By Amanda Miller
Faced with the arduous task of marketing a book, you may conclude that writing it was the easy part! Most authors—both traditionally and independently published—eventually face a laundry list of marketing tasks, including devising an overall plan, creating marketing materials (such as bookmarks, postcards, and press releases), and finding ways to garner more reviews and generate early buzz about their books.
To tackle all of the above, you’ll need some basic tools in your promotional toolkit. But with tons of new marketing platforms coming out every couple of months, it’s hard to know which ones to use, where to invest your time and money, and what will actually work.
To that end, here are 7 tried-and-true tools that we at My Word Publishing (we help authors bring their books to the market) find simply indispensable:
1. KINDLE A+ CONTENT: to enhance your KDP sales page
The new kid on the block for indie authors is Kindle A+ Content. While it was previously only available to select publishers, now Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) platform has made it open to all.
A+ Content is a marketing tool you access through your KDP account. It enables you to create content for your book’s sales page. For example, you can share your brand story, author bio, editorial reviews, and more.
Amazon has semi-strict guidelines for what you’re allowed to feature on this page, so read through their guidelines before getting started.
Will this lead to more book sales? That’s certainly the idea behind Kindle A+ Content. In fact, Amazon reported that “Having A+ content on a detail page has been shown to attract more customers and can help to increase sales by an average of 5.6%* once the content is added to the page.”
2. DESIGN RESOURCES: to create marketing materials
Consider these three excellent platforms:
Canva is an online, easy-to-use design tool that almost anyone can learn. It offers an extensive library of over 400,000 design templates, allowing you to make almost any marketing material you’ll ever need.
For example, you can create:
To get started, go to: Canva
BookBrush is the author-specific version of Canva. This platform provides social media and ad designs tailored specifically for authors, with features like 3D book covers, other images and buttons to add to your designs, and over 1 million backgrounds to choose from within their library. At the time of this article, BookBrush was offering 20 free mockup images for your book marketing when you sign up for the free version. Of course, you can always upgrade to get more services.
To learn more, go to: BookBrush
Fiverr: For those who don’t want to create marketing materials themselves in Canva or BookBrush, Fiverr is the answer. This is a platform that gives you access to freelancers all over the world who can do almost any marketing task you need. Most services can be purchased for just $5, but prices range depending on the service you’re looking for.
Fiverr designers can create book trailers, printed marketing materials, and more, and can offer continued support throughout your book launch for any needs that arise. Staying out of the weeds of hands-on creation tasks allows you to accomplish more in other arenas.
To get started, go to: Fiverr
3. HELPAREPORTER.COM: to become known as an expert
Helpareporter.com (also known as HARO) connects you to journalists who are seeking expertise for their articles. This is a nifty way to build your credibility and get your name out into the world. What’s more, when a journalist features you in an article, not only do you get exposure for yourself and your book, but often articles will link back to your website, boosting it in Google’s algorithms. This means more eyes will be on you. Head to the site, where you will register and then monitor your emails for source requests from journalists looking for your type of expertise.
4. FREEBOOKSY.COM: to get your book to readers
One of the biggest struggles for authors is reaching readers outside of their immediate network of friends, family and acquaintances. By purchasing a subscription list from Freebooksy, your ebook will be sent directly to the inboxes of readers who enjoy your book’s genre. This can lead to buzz surrounding your book, more readers, and in turn, possibly more book reviews, which will help boost your Amazon algorithms.
5. PODMATCH.COM: to get on podcasts
Being a guest on a podcast is a great way to demonstrate your authority and share your book and its message. To that end, Podmatch connects podcast hosts with those looking to be interviewed.
You can upload your profile for no charge, but be sure to pepper your profile with representative keywords. This enables podcasters who are looking for your subject matter to more easily find you. Alternatively, you can search podcasts that share your demographic and pitch them.
To become a guest, often podcasts will have a page for you to submit your information. If you don’t get an immediate response, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not interested. Sometimes requests can get lost or overlooked, so be sure to follow up with subsequent requests.
Remember: during your podcast interview, you aren’t there to pitch your book. Rather, you’re there as the expert in your field. The host will pitch your book for you.
6. KDP EMBED TOOL: to let readers sample a few pages of your book
Now the KDP Embed Tool offers the same tool for your own website! Rather than walking down the bookstore aisle, grabbing a book, perusing the cover, and flipping it over to read the back, your readers can access all of this on your website.
How do you find the KDP Embed Tool?
Once your book is live on Amazon, go to your sales page (not your KDP page, but your Amazon sales page). On the right-hand column, scroll down until you see the social media icons. The <Embed> tool is right there. Click on that and follow the prompts.
7. VIRTUAL BOOK TOURS: to encourage reviews of your book
Often, we get authors who don’t want to do the heavy lifting for their own marketing. Perhaps they’re shy and would rather just write, or maybe they don’t know where to start. A virtual book tour is a great option for any author who wants to create buzz by getting audiences to come to them.
Virtual book tours connect you with bloggers who will review your book, as well as post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. They guarantee honest and real reviews, which is exactly what authors need to get their book outside their close circle of connections.
To find the best company to manage your virtual book tour, Google “best virtual book tour for (genre)” and research the companies that seem interesting to you.
Amanda Miller is a publishing consultant with My Word Publishing. She guides authors through the entire publishing process: production, publication, distribution, even marketing. You can contact Amanda here.
BlueInk Review offers serious, unbiased reviews of self-published books penned by writers drawn from major mainstream publications, such as The New York Times and Washington Post, and editors of respected traditional publishing houses. Select reviews appear in Booklist magazine, a highly respected review publication that reaches 60,000 librarians. For more great tips about writing, publishing and marketing, sign up for our free newsletter.