Buy “Runway”



Four Book Marketing Tips

Last month I posted an interview with SheBooks co-founder Laura Fraser. This month I want to discuss a few things about what I learned by publishing my first book, Runway, and what I plan to do differently next time.

Book launch

Photo courtesy of NASA


1. Are you blogging to the wrong audience?

What is the topic of your book? Who is your audience? Are you blogging to them, or are you blogging to other writers? Other bloggers? Family and friends? All the time you spend on social media will be for nothing if you are blogging, posting, tweeting, pinning, and Instagramming to the wrong audience. Take me, for example. My book is about modeling, and who is interested in modeling? Mostly girls and young women. So blogging about writing to writers trying to get published is nice and all, but I’m not reaching my audience. I need to do research, find out where the young girls and women are hanging out, and blog there.


2. Market every way you can

When it comes to book marketing and publicity, don’t limit yourself to social media. Think outside the box. Attend conferences, speak on panels, teach classes, visit libraries, visit schools, visit bookstores, give lectures, print postcards, throw parties, make a list of everything you can possibly think of to get the word out about your book because there’s no telling what will work until you try it.


3. Plan ahead

This is something I didn’t do, mostly because my book is a short ebook so I didn’t take it as seriously as I would a full-length print book. But all publications should be taken seriously. Don’t wait until publication to begin marketing. Write up press releases, pitch magazines (6-9 months in advance of publication), pitch newspapers (2 months in advance), pitch book bloggers (1-2 months in advance). Start by making a list of all the places you plan to pitch. Do your research. Which magazines would be interested in your story? Which editors at those magazines? Which sections of those magazines? Do the same for newspapers, for websites, for blogs.


Book launch

Photo courtesy of Scott Andrews


4. Don’t get discouraged

If you publish with one of the big five, the first two weeks after publication are crucial because if your book isn’t selling well, bookstores will stop stocking it. But if you go with a small press or if you self-publish, you’ve got all the time in the world. So do your homework ahead of time and launch your book as you would one published by Random House, but don’t stop there. Keep going, keep marketing, keep spreading the word. Some books take a while to catch on, but once they do, once they sell 5000 copies, publishers will take notice.

What about you, published authors? What have you learned about launching a book? What would you do again? What would you do differently?

21 comments to Four Book Marketing Tips

  • Great advice! The blogging bit always challenges me…I appreciate any tips I can get! Thanks!

  • On point number 1, I'm not sure you're not blogging to your audience. Sure, maybe you don't have a platform about modeling, but that's not what you're really selling. You're selling you! And you've been very personable and genuine on your blog, so that's you.

    • You know, Sierra, I don't totally agree and this is what makes it tricky if you want to write books about different topics. I have one book completed and three in progress and they are ALL about different topics, which makes it difficult to build a brand. I think if you're already known, like Susan Orlean, you can blog about whatever you want and your brand is YOU, but if you're trying to build an audience, you really need to find the people who are most likely to buy your book. I hope that all women will want to read my modeling memoir, but more likely girls interested in modeling and fashion will want to buy it, and I'm not reaching those potential readers. Sigh. I wish I had all the answers.

      • Okay, so your brand is YOU. What ties your books together, even if they're in different genres? Are they all romantic? all edgy & nouveau? all inspiring? All have some message about family or setting & achieving goals? Whatever it is that is uniquely you that you put into all your books, that's your brand. Now, write blog posts that feature that. Edgy posts, or family-oriented posts or inspiring posts. The topic doesn't matter so much as the tone and the message. That's your brand. That will sell your books.

  • midlifemixtape

    Hi Meghan, great to see so much of what we kicked around over lunch on Monday summarized here, it's very helpful to have in one place for people. Continued good luck with it –

    • Nancy – Yes! I should have given you credit for your suggestions. This came straight from you: "Pitch magazines (6-9 months in advance of publication), pitch newspapers (2 months in advance), pitch book bloggers (1-2 months in advance). Start by making a list of all the places you plan to pitch. Do your research. Which magazines would be interested in your story? Which editors at those magazines? Which sections of those magazines? Do the same for newspapers, for websites, for blogs."

      • midlifemixtape

        Hi Meghan – no worries, that stuff falls into the common knowledge category if you do some digging…btw thank you! I was flying to SF from the East Coast yesterday and finished my book 1/2 an hour into the flight, remembered that I hadn't finished your SheBooks yet so got to sit and enjoy that as we flew. Fun read and I was so grateful to have something to do!

