Welcome to my hub page for book promotion and marketing! Here, you’ll find my curated collection of articles on building your author platform, surviving self-promotion, and marketing your books to potential readers.
Author Platform and Social Media
Let’s start with you, the author, and how you make your presence known to the world. The phrase author platform is increasingly ubiquitous in the publishing industry, but essentially, it boils down to who knows you, how they know you, and the things they know about you. For example, if you’re Tom Hanks, pretty much everyone knows you, from movies and television, and you’re one of America’s favorite actors.
Those of us who aren’t movie stars must build our platforms with other components: qualifications, which are critical to a non-fiction author platform; existing audience, i.e. people who’ve read an author’s work; personal connections to industry or the media; and online presence in the form of websites, blogs, and social media.
Building Your Author Platform is my 101-level post on the elements of an author platform and how to get started building yours. Some relevant articles for platform-building are:
- 8 Things Every Author Website Needs covers the necessity for an author website and the most vital elements that your should include.
- How to Build Your Author Mailing List walks you through the basics of this vital tool for connecting with your audience.
- 10 Twitter Commandments for Authors is my tongue-in-cheek article on how authors should conduct themselves on my favorite social media channel.
- Platform Building Primer is another useful guide by fantasy author Nat Russo
Mailing Lists and E-mail Marketing
If I could offer only one piece of book marketing advice to aspiring authors, it would be this: start building your mailing list (a.k.a. e-mail newsletter) as soon as possible. Some authors ask, why should I bother with a mailing list when I can just use Twitter or Facebook or some other social media platform? Well, two reasons. First, opt-in mailing lists have the highest “conversion rate” (i.e. success rate at getting a sale) of any internet-based marketing channel. Better than blogs, better than social media. This isn’t just my experience; it’s been proven by countless digital marketing gurus.
Second, when you build a mailing list, it belongs to you, and no one can take it away. If you think you own your follower list or network or even your posted content on social media channels, you’re wrong (go read the terms of service). Remember this little rule of thumb, as I think it’s helpful:
If you use an online service (such as social media) but don’t pay for it, you’re NOT the customer. You’re the product.
Companies like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can do whatever they want with their networks. A notorious example is Facebook’s algorithm change that made regular (non-boosted) posts reach only 2-3% of friends/followers. The best way to capture your fans and followers is to get their e-mail address. Here’s how to get started:
- How to Build Your Author Mailing List is my detailed guide for setting up, building, and establishing your mailing list. This is where you should start.
- E-mail Book Marketing Case Studies compares book promotion e-mails from four different publishers to see what each does particularly well.
- BookBub Promotion: Crunching the Numbers will show you the effectiveness of e-mail book promotions by looking at stats from the industry leader, BookBub.
- E-book Price Promotion Services is a detailed analysis of my results with BookBub-like services to promote discount e-books, e.g. Riffle, BookSends, and E-reader News Today.
Book Promotion Strategies
Now we come to the heart of it: strategies and tactics for promoting your work to a wider audience. Here are some of the best book promotion resources I’ve collected (or written) over the last few years:
- Book Promotion in 2016 is a guide by example of the strategies I used to promote my own book, The Rogue Retrieval.
- 5 ways to promote your book, a post I wrote back in 2015 that’s still highly relevant today.
- The ultimate guide to selling books, with links to 100+ great resources, at BookBub Partners blog.
- Marketing your book, a fairly comprehensive guide by successful indie Joanna Penn.
Conventions and In-Person Events
For genre authors in particular, conventions (cons) and conferences offer some important opportunities to find new readers and promote your work, such as readings, panels, book signings, etc. Although I’ve attended both fan-run cons like Archon 38 and professional-oriented events like World Fantasy Convention, I’m hardly an expert at the in-person community engagement. Instead, I defer to these authors:
- Conventions and Writing, or Schmoozing 101 by Mary Robinette Kowal.
- Fix your con panels by using this one weird old trick, by Tex Thompson.
- Selling yourself and your work at conventions, a great forum discussion on SFFchronicles.
- Writing and convention culture, a particularly informative episode of the Writing Excuses podcast