Written by A Guest Author July 9th, 2020

5 Marketing Strategies for Your Self-Published Book Launch

By Annmarie McQueen

So you’ve edited your novel to perfection and you’re ready to self-publish it on Amazon and show it off to the world. You’ve decided on a launch date, but now what?

Setting up a pre-launch marketing campaign is one of the biggest things determining the success of your book launch, and yet many authors skip this crucial stage. Starting early and getting large numbers of pre-orders on your book will put you ahead of game, giving your book a boost up the sales rankings before it’s even been published. This sustained marketing is far more effective than a launch-day blitz on its own, and has lasting benefits. So what’s the best to go about it?

Creating a marketing plan

Stay organized by creating a pre-launch marketing plan on Excel. The plan should ideally cover marketing activities for 3 months before your planned launch, with objectives for you to meet on a daily – or at least weekly – basis. Marketing plans will look different for everyone as they’ll depend on how much free time you can dedicate to it, but the more you do now, the easier your life will be later on.

Use the first page of the plan as a place to list the key objectives you want to achieve (i.e. how many pre-orders you want to get) and then key marketing tactics that you will employ to achieve this objective. This could include: social media promotion, guest blog posts, sending out the book to ARC readers/book bloggers and planning out promotions/giveaways.

On the second page, create a schedule to plan out when you will carry out these marketing activities. Set yourself measurable but realistic targets. For example for week 2 of your campaign you might have 1 guest blog post booked in and aim to reach out to 10 book bloggers. Having this schedule written down will hold you accountable and keep you on track for your target.

Setting up social media campaigns

I’ll assume that as a writer you’re already active on social media. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are all fantastic ways of engaging with readers, reaching out to people and building a following. So if you don’t already use it, please start.

Keep your social media accounts on brand by identifying yourself as an author in the bio, and including a call to action link to encourage people to pre-order your book. After that, you just need to stay active and engaged. Some key ways to do this are:

  • Post regularly with novel excepts, quotes and interesting facts about your characters as way to build up hype for your book. Consider using a site such as Hootsuite to schedule in your posts so you don’t forget.
  • Be human and relatable. Don’t just post the same sales tweet over and over again. Post about your cat, make a joke, talk about an interesting piece of research you did for the book.
  • Always reply to comments, and comment on other people’s posts too. Engagement goes both ways.
  • Research what hashtags other authors are using and include them in your posts so they’re more likely to get found.

Sending your book out to ARC readers

ARC (Advanced Review Copy) readers are people who receive a free copy of the book before the launch in exchange for an honest review, usually on Amazon or Goodreads. If you can find some book bloggers with a big following to be ARC readers, that’s even better publicity.

I recommend giving away between 50-100 free copies of your book to ARC readers at least 6 weeks before the launch, which means you should start getting in contact with them anywhere between 2-3 months prior to launch.

There are many ways to go about finding ARC readers. You can post on social media about it, or research specific book bloggers in your genre and reach out to them via email. Just keep in mind that only a small number will agree to read it, and an even smaller amount will actually read it. So aim to reach out to roughly 10x the number of ARC readers you’re aiming to get.

Creating a buzz through giveaway contests

This is a great way to quickly build a social media following, create hype around your book launch, generate quality leads and build a reader base for your book. When setting up your give-away, you should consider:

– Choosing a prize that people will want to win. Maybe that’s a special edition of your book, plus a few collectors bookmarks. Or perhaps it’s a signed copy of your book along with a few self-care products and vouchers.

– Make sure the entry rules are clear and simple with obvious deadlines. What’s the call to action? Should people follow you and retweet, or sign up to your newsletter to enter?

  • Research your target audience and what social channels they use, then advertise there. You can also consider investing in paid ads to increase reach and awareness.
  • Don’t forget to announce the winner and plug your book launch!

Building a list of websites that will feature your book

There are tons of book promotion websites out there dedicated to marketing and featuring indie authors, including some which have quite large followings. Make a list of websites where you want your book to be featured, and be ready to submit for launch day to make the most out of that first week of sales.

Some of these websites do require payment to list and others are free; do your research, read reviews by other indie authors and consider your marketing budget. A simple Google search for ‘best book promotion sites for indie authors’ will pull up hundreds of articles like this one showing you the best places to submit.

Annmarie McQueen is a London-based digital marketer and writer. She has a YA novel self-published on Amazon and her fiction has been featured in numerous magazines and anthologies including ‘The little book of fairytales.’ You can find more of her work on Medium here: https://medium.com/@annmariemcqueen19


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