Book Marketing: The Basics

by Molly Greene, @mollygreene

In this post I’m sharing the five-pronged book marketing blueprint I established to get my Gen Delacourt Mysteries back in the game after time away from writing, marketing, and self-publishing.

It’s not rocket science. I just went back to basics, forming my re-entry strategy around a simple five point plan: 1) consistent paid promotions combined with 2) rotating discounts, 3) social media posts and interactions, 4) personal blog and guest posts, and 5) the occasional email to my Readers Club subscribers, a.k.a newsletter.

There are lots of other things to do, but I consider these the core spokes of the wheel that will drive my marketing wagon. Writing more books is actually the most important element, but you’re on your own there!

1. Paid book promotions

I’ve mentioned before that taking time off is a setback in more ways than one. First and foremost, the paid book promo scene has changed. The rise and fall of marketing types and sites continued during my hiatus and I had to re-learn what worked, and what had fallen by the wayside. Luckily – and, as always – author friends helped me get up to speed.

For paid promotions, I set a monthly budget of about $50, ideally divided between two paid promos, one every two weeks.

2. Rotating discounts and sales

For the past eighteen months I’ve made my first-in-series, Mark of the Loon, permafree. In the recent past, I’ve only promoted that title. But I’m changing that routine.

In future, to keep the paid promos fresh, I plan to cycle through my series and discount and promote a different title every month or two, each of which works as a standalone. You can never tell which book cover or blurb will spark a reader’s interest enough to click a purchase link, right?

3. Social media

For social media, I chose to focus on Twitter and Facebook, with an eye to ramping up my Instagram presence. I use paid Hootsuite to pre-schedule bulk tweets, then spend a little time live on both platforms every day. It bears repeating that social media is not a direct sale undertaking. Twitter and Facebook work best when you use the platforms to interact pleasantly (!) with author friends and readers as often as possible, and live. Talk about books, travel, fun stuff, whatever.

Social media is a tough road right now, with the world upended and chaotic, and folks are understandably distraught and upset much of the time. So be discreet. I share discounted or free titles from trad and self published authors I love, blog post links and general upbeat stuff, along with the occasional self-promo post. Find your lane, and be consistent. For inspiration, watch Author Toby Neal on Facebook and take notes. And buy her books!

4. Blog posts

I was a consistent once-a-week blogger for years, then stopped in Spring of 2016. The reasons were complicated. I started blogging before I published a book and my posts detailed my self-pubbing experiences. So the original incarnation of my blog was author-centric. I decided to take a break and contemplate its future.

The obvious answer was, going forward, to publish posts more of interest to and including my readers, which every author probably knows, and which I blogged about long ago. So I’m doing my best to segue from author-centric blogging to posts that appeal to both readers and writers. This post clearly does not fit the bill, aside from one question:

Readers, where do you most often go to find new authors to read? Please leave a comment and share!

Now I hope to get back to blogging at least once in a while. (Guest posting on pertinent blogs can also help with discoverability, by the way.) New posts keep the website fresh, it provides an outlet for data and research you can’t use in your books, such as what you’re reading, travels that take you to plot locations, etc. Which leads me to… subscriber newsletters. Your blog posts can provide content for these.

5. Subscriber emails

The final leg of my strategy involves more consistent contact with readers who’ve signed up for my Readers Club. I hesitate to contact my list unless I have something to give away, but sharing info about discounted books and freebies qualifies. I’m aiming to reach out to them probably once a quarter or so. Hey, that’s a lot for me!

Authors, how are you getting the word out about your books? Readers, what’s your favorite place to find new authors to read? Leave a comment and share!

Note from Molly: I invite you to check out my novels on Amazon, join my Reader’s Club for freebies and book news, and follow me on Twitter. This original content is copyright protected. Thank you so much. Mwah!

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