Every title receives marketing, publicity, education & library marketing, and digital marketing support.
SHOULD I BE DOING THINGS BEFORE I SELL A BOOK?
Yes! Your marketing campaign begins long before your first book deal; it begins with networking and building a base of support for success.
Create an author website.
Join online writing groups, attend conferences, create organic relationships with other authors. Participate online on www.goodreads.com.
Join social media if not already active. Look into new channels that are popular.
Stay involved with conferences and local groups (such as SCBWI and RWA).
what is the difference between marketing and publicity?
It's easy to confuse or combine these two; a great way to remember is:
Marketing is paid for, Publicity is prayed for
The marketing team handles promotion that is paid for to secure; advertisements, book placement, etc. The publicity team handles outreach that they don't pay for, but hope to get, such as reviews, blog/website coverage, events, etc. Publicity is storytelling. You already wrote a book, created a new world, so move that creativity to find cool, unique ways to share that story with readers.
Don't forget interdependent marketing: Decide ahead of time how to combine Digital Marketing, PR and Advertising. These are all interdependent: the plan works best when you don’t leave any strategy out.
how should i be networking?
The best way to network is organically
Attend conferences and events (as possible)
While it's nice to get to know other industry professionals, once you've sold a book your networking is with readers and writers. Host a panel or workshop; mingle and mix with others. Create business cards to hand out to other writers. Share emails, join mailing lists, and follow them on Twitter and/or IG. Chances are, when you do this, they'll return the favor.
Participate in debut groups and Twitter chats
Search online to see if there's a debut group in your genre; for example, there were the #22debuts and the #21ders. Lift each other up. Also search for chats relevant to your genre; for example #mglitchat, #kidlitchat, #inktober. Participate regularly, and follow those you see and interact with.
Interact with others on social media
Hopefully you're seeing a theme here; follow other writers, slide into their DMs, respond to them and like their posts. You'll learn lots, be able to commiserate - I mean, celebrate!- together, and you can learn what they're doing to promote themselves and get ideas and help!
Think about your audience and what they expect
Narrative Nonfiction: Your audience is interested in the topic.
Literary fiction: Your audience looks for books they already love and for other books that seem similar.
Clear messaging: A strong, marketable message helps to set positive expectations for a book. Can the book be summed up in a couple of clear, compelling sentences?
70% of books sold are bought within a day of first discovery. It’s a fast pipeline!
40% of books sold are bought within 2 weeks of the consumer’s discovery.
Less than 20% of adults are buying books
Get to know local librarians
start going to the library, if you haven't already! You can mention you're a local author, but the best way to get to know librarians is to just be friendly, go consistently, chit chat.
Get to know local bookstores
The most important people to get to know at bookstores are: employees! If they like an author, they're more likely to hand-sell. They'll also be able to direct you later to the best person to coordinate events with.
“Meeting Gatekeepers” Do’s:
A gatekeeper is a librarian or bookseller. Introduce yourself!
If you aren’t at a pre-determined meeting, be aware that you may be catching a person off-guard, so don’t expect them to be able to place you or your work right away. If you have a bookmark, postcard, or business card, you could leave it with them, with a “here’s where to find more about my work if you are interested” line.
If you want to, you can scope out whether they have your book before approaching someone, so you know the tenor of the conversation. If they have it, you can introduce yourself and reference it, and if they don’t, you could say something like, “you probably don’t have my book at the moment, but I just wanted to introduce myself. You have a great store! ”
If they have copies of your book and are a bookstore, you can offer to sign (carry your signing instrument of choice with you!)
You can ask if you can take a picture of the book and tag their store/library
If they don’t have copies of your book be aware that they may feel defensive or embarrassed that they don’t have it. There are a lot of reasons why they may not have it, including: they could be out of stock, they could be a small store/system that can’t take in that many debuts, or they have a specific clientele. Many times, you probably won’t even speaking to the person who made that decision. Knowing our authors, I have complete faith that y’all would be gracious to them about it, regardless, but I find it helpful to remind myself of what a bookseller/librarian might be feeling and adjust my approach.
Be ready to give an elevator pitch of your book and to give them an idea of whom they should recommend it to. Some examples: “I wrote it for kids who X,” or “I’m a big fan of X show/movie/idea, etc., and this is a love letter to other fans who appreciate X,” or “my publisher is calling it X meets X”
If they have time, ask them for a book rec or what they are looking forward to! I have gotten some of my very best book recs from booksellers and librarians as I pass through book events. You can also ask about trends, or what has been working in their store/library.
Express gratitude for what they do. Whether they have your book that day or not, they are likely very busy, probably not highly compensated folks who are at the frontlines of sharing literature with kids and teens, which can be a thankless job, especially right now!
Pay it Forward
Offer critiques; donate books; volunteer at literacy events - this is the best organic networking. Lift others up and they're likely to return the favor when it's your turn to blast out your launch!
Go for a personalized pitch. Then it’s not cheesy! It’s personal, it’s exciting, it’s exclusive!
always be prepared!
Keep a couple free copies of your book in your car. You never know when you might meet a fellow booklover who would love to promote your book!
If you're on vacation or traveling, donate your book in a local library, leave it at a hotel bookshelf, pop it into a little free library
Writing comes first. Don’t do things that make you anxious. Writing comes first.
Use the Timeline and Task List to help you stay focused and aware of your deadlines. If that list doesn't work for you, don't forget to make your own calendar.
Make a calendar that includes all your activities, and include all of the milestones listed below:
Publisher participation (publisher will tell you when you’ll be mentioned on social-media/lists/plans/giveaways). Be sure to get the schedule from the publisher if they don’t provide it.
Email newsletter dates.
Major social media activity (cover reveal, when are you doing advertisements on your social media, etc.)
Seasonal themes that you plan on incorporating into your campaign.
Pre-pub: Start your marketing campaign 6-9 months out from your book’s pub date.
Publication: 3 weeks ahead through the book’s season (i.e., as long as the publisher is focused on promoting your book).
Post-publication important dates and tasks.
Should I hire a publicist? how much will that cost?
Maybe. Before you consider hiring someone, think about:
the publisher's efforts
Sadly, the reality is that many publishing houses just don't have enough time for all their own publicity. How can they put a personal touch on books if there are 70-80 books flying through, demanding attention, without using some sort of template? So, the more specific approaches can be given to publicists, which give books the greater chance of success.
I start the marketing conversation with your publisher about 7-8 months before launch. We usually won't get final plans until 4-6 months out from launch. That is the time to be thinking about hiring someone.
We'll need to see what your publisher is planning to do before we can consider additional support. And, even then, not all publishers follow up with promises - I do my absolute best to stay on top of them, but marketing and publicity teams are often over-worked and under-staffed. So! I can help you figure this out.
