You can and should promote your book as long as it's available and relevant. Here are 5 things you can do to keep it in front of readers.
“How long should I promote my book? Two months? Three months?”
Authors ask me this question all the time.
They’re often surprised by my answer: You should promote your book as long as it’s available for purchase and the content is relevant.
The book launch myth
I’m surprised at how many authors put all their effort into the period around the publication date, then abruptly stop. They abandon the book, even if (or especially if) they’re disappointed with sales results.
That’s often because many, many authors — you, maybe? — mistakenly believe that they can only promote their book when it’s new. That’s the farthest thing from the truth.Many authors mistakenly believe that they can only promote their book when it’s new.Click to tweet
But they have this impression because there’s a lot of hoopla and hullabaloo around book launches. You can easily find launch courses and checklists online.
You’ll have to look a little harder, though to find programs like my Book Marketing 101 courses that look at book promotion more wholistically and explain how to support your books over the long term.
Readers don’t care about your publication date
In reality, you can — and should — promote and market your book as long as it’s available for purchase.
Readers don’t care if your book came out last week, last month, or last year. All they care about is that it’s a good book.Readers don't care if your book came out last week, last month, or last year. All they care about is that it's a good book.Click to tweet
Here are five things you can do to promote your fiction and nonfiction books long after the launch has come and gone.
1. Pitch yourself to the press as an expert source.
If you’ve written a book on a topic, you’re an expert. Your expertise doesn’t have an expiration date. Your book is a long-lasting credential. But don’t wait for journalists to find you — go to them.
Note that you don’t have to be a nonfiction author to be an expert source. Novelists typically do a great deal of research around situations, professions, themes, and other specifics for their books. What did you learn more than you ever thought you would while researching your fiction? You can probably talk to the media about it with confidence.
- Finding the hidden news hooks in your fiction
- How to be your own book publicist
- Promoting your book: 8 ways to pitch media outlets
- How to get trade journal publicity
2. Speak about your book’s topic.
Whether your ideal readers belong to the Junior League, Rotary International, or the National Society of Accountants, you can identify a topic that will resonate with them.
While this is often thought of as a tactic for nonfiction writers, novelists can also speak about topics related to their book’s content.
3. Do podcast interviews.
Let’s be honest. Authors who hit the bestseller list as soon as their books are released are busy, busy, busy. They don’t have time to be interviewed by every podcast host who wants them as a guest, so they give their time to the most popular shows.
That leaves everyone else to interview everyone else, right?
The best part? Podcast hosts don’t necessarily need you to have a “new book” credential to book you. They just need you to be a good guest with something interesting to say.
- 19 cool podcast facts every author needs to know
- Podcasts and authors: Should you be a host or guest?
- 19 of the best podcasts for authors and writers
4. Guest blog.
Blog hosts want interesting, original content for their readers.
Your book doesn’t have to be new for you to provide what blogs need and want. In fact, the longer your book has been out and the more you’ve learned about reader reactions to it, the better able you are to write guest posts that will address reader interests.
- The guest blogging audience most novelists don’t know about
- 4 reasons to embrace guest blogging
- Download our free Guest Blogging Cheat Sheet
5. Use social media to keep your book title in front of the right readers.
Not too long ago, I bought a book because the author posted on Instagram that the Kindle version was on sale for three days. I’ve been meaning to buy it, but had forgotten to do so.
Then this $1.99 Kindle deal showed up in my Instagram feed. It was a no-brainer. (When I told my daughters about it, they each bought a copy, too, because they had heard good things about the book.)
You know that you don’t want to smother people with marketing messages and images on social media, but regular, appropriate, and humble posts will help remind people (like me) that your book is out there waiting to be read and loved.
You can also use social media months and months after your book is published to remind people to review it on Amazon, Goodreads, and elsewhere. Encourage them to request it at bookstores and libraries, too.
- Want to attract readers? Create social media content that resonates
- Instagram Stories for authors: How to create and use them
- Boost social media success with these 3 image types
- Create book promotion quote graphics
- BookTok for book marketing
- Three keys to selling more books with social media
Don’t forget . . .
There’s a lot more you can do, too. But here’s what’s important to remember:
- You don’t want to merely launch your book and move on. You want to continue to promote it months or even years later so it can educate, entertain, or inform the people you know will love it.
- Readers don’t care if your book is “new.” All they care about is that it’s good.
Want to learn more? Register for the “Book Marketing 101 for Fiction: How to Build Book Buzz” or “Book Marketing 101 for Nonfiction: How to Build Book Buzz” e-course to learn how to do all of these things and more.
What can you do today to promote your not-so-new book?
(Editor’s note: This article was first published in August 2018. It has been updated and expanded.)
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