Marketing 365

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Take the Marketing 365 Challenge!

Some authors spend little time promoting their books, while others treat it as a full-time business. Many authors freeze when it comes to marketing. But those who do little or no promotion tend to have the least success – while those who are successful are always promoting. Our bestselling authors already market and seek out opportunities 365 days a year.

The bottom line is – you need to market.

Studies and statistics show that you will see an increase in sales if you market your book every day.

We have developed the Marketing 365 Challenge – a comprehensive list of activities to empower you to market your book over days, weeks, months, and longer. They are interspersed with our Top Tips – to help you market with impact.

Whether you love or hate marketing, have lots of or little time, there are activates here for everyone.

Promoting every day on different platforms in different ways will ensure you keep visible to new potential readers.

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 reboot or revitalize your book's visibility and attract a new audience to buy your fantastic book — 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?

One-off ideas

Hold a launch event, online, or in-person. Celebrate getting to this point – you deserve it! But remember. book launches are there to sell your book. Sell copies at an in-person launch (you can sign them all) and offer easy buying info to virtual attendees.

In-person: See if you can hold it in a bookshop, library or literary venue. Throw a party and 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 (if it is cash or card only, give attendees plenty of warning). 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).

Virtual: Celebrate online! 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 (eg book trailer), read from the book, maybe someone could interview you about the book, invite questions from the audience.

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.

Join Amazon Author Central. 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.

Daily activities

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.

When you tweet about your book hashtag # relevant words. Why not try and gain the attention of a relevant celebrity, endorser, influencer or media platform by using the @ function? (This is a very similar process for Instagram and Linked In.)

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.

Post on Facebook linking back to your book on the JHP website and tag people you feel would be interested. Post to your social media stories, too. Ask your friends and family to support you by sharing your posts with their friends.

Join a handful of Facebook groups relevant to your book or reading in general. Share your Facebook posts to the Facebook groups you are a member of.

TOP-TIP: In all your online promotion, link back to your book on the JHP website. Your book’s page includes links to multiple buying platforms such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble and links for international markets. This way, it does not matter if a potential reader does not have an Amazon account, live in the U.K., read on Kindle only or prefer smaller book platforms like IndieBound. This way you offer easy ways to purchase your book.

Source a media contact such as a magazine or blogger, influencer or endorser – and reach out to them via email asking for promotional support.

Pitch yourself as an interview opportunity – reach out to a Podcaster, Radio/T.V. Presenter, New station or Youtuber and suggest you go on their show.

TOP-TIP: Please be mindful to follow the community standards on the social media platforms you are using.

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!!

Weekly activities

Blog weekly. 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.

TOP TIP: You can create and design eye-catching social media posts on platforms such as Canva or Book Brush very easily.

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.

TOP-TIP: An excellent way to build followers on most social media platforms is to follow other people.

Write an article about your book, then source and contact relevant newspapers, magazines, bloggers, websites or organizations that may be interested in publishing the article for you.

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.

Top-tip: On Fiverr.com you can contact most sellers directly and create a bespoke gig that suits you and your budget.

Arrange a review drive. 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 John Hunt Publishing 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 JHP author group? JHP 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 JHP 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. This could be a superb way to generate interest.

Monthly activities

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 JHP 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 book, 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.

If you can, save and allocate some of your budget for online advertising. This could be Facebook, Fivver 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.

Create a hitlist (wishlist) of 10 celebrities, influencers, endorsers or high profile media contacts and research their contact details (through social media, website contact form or agent) and ask for promotional support/endorsement.

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.

Long-term activities

Source and 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.

Contact your local media platforms and ask for promotional support. Local media like newspapers, radio and magazines, in general, will support local authors. Building a following with your local community is valuable for long-term success. Being well-regarded locally will increase the chances of more local opportunities and engagements.

Arrange a book giveaway with your local media platforms.

Make a book trailer to post on your social media, share to your Facebook groups, your YouTube channel and include it on your website. Always look for varied ways to attract people’s attention.

In-person activities

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.

Contact bookshops in your area and ask to hold a book signing event.

Contact your old school, college or university and ask 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. If you can secure this opportunity then it would be a great time to 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.

Hand out leaflets and promotional materials in your area. Get your local area interested in what you have accomplished. You can use this activity to invite people to a local event like a book signing. You can also tie this in with local media support (radio, newspaper) for more impactful awareness.

Contact local libraries, book groups, and institutions and ask to hold a book reading event. This is a great way to build a following at a grassroots level.

Research and contact any conferences or events you feel would be beneficial to promote your book.

Organize an event with other JHP authors (Live or online) to promote your books and work together to raise each other's profiles, following and book sales.

In conclusion

There are lots more creative ways to promote but these are a great starting point.

Using these activities daily, over weeks, months and across the year will create significant visibility and awareness of your book on many different levels.

A layered and dedicated approach to marketing will increase the potential for a steady flow of sales.

Taking the Marketing 365 Challenge will help you reach new readers, build a following, build a network, create a robust and thorough media contact list, increase your author profile and ultimately sell books.

A book's success is dependent on a dedicated and motivated promotional strategy. Finding the time daily to send out a simple tweet or send an email can make a difference and for those with ambition and the vision to be a successful full-time author, then Marketing 365 is the blueprint for your success.

Good luck and enjoy your own Marketing 365 journey!

Encourage pre-orders and online reviews before you launch

As you may know, 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.

Make a (long) list of people in your network – fans, readers, friends, family, colleagues, and ask them nicely to pre-order your book. These people are likely to buy.

Write to the same list and encourage them to leave (honest) online reviews too (especially on Amazon). Amazon accepts reviews after your publication date, so the first week after publication is a great time to post reviews.

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.

How to make your publicity emails get results

  • Target individuals with similar interests to your own.
  • Make use of personal contacts.
  • Put the hook in the subject line. Don't lead with the book. Lead with the hook or the story, what that book will do for people.
  • Keep it short. 200 words max.
  • Your approach should be personalized, relevant to that particular contact. Look at their website and see what topics they cover and tailor your email accordingly. If you mail merge, it will show.
  • Get to the point. Be upfront about what you are asking for straight away.
  • The other person will be busy. What’s in it for them?
  • Be careful with the salutation. Do not mush it in with the rest of the email. Be polite and respectful – “Dear Joe…” Don’t use “Hi” and never use “To whom it may concern.” Do not CC: contacts.
  • Remember to mention your book(s) and include a short biography and the metadata e.g. format, ISBN and price. Send your own photo or book-cover picture when it is requested. Include your phone number, address and any website/blog.
  • Don't request a read receipt.
  • Don't type in capitals.
  • Check before sending.
  • Don't use URGENT or IMPORTANT.
  • If something comes of it, send a thank-you note.

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.