Last month, I talked briefly about 4 broad strategies you could use to promote a new book release. Even though I’m still in the drafting phase of my short stories, I want to start researching book promotion strategies so I’m prepared for publication.
For this post, I’ll start looking into online advertising for a new book release.
In that post, I mentioned four general types of advertising I want to use to promote my book release: book reviews, blog tours, social media, and third-party advertisers.
I tried to solicit book reviews for my first novel from several book bloggers with some success. Some, I never got a response from, but I did manage to land two reviews from book bloggers.
Okay, one of them happens to be my author buddy MLS Weech… but still — he purchased my book, took the time to read it, and then wrote an honest review. That’s a commitment.
Anyway, I definitely want to gt a few more reviews from book bloggers this year, so I’m starting to build a list of blogs who do book reviews. This is probably pretty straightforward for most, but I’ll do the following:
- Select 5-10 book review bloggers — people who actively read and review new books for their websites — and list them on a spreadsheet. I happen to follow a lot of book bloggers, because I like finding out about new books, so curating my list shouldn’t be hard. The spreadsheet will help you stay organized.
- Review each website’s information about requesting reviews. Most book review blogs have clear instructions on how to submit your story for a review. Some use forms on their web page. Others ask for email submissions. However, each one may have slightly different criteria or ask for different information for each submission, so don’t assume every book review blog is the same.
- Consider genre, submission guidelines, and timing. Some blogs admit that it may take them months to get to your review, so be sure the timing works for your schedule.
- Consider your budget. Most book reviewers do not ask for payment, but they will likely expect a copy of your book, whether in a pdf file, or as a free Advanced Reader Copy.
- Once you have your list solidified, start submitting. Here’s where the spreadsheet really helps. You can track the date you submitted your book to each reviewer, the date they responded, and any other important notes. Do they only accept digital files of books? When did you send each book? How much money did it cost for each review, considering the book copy cost (digital or print) and any shipping costs (for a print book)?
That’s one way to solicit book reviews, but we’ll review another less direct method in my next marketing post, when we talk about organizing giveaways.
A blog tour is a popular method for authors to reach wider audiences on the blogosphere. You’ve probably seen these posts in the past.
A particular blog you follow — likely one that talks a lot about books or writing — will post a “guest submission” from another blogger author. They’ll talk about a subject related to the host blog’s content, and then have a little blurb about their book.
This is a great way to connect with other bloggers, and their readers. I have 634 awesome WordPress followers as of this writing. But some of the blogs I read the most have 1,000+. That’s a lot of readers I could reach by just reaching out to that blogger and asking if I could submit a guest post around my new book release.
Some bloggers will have specific instructions for submitting guest posts. Others, you’ll just want to reach out with a friendly message. I’d recommend sticking to blogs that you already follow, and trying to engage with that blogger’s posts a bit before reaching out. If they recognize you from their Likes or Comments section, they may be more likely to publish your guest post.
Promoting your book on social media can be difficult (and intimidating), and your strategy can differ drastically depending on which platforms you use. My first piece of advice? Stick with what you know, and what you like. I tried Facebook and hated it. I thought about Pinterest for about a week and gave up.
Over the last year or so I’ve shifted my social media usage to four main platforms:
I’ll do posts about my upcoming story on Imgur and Instagram, with great photos and/or cover art. I will likely offer a giveaway of some sort through Imgur as well.
On GoodReads, I’ll post updates about my book, solicit reviews, and potentially organize paid ads, but we’ll get to that below.
Online Advertising (Paid or Free)
Technically, all of the above methods are considered advertising. What I’ll introduce in this section are some websites you can use to reach audiences you might not otherwise reach through placed ads. A lot of placed ads are paid, so you’ll need to figure out a budget, but there are some free resources as well.
Kindlepreneur is a great resource for learning about different book promotion strategies, so I started there. Their post lists over 100 websites you can use to promote your new book, and many of them are free.
Most of these sites are book-centric newsletters with large subscriber lists. You submit your book as a free or super-cheap offer to each list’s readers, hoping to generate interest for your book. The main goal with these advertisers is to get A LOT of people to click on and read your book on Kindle, for instance, to drive up your book’s ranking in Kindle’s marketplace. This will help more people see your book and lead to future sales.
Here are a couple of the book promotion sites on that list that caught my eye:
FreeBooksy has two primary ways for authors to reach their audience. Freebooksy is the newsletter for authors to give away their books to readers by genre. For this, your book has to be perma-free, or part of a free giveaway program like Kindle Select.
However, they also offer BargainBooksy, a separate service to reach their subscribers interested in buying books by specific genres. BargainBooksy charges $45 to reach a list of 128k fantasy readers.
Indie Author News
Indie Author News is an all-around book promotion service. They offer targeted email lists, placed ads in their newsletters and on their website, author features or interviews, and other services to help authors promote their books.
Kindlepreneur says they offer free and paid services, but you’ll need to fill out their contact form to get more information. However, a more rounded service like this likely offers bundled pricing for more than one of their book promotion services.
JustKindleBooks offers several advertising services as part of bundles, including advertising your book in their newsletter, posting about it on various social media, and an ad placement on their homepage. Their Premium Plus plan is $43.
The Big Boys
I’m also going to look into GoodReads and Amazon Marketing Services to place ads on those platforms and reach readers directly, but I haven’t looked into the pricing yet. Still. I’ll use some combination of the above services for my online advertising plan.
As you can see, there are a ton of options for promoting your new book online. Explore each of your options in the above channels, figure out your budget and how much you can handle, and then start laying out your advertising calendar. Social media posts and blog tours should be planned hand-in-hand with paid advertisements to drive as much momentum about your book as possible.
I plan to pursue each of the above online advertising avenues, but I’ll write more detailed posts as I lay out my plans.