I met Janice Thompson in 2014 at the MacGregor Literary Marketing Conference. Besides being a delightfully encouraging person, she also knows a lot about marketing books. Because she’s published over 100 titles, her Top 10 Ways to Market Your Book On A Budget is full of practical help. Enjoy! And then support Janice and buy her books!
1). Market first. Create a full marketing strategy in your proposal. Include every bit of contact information you can think of: local TV and radio stations, civic groups (or other places where you can speak/teach), bloggers who might be interested in promoting your book, online chat classes and so on. Put together a spreadsheet of your sales and/or potential books. Publishers see you as a pro if you come in completely prepared.
2). Market to your brand: Add your tagline to your email, along with your latest book title. “Love, Laughter and Happily Ever Afters” is mine. Make sure your business cards, headshot, tagline, etc. all match. Be consistent. (My former pastor used to say, “We want to be a people who finish well.”)
3). Market to your team. Once published, market to your sales team before anyone else, even before the book comes out. Form a small marketing coop of three authors. You could agree to promote each other works by committing to a certain number of tweets, Facebook announcements, etc.
4). Market according to your schedule. Pre-schedule FB posts but do it on FB (not hootsuite, etc.) Look for your peak times. The key is to engage the reader AFTER the post goes up. When you see them “liking” a post, chime in with a comment. Same with blog. Schedule posts in advance according to your book’s release date. (Old posts can be relevant, too, even if they didn’t get many hits. Go back (work in reverse) updating your blog posts to add keywords.
5). Market to your neighborhood: Become a big fish in a small pond. Go local. Always do press releases to your local paper (and/or college alumni papers). Keep your press kit handy. Things to include: business cards, speaking topics, interview questions, endorsements, community service sheet (your involvement in the community as it relates to your book/topic). Thank online bookstore owners for carrying your book. When you do a local book-signing, take something special for the shop owner.
6). Market with your mouth: (Along the same lines as marketing to your neighborhood) Become a public speaker. Speak before signing books. (I always sell far more books when I have an opportunity to speak first.) Target local groups that no one would think of: the DAR, library, ABWA, Rotary, Lions, Historical Foundations, Knights of Columbus, Girl/Boy Scouts, Bible study groups, seniors’ groups at church, parenting groups, MOPS, public schools, Christian schools, (With my novel Hurricane I spoke to 7th graders at a Christian school. They all read the story in advance.) Remember to include homeschool groups, CE courses at the local junior college, retirement communities and reading groups.
7). Market in blitz fashion: Hit hard and fast on the week of the book’s release. Create your own one week blast blog tour, all reviews landing on amazon within seven days. Get friends to tweet for you. Put out teasers from your book. Pose questions related to the theme of that book, etc. Set books for free. Offer specials: one for $10/three for $25. Create a personal note on Youtube announcing the book (not a book trailer, but a personal note.) Make sure amazon reviews land hard and fast when the book releases.
8). Market Ties. (Not the kind you wear around your neck.) Tie your book to a hot topic (or TV show) and keyword/hash tag the two. (My books are often tied to Dancing with the Stars of other big-named shows.) Tie to other things you’re known for. For me, it’s cakes, so I did 30 Days of Cakes (for Icing on the Cake). I Love Lucy for The Icing on the Cake. (Every single book of mine is linked to a famous actor/actress/TV show…something.) Also use your endorsements to tie to heroes and/or people of interest. (Shoot high and look for big endorsements: Dr. Neil Frank, former head of the National Hurricane Center endorsed my book Hurricane.)
9). Market with articles. Write corresponding articles on the theme of your book. Publish them on other people’s blogs (or in magazines) and link to your book. When I first started writing wedding books I wrote wedding planning articles on the Examiner. Take the time to write articles for online magazines and well as traditional magazines. They may not always pay, but when they agree to include your bio and information about your latest release, it represents some good exposure, but without the advertising fees.
10). Market for long-term relationships. (Think Jerry Macguire: the mission statement) Send your teaser/blurbs to key players on your dream team. Foster a sense of community and seek long-term (genuine) reader relationships.
Janice has published over 100 books for the Christian market, crossing genre lines to write cozy mysteries, historicals, romances, nonfiction books, devotionals, children’s books and more. She particularly enjoys writing light-hearted, comedic tales because she enjoys making readers laugh. She lives in Spring, Texas, where she leads a rich life with her family, a host of writing friends, and two mischievous dachshunds. When she’s not busy writing or playing with her eight grandchildren, Janice can be found in the kitchen, baking specialty cakes and cookies for friends and loved ones.