5 Easy Ways To Build An Audience For Your New Book
Book distribution used to be heavily tied to the publishers. Publishers had access to libraries, book stores, press, and more. They could get you into book tours, interviews, and generate tons of buzz. A big part of the publisher’s value-add is in the marketing and relationships they can bring to the table.
We now, however, live in an era where book promotion can happen online. Many self-published authors have successfully built online platforms that drive more sales than traditional channels from publishers.
Here are some quick tips that you can use to further promote your books and drive sales.
1) Utilize Facebook Groups
The most important thing about book marketing is getting in front of people who actually might want to read your book. If you have a YA novel, it probably won’t help your cause as much to promote to senior citizens (not to say that seniors can’t love YA!). Facebook Groups are great because they literally tell you what the people in the group are interested in. There are tons of young adult reading groups or groups dedicated to books that feature a lot of young adult fans. To find groups, you’ll want to get creative. There may be many variations of terms that can get you relevant groups in the Facebook search. For example, for the young adult genre, you might search “YA”, “Young Adult”, “Teen Readers”, “Teen Book Lovers”, “Harry Potter” etc. to find relevant groups. You will need to be creative to find all the most relevant groups.
It’s not as simple as just joining and promoting in the groups, however. Each group has its own culture and policies and most groups don’t allow blatant self-promotion. Read the rules, see how other people interact in the group and only post in the group once you have an idea of what types of posts do well.
For example, some groups love giving advice. Instead of asking to sell your book, instead, ask for help while linking to your book and get advice on character development or something from potential readers while plugging the book. Other groups might love memes. In that case, maybe you can make a meme with your book and plug it in a funny way.
This will involve a lot of trial and error. Just don’t spam and be open to experimenting with a lot of ideas and types of groups.
2) Share Free Snippets
Teasers are a great way to get people excited about your story. Potential readers don’t have many signals to use when buying a book. Sometimes they can look at reviews, but usually, it’s all about the description and cover. A snippet can make a big difference in getting a reader hooked into the story. Snippets are great for providing a hook, getting readers excited by the characters, or even just to give readers a taste for your writing style.
Snippets can be shared in many ways. You can share a screenshot on social media, post it on a writing site, or even combine it with the tip above and share it in a Facebook Group. Even bestselling authors often share snippets (see example).
You can also partner with sites that have book summaries or snippets to share yours (like Wired For Youth does for nonfiction).
3) Embrace Fanfiction
Many writers actively denounce or fight fanfiction. Fanfiction can actually be a powerful force for promotion and feedback. Some writing sites even have entire sections dedicated to fanfiction which can provide even more growth potential.
If you have readers already, you can put together a fanfiction contest around your characters and pick a winner. The writing they share will have some solid organic reach, especially if they share it with their friends.
From how your fans portray your characters, you’ll also learn a lot about how others see your characters and what they want to happen. Whether you use this information is up to you, of course, but the information can be helpful as you continue writing and building your universe.
4) Build A Social Media Following
No, I’m not talking about posting links to your book to Twitter that has 10 followers. To do social media well, you need to post good consistent content. This doesn’t mean spamming links. It means posting things your audience would actually like. One way to find this out is by looking for social media accounts that already have the audience you want. This might be authors within your genre or brands that they tend to like. See what they are posting. Look at their followers. See what they are liking/favoriting. That will give you a sense of what the audience might like.
The content is what will keep people who follow you engaged and sharing. This will help you grow as you gain more followers and help you attract new followers, but won’t help early on when you have 0 followers.
To build an initial following, you will want to engage with others. If you’re on Twitter, there are twitter chats that happen in most niches. You can look around for certain hashtags and conversations and just join in. This is a great way to meet new people and many participants will also be influencers who already have a lot of followers themselves. By interacting with them, you start to build your own audience. This can help you get your first few hundred followers. This social media guide for authors is pretty good for scaling beyond that if social media becomes the main way for you to promote.
5) Test Advertising
If you have a budget for promotion, ads are a great way to get some sales. Both Facebook and Amazon have pretty advanced ad platforms that allow you to target potential readers based on books they like. You will want to run a lot of experiments with the ads to see what works the best in terms of the ad’s visuals as well as its copy.
There is way too much nuance to go into when it comes into ads, but generally what you’ll want to look for is how much it costs you via ads to get a sale and how much you make per sale. You will want the amount you make to be higher than the cost to get that sale. If that happens, buying advertising is profitable and you should do more of it. If it’s costing you more, you’re actually losing money (but still gaining some readers). For more details on Amazon ads, in particular, this guide is pretty good.
Now it’s up to you
All of these methods will take some work but are easy to get started with. In this day and age, you can take control of your own destiny and promote your own works. You don’t need a publisher to do it for you and take all your profits. With a little practice, creativity, and effort, you’ll be on your way to getting your book in front of excited readers!
Try picking just one and focusing on it for a week. It’s better to lean into one hard and really put effort into it than trying all of them at the same time. They all require some work so putting in the work early can be a big win.
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