  • annerallen

    Great advice! I do agree with Sierra Godfrey that a writing blog can segue into an author blog as you break into print. Then you can expand your topics. A beginning writer's blog can work for networking with other writers, and that's an important step in your writing journey.

    My heroine is a writer, so I have found readers through my writing blog, but I agree "writing tips" isn't the best choice for most author-bloggers. But they can be incorporated with the other stuff. I'm going to be writing some tips for author-bloggers on my blog on Sunday.

    But I agree that most of us fail to plan ahead. I also like the advice to promote each book, no matter what length, with the same zeal. Excellent post, Meghan.

  • good tips for marketing I think! Thanks a lot for posting them in such a simple manner!

  • PJ Sharon

    These are all great tips, Meghan. I've recently released my sixth YA novel in three years (indie published), and I've learned so much about marketing, I feel as if I've graduated with a bachelors degree in it! The challenges are many, not the least of which is the rapid changes in the industry, the over saturation of the book market, and the fact that we simply can't do it all and continue to produce quality books at the standard required to gain momentum. Writing two books a year as I have been and trying to market those books is daunting. The sad part is that even with all I've learned and strategies I've implemented, feeling as if I really got ahead of the marketing curve with this most recent release, none of it made a difference in sales…uggh! I sent it out to reviewers ahead of time, sent out press releases to dozens of publications, did a social media blitz, blog tour…you name it. Still, sales trickle in. My next plan of attack is a BookBub ad, but I'm working on getting those thirty or so reviews required for them to even look at a book. Geesh!

  • Nice post!

    I think what works for each author is different, but there are some things that are good for all authors to try. For me, I don't concern myself with any print publications such as magazines or newspapers because that isn't the audience I'm trying to reach. Most people who buy a lot of ebooks are much more active online so that's where I target my marketing efforts.

    A popular book blogger who likes and recommends your novel can be gold. Spending time finding reviewers who love your genre is well worth the effort. Doing paperback giveaways on Goodreads helps raise your profile (interestingly, my ebook sales always pick up when I do those). Another tip is book blog tours and ads on popular book lover websites (particularly ones focused on your genre). Cover reveals and excerpts of your novel posted online in advance of a book release are imperative to drumming up excitement pre-release.

    All of the above are the things I use and they've been very effective for me. The best part is they don't take much time, effort, or money. This is especially important because I try to keep up a strong publishing schedule and have to maximize my time as much as possible.

    The one thing I'm weak at is blogging regularly. I post updates for my fans on things related to my books, but that's usually about it. I'm a bit more active on Facebook where I do try to interact with readers as much as possible. They seem to enjoy that and it keeps me in their minds once a new release is coming. Still, I should spend a bit more time reaching out to them. You're post is a good reminder of that. Thanks!

  • Thanks for the tips. I am a new author of a children's book, and trying to figure all this out…..trying to think of places to market the book! 🙂

  • My children's books have been published by a publisher in the US and I am in the UK. They published all three books in the series at once. If I could go back and do it again I would publish one at a time and have more mystery and build up to the launching of each book. I agree with trying to reach your audience. I have been using social media but adults are not the target here so I have mailed schools with posters. Hard work and who knows whether the posters go on the notice boards or in the bin! I will keep on plodding but I am glad I do not have to rely on my books as a form of income. On the other hand because I have been in contact with lots of different people on social media my oil painting has really taken off and I am getting lots of commissions for pet portraits!

  • Mara

    Wow! This is amazing. essay writing service here I'd like to partisipate in such big event.

  • Thanks for a very helpful article on marketing. My book, a historical romance, is in the final stages of printing and and your marketing tips would be handy. Of course, the publisher will do his bit, but the author has also to be pro-active.

  • Reesa Mckenzie

    These tips are awesome. Many times when I self published an ebook I don't take the time to do all of these marketing strategies. I am sure that the results would have been more favorable. Things learnt.

  • Blogging is great passion for those who having great skills in research and exploring their skills. Here is best online paper writing service for solving your class problems and helping related to competitive examinations.

  • Joash Boyton

    This really is a perfectly acceptable solution to proceed — as long as you do not pay someone else to write the entire point for you. Should you do that, there's a very good chance you'll get caught. use this link for all of the students to prepare term papers or, any college papers.