Advice on marketing Your Book
Once your book is written, edited and printed, you can finally get started on the marketing.
The purpose of marketing is to make your potential readers aware that the book exists - if they don't know about it, they can't read it.
Please read our guide to book marketing set out below.
As the author, you are uniquely qualified to market your book and you are likely to be engaged with your potential readership already. Marketing a book is almost always best carried out by the author themselves and provides a bridge between you and the people for whom you are writing.
We strongly recommend that you do most of the marketing yourself; readers like to get to know an author directly. Additionally, getting outside help from agencies is expensive and does not automatically result in increased sales.
Below are some of the techniques that have been successful in promoting some of our best-selling books. Take a look at each of the items and use them to make a marketing plan that most suits your type of book.
When a bookshop orders your book, they usually search for it on the Nielsen International Book Database. Then they will either place an order with the publisher (for large orders) or with Gardners Books for single copies. (Gardners consolidate orders from bookshops and relay them to publishers using Nielsen BookNet.)
Wellness Books will manage this for you as part of our distribution service.
Registering an ISBN is not a legal requirement. So, for example, you don’t need to register if you are producing a book of poetry that is only going to be sold at poetry readings. However, there are advantages to registering an ISBN for your book, the main one being that once an ISBN is registered, the six copyright libraries will request that you deposit copies of your book with them and this will give you copyright protection.
The copyright libraries are located in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Oxford, Cambridge and the British Library in London.
Wellness Books will ensure that your book is deposited at these libraries.
Try searching on Amazon for a book in your genre using different phrases and see what turns up – then use this information to help you decide on your title. You can also include more key words in your subtitle.
Case Study - Guides for History Travellers
Guides for History Travellers is a series of four short history books about Spain, France, Turkey and Greece, designed to be read in about two hours on the plane or at the airport.
Each book has cartoons, maps, and informative text with references and suggestions on slightly off-beat sites to visit.
The series was originally called Amazingly short histories of … Spain etc. but sales were weak. The books were then relaunched, with a new title after spending some time testing the title by searching on Amazon.
The author wanted the books to appeal to travellers interested in history and for the books to appear in the travel-guide section - so renamed the series Guides for History Travellers - Spain.
Suddenly sales took off and for a significant period, sales of two of the books, Spain and Turkey, were at the top of the Amazon best-seller ratings in their category.
For two years, sales were around four hundred copies per month.
If you already have a website, it makes sense to add your book to your existing site; if you do not have a website, it is not cost effective to build one for just one or perhaps two books. A good alternative is to use an author web page.
We will provide you with a single page on the Wellness Books website. The page will describe your book and how people can buy it. We can also post reviews and any other information you want to display.
Each author web page has a unique link which looks like: www.wellnessbooks.co.uk/my-book-title.
If you want to check out some author web pages, just go to the Wellness Books Bookshelf and click on a book. You will be taken to the web page for that book.
You can use your unique link in your marketing materials, such as press releases, add it to the bottom of your emails, on social media or circulate it to your contacts. If you offer a discount to your contacts for pre-publication sales, this can also be managed through your author web page.
We charge £35 to set up the page for you.
If you do decide that you need a website, Wellness Books can help to get you started.
Often, the angle for your publicity will be your upcoming book launch. The author can coordinate the timing with local media to promote/advertise the event at which copies of the book can be sold.
The standard format for providing information to journalists and presenters is a press release but we would advise you to call your press contact with an initial explanatory email or phone call before sending them anything. Journalists are snowed under by unwanted press releases and you need yours to stand out from the rest.
It can be useful to look at the circulation figures of the publications you intend to target. You can offer to provide a free review copy to those with the highest circulation.
The press and other media are often more interested in the story behind the book and why you came to write it, so focus on how the book came about rather than outlining too much detail about it in your press release.
If your book has a local element to it, this can help as you can include some local reference in the title or subtitle, for example: Mathematics of Murder, Northampton's Deadly Calculus; a superb novel based on a local Northampton figure, published by YouCaxton.
There are a surprising number of organisations looking for speakers.
One of the benefits of selling books directly to readers is that the book can be sold at full price without having to give hefty discounts to Amazon or other booksellers.
Ad Campaign is a way to get your book to appear when Amazon customers search for related products.
There are two parts to this:
1. Make a list of keywords that identify your book. For example, if your book is a picture book about cats and you think it would make a good Christmas present, your keywords should include Gift, Christmas, Cats, Present, Book, Pets, etc.
2. Decide on your advertising budget - and start your campaign. You will need to decide on the maximum amount you are prepared to spend each day. This could be as low as £1. You also need to decide the minimum bid-price, which might typically be 20p.
Amazon will try to match the keywords you have chosen to customer searches; if there is a good match, your book will appear in the search. If it does appear, this is called an ‘Impression’.
So far there is no charge.
Amazon charges you if somebody clicks on the Impression and links through to your book. Once somebody links to your book, they may or may not buy it, so you need to make sure your book cover looks attractive and affordable.
If you want to manage the campaign yourself, you will need to set up your own Amazon account but if you would like Wellness Books to manage the advert for you, we charge a set-up fee of £25. We will provide you with a monthly report.
You should be very careful when calculating the cost and benefit of paying a company to send out a press release. There is usually no benefit and it is quite common for authors to spend a lot of money with no return at all.
Ideally, you should do your own research to find the most promising publications for your niche and contact a few specialist magazines that might be interested, interacting with them on a personal basis.
We are very happy to offer advice on how to proceed and we can offer practical help in the form of information sheets.
In addition, it is possible to place targeted ads on Facebook. You will be able to set (and limit) your budget to suit. You can find plenty of advice on Google about how to advertise on Facebook.
It can take quite a time to set up a Facebook site, so if you are not used to using social media, we would advise you to start early so that the Facebook page is ready for when your book is published.
However, it is important to respect that they are small businesses who have to turn a profit and sell what the public wants so if your book is not for them, try not to be too disappointed and please do not badger the bookshop manager.
It is best to supply local bookshops from your own stock of books, taking copies with you when you visit; that way you cut out the middle men and avoid delivery costs.
Not only do these events provide an opportunity to sell books to participants, they are also a great opportunity to gain some publicity.
Networks are how the world operates and this form of publicity is a real-world mirror of what people are doing on social media. You may be surprised how many people you can reach through a network of extended families, including second or third cousins, or through friends and acquaintances whose ‘friends of friends’ stretch far beyond your own circle and into the wider world.
Remember that book reps will expect a substantial discount because they need to pass on a substantial discount to outlets as well as keeping something for themselves.
However, the advantage of using a sales rep for your book is that they visit outlets that you are unlikely to get to or you may not even have heard of.