You may not want to hire someone to do everything, either; get a quote from publicists to see how they break down services. You may want to hire someone to reach out specifically to media, or to generate unique campaign ideas you or they can execute. You may want to just book a consultation, where they will review your plans, the publisher's plans, and offer additional ideas. Perhaps only to sit in on a publicity call, provide feedback afterwards about what sounds good, what doesn’t, and what the next steps should be. This can keep costs down and efforts focused where they'll work the best.
What do costs look like?
Full media outreach & coordination: $2500
Full services, including consulting: $10,000-$15,000
Debut friendly; hourly rate: they have a "match" model for debuts where they match your budget - so say your budget is $5000, they'll give you a $10,000 plan. It's by hours, so it's $100/hour for debuts (so you'd get 100 hours in that plan). (it moves to $200/hour for non-debuts)
Collaborate with the publicist (to avoid stepping on toes).
Keep in mind that what’s good for you is good for them.
You may be surprised how eager publicists are to be productive on outreach.
If you have a personal publicist or speaking agent, please provide your editor with the appropriate contact information as soon as possible.
Will my publisher do a cover reveal?
coverdesignstylescheatsheet4.jpgA LOT of publishers are steering AWAY from cover reveals, because 1. LOT of publishers are steering AWAY from cover reveals, because they've seen they don't really drive sales OR preorders (one publisher told me they did a cover reveal for WILL SMITH and got only 20 preorders from it!!) 2. It can ruin chances of media coverage closer to pub! Basically, when you pitch a media outlet like EW for the cover reveal, if you try and pitch them again later closer to pub they'll often pass because they feel like they've already covered the book!! And it's WAY more impactful for sales purposes to have media coverage closer to pub.
If the publisher isn't planning a reveal, you can use your social media to reveal with a personal message and touch. If you don't have a big platform, partner with an author who does to help boost!
Here's advice from a Harper marketing exec:
First question, do you have a business account? If so, you should be able to see when your followers are online if you go under insights and audience (and if you don't have a business account I highly recommend you get one). We find with any major announcements, 12pmEST is the best time to post, closely followed by 3-6pmEST (12pm works since it's lunch time for people on the east coast and commuting time for people on the west coast). If you're able to look on your account and see when your fans are most active, I'd highly recommend it!
I would suggest doing the following on each of your channels:
Here's an article where they mentioned how longer posts offers your audience a glimpse into your world, and makes you more accessible. I think having a journalistic approach works best for the cover reveal https://later.com/blog/instagram-predictions-2020/
Since this post can be long, having the description in the copy and your own personal story of how you came to write this book is the way to go.
Add the link in the bio and make sure to include that in your post - maybe update your website with the book and buy links so that there is an option to preorder through all of the national accounts?
Reshare your post to IG stories for folks who missed it on your feed
I'd post the cover with the description first and a link to preorder In a Twitter thread, go more into why this book is so personal to you
Here's an example of what Kelly Yang posted as a reference (although I strongly suggest including a preorder link) https://twitter.com/kellyyanghk/status/1191683077921075200
And, here are a bunch of sites who also do reveals, if you want to go more traditional and host it with a Q&A on a blog: https://diversebooks.org/ https://latinosinkidlit.com/ https://bookriot.com/ https://ew.com/ (highly unlikely for debut authors unless it was a huge deal) https://www.pragmaticmom.com/ https://bookish.netgalley.com/ https://mgbookvillage.org/category/cover-reveal/ http://mrschureads.blogspot.com/ http://www.popgoesthereader.com/ https://fromthemixedupfiles.com/ https://www.goodreadswithronna.com/
IMPORTANT: If an author is doing a cover reveal, the publisher needs to submit a plain background cover with the words "Cover to be revealed X date" so Goodreads librarians know not to put it up before the reveal if they do get their hands on it. So coordinate with your publisher IMMEDIATELY about all of this! Publishers have automatic feeds, and mistakes happen if communication breaks down.
How do I Claim my Goodreads or Amazon Author Page?
Claim your Author Profile on Goodreads
To apply for the Author Program, you can follow these steps when visiting the desktop version of Goodreads:
Go to Goodreads.com and sign in or create an account, and then search for your most popular book via ISBN, ASIN, or title.
On the book, click on your author name. Scroll to the bottom of your author profile page.
Click “Is this you? Let us know!” to complete and submit the application.
Go here for more information: https://www.goodreads.com/author/program
Manage Your Profile : Update your profile picture, write your bio, and fix your book listings—by joining the Goodreads Author Program you’re able to keep the information about yourself up-to-date. Promote Your Books! Run a giveaway, connect your blog, advertise your books—the Goodreads Author Program gives you access to the marketing tools you need to build buzz around your books. Interact with readers: Take questions from readers using Ask The Author, write reviews, and show off your taste in literature. Readers love to learn what books their favorite authors are reading!
Most important! Don’t Read your reviews.
Claim Your Author Profile on Amazon
Go to authorcentral.amazon.com and click “Join Now.”
Use your log in with your regular Amazon account, or create a new one.
Enter your author name, which should match up with the name that appears on your books. If you write under multiple pen names, don't worry — you can add them later from the “Books” tab of the dashboard.
Claim the book(s) associated with your main author name. If they don't show up, you'll need to contact Amazon directly. Note that you won't be able to activate your Author Central account until you've claimed a book.
Verify your account and begin setting up your Author Page!
There are many other ways to optamize your Author Page. Even if you are an established author, it’s good to give THIS ARTICLE a check now and then to make sure it’s still in good shape.
Should I set aside $$ from my advance for marketing?
Yes! I recommend setting aside 5% of your advance for marketing and publicity that you will handle yourself. These are the top paid items I usually recommend doing in coordination with your publisher's efforts:
Hire a publicist for national media placement, bookings, targeted blog/Instagram outreach ($2500)
Cover travel expenses to conferences, events & limited author tour ($1500)
Book tie-in merchandise for giveaways ($300)
Postcards and postage for comprehensive, personalized, Indie Bookstore mailing ($600)
ARC/book mailings ($100)
What should I be doing and...when?
Both the AirTable link at the top of the page and the checklist will walk you through what you need to be doing, and when leading up (and post!) pub to do it. Think of marketing as broken down into five phases; each lasts a few months:
Phase 1: Be Visible Online
Phase 2: Identify Your Audience
Phase 3: Connect with the Audience
Phase 4: Maintain, Nurture, Grow the Community
Phase 5: Continue to Push Post-Pub
I've broken out the resources below into these stages! Just how much you want to do is up to you; I generally recommend trying at least two things per phase. So what do I consider the most important things that can move the needle?
national media coverage (you may need to hire a publicist for this)
influencers - both macro and micro!
