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ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated

15 Clever Book Promotion Ideas That Will Drive Sales


One of the hardest parts of being an author is marketing your book. You've written an awesome story; now it's time to get it in front of the readers who will love it! But how do you do that? How can you create a successful book launch or revive a book that's gone cold? Here, we're bringing you 15 tips you can use to create a successful book launch or pump new life into an existing book. There are so many new readers for you to meet!

1. Host readings on your YouTube channel

YouTube has become extremely popular over the past 10 years or so. Videos of all kinds are routine now, from recorded podcasts to tryouts for musicians, and even Patrick Stewart reading Shakespeare's Sonnets. Who's to say you wouldn't be able to leverage the power of YouTube's popularity to benefit your book sales? It doesn't really matter what kind of book you wrote. Take a chapter you are particularly fond of and read it as you want your fans to read it. Give them a taste of who you wrote your characters to be, or how you want your real-life non-fiction subjects to be viewed as you invoke their personalities in your vocalization.

2. Readings in the park

Outdoor readings can be a fun substitute for bookstore readings. Get some basic business cards made that showcase your book and your website (and social channels) and distribute those to people who attend your outdoor book readings – or you could have a stack of books ready for sale on the spot! This works for fiction and non-fiction books, but it's especially fun for children's books. Kids are just itching to get outside these days, and their parents are too! You can even dress up in a costume that fits the story to get attention.

3. Make a movie trailer

Want to really catch readers' eyes? Make a movie trailer! Help viewers imagine your characters and story with some fun voiceover and eye-catching images. There are many online tools you can use to make a trailer on your own, or you can hire a professional to do a video for you. One tool you can use to make your own is Doodly. With their pre-made doodle video clips, you can quickly make a simple video that shows people and scenes doing various things that go along with your story. Another tool is VideoStudio.

4. Set up a story walk

Have you ever gone for a stroll around a pond and enjoyed looking around at the nature? If not, find a pond near you and give it a try. Now imagine a short page or two with some illustrations or photos set up about every 10 feet. With some inexpensive posts and a piece of extra wood or a clipboard, you can prop up pages of your story to give other pond visitors something fun to engage with as they enjoy the nature around them. This can work in parks, down public streets, or other areas that get foot traffic. Be sure you get permission to post your story, and make sure it's appropriate for a general audience.

5. Creative Facebook ads

Facebook Ads is one platform that can get you a lot of interest for very little money. All you need to do is target the right audience and be creative with your ads, and for the price of a latte a day, you can reach a relatively broad audience. One way to really entice Facebook users to click on your ad is to advertise a character or a cool location from your book. You have probably seen those ads for Facebook games, where there is a fierce warrior fighting demons – the reason that appeals to many people is that they become interested in the character first, leading them to wanting to learn more or to virtually become that character. For example, if your story places your characters in an old castle, find photos of old castles and use that as the ad image. Then use an ad headline like this: "Castle built in 1456 now inhabited by Sarah and her new beau Patrick." In the description, tell a little about the castle and include a call-to-action (CTA) like "Read what happens at Patrick's Castle." Do the same with your lead character or a few of your characters, and you'll get people following their natural inquisitive nature wanting to read your book!

6. Sell merchandise designed for your book

Who doesn't love a funny t-shirt or mug? Merchandise sales bring in extra money for you while also giving you free advertising around the world! By designing some key pieces of merchandise, you can generate buzz from funny phrases or characters you have created. Serious lines work too, as long as they are emotion-evoking lines. Everything from political activism to funny children's books can sell well online and bring interest to your book. There are many platforms like Etsy and Zazzle that let you sell your merchandise without much work at all. Create buzz around your story through mugs, t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, keychains and more!

7. Offer a free excerpt

Customers love free samples—whether that's tiny portions of a new frozen pizza at the supermarket or an excerpt of your novel! Consider offering a portion of it—one or two chapters, the first five pages, etc.—as a freebie for new readers. You can use a site like Bookfunnel to upload the excerpt and create a landing page where interested readers can download it. Be sure to include an option for them to sign up for your newsletter as well so that you can continue reaching out through drip campaigns and follow-ups that will keep your book in their mind.

