When you make your debut as an author, you need to start marketing your book. In Sweden alone, tens of thousands of new books are published every year, which means that you as an author need to work with marketing to reach out to new readers.
There are many ways you can market your book. I know that many writers don’t like the idea of marketing themselves or their book, but the truth is that it’s necessary if you want to get more readers than your friends and family. In this article, I discuss three things you can do today to promote your book.
1. Build an author brand
Marketing is not only about sales, it is also about you as an author and your personal brand. By building a following and showcasing you and your book, you increase the chances of someone buying it.
Some ways you can build a brand as an author is by creating an account on any social media and posting there regularly. It doesn’t have to be a writer’s account where you just talk about writing, it could just as easily be a bookstagram account if you like to read. The point is that you’re sharing pieces of yourself. You’re being personal (without necessarily being private) which means you’re building a relationship with your followers. It is important that you not only post about your book, but also share other things.
One person who does this very well, in my opinion, is Gabriella P. Kjeilen who I discovered through her podcast Livet som författare. She is visible in several channels and peering personal about her writing journey which makes me curious about the books she has written.
I myself work actively with my social media, including posting every day on Instagram and TikTok. Read more about how to market yourself on Instagram here.
2. Get reviews and guest blog
Recommendations and ratings are something many people look at when considering whether or not to buy a book. One way to promote the book is to give books to book bloggers or bookstagram accounts for free. Hopefully they will read the book and post an honest review online.
In Joanna Penn’s book How To Market a Book, she writes that you can add a few lines at the end or at the back of the book that readers are welcome to leave a review. She also writes that it is not uncommon for authors to ask their existing readership to review the book online.
I personally printed bookmarks for my debut novel asking readers to review it online and had a link to my website on the back. Those who came to the release party or who buy books directly from me get a bookmark. I’ve gotten a few reviews online and hope to get more.
“Strategy is deciding what you want to do, and perhaps more importantly, what you don’t want to do.”Joanna Penn, How To Market a Book
3. Use paid social
I get that paid social can seem scary to someone who has never done it before. As someone who works in marketing on a daily basis, I definitely have an advantage when it comes to this, but the algorithms are constantly changing which means that even I often feel like a beginner.
With paid social, you have the opportunity to reach new people and it doesn’t have to be super expensive. The photo below is a post that I boosted on Instagram when I had a competition with a signed copy of my book.
If you’re new to paid social, I recommend starting on a small basis. For example, if you have an author account on Instagram, you can boost posts or buy advertising . Target the audience that your book has or go broadly towards people who like to read.
In marketing, there is something called the sales funnel. Depending on what you want with your marketing, you can work with different strategies. Below I have listed a simplified sales funnel for an author on Instagram.
- Awareness – Reach out to new potential readers, build brand and awareness.
- Activation – Get people interested in you or the book or get them to follow you on social media.
- Conversion – The person buys your book or listens to your audiobook.
If you want someone to buy your book, you will need to work from the top down. Start with awareness, when people know about you, you can try to get them interested and only after that you can work on conversion.
A final tip is to look at your statistics. Which posts on your social media reach the most people or attract the most new followers? Which ads performed best? Which age group did the ad perform best in?
Also check how other authors work with their marketing and personal branding. Get inspired and reach out to them and ask how they do it. I’ve had other authors contact me and ask how I come up with ideas for reels.