Personalized bookstore mailings and outreach
(if applicable) school/library outreach
paid advertising (likely out of your budget, but some may not be)
Some of this is out of your control - and that's ok! You can't do everything. Luckily, there's plenty you can do to help, and much of it boils down to frequent personalized engagement. Check out the links below for further resources for all things Marketing and Publicity from Alcove Press. There are helpful links, a printable checklist, and best practices for all your author platforms.
Think of your publisher as a media enhancer or support system, NOT as a primary creator. They can take the lead on:
Sending review copies (ARCs)
Digital assets - ads, banners, creative
Advice. Publishers may have “social insights marketing teams” and/or “analytics marketing teams” – they’ll be able to look at social media conversions, analyze key topics and trends; and dive deeply into consumer reviews to determine the best content and metadata to disseminate.
They may do more, but these are the basics to expect. It is a good idea to ask your publisher if they will do something before you do it (or pay for it) yourself. For example, they may not solicit reviews from your contacts, but can send out ARCs to those who request.
From me, you can expect:
Setting up a call with marketing & publicity team
Pre-call to-do list (in prep)
Vetting of M&P plans with questions, ideas, and asks
Follow-up with team to ensure M&P plans are executed
There are some thing you should consider doing independently, or in consultation with your Publisher. Paid digital press releases, such as
Anything you can do with your time and creativity.
A successful campaign keys into what’s unique and specific about that author's particular platform and work. Inventory your platform and start the conversation with your publisher early (acquisitions). An author can work with other authors with bigger platforms to utilize digital spaces if they don’t have a big footprint.
Some publishers also use influencer programs for book marketing. NFT’s as preorder incentives are a unique method of marketing and offer value propositions for authors who want to build a business off of writing. NFT’s build revenue and community building. TikTok is an avenue for young readers. The best opportunity for campaign engagement and growth is when a platform is new.
The marketing department coordinates between different teams—including publicity, education & library marketing, digital marketing, sales, and editorial—to make sure everyone has what they need to promote your book.
What is metadata and how do I use it?
Metadata is the product information/data about a book, from technical specs to marketing copy. A book’s metadata is its entire online presence. Metadata is owned and managed by the publisher, but here are some ways you can influence it:
Titles & Series: Make the title searchable, easy to spell, but not used all the time - and be sure it feels relevant. You might want to consider using the genre in the subtitle: “A thriller about trees,” for instance. The subtitle would have to be on the cover, though.
Summaries: This is a great spot to make the book as searchable as possible. Cram in as many keywords / search words as you can, but use as many specific words (“puppies” instead of general ones (“dogs”). Keep an eye out for relevant events, pop culture trends, and any other current news content that might apply to your book, and have the metadata updated to reflect these changes.
Author Bio: Include your twitter handle and website, but know that some retailers (like Amazon) may strip out your website.
Keywords: To determine what keywords you should be considering:
Use Kindle categories and subcategories
http://bookdiscovery.co/ can generate comparable titles
Keep in mind that keywords can be in sequences of up to 4 words (“women heroes of WW2”)
Keywords can be other authors and titles (“Fans of X will like this book”). Make sure any comparable titles properly reflect your book’s content: otherwise you risk alienating readers. (So for sites that say “for readers of Book X”, make sure your book is indeed like Book X.)
One great way of generating good keywords is to use wordclouds.com, a free online word generator – run great reviews through the system and it will show you the most frequently used words.
54% of all product searches happen on Amazon today. Keywords turned into titles can be more effective than ad campaigns for a single book ( bestselling books, books for the holidays, graduation gifts ).
TIP: Update Regularly! Every six months, make sure your metadata is up to date on your website, social media platforms, and author platforms. For third-party retailers like Amazon and B&N, be sure to ask your publisher to revise metadata regularly. You can review your publishers's metadata on product listings on sites such as Amazon for words and things to use on your personal website. Look at the description of the text, any bolded description "for readers of" and product categories.
how do i get people to review my book?
The number of reviews (on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, etc.) can really matter – it’s proof that people have read and enjoyed your book, but it’s also instrumental in the algorithm for searches, marketing promotions, and a host of other factors.
Generate a list and send reviewers your book, as follows:
Create a Tracking System. Create a simple Google spreadsheet to identify and track to whom you are going to send your book or product. Collect names and contact information.
Find Potential Reviewers.
Go to your book page on Amazon or the Amazon page for books your readers will also be reading or that comp to your title
Scroll to the section that says “Customer Also Bought Items By” and the section “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed.”
Near the top left of the page, click on the link to the customer reviews. Sort by “Newest First.” Now you will see the list of sorted reviews with the Amazon name or “Real Name” of each reviewer. This is a list of potential reviewers for your book too.
Find Contact Information. Click on each reviewer to get details on the person. Using available contact information and Google you can contact them via email, a Facebook page or Twitter. Enter this information into your spreadsheet.
Reach out. Once you identify potential reviewers, reach out to them explaining that you discovered their review on Amazon. Explain that you have a book that you think may be of interest to them, and would like to send it to them. Further explain that you are seeking an honest review of the item you send, but that they don’t have an obligation (this process is about inviting reviews, not forcing reviews). Have a boilerplate ready and modify it according to the potential reviewer.
Repeat. The more you repeat this process, the more reviews you will receive. The more reviews you receive, the more books you will sell. Sometimes you will receive negative reviews. Don’t let this discourage you. You are looking for quantity here. The bottom line is that readers will want to see that others have read your book
There are different types of reviews. Customer Reviews: Written by a reader—ideally by someone who bought the book—who also assigns a number of stars (1-5). Most authors are referring to customer reviews when they reference “Amazon reviews.” Editorial Reviews: An editorial review is a formal evaluation of a book, usually written by a professional reviewer or expert within a genre. These are also often called blurbs, endorsements, and testimonials.
Does Amazon Have A review policy?
When it comes to selling books online, Amazon customer reviews can make or break shopper interest in a book. Amazon does have a few rules for the types of reviews that can be left on a book/product.
Amazon says this: “You may provide free or discounted copies of your books to readers. However, you may not demand a review in exchange or attempt to influence the review. Offering anything other than a free or discounted copy of the book—including gift cards—will invalidate a review, and we'll have to remove it.”
Reviewers can remove or edit a review after it is posted.
Authors can pay for Editorial reviews (not customer reviews).
Book swag is for giveaway at events and on social media, and themed prizes.
Signed bookmarks, jewelry or key chains are good promotional tools. So is anything you can tie directly back to your book.
Check out VistaPrint and CafePress. But more important than the actual swag is how you plan to leverage it.
Decide what you want to do, pick the venue, then decide on the merchandise.
Talk to your publisher before having anything made - they may be able to create some things for you (bookmarks, postcards, book plates) or have plans to create swag for giveaways
A note: use a site like this to generate a QR code that goes to an order page for your book!
Pre-Order Campaigns - What Works?
A typical pre-order campaign may yield 30-60 pre-orders. Know that going in - is it worth your time and in your budget? A typical pre-order campaign is a giveaway of some swag that ties into your book for those who purchase the book.
