couple reading booksBeginning your book marketing campaign can be daunting. The key is to begin well in advance of your book’s publication, know your goals and expectations, and make productive and sustainable choices about the publicity for your book and your identity as a writer. Here is a list of six steps that will (hopefully) clarify the process:

1.  Let your fans know about your book

The first step is letting your fans and potential readers know about your book. But it’s often confusing and overwhelming to begin a marketing and publicity program. There are so many choices available today including traditional media as well as online social media resources. Begin with those most familiar to you and your fans. For example, if Facebook is a good tool in reaching your fans – one that you use frequently — this is a good place to start.

2.  Determine your goals and expectations

Your path to book sales also depends in large part on your expectations and personal goals. Your book publicist is a resource and guide through all the myriad media outlets, but you are critical to your book’s success.  Is your goal to sell a certain number of books? Or, is it to gain recognition of a cause that’s near and dear to your heart?

3. Start well in advance

Learn as much as you can about publicity and marketing well in advance of your book’s publication date. Talk with your publisher’s publicist or marketing manager for guidance. Once you’ve determined your goals and expectations, and thoughtfully plotted a three- or six-month strategy, you can decide whether working with a publicist makes sense for you.

4.  Advantages of working with a publicist

One of the advantages of working with a publicist is that he or she can offer you needed exposure to media. Your publicist has the expertise to develop a list of media and bookstores that are best for you—saving time and energy. Publicists will also make the media calls for you. Although it’s necessary to make an investment in publicity, in the long run it’s much less expensive than traditional advertising and more credible. It also saves you time so you can do what you enjoy and do best—write.

5.  Make productive and sustainable marketing choices

As an author, remember that you’re in it for the long haul. Develop a campaign that reflects your values, is comfortable for you to implement, and that is sustainable over time. If you create a website or blog, make sure that you post to it regularly and that you include information that’s interesting to your readers apart from your book. Do this with your social media as well. The goal for all your online and traditional media is communication, and developing a following is all about being interesting. Thoughtful, funny and informational posts will go a long way in building loyalty.

6.  Decide if a publicist is right for you

When you interview potential publicists, ask them if they will regularly update you on their progress and provide you with information such as media lists, a schedule of media outreach, follow-up results, and any other outreach they may do for you. An experienced book publicist can be a valuable, effective partner who will offer education and direction, and can increase your book’s visibility in a very crowded, noisy field.

Photo credit: Copyright Erin Kelly at https://www.flickr.com/photos/ekelly89/7030239035.