So you've written your book but it's not out yet. If you're wondering what you can do to start marketing your book before it's published, you're in the right place.
I'm going to tell you what actions to take now to start marketing your book, which will mean more sales when it is out.
More than a year to publication
The first thing to consider when marketing your book before it's published is how much time you have.
If it's more than a year then you're in a really good place. I would encourage you to focus on growing a mailing list. You can also start making connections with influencers who can help you promote your book when it's out.
So what do I mean by that? I mean reach out to bloggers and podcasters, pitching yourself as a guest. That will enable you to get in front of their audiences.
To start with you can connect with them on social media, like their content and share it widely. Then introduce yourself and pitch some ideas for their blog or podcast that would be great for their audience.
You can also connect with other authors in your space on social media.
When it's time to promote your book, you're going to want other people to help you reach a wider audience. But asking someone else to help you promote your book is a bit cheeky. Most people will say no if they don't know you and you've suddenly popped up asking for a favor.
Be helpful first
What you really want to be doing is connecting with those people, developing a relationship, long in advance. Start connecting with people as early as possible and avoid asking for anything too soon.
Instead, think about what can you do to help them. Have they got a book out that you can help promote to your networks? And however small your network might be, you can still share something on social media. People really appreciate that because it's easier to get 10 people to promote to 10 other people than to promote to 100 people yourself.
So what can you do to help someone? Can you connect them with somebody that can help them? Can you share something on social media? Have you got an email list that you can send an email out to and promote their book?
If you start by giving to other people and not asking for anything in return, it will be much easier down the road to ask for a favor. When you ask someone to support you they're more likely to say yes. They're going to remember that you were useful to them and they will want to return that favor.
3-6 months to publication
So what if you only have three to six months until your book comes out?
If you already have any kind of platform, a Facebook group, a Twitter following or a mailing list, then absolutely take advantage of that. Start talking to your audience about your book, getting them excited that it's coming out soon.
You can invite people to join your launch team, so in return for a review copy of your book they will leave early reviews. They will tell their friends about your book and share about it on social media.
If you don't have any kind of platform, and even if you do, start reaching out to other people who can help you promote your book.
So as I said before, guest posting, podcast interviews, they are going to be very good for raising awareness of you and your book. And they don't cost any money, it just costs time, but it is well worth the investment because it can kill two birds with one stone. You can grow your mailing list and you can let more people know about the book that's coming out. And the best part of this is that you don't have to spend any money on advertising.
Less than a month to publication
So what if your book is out in the next couple of weeks and you have zero platform?
Many authors come to me in this situation, fearing their book is doomed. They suddenly realize they haven't done anything to generate any interest in their book, they have no one to sell it to and they're panicking that it's all going to be a big waste of time.
Is your book doomed? Absolutely not.
There is plenty you can still do, but you may need to reframe your expectations a little bit.
You can use promos to drive traffic to your book and that will tell Amazon the book is popular and it will help lift it up in the search results. There are a huge number of promos sites out there and some are more reputable and more effective than others. Kindlepreneur has an awesome list of some of the top free and paid promotion sites.
I don't recommend promos as a long-term marketing strategy, but they can definitely be useful around the time of a launch.
The other thing to keep in mind is that it doesn't matter if your book doesn't sell really well on the first day of its release or the first week. Although marketing your book before it's published is a good idea, you can continue to sell your book long-term.
The idea of launch week being incredibly important is a hangover from the traditional book industry. Books had to sell well in bookstores, otherwise they were returned and the stores didn't order more copies of them.
When you're printing on demand and you're selling ebooks it doesn't matter so much. You can continue driving traffic to your book for as long as you want. You should be marketing your book up until at least your next one comes out.
So while it may not do well in the first week or the first month, perhaps three or six months down the road you'll start driving a lot more traffic to your book and it will start to pick up and do very well.
Grow your platform
So if you haven't got a platform, you haven't done much marketing before your book is out and suddenly it's out in the next week or two, start growing your platform now. Start getting on those podcasts and getting on those blogs as a guest writer. Start growing your audience and your mailing list. Then you can start selling those people your book.
Marketing really is a long-game, so whether you have days, weeks, months or even years until your book comes out, whatever you start doing now you can continue doing long after it is out. You can start marketing your book before it's published, but it's important to continue long after it's out for sustained sales.
Wherever you are on your book publishing journey, I encourage you to start thinking about growing your platform. So even if you don't have a readership ready to buy this book, you will start growing one ready for the next book.
To help you with that, download my free 7-step guide to growing your author platform, and start growing your readership today.