More than 1.6 million books were published in 2019 - it has never been more important to find the right book promotion tools for your self-published titles. What are the same book marketing tactics working for a New York Times bestseller author or a total newbie writing a book now? In this article, we’ll overview the most important book marketing ideas that can help you sell your book.
The 4Ps of book marketing
Let’s use one of the most widely known marketing strategy framework, the 4Ps (Kotler’s marketing mix). The 4Ps framework has four dimensions: Product, Packaging, Price, and Promotion. (Disclaimer: This article might contain some business terminology. Blame my Masters in Business and Marketing, also a pending Ph.D. researching innovations in the publishing industry)
Your book is your product. Many studies also suggest that your ebook is the minimum viable product that you can use for research, testing and pivoting.
However, a minimum viable product is about a product that is good enough for readers. You cannot avoid investing in professional editing, market research of other published authors. Also, many authors follow a strategy of writing short stories instead of publishing a novel first. This might save you some precious time and give more room for experimentation!
Don’t judge a book by its cover - but everyone does! Your book has indeed a packaging need by creating an eye-catching book cover (preferably created by a professional cover designer) and also a killer blurb.
Don’t forget about your author brand when you think about packaging: readers might want to get to know the author. Author brands are critical if you write non-fiction books. Your author brand needs not just an author website, an active social media like a Facebook page, but also physical appearance with business cards. So you can easily create connections with readers, other authors, publishers or partners at conferences, shows or other events.
Decide at the beginning of your book marketing strategy where you want to sell your titles. You can sell exclusively on selected distributors, like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing with the KDP Select program or you can sell everywhere with an inclusive distribution strategy. Both of the distribution strategies have their pros and cons, but your title may benefit from wide distribution to over 2.5bn readers.
Make sure your title appears on stores only once and make sure you track your store links for promotion.
There are best practices on pricing books, but it also differs based on genre and format.
Fiction tends to be lower-priced, especially self-published books, but for non-fiction titles, authors usually can charge more. With Amazon’s push, ebooks started to have the price points from $2.99 up to $9.99. Most fiction books tend to be priced around $2.99-$4.99 marks. Print books are usually priced from $12.99-$19.99, meanwhile, an average audiobook can cost double or triple the price of an ebook.
Pricing usually is more interesting when you run specific price promotions for a few days. You can set your book for free temporarily, even if you are not in Kindle Unlimited or Kindle Select program. With the discounts, you might be eligible for a lot of featuring opportunities with stores or other book promotion sites. Read more about some tactics below in the Promotion section.
Another strategy used widely is to have a free book as your reader magnet. When the first title in the series is free is the so-called, permafree strategy. Reader magnets can also be short stories or extra chapters in exchange for an email for instance.
Promotion can include different elements: paid and organic promotion or owned media, press releases, merchandising, but also price drops. You can design a lot of book promotion materials by using Canva or Bookbrush, or you can create fancy book trailers.
First, you need to focus on collecting reviews before any book promotion campaign. Reviews are powerful for readers to give social proof for the quality of your book. Who would not want to buy a book if it has hundreds of positive reviews? :) If you have reviews, all other book marketing tactics will work more effectively for your book.
Do not forget that you can collect book reviews not just on Amazon, but on other stores as well. You can make algorithms happy usually with a handful of reviews on Apple Books or Google Play Books. So your book can stand out from the crowd easier.
Book promotions are not just about a book launch, but about a permanent book marketing plan.
In the world of marketing, many people suggest using integrated marketing communication. Integrated marketing means to use a unified communication approach to get the message through with a mix of communication channels across all media. This way, you can reach most of your target audience during the given time period. Most people need to hear or read the same message over and over again. Repetition can help them not just notice your message, but convince them to purchase your book.
So as an example you can run Facebook ads to build your email list. At the same time, you can also use daily emails letting your audience know about a special promotion or a new release.
Book price promotions are usually temporary discounts on your titles. They are consciously used in any long-term book marketing strategy. Price promotions make sense in retail channels where not institutions, but individuals pay for purchasing one copy of your title. Libraries (where institutions buy) and subscription services (where readers pay a flat fee to read as much as they can) are not price promotion heavy channels for your title.
Price promotions work the best if you can get featured in any of the stores’ specific promotional deals. Many authors get excited when they finally receive a placement opportunity with Bookbub featuring or Written Word Media brands. You can boost the effectiveness of these promotions by using advertising budgets on Bookbub ads or Amazon ads, or Facebook ads. It is up to you how much you want to spend and how comfortable you feel with these platforms.
We usually talk about online methods of book promotions but never underestimate the power of offline tactics like book signings. Imagine the feeling when you meet your readers and give them a signed copy. Your readers and also, you both will never forget these moments!
How to run a price promotion with PublishDrive
Price promotions are essential in your book marketing strategy, but technical issues might arise if you do not plan it ahead.
One of the most typical issues is that the discount is not live on the day when you finally got your Bookbub deal. This can end in delaying or canceling the deal you paid for. Use PublishDrive’s price promotion feature that allows you to schedule any price promotion ahead. We know that plans might change, so you can modify your promotions 72 hours before your campaign starts.
- Go to the ‘Promotions’ tab where you can see different Promotional tools developed by PublishDrive to boost your sales. Within your PublishDrive dashboard, you can get free review copies, featured deals in stores or in newsletters, run more effective Amazon ads, and now you can schedule price promotions with PublishDrive.
For using the price promotion feature with PublishDrive, you need to have a title published through PublishDrive. (Check out our article on how to upload a title in PublishDrive.)
- Choose the book within your PublishDrive account you would like to promote. Don’t forget, your book has to be published in order to run a price promotion through PublishDrive.
2. Add the basic info about your promotion.
Your promotion will be applied on all stores wherever your title is published already through PublishDrive from the above list. You do not have to worry about price matching, or whether your promo price goes through. With PublishDrive, you can make sure that your titles are discounted on Amazon, Apple Books, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Google Play Books.
If you have more promotions running, you can group them into campaigns. This makes it easy to navigate between your promotions and campaigns for your books.
The basic information you need to add for your promotion:
- Start and end date
- New promotion price
- Optional: Price in different currencies
- Optional: The media/marketing tactic communicating your price promotion campaign
- Optional: budget.
You can optionally add information like: different prices in currencies, why you schedule this price promotion and also, the budget for the price promotion. This will allow PublishDrive to give you more information on return on investment of your campaign and how to maximize the effect of your price promotion.
Book marketing strategy is about your Product, Packaging, Price and Promotions. Don’t just use paid advertisements as your only marketing tactic, but look at your marketing plan from a bird’s eye’s view.
You have multiple options for running promotions, but one of the most popular tactics is running price promotions and support them with featuring deals on stores/ promotional sites. Make sure that you do not mess up your price changes and use PublishDrive’s price promotion feature. So your price promotions will go through on all stores in time.
Sounds easy, right? Sign up now to PublishDrive and schedule your first price promotion easily.