Darren M. Palmer
MARKETING STRATEGY for MARKET LEADER AUTHORS
Updated: Jul 10, 2020
Marketing plays a massive role in any book’s success. Before you publish
a book (or before you even start writing it!), it’s crucial to think about who
you’ll be selling your book to—and how. Do not have the ‘create and wait’
Digital marketing is continuously changing, and it can be tough for authors
to keep up with the top trends. I’ve rounded up the top digital marketing
strategies to help both new and savvy authors understand how to market
Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, let's get one thing straight. The most
important part of your digital marketing strategy is your plan.
It's important to start with clear author goals and a defined target audience.
Based on your budget and/or resources, then you'll decide which elements
you'll include in your marketing plan and create a timeline to stay
organized. I want to discuss top digital marketing strategies you will want to
highly consider adding to your book marketing plan. Here are a few things to
keep in mind:
Your author website is the first piece of your book marketing plan to
consider. When a reader comes across your book, one of the first things
that they're going to do is look for your book online (even if they're holding
your book in their hands). When they search online for you or your book,
what will they find? Hopefully—a professional-looking author website!
These one-page websites can also be called landing pages. While your
book will be available on large online platforms, you want to create a way to
keep up with who purchases your book. A landing page is also a great way
to keep most of the profit from book sales unless you enjoy giving Amazon
60% of every transaction.
I cannot stress the importance of publishing professionally with editing,
interior design, and cover design. If you've taken steps to create a high-
quality book, your website should reflect that. If a reader goes to your
website and appears to be haphazardly thrown together, they could
make the same assumptions about your book.
It's important to educate yourself so that you understand your options and
make the most out of marketing your book.
Before publishing a book, a lot of authors have succeeded in building an
audience through blogging. Creating a blog gives you a chance to connect
with and identify your target audience.
You may notice that quite a few popular blogs feature guest bloggers—this
is a great way to capture the attention of a similar audience and build your
fan base even more.
For nonfiction authors, a blog is especially relevant. You want to present
yourself as a thought leader on your book topic, and a blog is a perfect
place to start.
For fiction authors, a blog is a great way to test out short story ideas and
even tease portions of your book to your audience.
It's important to note that a blog takes time! Set goals when you begin to
blog to hold yourself accountable. The amount of time you'll be able to
dedicate to blogging is different for every author, so make sure you set a
goal that's in line with your schedule and allows you to produce consistent,
Remember, quality is greater than quantity!
With all the time it takes to write and publish a book, social media can
sometimes slip through the cracks. Social media may seem like a time-
consuming hassle for some authors—but this is the greatest opportunity
you have to connect with your audience authentically and remain engaged
in the conversation!
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads, YouTube... I know it can seem a
little overwhelming at times. It's important to remember that you don't have
to master ALL of the social media channels available. Pick a couple, and
do those really well.
If you aren't sure what social media to use, step back and ask yourself how
you prefer to connect with your readers and which social media your target
audience is likely using.
There are a host of social media scheduling tools that allow you to
schedule posts for the future. This will help save you time when you don't
have a chance to post or tweet as much as you'd like.
Just make sure you're still popping into your accounts to engage and be a
part of the conversation!
Building an email list can seem daunting at first, but all it requires is a little
incentive. What reason are you giving people to sign up to receive emails
from you? Incentives could be recipes (if you're writing a cookbook), travel
guides (if you're writing a travel book), giveaways, etc.
Aren't sure what to offer? How about the first one or two chapters of your
book? People love to be in-the-know, and offering up a sneak peek of your
book is a great way to build excitement—and your email list.
Once your email list starts to grow, you'll have a marketing channel
specifically dedicated to your most loyal fans. Remember that they've
mostly permitted you to market to them, so take this with great
responsibility! Don't email too often (everyone loves an opportunity to hit
unsubscribe), and remember always to provide value when you send them
Building your email list will serve you well, especially if you decide to write
more than one book. You've now got a list of warm leads for book number
two or three!
