In focusing your marketing efforts, consider where your readers spend time. Showcase your book, your expertise, and yourself in those places your readers are most likely to frequent.
Online retailers Obviously book buyers shop at online retailers such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. Amazon offers various tools for authors who want to gain exposure for their books, such as author profile pages, where you can let customers know a little more about yourself, and the Search Inside!™ tool.
The more material you make available to potential readers, the more likely they are to purchase your book (especially if you’re a first-time author), so be sure to take advantage of features like Amazon’s Search Inside tool, Barnes & Noble.com’s See Inside feature, and Google Books.
Facebook: That social networking site With a population of users larger than many countries, Facebook is a perfect place to promote yourself and your book. Set up a personal profile and a page for your book, create and join groups, and actively update your pages. While you’re in a social mood, set up accounts on other popular sites like LinkedIn and Twitter. With growing usage (13% of online Americans use Twitter as of 2011) and integration with Apple’s iOS 5 mobile operating system, Twitter is another platform for reaching potential readers in large numbers.
Online communities These virtual communities allow you to interact directly with people who love books. Some sites cater to a general population of book enthusiasts, such as Goodreads and Shelfari, and others are more specific, such as Figment.com, a site that is popular with writers and readers of young adult books. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Target your search. Look for online communities that are as specific as possible to your genre. Not only will you have more to contribute, but people who are passionate about a subject may participate in several online communities, and so you may find yourself developing relationships across multiple sites.
- Participate. Set up a profile page, find or start groups, join in discussions, and comment on others’ blog postings.
- Don’t focus on selling. Not every interaction in an online community has to (or should) be about promoting your book. Be yourself and make a real contribution. By participating in relevant communities, potential readers can get to know you and you can learn more about your readers and what they are looking for.
- Practice reciprocity. As you develop relationships with group members, consider asking particularly active ones if you can send them a copy of your book to review on Amazon or (if applicable) their blog. If they like your book, see if they will provide blurbs for your website or recommend your book to other members of the group. Be prepared to do the same for others. Good relationships are never one-sided.
Your local media There is a lot of competition out there for coverage in big newspapers; unfortunately, not everyone can make it into the pages of the New York Times or the Philadelphia Inquirer. However, editors of local newspapers and producers of local TV and radio shows are frequently looking for interesting stories about residents.
- Publishing a book can be a great local interest story. Send a press kit to local editors and producers, and be sure to follow up. Let them know if there’s a story idea that would be of particular interest to the community. For example, if you’ve written a book on parenting tips, and you’re heading into a cold suburban winter, offer to write a piece on fun things to do with your child at home.
- To reach local readers, also consider location-specific news sites such as Patch.com, which reports on local news and events in towns and cities around the country.
–Meredith Hale, Marketing Manager, Baldwin Book Publishing & Edit911, Inc.