Some campaigns I've seen that yield higher pre-order amounts (in the hundreds) are:
Consider a donation made in honor of the pre-order buyers' name, or some other donation that ties into your book and brand’s themes.
For example, you may want to create a GoFundMe and ask others to "donate" books for underserved communities, or a specific program; you can use the funds to purchase books for a high school or program in need (ideally, that ties into your book).
You could donate a book to an inner city school in the same city in which the person who pre-ordered (or set up with indie bookstores that as an incentive for the first X number of books sold in their store).
You could even send gift cards/cash to your holiday gift list to encourage them to buy a copy (you could add that your hope is for them to donate the copy to a school or young reader in need).
Whatever you do, ensure it is authentic to your brand, your book, and you as an author.
ARCs - What Do I Do With Them?
ARCs are great for getting reviews & getting blurbs (interchangeable with the word Galley). They are usually available 6-8 months before publication (sometimes digital only). The publisher should send you ARCs to use and giveaway (note: these are not for re-sale).
First, find out from your publisher (about 9 months out from publication) if they are planning print or digital ARCs, and how many you will receive. A digital review copy is an advance reader’s copy (ARC) that doesn’t need to be mailed. It is made available for uploading as a file via NetGalley or Edelweiss to a Kindle, tablet, laptop, or desktop, and is the preferred method for many media/review outlets, especially during the pandemic.
Twitter/Instagram giveaways (example: RT content for a chance to win an advanced copy; enter RT'ers into a drawing).
NOTE: Check in with your publisher before any giveaways, to be sure you're not overlapping with other giveaways they also have planned
Reviews: send them out for potential blurbs OR reviews on Amazon & Goodreads & blogs. Reviews are even more important than blurbs!
Note: your publisher will take care of sending to KEY people for blurbs (influencers - read: large platforms) and review sites/influencers with large platforms. You can send your personal copies to fellow authors, friends, anyone without an established platform who would be willing to leave a review.
School/library: the publisher will be sending to libraries and buyers, but you can reach out to individual teachers with ARCs to see if any would be interested in adopting for class discussion. Good to start with local schools for potential visit tie-ins!
Send advance copies (digital files, galleys, BLADs, or F&Gs) to author or illustrator friends and any teachers, librarians, or booksellers you know personally. Your publisher will send you a few advance copies when they come in, but you can always let the publisher know if you need more.
Ask the publisher first if they will coordinate sending for you, especially if you’re outside of the United States.
If you have author or illustrator friends with some name recognition who are open to blurbing your book, please talk to your editor about ways to try to make that happen, and be sure to get this process started as early as possible to give your friends time to read and respond!
It is always best for the person with the closest connection to reach out to potential authors for review. If there are no connections, I'm happy to help send requests to agents. Some agents and editors automatically block all requests, so if there's any way to informally ask author friends or reach out personally, that has the highest likelihood of garnering a response. We can also both reach out.
In your request, include this information:
-If applicable, how you know each other
-Who you are, including a link to your website
-Which book(s) of theirs you loved and why
-How their book relates to your book (themes, topic and/or importance of setting etc).
-What your book is about (1-2 paragraphs - usually the cover copy)
-Request for a blurb if they like the book
-Ideal date for delivery of blurb
are blurbs important?
Unless you receive a blurb from a well-known influencer or bestselling author, blurbs typically don't turn the dial for sales.
However, gaining support from other authors with a readership who will also like your book does! People who blurb can also pair with you for events, shout-out to their own social media and networks, and help spread buzz and word-of-mouth.
So don't stress so much about the number of blurbs you get - the connections are far more important, and even an author who doesn't have time to blurb may still support you.
Starts: at book sale It doesn’t seem that important amidst the buzz, but it’s crucial -- and that doesn’t mean you have to have an active presence across eight different social media platforms. If you hate Twitter, don’t make a Twitter account (it’ll be a waste of time and energy). But you do need to have a way to remain visible, with links to buy the book and stay connected with the author. Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading the word about your books and building a community of readers around your work.
Social Media Resources
The Platforms: Here are the current major social media platforms
Facebook (friend/fan network)
Twitter (publishing network)
Instagram (pub/fan network)
TikTok (fan network)
YouTube (fan network)
SOCIAL MEDIA/DIGITAL PRESENCE
Having an online presence is a great way to make connections with other authors, illustrators, and industry professionals, as well as to spread the word about your book and share information about you and your work. Below are a few tips on how best to go about that.
Make sure your editor knows all of your social media handles.
If you post something on social media that you’d like the publisher to promote, just tag them in the post, or shoot your editor an email.
Please be mindful that anything you put on your social media is permanent, and that it’s visible to your readers, your editors and publishers, and the industry as a whole.
In particular, please be thoughtful about how to handle any potential negativity on social media. The internet can sometimes be an unfriendly place, and your publisher all do our best to set examples for our audiences, especially when they’re the young readers that make up much of our authors’ fan bases. If ever a situation arises that you’re not sure how to handle, please know that you can always reach out to your agent, editor or publicist for help.
When sharing a link to encourage fans to buy your book, use the publisher’s website or your author website (with all links) rather than a specific retailer. This gives readers the widest range of options for where to buy your books and doesn’t show favoritism for one retailer over another. You can also add individual links to multiple retailers (i.e Amazon, B&N, Indiebound, Bookshop.org, BAM, your local indie, etc.) if you'd prefer to go that route.
That said, Amazon offers authors and illustrators the opportunity to create and take control of their own profile pages, and it is encouraged to explore that option.
Integrate Social Media: In all of your separate accounts, make sure of the following:
Each platform has the same cover photo, author photo and bio
All pages are stylistically and tonally consistent throughout (i.e., you’re creating a “brand”)
If you’re using any of the same social networks for personal use, maximize your privacy settings on personal accounts so fans won’t find your private information. This will also prevent the dilution of your brand with boozy selfies and pictures of your dog.
All of the accounts you use professionally should link to the email newsletter registration page on your website.
Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat build audiences based off of engagement and not just followers (you can have more engagement on your platform than followers). Important not to judge a platform by following percentages.
Important to look at the takeaways of demographic engagement. It’s time for creatives to take back control of creative content (not taking a backseat after the book is published). Building website email lists and marketing. Some publishers care more about email lists than trajectories.
Every author should have some sort of online destination where fans, booksellers, and/or educators can easily find them by googling. It is a good idea to set up a website too. You can purchase your name URL from a domain registrar like GoDaddy.com, usually for less than $20. (If you have a very common name, this might not be possible, but try some variations on your name until you find one you like that is also available.)
Social Media Ideas
Marketing authors, not books: Social media is a strategic method of marketing yourself (not necessarily your book) - it’s not a place to publish a personal diary or rant about your local school board. Work with your agent to identify your brand and learn to stick with it.
