Does Book Promotion And Book Marketing Really Work?

Does Book Promotion And Marketing Work

Yes, because the alternative is no book promotion, which naturally, doesn’t work.

Measuring the results of book promotion is a very inexact science. If your measure of success is 1,000’s of immediate overnight book sales, then you will be totally disappointed.

Promotion is a long-term project and requires patience and the mindset that it is all about gaining exposure. Sometimes it can feel like you are all alone, but with perseverance, people will notice your book, and your book promotion will pay dividends.

The more times your book is seen or noticed, the more chance you have of gaining sales.

The other aspect to consider is that yes, you love your book or books, but not every product brought to market succeeds. No matter how much money Microsoft spends on promoting their smartphone, it will never sell like Samsung or Apple.

The hard truth with books is that very few new titles sell well, and this is especially true for self-published titles. There is no use trying to pretend that there is an alternate reality.

However, some books do succeed, or at least sell reasonably well.

In general, books that sell well are firstly, great stories that are well written, and secondly have been well prepared for publication with meticulous editing, proofreading and formatting for each publishing version. On top of this, they almost always have a professional, attention-grabbing cover.

But even with a great product, if no one knows about it, it won’t sell. Hence the need for promotion.

Book promotion and marketing options

Promoting your book doesn’t necessarily mean spending a lot of money. If you set your promotional goal as getting your book seen by as many people as possible, then you can make a lot of progress without spending a cent. Here are a few ideas.

Share your book on social media.

Don’t overdo it, but let all your contacts know something about your book every week or so.

Build your social media presence.

Set aside 30 minutes a day to build your audience on social media by following other people.

Always have social share buttons on your blog or website.

One or two shares on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest, could send your book to thousands of new people, so make sure you have social share buttons on every page and post of your blog or website.

This is one big mistake by omission that I see on the majority of author sites I visit.

Make social sharing of your site, posts and book very easy for your visitors, and some will share, and you will reap the promotional rewards.

Blog, and comment.

While having a blog is the number one priority for book promotion, commenting on other blogs is almost always overlooked as a means of gaining free promotion.

Any comment you make on other blogs is a link back to you, as your name at the top of your comment is a link to your blog or website. This also works on most newspapers that allow commenting. Commenting is a simple, free means of getting a lot of exposure.

Yes, you do have time.

If you think that you don’t have time to write blog posts, comment, add share buttons, follow people and post on a few social media sites each day, then you have an option. If you don’t want to spend your time promoting your books, then spend your money.

Paid promotion and advertising.

There are so many paid options available that a list would be far too long to add here. Suffice to say that the most suitable and successful paid options are Facebook Ads, Amazon Ads and dedicated book promotion services.

The key to paid book promotion is to target real book readers, and if possible, in your genre, and not waste money on advertising to a general audience. This is why Google Ads are unsuitable, as they can’t be as narrowly targeted.

Whenever you spend money on advertising or promotion, think about your defined target audience. With Facebook Ads, you can narrow down your target audience to just a few thousand, by age, demographic, gender, job title, interests and geography and is why it is one of the best paid options for authors.

Broad advertising is very expensive and for authors, a complete waste of money. Don’t spend big – spend a little, wisely.

Keep doing a little bit every day.

Effective book promotion is a daily habit and not a one-off occurrence. Make a plan and stick to it, but don’t expect miracles from day one.

Get your social media working for you, blog and comment regularly, pay a little to get wider exposure, and then hope your book is good enough to attract buyers.

Be honest with yourself.

Lastly, be analytical. Look for what promotional tools work best and refine your plan if necessary. Take notice of reviews and feedback on your book and react.

Can you find ways to improve it? Is your cover attracting attention, or not so well? It is possible to republish an ebook or POD paperback in minutes, so never think your book is finished.

If you find an error, fix it immediately. Always look for ways to improve your product.

Last words

Think of social media promotion as old-fashioned word of mouth advertising. But instead of just one person telling one person, one share can result in your message being seen by 1,000’s, so never underestimate its value.

As an example, one of my posts was shared on Flipboard recently, which resulted in over 8,000 site visitors in 24 hours. Did I sell any books? I don’t know yet, but I do know that 8,000 more people know my name now.

Your book cover is by far the number one attraction and promotional tool you have for your book, so never be afraid to change, experiment and improve it.

Second is your book description. As this will be shared along with your cover, again, improve, change, modify and experiment with the text, and especially the first sentence, as these few words are your hook to get people to click.

Yes, book promotion works, but never stop improving your product.

Derek Haines

Derek Haines is an Australian author, living in Switzerland.

4 thoughts on “Does Book Promotion And Book Marketing Really Work?

  • So true. Thanks! I feel that often most of they paid book promo sites are a scams. When they say we send out a tweet or your book to our 100,000 readers what they really mean is their 100,000 other writers all wanting to sell their own books— I picture a stadium filled with plumbers. One plumber stands up and says “Hey any one need their pipes fixed I am a greAt plumber!”

    Any how just a rant. I start with my true friends first give them free copies , they brag for me. Strangers could care less until you make them your friend.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment, James.

      In fairness to some (not all!) book promotion sites, I think they do try to deliver, but authors have the habit of only wanting to promote their book buy links to Amazon. This can look spammy and gets little attention. (Even from plumbers!)

      A far better way to use these services is to promote a great landing page. Then it is possible to gain a lot more benefit via social sharing, better conversions to sales because the potential buyer has more information than on Amazon, and better name and author brand recognition.

      Believing that book promotion is only about Tweeting links to Amazon will not deliver great results.

      But your method of giving free copies to friends is one very good way of getting word of mouth working for you. So no, it was not a rant! :)

      And one more thing, James. Your comment gave me your website link! So I took a look, which gained you a visitor. But I couldn’t find any share buttons. Two out of three ain’t bad, though. :)

      Reply
  • It’s exhausting. I find I spend a lot of time talking to my FB friends (on my author page) and sharing etc and possibly don’t push my books enough. I find it so hard to hard sell. sigh. About to bring out another book and not sure what to try first.

    Reply
  • So I was lucky enough to get a brand name publisher for a first-time book (non-fiction). Plus my business threw some limited resources behind promotion. And it’s still been a total hard slog. What have I learnt?

    1. Go straight to paperback. Publishers like the idea of recouping their small investment asap through hardback margins. So you end up throwing your limited resources at promoting the launch of a hardback. And when it eventually goes to paperback (hopefully!) you’re old news.

    2. I have a very good relationship with my editor and publisher. However assume that they will do nothing and you won’t go far wrong. It’s down to luck or what you do.

    3. Social media. Not my big thing – a missed trick. I read somewhere else about writing for 11 year olds on Linkedin. I run some risk of not being accessible enough.

    4. If you have the luxury of engaging some professional support, vet them very carefully. I thought I was paying for thinking (strategy) and relationships (contacts who will answer the phone), what I got was them working their database with emails. It had a predictably low conversion rate.

    5. I think it’s an 80/20 game. There’s lots of common sense things you can’t afford not to do (the 80). However everyone else is doing them. Those things will result in only average organic sales growth – but you have to do them. The exponential game changer is going to come from a long shot activity. You can only afford to put 20% of your resource (time?) on this, but you should put some, because if it works… I am thinking of high-profile influencer endorsement, high-profile press placement or something which goes viral on social media.

    Good luck! It’s not easy, but nothing worth doing ever is…

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *