Book Marketing Ideas For Authors

Book Marketing Ideas For Authors

The Definition of Marketing

Marketing is an umbrella term that encompasses promotional activities designed to sell products. When it comes to books, marketing aims to reach readers and sell copies. It’s a mix of public relations, advertising, publicity, and other forms of spreading the word and raising awareness among booksellers and consumers.

The Importance of Book Marketing

As much as authors wish it were true, writing the book is not enough. The truth is no one will read it if they don’t know it even exists. So how do you let people know about your book? That’s where marketing comes in. It’s critical authors assume a business mindset—your book is a commodity that needs promotion to succeed outside your inner circle of friends and family. It may be out of your comfort zone to talk about your book (and yourself!), but the good news is that you can market your work in many ways. Read on to discover different marketing strategies to find which one(s) are the best fit for you.

Let’s Talk Marketing!

Here are seven things you can do to market your book. Some are easy enough to start today!

1. Create a website.

If you mention your book to someone or a reader happens to stumble across a copy, one of the first things they might say is, “Where can I learn more about this?” The answer: Your website. Having an online presence is super important for authors. The first step is setting up a basic landing page with your headshot, book cover, and contact information, which you can grow into an entire website with pages, links, and more. It might sound intimidating, especially for the tech-challenged author. However, it may be simpler than you might think. Platforms like Squarespace and Wix offer templates and a user-friendly interface.

TIP: Invest in purchasing your domain, which comes off as more professional and legitimate.

2. Establish a social media presence.

Social media is a must when it comes to marketing your book. It’s free and generally easy—posting pictures or videos is a great way to capture reader attention and drive them to your book or website. But here’s the thing: You don’t have to be on every platform. Instead, choose one or two platforms that best fit you and your audience. For instance, if you’re writing YA, that would probably be TikTok. If you’re writing for women 40+, that would probably be Facebook. Then, set up your accounts for consistency and recognition using the same profile picture (a professional author headshot is nice) and cross-linking posts.

3. Start an email list.

Email marketing targets consumers through things like newsletters. Have you ever seen those website pop-ups asking for your information? That’s one way authors capture new readers. It is a form of direct marketing since the email is sent to someone who is already a fan or reader. Therefore, they are more likely to be engaged with your book/brand. But how do you go about starting an email list? The key is to start small. Reach out to friends and family, then post on social media and ask followers to sign up if interested. Once your list is established (even if it’s tiny!), send periodic newsletters, including progress updates, cover reveals, launch dates, behind-the-scenes looks, giveaways, and more. Some authors email more regularly (monthly, for instance), while others reach out less often (perhaps quarterly). There are lots of email marketing platforms that are user-friendly, such as Mailchimp, Substack, MailerLite, and many more.

4. Pitch podcasts.

Do you listen to writing/book podcasts? (If not, you should!). Many writing and genre-specific podcasts accept guest interviews. Being a guest on a podcast is an excellent way for readers to learn about your book and you as an author. Do a simple Google search or ask your writer friends for suggestions, then form a list of podcasts that interview authors. During the interview, talk about your writing and publishing journey, the content of your book, what you hope readers will get from it, etc.

NOTE: Many podcasts book out months in advance, so if you’re trying to time an episode to air around a launch, it’s best to inquire ahead of time.

5. Cross-promote with other authors.

You’ve heard the phrase before: It takes a village. The same is true for book marketing! Your village is your author community (if you don’t have one, now’s the time to start forming those connections!). Tap into other writers to cross-promote each other’s work. Perhaps your book is coming out around the same time as someone else’s, or several of you are writing in the same genre. Use each other’s audiences to help grow your own.

A few ideas include:

  • Newsletter swaps
  • Joint giveaways
  • Interview each other
  • Multi-author book bundles
  • Joint Instagram lives
  • Sharing social posts

6. Run a giveaway or promotion.

Who doesn’t like a discounted (or free!) book? Consider running promotions through your website or book platforms like Bookbub, Robin Reads, The Fussy Librarian, and many others. For example, sign up for a Goodreads giveaway, during which readers can enter for a chance to win your book. When they do, your book is added to their “Want to Read” list and shows up in people’s feeds. Whatever promotional strategy you choose, spread the word far and wide by posting on social media and asking people to share.

7. Create ads.

Ads are a great way to attract reader attention, but mastering ads is another story. Fortunately, there are courses (some free) authors can take to learn about creating and running ads on platforms like Google, Amazon, and Facebook/Instagram. Done well, they can be highly effective. If done poorly, they can suck significant cash from your budget. Either way, ads cost money, and as the saying goes, sometimes you have to spend money to make money. So if you’re unsure or worried, consider hiring an ad expert to manage them.

This list covers the basics of book marketing but is not exhaustive. Many creative ways exist to market your book and grow your author brand. The most important thing is that you do something. And remember, you can ask us about our marketing services.

Vickie L. Gardner Showcased at the Tucson Festival of Books

Vickie L. Gardner Showcased at the Tucson Festival of Books

Congratulations to Vickie L. Gardner! She recently showcased her book series, The Adventures of Darby, at the Tucson Festival of Books.