Minimum viable audience: Learn the concept of “minimum viable audience”: You can control a small portion of your sales, and you should learn to take advantage of this.
Reader engagement: When managing a social media account, you’re looking to build a fan base of engaged, involved and interested readers, people who will appreciate your specific work, unique voice and thus support your career.
Your goal is to connect with your readers, which will lead to long-term relationships (i.e., they’ll buy every book you write - and tell their friends about you and your work). Before you engage in any online promotion, here’s a checklist to get you started:
Make an author website
Determine your social media outlets
Set up a mechanism for visitors to register for your email newsletter
Create an Amazon author page
Have a Goodreads profile
Monitor a Facebook Fan page (not a personal page)
Put together a Bookbub profile
Campaigns are more customizable than ever. With the emergence of TikTok there are more platforms arising. Important to look at what platforms are working best for their audiences on that platform. Data is key. For example TikTok fans love getting an inside look at an author's life, personal fashion, and versatile styling videos.
How to engage your audience
Authentic voice: People often read to connect with the way you say things – your personal, creative voice. You want to stay connected to the reader even after s/he’s finished your book. We suggest that you don’t use marketing-speak or change your voice on social media just to sell your book. Unless you wrote a book about marketing on social media, that voice isn’t yours and your would-be followers will notice. What makes you and your voice unique - and even in the context of other authors, what makes you and your book stand out? Look at your closest competitors and figure out why people are reading your book, not theirs. This might be a good conversation to have with your agent or editor.
Consistent and regular postings: Make a schedule and stick to it.There are several different studies about which days or times are optimal for posting. Everything really depends on who your audience is, so we can’t give huge guidelines here. MailChimp and other email programs will have suggestions on what is most effective.
Treat social media as a branch of your national business: Social media outreach is for fans and readers, not just for your boyfriend, mom, or kids. (Although all of them should be following you!) That means:
Think nationally, not locally. Don’t tweet all about the local emergencies or school board news.
Study what resonates with your readers and make future posts in a similar format. But until you figure out what resonates, don’t hesitate to mix up the types of posts you make.
Photos are key for social media engagement. Think of ways to create interesting images based on your book (quote graphics, book cover art, historical photos related to the content, places where you write, real people who might resemble your characters, appropriate fan art etc.). A wonderful free tool for making social media graphics in the correct size is canva.com.
To repeat: you’re trying to engage your readers, not trying to sell your book. A once-a-year (or once-every-five-years) email saying, “Hi, I know you bought my last book and we haven’t been in touch since, but here’s my next book” is not effective. Keep your email blasts frequent! The first task of any campaign is an inventory of what the author has in terms of levers with a direct audience. Organic reach from the authors platform will always deliver more. Customized author by author. ● Educating, inspiring, entertaining, and informing. Essential pillars for content. First find your message then distinguish the best platform to tell that story.
Other General tips
In general, it takes 7-9 impressions (which can come from social media, book reviews, physical display, etc.) to make people aware of you and your book.
Keep up the momentum between publications – try to establish a regular schedule (once a week, twice a month, etc.) and stick to it.
The most common mistake that authors make is posting too much. Three posts a day is often too many.
When it comes to social media, you always want to do things that will help your books and your author brand reach and impact people in ways that make them connect with and support you. You don’t want to harm your brand by engaging in behavior or promoting content that doesn’t reflect well on you or your books. “Harm” can be anything from using social media to respond defensively to a bad review to posting a dark and blurry photo that isn’t aesthetically pleasing, to using your channels so sporadically that fans aren’t sure if you’re ever going to post again.
Goodreads is not the biggest social media platform, but because it was built exclusively for readers to share, review, and talk to other book lovers about the books that they love. Therefore, it is highly relevant to all authors and illustrators. Make an account if you don't have one already.
Be wary of posting strong opinions about politics and social issues. Be mindful that your audience may differ sharply on these points, and the effect political posts may have might be negative, for your fanbase and for yourself.
Don’t forget Giveaways (see Facebook, below, for more details, but know that giveaways can be done via any platform). Giveaways can consist of anything that an author has to offer their readers and fans – whether it’s a free signed book, an interview, a skype conversation, a dinner, an iPad, branded merchandise, or any number of other possibilities. Companies like BookSweeps.com, Instafreebie.com, and BookFunnel.com may be worth exploring.
Find your writing peers: Build relationships with other authors in your genre. You are not alone! Other authors can be social media influencers, can do joint campaigns or blog tours, and can provide a host of general advice from a perspective similar to yours.
MOST Important Tip: Make sure you thank people who post positive things about your books/writing, on all social media platforms, but you might consider holding true this important internet idiom: Don’t feed the trolls!
Throughout social media, it’s your prerogative to ignore negative posts created by terrible, usually anonymous profiles, or trolls. Replying to these posts will direct your fanbases’ attention towards a campaign of indiscriminate hate that wants nothing more than to ruin your brand and reputation for nothing more than a moment of entertainment. J.K. Rowling is extremely skilled at navigating interactions with Trolls, but unless you’re her, we suggest that you do not engage.
social Media tools to use
A variety of free or low-cost tools can help supplement various aspects of your social media. Here are a few, but there are dozens of others:
Canva- creates social media graphics (banners etc.) for free
Hootsuite- schedules social media posts (this is good for managing dozens of different accounts - good to track all platforms)
Buffer- schedules social media posts, and is better for fewer accounts and a single author
Color.Adobe.Com- finds colors if you want to keep your brand consistent (pulling colors off your cover to use in social media graphics, for instance)
Woorank- analyzes your platform and website, and provides insights into how to fix issues
After email, Facebook is the second most effective marketing tool. It’s less effective than email because your Facebook posts can be hidden from a friend’s, fan’s, or follower’s newsfeed due to the FB algorithm – you can’t guarantee that everyone is seeing your content. You must be on FB for your publisher to help you market on FB.
Gaming the algorithm: There are, of course, ways to “game” the algorithm so that your posts are more visible:
Tagging other authors that you’re friends with.
Tagging your publisher.
Posting easily shareable content. Photos and videos are most likely to be shared and liked. An easy photo post to create is to grab a quote graphic from your book and then attach a link to an online vendor for people to buy your book.
Keeping users on Facebook. If posting a book trailer, for example, upload the video directly to Facebook instead of including a YouTube link. Facebook’s algorithm favors anything that keeps users on Facebook.
Be careful about just using Amazon “buy” links. Post to your website or publisher’s “buy” page, or say that the book is available to vendors without including the link. FB’s algorithm may inhibit your post if it’s seen to be as purely commercial.
“Facebook Live” is worth paying attention to. Anything in Facebook Live gets a higher algorithm placement, which at the moment makes it more discoverable.
Fan Page versus Personal Page: Every author must have a fan page separate from a personal page.
