In this section:
Some authors spend little time promoting their books, while others treat it as a full-time business. However, time and time again we observe that those who do little or no promotion tend to have the least success – while those who are successful are always promoting. Our bestselling authors market and seek out opportunities 365 days a year.
Whether you're struggling with your marketing or firing on all cylinders, we offer the Marketing 365 Challenge – a comprehensive list of activities, top tips and inspiration, to empower you to market your book over days, weeks, months, and longer.
If your book is an incoming release, taking the Marketing 365 Challenge will ensure a robust and healthy campaign.
If it is an older release, taking the Marketing 365 Challenge will help attract a new audience — even if your book was launched ten years ago!!
Do you want more book sales?
How many of these activities can you integrate into your promotion?
Are you ready to level up your marketing and take the Marketing 365 challenge?
Set yourself a minimum sales target. As a general rule of thumb, we need to sell 1000 copies of a book to make a profit on it. How many copies are you aiming for? How about shooting for a bestseller list? Set your target and go for it!
>TOP TIP: Remember to add your marketing efforts to your Marketing page. This supports the marketing team and allows the Sales team to pitch with confidence to distributors, wholesalers, and retailers.
Pre-orders are very important for authors these days: they count towards the first week's sales, giving a crucial signal to publishers and booksellers that a title has momentum.
Equally, online reviews (especially on Amazon) are important too – hit a certain amount (some people say 50, some 70) and Amazon's algorithm will promote your book more widely on your site.
For Amazon, the dream situation is that someone buys your book from them, and then leaves a review about it. This means it is an "Amazon verified purchase" review. Amazon say: An "Amazon Verified Purchase" review means we've verified that the person writing the review purchased the product at Amazon and didn't receive the product at a deep discount.
Amazon values these reviews more highly, and is more likely to promote your book off the back of them.
When you get good Amazon reviews, tell the world. Share on your social networks, quote from them, add them to your website. Likewise, when you hit milestones (50 reviews, 75, 100) share the good news as well.
Hold a launch event, online, or in-person. Celebrate getting to this point – you deserve it!
Make sure you have hard copies to sell at your launch (you can sign them all) and offer easy buying info to virtual attendees.
In-person launches: Hold it in a bookshop, library or literary venue. Make a speech, about your book and your journey from page to publication. If you sell your own copies, get a cash float and card machine for the event. Or invite a bookseller to sell your book for you (or make sure you have it in a bookshop where the shop can take care of the money and order the copies too). If the event is cash or card only, give attendees plenty of warning.
Virtual launches: Create a party atmosphere by inviting attendees to bring a drink of their choice (or even dress up). Set a timetable – max one hour – and divide it into chunks to keep the event moving and interesting. E.g. Talk about the book and plot, show some promotional materials (like a book trailer), read from the book, have someone interview you and invite questions from the audience.
We've observed that authors that pitch national media directly and personally tend to yield more positive results. David Ditchfield/Shine on, Claire Waters/Raising Faith and Agi Heale/Generation Panic are examples of authors who have contacted national media and received in-depth coverage of their book and life experiences.
Use anniversaries and dates of interest to promote your book on social media/your newsletter/your blogs, etc. For example, you could use the 1st anniversary since launch, 5th anniversary, World Book Day, Women's Writers Day, World Book Day, Mental Health Awareness week or Halloween, etc.. Remember to use the relevant hashtags on social media as well!
If you're short of ideas, there are many websites with a list of special dates and awareness weeks.
When your Publication Date arrives, announce it to your networks! This is an exciting event!
A couple of months after your publication date is set your book will appear on Amazon and other trade retail databases. When that happens, encourage your readers to pre-order! This will aid the efforts of the reps and boost visibility; the best time to elicit pre-orders is in the two or three months running up to publication day.
When your cover is finished announce it via a cover reveal. This is an event in itself, something to get excited about!
Create an author website if you don’t already have one.
Once you see your book is listed on Amazon you can join Amazon Author Central. This is a fantastic resource for helping build your profile and promote your book.
Are you based in the Europe or the UK, or promoting your book in Europe or the UK? Remember, GDPR legislation says you are not supposed to send someone a sales/mailing list email unless they have specifically said they want to receive it. Rules in the USA are less severe, but if you send out unsolicited sales emails you run the risk of being labelled Spam by big email providers like Google and Microsoft and your email address effectively taken out of action – if that happens, it's a difficult process to reverse.
Post on your social media accounts daily. Make sure you post on a Friday or a Sunday when social media activity is at its highest. Post to all your accounts in unison for extra impact.
TOP-TIP: Please be mindful to follow the community standards on the social media platforms you are using.
Reach out to a media contact such as a magazine or blogger, influencer or endorser – and offer them an interview. Or reach out to a Podcaster, Radio/T.V. Presenter, New station or Youtuber and suggest you go on their show.
Source and contact a YouTube ASMR channel. Many ASMR creators will read books to their audience to help them relax. ASMR is a considerable boom industry, with millions of people worldwide using it for relaxing and sleep aid. Having your book featured could be huge for sales.
TOP-TIP: If you support the media you work with (via interviews, blogs etc.) by sharing their work to your online platforms, there is an increased chance they will ask you back.
Post a favourable review of your book on your social media. This could be from a media contact, an endorser or an Amazon or Goodreads review. If the perception is that your book is good, people will likely wish to find out more.
If you do the above every day, you will develop quite the following and contact list over 365 days!
