Building anticipation for your book will help initial sales, so be sure to let people know ahead of time what your book is about and when it will be available. There are lots of ways to reach your readers:
- Write a series of posts for your own website/blog.
- Set up a Goodreads author account, and blog there.
- Write guest posts on other people’s blogs. You’ll need to research appropriate blogs (ones that appeal to your book’s audience), consider the site owners’ needs, and write posts that serve their readers. (See more info about blog tours on Author Events.)
- Become a columnist* for Examiner.com or Huffington Post — try for anywhere you might find potential readers. Start early, write as an expert about the broad topic of your book, and develop a following of people who are interested in you and your writing.
- Write a series of e-newsletters and send them to the people on your mailing list.
- Create tweets, Instagram pics with captions, or content for your other chosen social media platforms.
Not sure what to write about? It depends on the audience and venue …
Here are some content ideas:
- Describe your book — tell potential readers what it’s about, and tell them in such a compelling way that they feel they have to read it.
- Go beyond a description of your book’s contents and discuss the benefits of reading the book. Will it entertain readers? Inspire them? Teach them something?
- Post photos or snippets of video from your research process, along with personal reflection on why your topic is important to you.”
- Explain why you wrote the book. Was there a particular incident in your life that inspired you to write? Do you have a message to get out to the world? Are you eager to share your expertise in a particular field? There may be a story behind your story.
- Tell how writing the book took you from point A to point B. (Another potential story-behind-the-story.)
- Provide a sample chapter or excerpts.
- Involve your audience in the cover design: Survey to ask their opinions, or offer a pre-publication sneak peek at the final cover design.
- Run a contest like “Choose a name for a (minor) character” and give away prizes for the winners — perhaps signed books, or gift cards.
- Blog in character.
- Describe special launch week offers to incentivize sales and generate early buzz.
- Rejected launch week incentive ideas might be right for blogging subjects (you might want to blog about bonus content such as sample chapters or a complementary workbook).
- Embed book launch media like a video book trailer or slideshow.
- Start your pre-launch sales efforts.
* “Become a columnist” is easier said than done. It’s a long-term commitment — as is marketing your book. And becoming a “columnist” for a non-paying site (like HuffPo) or a very low-paying one (like Examiner.com) is a controversial step: Do you really want to provide your professional writing services for free? For some writers, this is a savvy marketing tactic; for others it’s an offensive capitulation to “the man.” Make the decision that’s right for you.