7 Free Ways to Promote Your Book
The most crucial step for the success of any book is marketing. This is an unfortunate truth since the content is what should really determine the book’s success. This is not how the world works, however. Many great books have died silently in the past due to weak marketing. If you spend 2 days writing a book, you should spend 8 days promoting it. This applies to books, ebooks, and any other product on your mind.
Promoting your book requires time and patience. It’s not as glamorous as writing the book itself. It’s an ongoing process requiring continuous revision and adjustment. While there are many standard methods for general marketing and exposure, we will be looking at methods which can be used for books, with a stronger emphasis on ebooks. The more methods you apply from this list, the greater your chance for success. The most important ingredient here, is patience.
1. Free giveaways
Apps provide free trials.
Games provide free levels.
Books provide free chapters.
Free material is more likely to be downloaded and shared. There is always a strong temptation for over-protection of your content, with the fear that your effort is given away for no value. Resist it. Users experiencing part of the book are more likely to purchase the whole package. The giveaway can be an excerpt taken from the book, like one or more chapters. If the book is an app, the excerpt can be an independent app by itself, free to download, and linking to the full paid app at the end. Otherwise, it can be a PDF or EPUB file, giving details of how and where to purchase the full entire book.
2. Social Media
If you think back, you’d notice that many of the books you’ve read, have become known to you through social media. Many are willing to read titles only because others have read them. But in order to make people start talking about your book, you need to engage them first through your social channels. Social networks are massive channels to target billions of users, with Facebook leading with 1.6 billion monthly active users, and Twitter with 330 million active users. Having a Facebook page for your book is a must. Invite others to the page and plan your posts carefully. Extract quotes or valuable information from your book and portray them in attractive images, always referencing back to your book. Invite the page followers to interact by making polls and asking for their opinions.
What’s even better is to target social networks specialized for book readers. Amazon-owned Goodreads is an excellent example, and possibly the top on the list. Connect with others who seem interested in the same topic of interest, and request their reviews. Include your book’s title and link in your signature. Join relevant groups, book clubs, and contribute to discussions in meaningful ways that would spark interest to what you’re doing. AuthorsDen is another example of such a network.
You may also find local networks similar to Goodreads, targeted for your region or language. For example, Abjjad is a social network targeted at Arabic book readers. You’ll find many designed for other languages and parts of the world.
3. Content Marketing
This may as well be the most effective method on this list especially with today’s generation of internet users. Content marketing is the buzz word, and every marketeer is aiming to gain exposure to his products through content. English, please? Sure. Companies have discovered a new effective way to promote their products, and that is by writing about relevant topics. This content is then shared to newsletter subscribers, social media fans, online discussion groups, and more. The content may not mention the product directly, indirectly, or even entirely, but portrays the author as a key expert in this subject. This builds trust, credibility, which may convert your readers to buyers, even through a simple link on your signature.
If you’re going to be starting your own blog, it may take some time to build an audience. Something more effective to do at the start is to write for popular blogs instead. The downside is that the traffic for that content pours into the external blog rather than yours. However, you’re able to reach a much wider audience. By adding a suitable byline for the author details, you have the chance to mention something about your book, along with a link.
As mentioned, content marketing is the buzz word today. So try to make those articles as unique as possible instead of general topics, otherwise, you’re competing with tens of better-written articles online. Your article title should be catchy and reflect some real value. Here are a few ideas:
- How to write the perfect ending for your book
- How I managed to write my book in 10 days
- Ways to build characters in your story
4. Online discussion participation
This is partially related to the previous point. Sign up to LinkedIn Groups, Quora, Yahoo Answers, Fluther, and other discussion/QA websites. You need to spend considerable time going through other people’s issues and contributing with good answers. Your signature here is the selling point, so do mention that you’re an author along with a link. In websites like Quora, you can be quickly recognized as an expert in the field and will receive email notifications requesting your answer for particular questions.
Contributing to online forums and discussions can spark some magic with key persons and influencers in the field. This can help with exploring marketing or partnership opportunities with other people. LinkedIn Groups is one of the greatest places to start with this kind of contribution.
Contributing comments to online articles of related subjects with smart useful insights is effective especially if you’re allowed to leave a back link to your website. The most important thing is to really offer useful insight and forget for a second that your ultimate goal is marketing.
5. Reviews and testimonials
Everyone loves a social reference. That is, to make a decision about a product based on other’s opinions.
Book reviews are an essential step in promoting your book. The majority of users search for reviews on a title prior to purchasing. You can request free reviews for your book from many book review blogs. There are no guarantees though that your request will be taken. Some popular book review blogs are:
Ereader News Today: http://www.ereadernewstoday.com/
Kindle Nation: http://kindlenationdaily.com/
Pixel of Ink: http://www.pixelofink.com
Inspired Reads: http://www.inspiredreads.com
Kindle Reader: http://kindlereader.blogspot.com/
Although this article is about free promotion methods, it won’t hurt mentioning two paid review sites for your reference:
Send your book to popular names in your circle and ask for a testimonial. Similar to the previous point, this provides an effective social reference for others. If you manage to do this early-on, you can place the most powerful and concise testimonial on the cover page of the book. The rest of the testimonials can go on your website and shared through your social networks.
6. Affiliate marketing
With Affiliate marketing, you request others to sell your book for you in return for a commission on the sales. This is very suitable for ebooks. The challenge is to find those affiliates. Many online networks and services exist to help with this match-making process. It will require you to put some effort to set things up. Some popular affiliate marketing networks are Click2Sell, ClickBank, and Selz.
7. Dedicated website
Well, that’s a no-brainer. Having a one-stop space holding all the information one needs to know about your book will make things easier for your users and provide a strong dose of marketing in one place for your visitors. Use WordPress and choose among countless plugins to achieve your objectives. The website can integrate one or more of the previously mentioned methods, such as:
- Distribute the giveaway through the website
- Mention links to the book’s social pages
- List articles of related content in the subject
- Have an online discussion section or display latest tweets
- Have a section listing all the book’s reviews and testimonials
- Explain instructions for joining your affiliate program
Marketing is not an easy task, and survivors are those with the most patience. Following the marketing techniques mentioned throughout this article routinely and consistently, will surely put your book out there in the spotlight, and in turn, give you fruitful results.
Choose the marketing techniques you will apply and make a scheduled plan to abide with. Do not leave things randomly hanging without a clearly defined plan. And just like Alan Lakein said: Failing to plan.. is planning to fail.