8. Build a book website

The first requirement for marketing any product is to have a website showcasing that product and making it available. With so many tools available to build free websites, there is no reason to not have a website for your book. Even if you have your own website as an author, take the time to create a site that is dedicated to your book. Use photos representing your book's locations, characters and subject matter to make the website an engaging user experience. It doesn't need to be complex and fancy. Write unique content or use excerpts from your book and then submit the site to search engines like Google to start getting exposure. Be sure to include cross-links between your book website and your other websites to build your search engine ranking.

9. Hold giveaways on social media

Something even better than a free sample of your book is…a free book or free merch! Generate new readership and excitement about your work by holding a giveaway. This can be anything from a gift card to a whole book, story or bonus material that you want to giveaway. For prizes that include things like gift cards or signed copies of your book, you can advertise on your social media and in your newsletters. Include hashtags and research what is trending on Twitter to find out when is best for you to jump on the wave.

10. Create eye-catching graphics

Similar to creating an eye-catching cover, creating eye-catching graphics to go with it is important as well. These are commonly known as "teasers" and usually include a particularly impactful or pivotal quote from the book, something that's sure to generate some buzz and interest. Sites like Book Brush and PicMonkey are excellent for creating these graphics, and they both offer access to a library of professional photos, so you don't necessarily need to spend money on those.

11. Network with other authors

An excellent way to get the word out about your book is to network with other authors. There are thousands, even millions of indie authors, but it's a tight-knit community that very much as a "we got your back" attitude. If you're willing to extend a helping hand to an author, chances are, there are a dozen more ready to do the same for you. Pump their work on your social media and ask them to do the same for you. Put together a podcast and promote it on social media and your website!

12. Offer personalized signed copies

Book signings can be a great way to get new readers. Have a contact form or promo ad on Facebook offering a unique signing that gives a special shout-out to the reader. Suggest your autographed book as a gift for special occasions like anniversaries, birthdays, etc. Just like celebrities are doing on Cameo, you can write something more than just a simple, "For Jim. Signed, Me" in your signed book. You can even turn this into an upgrade – free basic callout to recipient; $5 for a special short message; $15 for a specially written paragraph just for the recipient.

13. Newsletters

I don't mean send out a news update via email to people who have no interest in your "news." I mean do what you do best and write a short story that will engage the subscriber within seconds. Make a tangent story related to the world you created in your latest fiction novel and have a big button that says "Click to get to know SoAndSo!" Newsletters and drip campaigns don't have to be dreary. Spice it up with headlines and emojis! Also, don't neglect your Unsubscribe page either. When a subscriber wants to unsubscribe, make it hard for them to pass up a good deal on your book if they haven't already purchased a copy. On the unsubscribe page, include a link to purchase the book and say something like, "You have been unsubscribed from my newsletter, but I don't want you to miss out on the full story of John and Jane. Click now to get a copy sent to your doorstep." You can also include a special code for 10% off!

14. Paid promotion

If you have space in your budget, paid promotions with sites like My Book Cave, Book Rebel, Love Kissed Book Bargains, Bargain Booksy, ENT Book Promotion, and others can be excellent ways to draw attention to a new release, a book sale, or a free book giveaway. These sites tend to have hundreds of thousands of newsletter subscribers and website visitors, so the chances of you getting some sales and finding new readers are good. BookBub is considered one of the pinnacles of paid promotions—authors tend to see dramatic sales and bumps in rankings, but be aware that this book promotion often comes with a hefty price tag.

15. Leverage Twitch

Twitch has become one of the most popular platforms for people to follow their favorite pros in just about any industry. From sewing to dancing to playing video games, everyone is getting in on the action. As an author, you can use Twitch for many things: do a reading from your book, talk about how you developed part of the story, give a Master Class on writing, talk about the research you did while writing the book, or just let people watch as you write! Some writers prefer to hide away as they write, but if you're ok with looking up every once in a while to read comments and answer questions, you can get a Twitch following and generate buzz for your past, present and future books.

We hope you've found these tips helpful in promoting your new release or an old one! Some of these require an investment to be successful, but there are plenty of ways the savvy, budget-conscious author can promote their book for next to nothing. Happy writing!

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