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Book marketing tips from a first-time author

Our guest blogger today cold-pitched me with this book marketing tips guest post idea. (See? It works.) Andreas Wagner was a journalist for many years and has worked as an interpreter for some of Europe’s most famous soccer coaches and players. Despite a great career and lots of highs, he didn’t feel fulfilled, so he decided to turn his life around. His book, Get Rid Of Your Small Addictions, is the result of this incredible journey. Learn more at his website, happily-book.com.

Book marketing tips from a first-time author

By Andreas Wagner

Authors often see themselves as artists. When they write their first book, things like marketing and advertising are often not on their mind.

Once the book is out there and nobody buys it, however, writers have to start thinking about how to generate attention for their book. In the weeks after I published my nonfiction book Get Rid Of Your Small Addictions through Amazon’s KDP, I faced these challenges.

I don’t have an email list; my Instagram profile only attracts a few of my writer friends, and my author page on Facebook has one like so far – from my father.

I had to come up with other marketing tools to make my book launch a success. As my advertising budget is slightly smaller than Coca-Cola’s, I needed to be creative. Here are book marketing tips based on what I’ve learned.

book marketing tips

Emailing friends and family

My first measure didn’t cost any money, but was very time-consuming. I went through every single contact in my address book and wrote almost everyone a personal message and sent those out on the day of the launch. I even messaged some of my ex-girlfriends after I hadn’t been in touch with them for years.

You might wonder if this is really of any benefit, but my aim was not necessarily to sell the book to my contacts, but to spread the word.

Get rid of your small addictions coverA lot of my friends and acquaintances seemed happy for me that I had published a book and some of them recommended it to friends. The important thing, however, is to genuinely personalize the messages because otherwise they come across as mass mails that won’t get you anywhere.

As I offered the book for free in the first couple of days after the launch, I got around 50 downloads through these messages alone. For someone starting out afresh, it is certainly a success.

You shouldn’t underestimate the time investment for this, especially because some of your friends will reply and then you need to answer their questions or thank them for congratulating you.

Facebook for the long term . . .

Another option for free advertising that I used was to join Facebook groups about the book’s topic. If you keep engaging with other members and give them tips, you will establish yourself as a helpful member of the community, which in turn could lead to a few book sales.

This is especially true for nonfiction authors, but this can be a great idea even for fiction writers. This is something that should bear fruits on the longer term, though.

. . . podcasts for the win

For short term sales success, I recommend trying to get booked on popular podcasts. This measure is also time-consuming, but for me it was lucrative.

I had to send numerous messages to podcast hosts (personalized messages are also essential here), but every time I made it onto a podcast, my sales figures went up in the following days.

Non-fiction writers have an advantage here as well, but there are podcasts for mysteries, thrillers, romances, etc. It’s not easy to identify those, but it can pay off. And on top of boosting sales, a podcast interview can establish an author as an authority and helps to build the author brand.

Guest posts like this one are equally good. Writing an article for an established blog can create some buzz around your book and lead to new readers. However, be under no illusion: this method also requires a lot of effort.

Advertising in deal newsletters

New authors who are willing to spend real cash have different possibilities to do so. The most commonly used advertising measure is to book a slot in an email newsletter sent out by professional companies. I paid to be in the newsletters of Freebooksy, Bargainbooksy and OHFB, but there are a lot of others.

These can be useful, but neither I nor any of my author friends have actually made their money back from these bookings – at least not directly. But they can be good to push up Amazon rankings or to drive people to your own newsletter.

Paid advertising to push up Amazon rankings

Amazon adsBooking advertising directly on Amazon through its pay-per-click service is also an option. But this is usually only profitable if cover and blurb are very appealing, you research the right keywords, and you have enough good ratings. I had to experiment quite a bit with this and lost some money.

Bottom line: There are numerous options for your marketing mix. None of them are inherently superior; it just depends how much time or money one is willing to spend. I found what works for me — for now. What works for you?

What book marketing tactic has given you the best results? Please tell us in a comment! 

Tip of the Month

I like to share a “Tip of the Month,” a free resource or tool for authors, on the last Wednesday of the month.

This month it’s Hunter, a tool you can use to find email addresses for influencers, journalists, and others you want to connect with for book marketing purposes.

Hunter crawls the web and indexes publicly available professional email addresses. The data is easily accessible via a simple user interface to either find the right person in a company or to find how to contact someone whose name and employer you know already.

The Domain Search lists all the people working in a company with their name and email address found on the web. With more than 100 million email addresses indexed, effective search filters, and scoring, you’re bound to get the contact information you need for someone using a business domain name email address.

A free account will get you 50 searches a month. Sign up at Hunter.io and start connecting.



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