This year’s annual festival was held March 4-5th at the open-air University of Arizona Mall in Tucson, Arizona. It’s an opportunity for bookworms to attend book panels, meet authors, and discover new books. 

You can check out Vickie’s Tucson Festival of Books profile here.

Vickie brought books from her series, The Adventures of Darby (titles below), to sign for attendees.

Darby’s Polka Dots and Pretties

Darby Meets Tall Town

Darby and the Dollberry Dare

Congratulations again, Vickie!

6 Types of Book Endings—And How To Master Them

6 Types of Book Endings—And How To Master Them

Every great story must come to an end (booo!), but the good news is that you, as the author, get to choose what you want that end to be (yay!). When it comes to fiction, not all endings are created equal—each book dictates the conclusion that makes the most sense for the story. Sometimes endings are guided by genre expectations, and other times the author surprises readers in a way they weren’t anticipating. Either way, one of your duties before finishing your book is to decide which type of ending to employ. Not sure which to choose? We’ve rounded up 6 common book endings—read on to learn about each one and how to write them effectively.

1. Resolved Ending

All loose ends are tied up in a resolved ending, leaving the reader without any lingering questions. All storylines come to a natural conclusion, and the story threads are resolved. In many stories, especially fairy tales and romance novels, this is referred to as a Happily Ever After ending, where the book concludes on a high, satisfying note. A fun spin is the Happy For Now ending, which creates a sense of hope and optimism. However, not all resolved endings are happy—many famous tragedies have resolved endings despite being sad or depressing. The key word here is resolve (not the emotion attached to it).

2. Unresolved Ending / Cliffhanger

In contrast, unresolved endings intentionally leave the readers with more questions than answers. A popular technique for unresolved endings is the cliffhanger, a plot device that creates shock and suspense and makes the reader want more. Series authors use cliffhangers to encourage people to read the next book in the series. You may leave your protagonist in peril, about to make a significant choice, or racing against a ticking clock. Cliffhangers shouldn’t be used if there’s no follow-up story to finish the storyline (See below for Ambiguous endings, a type of unresolved ending used for stand-alone books).

3. Unexpected Ending

Have you ever finished a book and thought, “I didn’t see THAT coming”? Chances are you just read an unexpected ending or an ending with a twist. This type of book ending is often used in domestic and psychological thrillers. The trick for mastering a surprise ending is to not make it predictable—it should genuinely shock the reader by strategic foreshadowing and dropping breadcrumbs along the way. Twists shouldn’t be used “just because” or to resolve plot problems in a manner that’s not natural to the story. The best unexpected endings create such a surprise that it stays with the reader long after reading.

4. Ambiguous/Open-Ended

Ambiguous, by definition, means to be open to or have several meanings or interpretations. Therefore, an ambiguous book ending is one in which individual readers come to their own conclusions about what happened or might happen in the future. It’s subjective—readers might completely disagree with their own interpretation. When done well, ambiguous endings leave the reader with a multitude of possibilities, and readers are encouraged to draw their own conclusions. This type of ending is divisive—some readers love them, and others loathe them.

5. Full Circle Ending

Also referred to as a Tied Ending, this is when the story ends where it began. It could be as simple as using the same opening and closing sentence or scene (sometimes called “bookending” because like matching book ends, the beginning and end match). A common trope is the Hero’s Journey, often used in mythology and folktales, where the protagonist experiences a sudden or unexpected journey and must find himself, followed by a triumphant return home. A caution for full-circle endings is that they can sometimes feel pointless to the reader, so authors should be sure that the journey/story is meaningful and worthwhile.

6. Expanded Ending / Epilogue

An expanded ending usually occurs in an epilogue, where the narrative jumps forward. Some epilogues jump days, months, or even years into the future. Others change perspectives or narrators. Not all books with an epilogue require a prologue—those two literary devices serve different purposes. A benefit of expanded endings is that they allow the author to resolve unanswered questions that weren’t possible to answer in the main narrative. As a result, readers often feel satisfied with epilogues as the conclusion of a novel. An important note about epilogues: They shouldn’t be overly lengthy. Most epilogues don’t exceed the length of a typical book chapter, and many are even shorter.

Some authors have the ending of their book planned from the beginning (plotters), while others figure it out organically as they go (pantsers). There is no right or wrong, only a personal preference for what works for you and your story. When choosing the type of ending, consider what feels natural and logical and what is expected for your genre. If you’re still unsure, try writing more than one ending, then compare and contrast the impact of each. The good news, at the end of the day (pun intended), is that when you’re writing the ending, chances are you’re nearing the finish line!

Rie LaMarr Hosted a Book Signing at Barnes & Noble

Rie LaMarr Hosted a Book Signing at Barnes & Noble

Congratulations to Rie LaMarr, author of It’s One Whale of a Tale, for a successful book signing! It was held on February 25th during Children’s Story Time at Barnes and Noble in Ventura, CA.

Her book follows the adventures of Peter and Marion from the inside passage of Alaska. Read along as they ride on a killer whale, eat with grizzlies, and fly with a baby eagle.

Congratulations again, Rie!