Creative Book Marketing Ideas
Per request, we're kicking this Monday off with some creative book marketing ideas from your neighborhood marketing witch. If you're not able to hex people into buying your book, well . . . time to learn.
Kidding. Sort of. Creativity is a form of magic, no?
Chances are, you did research, drew on inspiration, and have behind-the-scenes tidbits that didn't make the cut for the novel. Those are all prime real estate for enticing potential readers into your world without giving away anything significant.
What songs did you listen to while writing? Curate a special Spotify or YouTube playlist for your novel and share the link. Do you have an inspiration board on Pinterest? Direct people to that so they can see your aesthetic. What about lore or maps for your fantasy world? Let people explore your awesome world-building through interactive maps, lore guides, and character sheets.
There are many avenues you can use to entice people to your free stuff (any form of social media, really), but you do want a goal in mind. You can't just shuffle "free stuff!" in front of people without hinting where they should go next. And, tough as it is, a bid to buy your book doesn't work unless you or your publishing house are well-established.
What you can do, however, is ask people to join your mailing list or visit your website. Your goal should be to get them exploring your content and familiarizing themselves with you. Let them know where they can find more extras like your teaser. Marketing is all about playing the long game and generating leads (i.e. potential buyers who are interested in your work, or who might tell others about you).
CONTESTS AND GIVEAWAYS
You need your book in people's hands and you need readers talking about your book so they want it in their hands. If you're not well-known enough to make sales off your name alone (and, sadly, most of us aren't Stephen King), then a fun, interactive way to coax people to the Dark Side is to host a contest or giveaway with your book and/or bookish merch as the prize.
Is that money out of your pocket? Why, yes, but you can make the giveaway as large or small as you're comfortable with. People like free stuff, and you're able to leverage that for more follows, newsletter signups, and general exposure. Once the prize is in the winner's hands, make sure to mention how much you'd appreciate being tagged in an Instagram photo, a review—anything. Readers are more than happy to gush about giveaways, so don't be shy!
I see many authors have the right idea about partnerships but go about it the wrong way. Many authors request exposure (a review, a feature) without offering anything in return, which negates the entire definition of "partnership." If you're attempting to borrow the eyes and ears of someone else's audience, they need a dang good reason to promote you. And, no, "but I wrote a book" isn't the reason, unless they just like you as a person (I discuss how to be that person in How Not to Market Your Indie Book).
So how can you convince other creators and influencers to rave about you?
Offer a mutually beneficial agreement. For example, if you'd like to host a contest where you bundle your book with someone else's, then you're offering double exposure for both of you. If you'd like to guest post on their platform, ask if they'd like to do the same on yours.
Mutual benefit becomes harder to offer the higher up the influence chain you go, so there's no shame in starting small until you build momentum to those bigger platforms. Search out indie publishing houses, indie authors who write in the same genre as you, or book bloggers who need a little boost.
No marketing tactic will earn a massive boost in sales right away, but it's important not to be discouraged. The goal is to create a snowball effect through positive connections, word-of-mouth buzz, and a [digital] paper trail of freebies leading readers to the rest of your goodies (and, in turn, your book).
If you enjoyed this and would love to see other marketing posts, follow us on Twitter @bookish_witches where you can vote in polls for the type of content you'd like to see, or drop a comment below telling us what you thought!