Ah, the $64,000 question – what is the best way to market your book? If only there were a magic formula to use that would suddenly increase book sales overnight, we would all be signing up for it! While I certainly don’t possess the “magic bullet” or genie bottle to solve the mysteries of the world, I do have some questions for you to consider:
When should you think about marketing your book?
The best time to think about marketing your book is . . . before you write the book! While I realize that this rarely (if ever) happens with new authors, experienced authors who are living off the sales of their books are looking at the market BEFORE writing a word. Is your book genre growing or shrinking? Are you appealing to your audience with your themes and tropes? Are people actually purchasing – and reading – books akin to the one you are considering writing? Does everything from your proposed title, subtitle, cover image, book length and writing level align with similar books which are selling well? Look at the top selling 50-100 books in your category to learn more about what readers look for and have come to expect in your area, preferably BEFORE you begin writing.
What if my book is completely new and unique?
Hmmm – are you sure? Very few things in this world are completely different from those that preceded them, whether we are talking about a new book or even new technology. And if your book really IS that different – let’s say, an unusual blending of 2 different genres (self-help/gothic romance/cooking for example), then you need to be sure that there is an audience for that type of book before writing, and plan your marketing strategy to connect with those particular readers.
What if my book is already written/published?
Ah ha – so you would like to market a product which may or may not have an audience, and which may or may not deliver on the expectations of the readers looking for a book in that genre? This is akin to building a sink with no faucet and then trying to sell it: no one is actually looking for a sink with no faucet, and our expectation of all sinks is that they DO have a faucet, so people will automatically pass over your sink since it doesn’t look “right” to them.
If you determine that your already-written book DOES have an audience, you can still make adjustments as needed to the title/cover/description/etc. so that fans of that category see your book as a “top seller-type” as well. If you discover that you don’t fit an audience, well . . . hmmm . . .
How can I build an audience?
Ah ha – what every author needs – a group of built-in raving fans! This is what you need – not just random book sales. And why? – because hopefully one book will lead to another . . . and so on . . . and so on!
Building an audience requires building up an email mailing list and keeping in contact with your fans regularly. You can build an audience on social media instead, but since platforms like Facebook can severely limit your reach, an email list is the only sure-fire way you have to reach ALL of your fans. Building an audience doesn’t happen overnight, but the results are longlasting and will pay off for future books as well.
So in a nutshell, the best way to market your book is BEFORE you write, and by building a foundation of fans – certainly not an “easy fix”, but one which will have lasting effects.