your work.
Social Media: Each social media platform attracts different kinds of users. If you are publishing an art book, a platform that can support visual media (like Pinterest, Instagram, or Tumblr) will allow you to show off your words with your art. If you are a brief writer who uses catchy tag lines or rhyming couplets, try Twitter. If you want to build off your existing connections, try Facebook or LinkedIn. If you want to directly target readers at large, Goodreads is an excellent option. The great thing about social media is it's free to use, and each post can be shared across multiple platforms to connect with new readers.
Blogs: There are numerous book blogs out there, many of which include video posts and podcast interviews as well as text. Finding the ones that cater to your potential target audience is key; if you are promoting your sewing projects book, a blog that exclusively covers car repair is probably not going to garner much interest. If you find that your content is very niche and you're having difficulty finding enough blogs that cater to the right crowd, you can always make your own. This requires a greater investment of time, of course, however, with platforms like Tumblr, Weebly, WordPress and YouTube, you can make your own blog site quite simply. Be sure to post regularly to help build a following and your blog's legitimacy.
Reviews: Especially for an unknown or new author, reviews go a long way to convincing a reader to take a chance on your book. There are a lot of ways to get reviews, and you often have the ability to screen them. You will always get both good and bad reviews, so you will be best served if you can accept them objectively and try to learn from them. Places like Amazon or Goodreads allow readers to create reviews;certain writers' groups enable you to get peer reviews from other writers; andyou can also purchase professional third party reviews from the likes of Kirkus and Clarion Reviews which hold considerable weight in the literary world. Such reviewers offer well-respected and unbiased reviews which can be shared with libraries and retailers.
Contests: A great way to gain some publicity and potential reviews is by just getting your work out there. There are many online contests you can enter your book into. Be sure that you meet the criteria, and take a chance. Some have an entry fee and others have specific publishing date requirements. There are review round robins (a type of peer review competition), book of the month clubs, indie publishing awards, new author awards, and writing contests. Share your work and you can help to bring attention to you or your book!
Whichever methods work for you, remember that the journey to successfully promoting your book is an epic adventure, not a short story. For this reason, think carefully about which methods are going to be attainable (and, if necessary, sustainable), and work methodically to make them successful for you.
Written by Astra Crompton, FriesenPress Author Account Manager
Edited by Kate Juniper, FriesenPress Editorial & Illustrations Coordinator