You cannot use your personal page as an author page for many reasons; you don’t want to become friends with your fans.
Personal pages are capped at 5000 friends; you don’t have access to the ad manager; publishers only link to fan pages.
With personal pages you can’t look at the “insights,” which will give you the demographics of who’s visiting, who’s clicking on your links, and so forth.
You might be worried that it will be difficult to convert your “personal” friends to “professional” fans, but it’s very easy to have your friends “like” your fan page. Once you set up your fan page, set your personal page’s privacy settings to the max, so people don’t discover your personal page before finding the fan page.
Facebook Ads: There are two strategies that you need to take into consideration when putting your book’s ad on Facebook:
Publishers often run paid ads per book. Be sure to ask your agent to share the publisher’s marketing campaign or their Facebook strategy. Also, tell your publisher to send the links to the author’s Facebook page, not the publisher’s page.
You can run your own ad. Try not to run ads simultaneously with your publisher. This may seem counterintuitive, but:
It is more expensive than using a lead-generation company, but also more effective
You can control content by optimizing keywords.
Facebook ads are excellent email list builders prior to the publication of your book.
Never do paid advertising unless you have a very specific strategy for using Facebook ads. Be sure to discuss this with your agent and publisher.
Don’t waste time or money on an audience that’s not biting. If your ad isn’t generating any click-throughs, stop, reassess, and determine what’s wrong with your message and/or target a different audience.
Facebook Giveaways/Contests: Facebook allows authors to create giveaways, sweepstakes, and contests for Facebook users. Having such promotional opportunities may allow you to expand your readership, your email list, and your “likes” across platforms. There are 3 different types of promotion available:
Publisher hosting: Publishers can host a giveaway on your author page. They’ll provide all the creative assets and fulfill the prizes. Your job is to promote it across your platforms, and drive traffic to your email list signup.
Create your own: Consider what your readers would love to see from you, and drive traffic to your email signup list. Facebook has a simple, easy-to-use tab for you to design your own giveaway, and their “help” section is very user-friendly.
Twitter is more for networking and making connections in the industry and with your fans. Twitter doesn’t drive sales as much as the other media platforms, but it’s still an important and competitive marketing place. Here are some guidelines for helping your voice get heard on the platform:
Promoted tweets may seem like a good way to expand your audience, but to date they haven’t been helpful for the book industry.
Following, favoriting, and R-Ting authors/reviewers/journalists/bookstores will make them more likely to do the same for you. This is a great way to network, and they’ll keep a closer eye on you in the future.
The personal & professional of Twitter: Everything you post on Twitter is public - so everything you post should be made with an eye towards building your brand. Twitter can reach far more than your fan base, not just people who are signed up to follow you. So it’s even more important not to post deeply polemic, divisive messages unless that’s part of your brand strategy.
First steps on Twitter: Before you get started, read, like, and re-tweet. Learn how the process works before trying to really participate. This can make a huge difference in follower engagement. Also, if you don’t like to post on Twitter regularly, don’t do it at all! Finally, google “twitter etiquette” - that’ll explain the sometimes-convoluted etiquette involved.
Users come to Twitter to find funny, witty, inspirational, and/or informative content that can be consumed in a manner of seconds. They also come for interaction, communication, and engagement with their favorite celebrities, internet bloggers, artists, athletes, and authors.
Because a Twitter user is scrolling through an aggregate list (called a “feed”) of the tweets of everyone they follow, tweets need to be memorable in some way to grab the user’s attention.
The best Twitter feeds contain a variety of different types of content. They combine original tweets, retweets, replies to other users, and tags of other users. If this is a social platform that works for you, you should aim to tweet at least once or twice a day. Below are some authors who have amassed reasonably large followings and are doing a great job of maintaining their personal Twitter presence:
Bonus Tip! Ask your publisher to add you to the iBooks sneak-peak program. Then tag the iBooks Account (they will “like” it, which creates a lot more visibility).
Instagram is a visual platform that focuses primarily on photos, videos, and other types of graphic materials (like quotes, memes, etc.). It’s mostly photos, hashtags, and locations. As with Twitter, this is a method for generating impressions with your potential audience - and it’s another way of getting more email addresses. It’s the fastest-growing social network, at present, so it’s worth exploring. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
Come up with a strategy of where to take photos: book signings, where you see your book, where you write, what inspired you to write, great quotes that represent your book, and so forth.
As with Twitter, be sure to familiarize yourself with the medium before you jump in.
Hashtagging is important - don’t just post the photo.
Learn and experiment with filters before you use them. It’s very easy to use - but try many to see what works for you.
Be consistent with your look, brand, and subjects. If food’s your thing, make food your thing. If it’s gardens, stick with gardens
Test adding captions geared towards book themes throughout the month.
Launch a monthly IG series with different relevant people or topics to your book or brand. Use Instagram Stories to run Q&A’s for followers launching a new business or book.
To grow excitement for the upcoming publication, run a contest for one lucky fan to win the chance to be mentored by you.
Continue to tap into key moments and dates throughout the year and use popular hashtags to amplify posts.
Instagram Examples Author Hanya Yanagihara used Instagram to promote A Little Life. While we are not sure if the promotion led to sales, it did get a lot of press.
The Microinfluencers tip the scale. Pitch those niche reading resources.
Appearing on GOOD MORNING AMERICA is great, but having those micro-influencers on your side adds a personal touch.
When it comes to approaching the microinfluencers, how do we make books stand out amid the wash of catalogs the publishers send?
Research and time; find the influencers who would connect with your book.
You don’t need the Top 10 Bloggers of YA Fiction to rave about it.
Definitely consider the Midlist Bloggers.
They want more readership. They want more views. They’re more eager to network, give an interview or review an ARC, compared to someone fielding hundreds of requests
And if 10 of those bloggers convince 15% of their readers to go out and buy the book, you’ve made it.
As a first step on LinkedIn, I recommend adding your book title and author status to your bio and that you start building up your number of connections over the next few months.
I suggest connecting to 40-50 of your personal contacts weekly with the goal of eventually getting over the 500+ contacts threshold, and also that you start following a handful of business leaders and brands you admire for additional inspiration.
Post Pandemic Gen Zers are thinking more about entrepreneurship with the traditional pathways to success seeming increasingly unobtainable – or undesirable. On the heels of the Great Resignation/the Great Reshuffle, LinkedIn job moves are up 70% for users 16-22 and over half of Gen Zers worldwide expect to be running their own business within the next decade (EY, 2021).
To build out your profile, author status and book title could be added to your bio.
Recommended cadence would be to start posting once or twice monthly to build awareness.
Content ideas include: sharing short passages from the manuscript, reflecting on a business or inspirational quote that has been particularly meaningful to you.