When you begin working on your book, you need to make it available for
pre-sale through online retailers. The mistake many authors make is they
don't start marketing until after the book has been published and lose sight
of the opportunities available to promote the book during pre-sale!
You may be wondering, "How do I get someone to pre-order my book?"
Similar to building your email list, you give them an incentive! Successful
authors offer freebies and exclusive content that are only available to those
Generating demand for the book before the actual pub date helps you to
build momentum and occasionally gain a "bestseller" badge in specific
categories on Amazon.
Now that I've discussed how to grow your audience through your website,
blogging, social media, and email marketing, let's discuss how that all
connects. Now that you have engaged audiences in multiple places, it's
time to send a message to beta readers. You can send an email, post in a
Facebook group, or share wherever your readers are most active.
What are beta readers exactly? Beta readers are readers who offer to read
the book in advance of publication, in exchange for a book review. Yes, this
means you give away the book for free—but think about what you'll be
gaining from the reviews you'll be receiving. Think about your own
shopping habits—when you shop online, do you usually take a look at the
reviews first? Having a substantial number of book reviews is imperative for
At the end of the day, not all of your beta readers are going to leave a
review, and that's okay. In the long-term, beta readers are still an essential
part of your review strategy, and the benefits greatly outweigh the risks. If
you're concerned with giving away too many books, simply cap the number
of beta readers at a certain amount. This will also imply that there is a high
demand for the group, and could further incentivize your fans to join!
Marketing books requires patience, persistence, and creativity! While it's
important to research your book marketing options, you should also ask
yourself how you can put your own spin on each of the common marketing
What can you do differently to make sure that your message comes across
in a unique way? By keeping your goals and purpose in mind, you're sure
to set yourself up for success.
Create Great Promotional Content
Start a Facebook Contest
Start an Instagram Campaign
Offer a Free Chapter
Share Photos of People Reading Your Book
Use Medium (Blog Posts)
Use Great Visuals
Leverage the Power of Hashtags
The secret to successfully market your book is that there is no secret
technique to get people to buy your book – because if they don’t want to
buy it, they won’t buy it.
The most important thing to be aware of when strategizing your marketing
efforts are that you are not just trying only to get “people” to buy your book –
you need to get your book to the people who already have the inclination to
buy a book from your genre in the first place.
Don’t convince the people who will never enjoy your book to buy it. You’ll
only hamper the most valuable but vulnerable marketing power you have
— your reputation.
You have written a great book. Put it in front of readers who will love it. Your
marketing efforts should focus on the most promising leads, and your
customers are more likely to spread the word about your brand (yes – if
you are an author, you are a brand too).
Create a strategy that works for YOUR book.
We tell you how to understand your audience and what influences
decisions to buy one book over another, and how to choose the right tactics
for the type of buyer, you need to target.
Your most promising audiences are those already making their way toward
buying a publication like yours soon — people with the magical
combination of purchase intent and a specific interest in your genre.
Why did I write this book?
What do I want people to take away from it?
What will motivate people to want information in my book?
The more specifically you can narrow down your audience, the more sales
you will make. It will be easier to find markets you can make the most of,
with less competition from other marketers, publishers, and self-publishing
Nonetheless, bear in mind that the techniques I am suggesting are most
successful when targeting a highly specific, niche audience. After
narrowing down your audience as much as possible, you need to plan your
Not only are you marketing your book, but you are also selling yourself!
While the overall goal for marketing your book is to get more sales, I want
to remind you that your book is only one stream of income. You will need to
find additional ways to be a market leader in your field of expertise and
create products and services instead of just saying, “Do you want to buy
my book? My book is here!”
Creating a Market Leader Marketing Strategy will help you with book sales,
but you can use it to leverage your business! You do not want to limit
yourself to just having a book! Being an author is a great accomplishment,
but the book is just the beginning of the value you have to offer. Marketing
your book the right way will pay off in the end.