Write a blog relevant to your book and upload it to your blog or website.
Top-Tip: When writing a blog and posting to your web or blog site, set a readership target. If you blog every week and only reach a few dozen people, it will not benefit you. Once your blog is on your site, share to your social media accounts, any Facebook groups you are a member of, upload to blog sites such as Tumblr and Reddit and add it to any newsletters you plan to send out. Authors whose blogs reach over 1000 readers per blog find a significant increase in sales and interest in their book.
Hold a weekly live broadcast on your social media channels. Talk directly to your following, hold a Q&A, update people on any book news and offer a giveaway competition – offer the chance to win a signed copies of your book. People buy from people so get to know your following.
Write an article about your book, then source and contact relevant newspapers, magazines, bloggers, websites or organizations that may be interested in publishing it.
TOP-TIP: An excellent way to build followers on most social media platforms is to follow other people.
Use platforms like Fiverr.com to source paid-for book promotion services from as little as $5. These services (gigs) will offer different ways to promote your book. Please research and check reviews before purchasing any services. You can contact most sellers directly and create a bespoke gig that suits you and your budget
Using your social media, friends, family, and followers, ask readers to leave reviews on Amazon, GoodReads or whichever platform they have used to read your book. Reviews influence the perception of your book and can trigger algorithms such as Amazon’s to promote it.
Research and contact another Collective Ink author and ask them if they would care to do a share for a share (you promote their book on your platforms and vice versa). This could be guest blogging on each other's websites, introducing a media contact, or arranging a book promotion project together.
TOP-TIP: Have you joined the relevant CI author group? CI authors who form collaborations tend to reach new audiences and develop a more diverse following. Share for a share, takeovers or guest blogging lead to an increase in book sales. A network of CI authors can reach a significant amount of potential readers if they collaborate to support each other.
Offer media companies a signed copy of your book as a giveaway promotion. .
If someone has endorsed your book, contact them and ask if they could they share their endorsement with their following, whether this is through their social media, newsletter, website or all of the above. This could have a considerable impact on sales for your book.
Create a podcast and/or YouTube platform to discuss your book and to interview relevant guests.
TOP-TIP: Like blogs, there is little value if you produce content that only reaches a dozen or so listeners or viewers, so continually strategize how to reach and build an audience. Share your content on your social media, newsletters and website.
Source awards relevant to you and your book and let the CI awards team know on the Award Submissions Forum.
Hold a monthly live book reading on your social media channels. Give your followers a small taste of your and discuss the fundamentals and motivations. Read some of your top reviews at the end and encourage viewers to buy.
Hold a monthly online event and invite your following, media contacts, influencers, endorsers, other authors and key people relevant to your books. It could be a mixture of a book reading, Q&A, discussing topics relevant to your book and a giveaway as a thank you to one lucky attendee.
Send out a newsletter to your following every month with an update on your book’s progress; include links to your social media, any new blogs, interview links you guested on, dates for live readings or events, recent reviews and anything to encourage sales.
The GoodReads Author Programme is mostly free to use, and allows authors to take control of their book(s) profile on the site, and offers the possibility of paid promotions, including the opportunity to give away a free copy of their book (or multiple copies) to a genre-specific audience. We recommend that you only give away a maximum of three books, and be aware of the postage costs for the countries that you include in your promotion. There are reports from US authors who have had to pay huge costs to send books to winners outside the country, along with the hassle of filling in customs forms. In our experience, we have never seen a Goodreads giveaway have a noticeable impact on the sales of a title. There is also no guarantee that reviews will be forthcoming. Goodreads is a community of book lovers, so it's a great place to connect with potential readers and other authors in your genre. You can participate in discussions, answer questions, and share updates about your work.
If you can, save and allocate some of your budget for online advertising. This could be Facebook, Fiverr or any social media advertising service – research which media best suits you. This could be a specific magazine or podcast or a more general media platform like a newspaper or radio station.
TOP-TIP: Think Big! If you don't ask, then you will not get. Be confident with your book. One colossal opportunity could make a monumentally life-changing difference.
Email your local bookshops and ask them to stock your book. If your book has a specialist topic and there are specific bookshops or retailers to match, contact them also.
If you have guested on podcasts, radio shows or any platforms to talk about your book, then contact them every six months with a new set of talking/interview points and ask to go back on the show. Our bestselling authors are regular personalities on the shows they guest on, which is a superb way to build a following and sell your book.
TOP-TIP: When being interviewed, never refer to your book as ‘the book’ but by its full title as this can ensure people listening remember your book’s name, and some people may have joined the interview late.
Design promotional materials such as leaflets, posters, postcards and bookmarks. Ask to display them in your local bookshops, libraries and cafes. A local bookshop giving out your bookmark with every book sale could be very beneficial. Vistaprint offers a good printing service.
TOP-TIP: If you have guested on any interview platforms, had an online article published or featured in a blog, share these links regularly on your social media. Not everyone will see them the first time you post them.
Ask if could you conduct a talk and Q.A to the students on the process of writing a book and tips and advice for getting published. Ask for local media support to cover the engagement/event. This is a great way to motivate, inspire and educate a younger local generation while speaking about your book.
Contact local bookshops, libraries, book groups, and institutions and ask to hold a book reading event
Research and contact any conferences or events you feel would be beneficial to promote your book.
Organize an event with other CI authors (Live or online) to promote your books and work together to raise each other's profiles, following and book sales.