On TikTok continue to utilize performance increasing hashtags that are popular or trending. • Fans love snapshots of your life! Capturing moments of book writing and editing, etc. • Sharing tips about building a brand is popular! • It is a good idea to establish a weekly series that suits you as well. • Repost fan love and messages of people inspired by your content.
A full schedule with what kinds of posts to do monthly
It’s the largest book-only network, and publishers use it often for book-marketing efforts. You want to participate with your publisher on this. Keep in mind that Goodreads is owned by Amazon, although it still seems independent. If your book isn't already there, you can request it be added by the Goodreads Librarian Group (your publisher does not post to Goodreads). https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/220-goodreads-librarians-group. What You Can Do to Enhance Your Presence:
Claim your Goodreads author profile (This page provides a good overview of what to do.)
Create a user account, then find your author profile.
Join groups that interest you and connect directly with your reader
Join as a reader – not just to talk about your book.
Invite friends to join you.
We suggest that you don’t engage in activities that might be seen as spam, including talking poorly about other authors, etc.
See note about acting professional!
Here’s How Your Publisher Can Interact with Goodreads:
These techniques can encourage the publisher’s enhanced participation:
Make sure the metadata is correct. Goodreads pulls metadata directly from Amazon and other sources, but sometimes users will manually add editions.
Be sure that the publisher has a marketing strategy for Goodreads, and that it shares its strategy with you.
Provide details, such as advertising plans and giveaway promotions.
Giveaways are free to list and generate advance buzz for a title. You can list as many giveaways as you want, but 5 is recommended: 2 before publication, 1 on pub day, and 2 after.
Every time there’s a giveaway, your audience is reminded of the book.
You can also include backlist and signed copies, too, for additional interest.
Publishers can also cross-promote, offering free giveaways for two or several authors.
Paid Advertising on Goodreads:
Email blasts go out to fans of competitors, people who have shelved your book (or past books), people who signed up for a list or listicle, etc. People automatically get an email when you have a new book out, but you can customize these emails as needed.
Display ads are those that take over a whole page.
In-context ads are those that come in the stream of a page.
Bookbub is the fastest growing book promotion site in the US, sending millions of emails every day about book bargains.
Promoted books are called “Featured Deals.” Bookbub decides which books get selected (and have strict requirements for what can be submitted), determine the category (or which readers you’re reaching), chooses the timing, and quotes the charge, which can range from about $800-$1500 (although sometimes more - free books get the lowest price, and more expensive books get higher prices. Popular genres with bigger lists are more expensive - comic romance is cheap, while historic romance is expensive). Bookbub claims that it can charge fees intended to generate positive ROIs, and they know the majority of partners will be successful.
Readers learn about books via 3 different methods: 1. Email Blasts of Bargain Books:
Readers have signed up for a specific genre, and receive email blasts as often as they wish.
$1.99 is ‘sweet spot’ for BB promotional pricing. BB audience very price sensitive (little ‘halo effect’ for other books by same author). insights.bookbub.com/book-marketing-goals-you-can-achieve-with-price-promotions/
The Ideal BB book: high # of ratings (at least 8) and low sales.
2. Bookbub Ads: Ads can advertise whatever book you want. It doesn’t have to be discounted or meet any of the Featured Deal requirements. You decide what runs, when it runs, how often it runs, what your ad looks like, which readers you’re reaching, and how much you want to pay. Authors or publishers have to make the campaign work, though - these seem to work best for authors willing to test and optimize their campaigns. For more on ads, go to insights.bookbub.com/an-intro-to-bookbub-ads-insights-from-ninc-2016/
3. Bookbub Author Profile: Similar to Goodreads, claim your profile and put up your photo. Anyone who follows you on Bookbub will automatically receive emails when you receive a discount or new publication, even if the book isn’t featured in Bookbub.
Litsy, an online community for book lovers to share and talk about their favorite books: www.litsy.co
Wattpad, an online writing/storytelling community: www.wattpad.com
Phase 2: Identify Your Audience
Starts: ~7 months from book sale Think about who you'd imagine reading your book.
Consider every possibility: would a reader be interested in the setting, the themes, the comp titles, the larger zeitgeist?
Where would these readers live, online and offline?
What podcasts or blogs do they follow?
Where would you find them? Universities, libraries, bookstores, etc.
Once you have this together, it will help inform your marketing & publicity efforts later
Things to Be Doing
Think of your unique angle
How can your team put a personal touch on books if there are 70-80 books flying through, demanding attention, without using some sort of template? The more specific approaches should be given to publicists, which give them the greater chance of success!
Create an email mailing list
If you haven't already, this is vital to maintaining your network! Mailing lists have the highest % to book sales. Encourage people to sign up.
1. Sign up with an email service: MailChimp or Constant Contact are most frequently used.
2. Create an email sign-up form: Request a simple email address. Email programs can geo-locate to learn where individual users are located so you can easily market events according to region. If you end up generating a lot of hardcore fans, you can hold contests on your site or find other ways to ask the fan for more information. Set up a customized auto-reply message to thank your readers for registering.
If you're attending events, create a QR code that links to your sign-up form!
3. Get people on the list:
Start with your existing contacts and ask people on your list to help spread the word on social media and by forwarding emails.
At offline events, have an email sign-up sheet or iPad for signing up readers.
Use your social media. Don’t overdo it, but ask followers occasionally to sign up for your email list. Link from your author social profile to your email sign-up page, not your home page.
Make sure your website is listed in your bio if you’re guest blogging somewhere or are being interviewed.
Third-party promotion: Ask author friends to help build your list by giving you a shout out in their email blasts. Offer to reciprocate the favor. You can also purchase email lists. In any case, be sure to remind your new subscribers who you are and why they signed up for your newsletter.
After users subscribe to the email list, have automatic emails send interesting info about the author. One suggestion is to provide an email written by the author about several of the books they’re interested in – this way, the author may establish something in common with the subscriber.
A list of authors who will support your book/be available for events
A list of interview questions that readers or interviewers can ask
Prepare pitches for guest article placement with writer centric and genre/book outlets - Think about pitch angles and themes that tie into your book. A list of themes and topics you can talk about for your publicist to pitch. (For events, for op eds, for Q&As, etc)
Once you know who your readers are, you can drill down deeper into the things that are most important to them to help inform publicity efforts. For example:
Do you attract The Business Book Buyer?
These book buyers value risk-taking, healthy lifestyles, their careers, and staying on top of current events. They favor thrillers as well as narrative non-fiction, and read to learn and improve. They’re likely to be men, under the age of 44 and ethnically diverse.
Do you attract The Inspirational Book Buyer?
These book buyers value faith, beauty, and supporting others. They are budget-conscious, enjoy a diverse set of media and have many hobbies. They’re constant readers, interested in fiction and non-fiction, and tend to be women, age 30+ and ethnically diverse.
