Today's Reality: Covid-19 Makes Book Marketing Go Digital
Once you're finished writing the book your job is hardly over. The truly hard part begins - selling it! But, in today’s climate what does that really mean? Traditionally, you could schedule some book signings at your local independent bookstore, visit book fairs and industry events, conferences and other events to get the word out about your book. However, in today’s COVID-19 world all the events are canceled. So, how do you promote your book in an environment with no events? The answer - go digital. Here are five of the best ways to market your book in this environment.
Facebook Live Events
In a world where content is king, video is the queen. No matter what the topic of your book is you can always find a way to market it using a Facebook live event. If you’re a children’s author maybe you host a live storytelling event. For you non-fiction writers you can host an event around your topic in your book. You don’t have to give away the whole farm but just enough to “salt the audience” and get them interested in the rest of the answers which are in your book. Whatever you do on video make sure you extend it beyond Facebook. Post your event on Youtube or other video sites so that it gets as much distribution as possible.
Write a Blog
People do still read - even blogs. Especially now when everyone is home - there’s nothing else to do. Make sure your website has a blog and keep it up to date. Your website should form the hub of your author platform and should be the link back location for any content you’re posting on other sites. Make sure your author website has all your books listed with links to where they can be purchased, is well organized and professionally created. If you don’t have the skills to do that make sure you use a professional website designer.
Get Interviewed on a Podcast
There are literally hundreds of podcasts out there and most of them are eager to have new guests on their shows. In fact, new guests on a regular basis is the lifeblood of their business model. They’re easy to find. All you have to do is visit Spotify, iTunes, iHeartRadio, LinkedIn or other sites with lists of podcasts. One tactic I’ve used is to locate the show on one of the podcast sites and get the name of the host. Once I had the name of the host I was able to pull them up on LinkedIn and connect with them using the Messaging feature (this is a premium feature on LinkedIn but you can access it on a free trial to send messages for 30 days). Not every podcaster is going to say yes but with a little gumption and fortitude, you can get yourself on a number of podcasts and promote your book. Here is a link to an email template I used to solicit interviews from podcasters.
Use Influencers to Promote Your Book
Have you ever seen someone post a link or image about a book that wasn’t the author of the book? Odds are that person was an influencer. An influencer is a person who has a following and they’re compensated by companies to promote certain products to their following either for a fee or for a part of the sale and sometimes even just for a free product like a book. Influencers are not hard to find. Just visit twitter, Facebook or any social platform and watch who’s promoting things they didn’t make themselves. Then follow the link to their website and odds are they have a page describing their social influence services.
Promote Your Book via Email
Building your email list so you can tell your followers about new book releases, and events (yes, the online ones for now and the real-life ones once they start back up again) is a great marketing plan for authors. But, what most authors don’t get right is how to build the list. There is a bit of quid pro quo that goes into it (i.e. offering your potential customer a free ebook or something freebie in exchange for their email address). This is an ongoing process - authors should be constantly building their email lists. It’s important to know that everything will eventually return to normal. People are social creatures - we love seeing the world and meeting new people with new ideas. We will have events, book signings and conferences again. There will be traditional opportunities for people to promote their books again. But, until then these tried and true marketing techniques should be added to your portfolio.