As we wind down 2020, we look at the new year with hopeful optimism. Right now we’re not focusing on vacations, trying new restaurants, or thinking about a Book Marketing Checklist. For most of 2020, everyday life has felt off-balance and strange. Negative news was hard to avoid and COVID-19 was front and center affecting everyone on this planet in some way. For those who have lost loved ones to this virus, we extend our deepest sympathy to you and your family. We hope you find peace and comfort in the memories of those you have lost.
With so many people hurting, it’s challenging to think that life will one day return to normal, yet life does go on. Time doesn’t stop. Here we are in the middle of December wondering where this year has gone and optimistically looking forward to a new year.
2021 will present opportunities for writers to continue to develop their skills. Authors will continue to self-publish books in record numbers. Technology will continue to play an important role in promoting books. More award and review companies are offering opportunities to promote authors. And Jeff Bezos will remain the rightest person on the planet.
While technology will continue to make some tasks easier, marketing a book will remain challenging. In some ways, it will become harder to filter out all of the information and know which strategies and tools are appropriate for you. After all, all books can’t be promoted the same way.
Through all of the fog, there remains a series of strategies that have proven to be the backbone for marketing success. Here is our Book Marketing Checklist for 2021 to use as a guide for becoming or remaining a successful author
✔ While you are writing- During this time write down your goals and outline for your marketing plan. Begin to create the ultimate timeline with the publishing date in mind. Work backward listing out all of the strategies and promotional opportunities you would like to use. Whether you use a pre-sales strategy or not, leave plenty of time and money for marketing.
✔ Before you publish- Make sure your writing is flawless and error-free by using beta readers and editors. The interior and cover should be professionally designed, and your cover should be engaging and attractive. This is where readers will judge your book by its cover.
✔ Build your Author Platform- As soon as possible, start building, branding, and connecting your author website to your other platforms. Make sure you have the tools needed to collect emails, write and publish blog articles, view samples of your book, and showcase any content that you create. Think of your website as your virtual business card and send everyone there first.
✔ Choose which social media platforms you want to use and begin posting thought-provoking content about your message using a variety of techniques. If you are new to social media start with one platform appropriate for your target audience. Expand to tLimit self-promoting to 20%.
✔ Begin submitting your book to review companies, blog reviewers, and newspapers and magazines. Consider finding influencers who have written similar books or industry influencers who can write a blurb about your book. Submit to book award companies. (Sign up for my monthly newsletter where these awards get updated) Create as much content as possible consisting of blog articles, posts, video clips, interviews, and digital content that can showcase your work.
✔ As you publish your book- Once the book launches make sure all of the metadata shows properly and that you are in the correct categories for the book industry and online sellers. Make sure you are using all of the tools available to sell on Amazon and that you show up on other online seller’s websites. Make it easy for readers to find your work by using direct links to your book and by listing your book on all book-industry sites. If your book isn’t displayed properly with online sellers after several months, make sure your metadata is sent out again, and feel free to contact the individual reseller to list your book.
✔ Promote Your Book- Evaluate whether giveaways, advertising, eBook discount websites, or running a contest is good for you. Some books yield great results on PPC advertising sites like Amazon and Bookbub, while others do better on eBook discount websites. Promoting your book is not just limited to spending money on promotional campaigns. You can participate in chat rooms, book clubs, and partner with other authors to promote your book. You need to be creative and relentless in pursuing any and every opportunity.
✔ Don’t forget traditional strategies- Some of the older strategies that were used in the past are still relevant today. They might look different because technology is wrapped around them, but they are still worth looking at. Virtual book fairs, book clubs, writing workshops, and tradeshows have adapted to using technology to get people together. Now is a great time to take advantage of these opportunities. You can take a writing workshop hosted in another country. You can join a book club hosted in a different state. You can sign up for a virtual blog tour without leaving your home. You can even create your own group or club to attract writers and readers from all over the world. Traditional advertising can still yield results if done correctly and with a strategy in mind. Contacting independent bookstores who might focus on your genre could result in your book being featured, purchase, and reviewed. The message is, don’t just rely on what you hear others are doing when there are many other ways to market and promote your book.
✔ What’s the next project? Many authors are always in the writing mode working on the next book or writing project. Even if you don’t plan on making writing your next career, it’s a great idea to work on your craft and become a better writer.
Rick Lite of Stress Free Book Marketing, stands at the forefront of the ever-changing book industry. He is a seasoned book marketing professional with over 15 years of experience in the industry. Rick’s expertise comes from tirelessly working on new and innovative ways to market his own books and CDs with his company and parent company, Stress Free Kids. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Rick works closely with authors to create custom, robust book marketing programs. His easy-going manner provides “stress-free” support and comfort to authors going through the book marketing process for the first time. Rick is quick to share his knowledge and “insider tips” for a successful marketing campaign that will lead to increased exposure, awareness and most importantly, sales.