We compared the business and inspiration/wellness book buyers to general book buyers and found that the former: When talking about health/wellness • 92% agreed that it’s important to talk about mental health. • 79% are open minded to homeopathic/alternative medicine. When talking about fashion/retail • 92% like owning good quality products. • 86% would choose functionality over luxury, but 85% wouldn’t mind spending more on higher quality. • 82% heavily rely on online shopping. When talking about motivators • 47% are driven by family and 37% are fueled by the loyalty that family and friends provide. • 46% are motivated by wanting to work on flaws and weaknesses compared to only 15% from the general population. • 45% feel that having goals in general motivates them compared to 28%. • 39% admitted to money being a motivator. Over 50% more than general book buyers (14%).
Identify your existing network
Write a 300-400 word bio including education, degrees, jobs, hometown and provide details re: your family life (spouse, children, pets, etc.)
Any previously published books? List genre, publisher, year published, awards won and significant (good) reviews.
Any magazines for which you have written articles? Give the article’s title, subject matter and date. What organizations are affiliated with?
List any clubs, alumni groups, schools, social/religious/business organizations you are a member of.
List the names of colleagues or other influential people from within either the field relating to this book or your field. Do you have any friends or acquaintances with large social media followings? Do you have any friends working for organizations or who publish frequently in national media? Do you have any connections to big businesses or charitable donation networks?
List any journals, organizations or Internet-site organizations that should be sent a review copy of your book. (For example, did you get a lot of research information from any particular source? If so, include that source.)
List the names and publications of any personal media contacts. Please indicate what your relationship with each contact is. (For example, former colleague, etc.) What magazines, journals, newspapers or other media outlets you think an ad might be effective? What are your local publications?
Are there any other organizations, corporations or conventions that may be interested in your book? Are there any events, festivals, or conferences that would be relevant to themes in your book? Do they have speaking opportunities?
What are your local school districts, including those that are within a comfortable driving distance? (Web site links to home page would be very helpful)
Do you have any future plans (such as vacations, moves, scheduled conferences, etc.) that may help in marketing your book?
Phase 3 & 4: Connect With, Grow, and Maintain Your Audience
Starts: ~11 months from book sale (after M&P call with publisher)
Key Things To Do
Get to know local bookstores (employees!)
Gather firm base of reviewers
Pursue media/guest post opportunities
Continue with consistent social media activity
Outreach to influencers, bookstores, reviewers
Make sure it’s clear who you are in all social media profiles so that offline fans can find you online. Use a photo of yourself as your profile picture, list your real name (or the name you’re publishing under), and include information on yourself and your books in your bio.
Book release event(s)
Recognizing fans is key to building loyalty. Did someone post a beautiful photo of your book? Screenshot and crop the photo so you can repost it to your Instagram Feed (make sure you credit and tag the original poster in the caption—giving credit is very important).
The best way to pitch media is to topic-related publications that focus on the unique pitching angles, topics, and themes related to your book
Compile a list of at least three pitch ideas or angles related to your book. Your publicist (or you) will use this to pitch to media.
Compile a list of themes and topics you can speak on related to your book
Create guest posts of 500 words each on a topic of your choice that can be used as part of a blog tour. Here are some examples:
A media (press) kit consists of easily downloadable information on an author and their book(s) for use by bloggers, reviewers, interviewers, press, and other people like that who might want to talk about you and your work online!
It makes things easier for everyone if you have something readily available to download on your website—that way, no one has to chase you for information, and you’ll have less emails in your inbox.
AND you get to control your narrative: by providing a bio yourself, other people are less likely to write their own for you.
What goes in a press kit?
A third-person bio
If possible: TWO third-person bios of varying lengths — a short one and a standard one, for example
A high-res author photo
Preferably: multiple high-res author photo options in varying shapes/sizes.
I’d specifically recommend at least one square photo and one rectangular photo!
Information on your books:
If you have a book cover: a high-res cover photo for each book
(If you don’t have a cover yet, I would recommend putting a screenshot of your Publishers Weekly deal announcement there in the meantime.)
A brief book description or pitch for each book (or cover copy, if you have that available)
For you, your agent, and/or your publicist — email addresses are fine!
For your books at all the major retailers (and any of your favorite indie bookstores!)
Social media links:
Handles or links to the online platforms you use regularly (Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, and/or etc).
Praise and/or Media Buzz:
Blurbs, general praise, and/or major trade reviews.
Is your work linked in a Buzzfeed article, or BookRiot, or something similar? You could add those.
Do you have a Q&A available? Feel free to add it! (Or make one up with FAQ)
Do you do school visits or similar events? Feel free to add information here for that as well.
I highly recommend sending out personalized postcards to bookstores 3-4 months before your book releases. This helps indie stores feel more of a connection to you, and makes it more likely they'll stock your book. Ask your publisher if they can design and/or print postcards for you.
Along with the postcard, you could include a personal note (perhaps printed or handwritten on the postcard)
Bookstores LOVE getting bundles of bookmarks and a few bookplates. You can offer bookplates, even if not sending them.
Make sure, if you're doing bookmarks, to avoid a QR code on them for ordering; don't want to direct people away from the store you're mailing it to!
Below is a download of US bookstore addresses in mailing label format. Please note that the mailing label list should not be shared.
I recommend a minimum of 150-200 mailed out if publisher will not be doing special mailings. If they are, you might want to select 20-30 to write a special note to that tie into your book (i.e., mystery bookstores for a mystery). If you would like to search bookstores by specialty and create a smaller, customized mailing, you can find all bookstores with addresses and specialty on the AMA's directory (don't enter any location, just click "submit" to see all. You can search by keyword on the page.
You can also choose to send specifically to Bookscan-reporting stores; there is a list below for that as well.
Please do not share. *last updated 2021 **last updated 2015
A street team is a list of volunteer advocates who help distribute promotional materials and spread word-of-mouth for your book to their networks
1. Recruit your team Start with friends and family. Put out a call online for volunteers on your website, blog, social media networks and mailing list. Decide how many people you want on your team, and vet them: you will want a variety of platforms, a solid network, variety of locations and interests.
2. Create a "street team" central This can be a private page on your website or a private Facebook group; somewhere your team can connect with you and each other and access information, challenges, rules of conduct, give feedback, exchange ideas, collaborate and more
3. Organize weekly challenges Create a challenge system where members must complete a task to receive a special reward
Potential challenges could include things like
leaving reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc.
Hosting you for a guest post/interview
Sharing your book with family/friends
Having your book hosted by a book club
Having your book requested by a local bookstore or library
RTing social media content
4. Incentivize your team Just like with a Kickstarter, you can have various levels of engagement and reward. You could have a grand prize, you could enter people who complete all challenges in a special swag raffle, you can send a signed copy at launch to your whole team. Rewards could include such as a signed book, swag, video chat, ARC, early or exclusive access to content, bonus material, a shout out in acknowledgments.