There's a saying in the book publishing industry: "it's called the bestsellers list, not the best-writers list." Writing a book is just one part of the equation to launching a book that makes a splash. Top authors spend just as much effort marketing their book as they do writing them.
But, wait, you say. I'm a writer, not a marketer! We've got you covered with answers to some of the most important and frequently asked questions. If you have questions that aren't answered here, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll add your question to the list!
How far in advance of when my book comes out should I start marketing?
Immediately! You should start marketing your book before you start writing it. Top authors with national book tours start planning this over a year in advance of their pub date. Long lead press, meaning magazines and other print that is planned far in advance, plan and completely finalize their content 3 to 6 months in advance.
For most authors, beginning 6 months before your book comes out is ideal, and buckling down about 3 months before your book comes out allows you time to create a solid plan.
If you don’t have the luxury of time and your pub date is fast approaching, check out our 30-day Book Launch Countdown guide: a 10 page guide outlining a week-by-week breakdown of all the necessary steps guaranteed to get the right people talking about your book.
What is the first thing I should do to start marketing my book?
The absolute first thing you should do is organize all your book assets and materials into one place. As you start marketing your book, it will make it so much easier to have your images, bio, book description, and more all in one place. We’ve got a great checklist in the Book Famous workshop!
How can I get press for my book?
The quick answer to this: do your research on editors who will care about your book, create a compelling and personalized pitch for each one, send them an email (and a copy of your book, if you can), and then follow up, follow up, follow up. Remember two super important points: 1) editors are real people, just like you, and 2) their inboxes are super, super full. Be concise, helpful and kind, and don’t waste their time.
How important are book signings for selling books?
The truth is: book signings aren’t that popular (or even successful) anymore, unless you’re a celebrity or personality. The worst thing is for you to organize a signing where no one shows up.
If you have a significant following on social media or a large email list, a book signing make sense. However, we’d recommend incorporating it into another event that has content related to your book. Your fans will be much more interested in that.
How important is a book tour for marketing my book?
It depends. A book tour can be an amazing way to connect with your audience, but it is not required in our current digital age.
Today’s version of book tours are more intimate, topic-focused and community-based. Book tours include fire-side chats, panels at work spaces, blogger events at restaurants, workshops, webinars, Facebook Lives, AMAs, etc. Think, a dinner event with 25 fans versus speaking on stage to an auditorium of 1,500 people. Although, if that opportunity comes across your inbox, definitely do it!
Think about how comfortable you are speaking in front of an audience. If speaking is your thing, a book tour puts you at the center of the room and plays to your strengths. But, if speaking isn’t your thing, there are plenty of ways to market your book that don’t require nervous sweats and stage fright. And, remember: most people buy books online these days.