It's a question that every author asks. Whether you are self-publishing or have a trade deal, whether you're launching your first book or have already published a dozen. How can I get in front of more readers? It's a question that I get asked all the time, too. So in this post, I'm going to share my best book marketing tips for getting in front of new readers.
So if you've been following along with my previous posts, you already know how important it is to identify your target readers. And I have given you some strategies for doing just that. But once you know who your target readers are, how can you find them? And how can you get in front of them to let them know that you and your book exist?
Let's have a look at some of my top tips.
Tip #1: Social media
Social media is not the best place to be trying to sell your book. Yet it is a great place for starting to grow your platform, or your audience of loyal readers. It's a place where you can have conversations and build relationships. I recommend authors start with one or two platforms where they can start getting into conversation with readers.
If you don't have your own Facebook group, or a loyal following on Instagram, you can still start communicating with readers on social media. You can join Facebook groups where your readers are hanging out. You can follow hashtags on Twitter and Instagram and share content using those hashtags. This will ensure it gets seen by more people than just your own followers.
It's important to use social media to be sociable. So you don't want to be spamming various platforms with news about your book… or saying that your book is coming out… that it's available to buy… or it costs this much… and here's the cover…
All those things that you see other authors do, and that you find a little bit annoying, don't do those things. What you want to do is get into conversation about your genre, about other authors' books, about all the things that you love about writing and reading.
Get into real conversations and it will come to a point where someone chooses to find out more about you.
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Tip #2: Blogs
When you do the work to identify your target reader, as I talked about in my last post, then you get a sense of where they might be hanging out. You have an idea of the blogs they are reading or podcasts they're listening to. And when you've got a good idea of those things, you can go to those places to try to get in front of those target readers.
The blogs you approach may focus on writing, or it could be something else. They may focus on a topic that you share an interest in with your target reader. For example, one of my clients wrote books from the point of view of a dog. She was an animal lover and knew a lot about dogs and horses. She could pitch a guest post to a blog aimed at animal enthusiasts and reach her target readers there.
Think about your target reader and the content they might be consuming. What problems do they have? What challenges are they looking to solve or what do they want to learn? Which blogs are they looking at to find that information?
When you have decided where your readers might be hanging out, you can go there too. One of my top book marketing tips is to pitch yourself as a guest on those blogs. Think about the content you can contribute so you can get in front of your target readers.
Tip #3: Podcasts
Podcasts are the same as blogs in that you can get in front of your target readers by contributing excellent content. So pitch yourself as a guest for one of the podcasts that you think your readers are listening to. This is a great way of positioning yourself as a someone your target readers should be paying attention to.
When you get featured on a blog or podcast, your target readers will see you as someone with authority that they should be paying attention to. So they are more likely to then read your bio, to follow the link to your reader magnet and join your mailing list.
Tip #4: Advertising
Advertising is an excellent way of getting in front of target readers. But, it does need financial investment and this turns off a lot of people. With advertising, you can usually set your parameters for who sees the advert. So if you know who your target readers are, you can choose to have your advert shown to that group of people. So if you know the gender, you know the age, you know, various demographics, you can target your ad, which can be very effective.
You can use ads to grow your mailing list, by advertising your reader magnet. Or you can use ads to sell your books. If you're using AMS ads on Amazon, for example, then you will be selling your book. I would always encourage you to grow your mailing list rather than use ads to sell books, but a combination can be affective. If you use ads to grow your mailing list, you can nurture the relationship before you ask for a sale. And you sell future books to your subscribers.
There is a huge learning curve with advertising, which can be expensive. Plus, margins are very small on books, so you need to ensure your ads are well optimised. That said, ads can be a great way to get in front of readers.
Tip #5: Collaboration
Working with other authors can be a great way of getting in front of more readers. And these are readers that you know love your type of book. If you work with comparable authors, then you know that you have a shared readership.
You can do newsletter swaps where they feature you in their emails, and you can return the favor by featuring them in your emails. You can work together on box sets where you release books together and each promote those books. This can be very effective as you combine your marketing efforts. You can also share each other's social media content, blog posts and other content that you're creating. This will help you get the greatest exposure for everything that you're putting out.
Tip #6: Amazon Optimization
If you want your book to get found on Amazon, you need to position your book correctly. In my post 5 Things to Do Once Your Book is on Amazon, I explained how important it is to put your book in the correct categories and use effective keywords. You should also ensure that your book description is strong. Doing these things together means your book is more likely to get found by your target readers.
Choose the right strategy for you
So there are lots of different ways of getting in front of your target readers and there are pros and cons to each. Some of these book marketing tips will take a time investment, whereas others cost money. It's important that you find the way that works for you and your budget. Try to avoid looking at another author and thinking, well, they did that and it worked for them. You may find you don't enjoy what they're doing, or you don't have the same budget or the same amount of time available. And so it won't work for you. You need to find the strategy that is right for you and your books.
To learn more about being a guest on blogs and podcasts, download my free 7-step guide to growing your author platform with publicity.