June 8

The book marketing strategy that will grow your business

    In the last few articles I’ve written for this blog, we’ve been focusing on how to grow a business, how to find clients, how to use Facebook when interacting with those future clients, and how to become a speaker—all with your book as the main driver. But I know there’s a major piece of the puzzle that we haven’t talked about, yet, which is how do you actually put together a book marketing strategy that will grow your business? What do you actually do and when? Let’s lay it out.

    Phase one: book launch

    When you self-publish, it’s up to you to bring the launch. Believe me, it’s entirely possible to publish a book and have 0 people realize the book exists. But it’s also entirely possible to publish a book, get rave reviews within hours of launching, and have a chance at an Amazon bestseller.

    When we’re organizing our own Paper Raven Books launches, we want to bring it all we’ve got, so we have a pretty massive strategy in place, but let me give you our three main phases.

    Optimizing Amazon

    You want to make it easy for your reader to find you on Amazon, and once they find you, you want to entice the reader to get on your list.

    Keywords, categories, and a freebie opt-in

    So, first is keywords. You’re allowed seven keywords when you publish a kindle ebook. Approach these keywords the same way you would Google search terms. You want to match the exact words and phrases that your ideal reader would be searching. You can use the Google Keyword Planner tool, or you can use an Amazon-specific tool like KDP Rocket. We’ll do a more in-depth post, just on keywords and categories, so if you want me to let you know when that article is published, join the Paper Raven Books newsletter, right here.

    Next is categories. You’re allowed to pick two categories. I recommend two different broad categories and going deeper in one of those categories. For instance, if your book is about parenting strategies, you might choose “Nonfiction > Self-Help” for a broad category and “Nonfiction > Parenting & Relationships > Family Relationships” for a more specific category. Notice that Self-Help and Parenting & Relationships are two different broad categories, and within Parenting & Relationships, we went one step deeper into a more specific category.

    When you choose two different categories, you give your book more exposure to a wider audience. When you go deeper into a more specific category, you give your book a better chance of popping up into a #1 spot in that narrower category.

    Last is something we’ve talked about before, and that’s including a freebie in the beginning of your book. This can be a simple PDF checklist or an audio or a video. For more on the freebie strategy, read this article, but the main objective is to entice Amazon browsers to your book and then onto your list so that you can keep in touch with them and sell back-end products and services to them later.

    Beta readers and launch team

    You already know that you need reviews for your book as soon as possible. What you might not know is that you need those reviews to be “verified purchases,” otherwise Amazon might pull them down. So, before your official launch set one day for your ebook to be free and get your beta readers and launch team to download the book on that day. Then, the ebook returns to normal price, and they have a few days to post their review. Finally, on your official launch day, you can set the ebook for free again and promote the heck out of it, knowing that it’s starting off the launch with solid 10+ reviews.

    Your existing platform

    Tell everyone you know about your book during your launch. Email your list three or four times. Post on every social media channel at least once per day. Tell your family. Tell your colleagues. Tell your friends. The more you talk about your book during launch week, the better your results will be.

    Paid third-party promotion

    But your results will be even better with a little boost. We typically pay for at least three to five third party promotion sites to advertise our books during launch week. These are individuals or companies that have amassed a list of people who want to know about ebook deals, when ebooks are free or $0.99. They have lists of thousands or tens of thousands of people, and when they send out an email or a post about your book, you can easily get 1% of their list, which is plenty to pop you up as an Amazon bestseller. And some of them are super cost-effective, $5 to $40.

    The goal with this optimizing Amazon phase is to hit a #1 Bestseller spot. It’s completely doable. Just make sure that you’re checking in every hour and ready to grab a screenshot when it happens!

    Phase two: Podcasts, blogs, video interviews

    A lot of self-publishing folks will say that during your launch you need to arrange for podcast interviews, guest blog posts, and video appearances to coincide with your launch week.

    If you’re putting out your second book, sure, absolutely. You’ve been through this book launch rodeo before, and you probably have a handle on how to schedule those opportunities and have them published during your launch week.

    But if you’re putting out your first book, you have to focus your efforts on what will move the needle the most. During launch week, you can absolutely have a successful launch, with just the optimizing Amazon pieces. Then, after that week-long launch, you can calmly turn your attention to phase two. You don’t have to cram it all into one week, especially for your first book launch.

    So, sometime after you’re down from the high of your Phase One launch week, contact five podcasts, five blogs, and five YouTube TV shows to pitch yourself as a guest expert.

    You’ll want to use your press kit, which we talked about in this article.

    Phase three: continued promotion

    Book sales will drop after your launch, but continued promotion is a long-term game. I recommend doing a “mini-launch” every quarter or once a year, depending on your bandwidth. During each mini launch, you would pay for third-party promotion and line up another round of interviews and guest appearances. You might even run another free or $0.99 ebook promotion and send the offer out to your list and social media.

    In the long-run, your book will sell in proportion to your willingness to talk about it.

    If a book sells well, it's because you are talking to friends, clients, and colleagues about the book. You’re posting on social media. You’re sending out emails and asking others to share the book. You’re willing to go up in front of a group of people and talk about the book. You’re willing to be interviewed about the book.

    The more you can stack up instances of talking to other people, either one-on-one or one-to-many, the better the book will sell. It's cumulative.

    So, when you publish your book, will you be willing to share the book with everyone you know?

    Will you be willing to keep talking about it? Keep doing interviews? Keep appearing as a guest? Keep giving talks? Keep doing promotion?

    That’s a question you should answer long before you get to launch day.

    Do you have any hesitations around talking about your book with others? Leave a comment, let’s chat it out.


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