Summary: In this post, Author and Co-Founder of Kamakshi Media, Amar Vyas, describes the marketing tips offered by bestselling authors who have been guests on his podcast.
When I launched MyKitaab Podcast , my goal was simple. I wanted to create a resource base for authors who are looking to get their book published in India. With this goal in mind, I began the first set of interviews with authors, publishers and entrepreneurs the book publishing. Very soon, it became evident that we also needed to talk about book marketing. The rationale is simple. there is not point in publishing a book if nobody is going to buy it, let alone read it. In this post, I have compiled that Top 5 book marketing strategies that are followed by bestselling authors who have been guests on MyKitaab.
Top 5 Book Marketing Strategies
1. Engage with your readers:
Since 2007, Bestselling author, speaker, podcaster Joanna Penn has hosted a weekly podcast that has received over 1 million listens till today. She included a new section last year in which she mentions the names of the listeners who write her emails or tweet about what they liked about the show. Joanna has nearly 70,000 followers on Twitter, and she uses that platform to send updates about her writing, speaking engagements, podcast episodes and also shares curated content (that is, content created by others). She has two author avatars, she writes nonfiction as Joanna Penn, and fiction thrillers under the pseudonym J F Penn.
The learning from Joanna’s interview is that instead of pushing a message “Buy My Book” overtime, taking the time to listen to your audience and engaging with them helps in creating a personal connection and a long term relationship with the readers. Many of them will buy and read all your books.
You can listen to Joanna Penn’s journey as an author, her book writing and book marketing in her interview on MyKitaab Podcast.
2. To Sell More Books, You Need To Write More Books
Author Sharath Komarraju has published 16 books till today. He says that, “The more books I write, the more readers tend to stick.” Marketing his books with sixteen titles offers him more bang for the buck, compared to marketing with say only two or three books. Cover designs, blurbs, and releasing snippets of upcoming books all contribute towards the marketing of books. Sharath calls it passive marketing.
You can learn more about Sharath’s writing journey and his books by listening to his podcast interview.
3. Books can be your business cards
You may have heard this phrase many times, but it is particularly true in case of Nonfiction authors. A book on a subject related to history, management, or entrepreneurship can help in getting speaking engagements. Conversely, speaking engagements can help in selling books. Corporate executive Apurva Purohit, who is the author of the bestselling book Lady, You’re Not a Man, often gives talks on diversity and women at the workplace. She is able to sell several copies of her books during these talks. That is a very smart and effective book marketing strategy. However, her publisher (Rupa) provides very little support to her during these events, Apurva coordinates the logistics herself.
4. Your book needs to be discovered: get your keywords and categories right
India has over 19,000 publishers, and nearly 1 million (10 lakh) new books are published every year in India. Till a few years ago, distribution of books used to remain a challenge, but that has been greatly overcome with the emergence of Amazon, Flipkart and other websites that sell books. But if a book reader does not even know that your book exists, how will they buy your book?
Many of you might have heard about organic search results and book discoverability. Dave Chesson is a SEO (Search Engine Optimization) expert who gives some great tips on how to improve your book discoverability, and how to list your book in the right genre. According to him, “SEO, Internet Marketing, Web Design, Social Media are terms that are typically alien to most authors. But in today’s world, for effective book marketing, it is important to learn these skills.”
He also recommends that the book marketing process should start the day an author decides to write a book. Long-drawn marketing campaign is covered in detail below.
5. You have to do your marketing yourself, whether you are a traditionally or self-published author
Author Karan Bajaj has published his books the traditional publishing way. He is aware that he has to do 100% of the marketing, even though he will earn only 10% as the royalty. All of Karan’s novels have done very well in a market where only 1 or 2 percent of books do well in terms of sales. because of his marketing efforts.
Karan chalks out a long drawn marketing campaign for his books. For example, for his book Yoga of Max’s Discontent, he reached out to over 1,000 mid-level influencers such as book bloggers, book Instagrammers, BookTubers and Podcasters. He interviewed on multiple sites, wrote guest posts, and they all played a role in his book getting the visibility. He believes that “getting a popular author’s blurb will not help in selling books, reaching out to Mid-Level influencers will.”
The result of his marketing efforts was that over 1,000 pre-orders for his book, over 200 reviews on Goodreads with an average rating of 4.5 before the book was released.
Summing it all up
Writing a book and getting it published are only two pieces of the puzzle.But marketing your book should the most important component of your book publishing plan. They say, a bad book if marketed well, may sell some copies. But a good book which is not marketed well will hardly sell any copies. Make sure you have a book marketing plan in place months ahead of your book release date.
You might have heard that social media can be an effective tool for marketing. However, without engagement, merely having a massive number of followers will not serve a purpose. Using Keyword search and SEO for your blog posts, developing relationships with influencers, are all very essential tools in your success as an author. Book marketing is a long term game. Make sure you are well prepared for this exciting journey.
About Amar Vyas
Amar is a husband, Co-Founder of Kamakshi Media, dog lover and author of the Amol Dixit series of books. He is the host of MyKitaab Podcast and the creator of Baalgatha, a Podcast of classic children’s stories.
A self-described nomad, Amar has lived in fifteen cities over the past twenty years, including the two years spent at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign as a graduate student. He also spent time at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad for my MBA. These days he live in Bengaluru (Bangalore) in India.
In my spare time, he likes exploring offbeat places, learning Gujarati from his wife,and spending time with his dog, Buddy.