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What do I need before I can promote my book?

Published at 
30 September 2022

So I had already written my book, it was ready to go to the editor but I was waiting for all financial parts to be settled (aka my business bank account). In the meantime I started to think about how I should promote my book. Nobody knows me, so why would anyone buy it.

And while I think about those possibilities, the question quickly arises with what do I need for all those ideas to float to the surface.

In this post, I'll take a closer look at my research on what you might need when marketing your book to make it sell as well as possible.

Determine your target audience

In order to draw up an effective marketing plan, determining a target group is important. Note that a target group does not necessarily have to be the reader of your book.

The first book I publish is a picture book for children from 3 to 4 to 6. However, the buyers of the book will be the (grand) parents. So I have to convince the (grand)parents that the story is fun for their (grand)child.

The more specific your target audience, the better you can market your book. It also helps to create a persona.

You can also have multiple audiences. Some marketing methods do not work for every target group.

I have defined the target groups for my picture book as follows:

The parent

  • Woman between 27 and 35 years
  • Has at least 1 child between the ages of 3 and 6
  • Follows mommy blogs/vlogs/social media (facebook, instagram, pinterest)
  • Is very involved in the development of the child
  • Mainly uses her mobile to visit websites, social media, etc
  • Reads a story every evening to promote language development
  • Buys a lot online, she doesn't have time to visit the store

The grandparent

  • Woman between 50 and 80 years
  • Has at least 1 grandchild between the ages of 3 and 6
  • Is on facebook and like to share photos. No other social media.
  • Loves to spoil the grandchildren
  • Uses mobile or laptop/pc for internet use. Switches to laptop/pc when not clear/easy with mobile.
  • Likes to read with funny voices
  • Loves making grandchild smile

I have now gone for the female gender, but the male gender is also possible, that would be 2 other target groups. I deliberately chose not to focus on 4 target groups so as not to overload myself.

Decide what you want to achieve with your marketing

Even before I start promoting my book, I first established what I want to achieve by promoting. This influences which steps and strategies I apply and when they are applied. You can have more than one goal.

Keep in mind that your goals may vary from book to book. For example, you can write an ebook that you then give away for free with the aim of increasing your audience or increasing your newsletter email list.

To give you an idea, here are my goals for my first picture book:

  • Show the story to as many potential readers/buyers within my target audiences as possible without going out of budget.
  • Obtaining reviews.
  • Recoup my investments.
  • Create fans so that they buy other books or related articles in the future/beg (grand)parents to buy
  • Learn how all platforms work.

That last one might sound a bit weird when it comes to marketing. While every platform on which you publish your book is different, one thing is often the same; SEO. In other words, making your book findable. Search engine optimization is also part of your marketing.

Since it's my first time using the platforms I've chosen, I also need to learn how to fill in the fields to make my book discoverable.

Make a media/press kit

When your book is published, you want to be able to easily and quickly distribute your information that you can send to multiple parties. For this you create a media/press kit pdf file in which everything, or at least a lot, can be found.

In your media/press kit you will find the following:

  • Your name as it appears on your books. This may be a pseudonym.
  • An author's biography
    • 200 to 250 characters (for twitter)
    • A short author biography that can be found, for example, on the back of your book
    • A longer biography with some more in-depth information
  • Links to your author's social media, not your personal.
  • Your e-mail adress
  • If desired, your author phone number, not personal number!
  • Professionally taken photos, at least one, but more gives choice
  • The books you've published
    • Book title
    • Series title if applicable
    • The name of your publisher (so by which you are known at the Chamber of Commerce)
    • Available edition each with its own ISBN (so name each hardcover, paperback, ebook and audiobook separately if you have all of them)
    • Publication date
    • If you use pre-orders, also state from when a pre-order can be placed.
    • The genre
    • A short description between 200 and 250 characters (for twitter)
    • The summary (blurb) on the back of your book
    • A photo/rendering of your book with the cover
    • Where to buy the book (physical or online)
  • Example questions you can ask that are still related to your writing career.

Have a professional website

Once you have published one or more books, there is a chance that people will look you up in Google. So having a website is crucial. Here you will find all your books and where to buy them.

And I can already hear you say 'Very nice Mariëlle. But you have a degree in that, I don’t." That is no excuse. Anyone can create a website… a professional looking website may not.

But do not be sad!

Fictura Books may be my personal publishing house, I have a business (partnership) which specializes in creating websites! And webshops! And search engine optimization! And design!

If you are looking for a website builder or a consultant, go to Indeks Solutions (The website may be in Dutch only, but you can use English when contacting us).

In any case, what you will need on your website is a homepage, an about page and a contact page. You can also create a separate page for each of your books.

To make your website even more interesting you could write blog posts. Don't forget a download option for your media/press kit.

Decide where you will publish your book

There are so many options that it will take quite a while to do everything right the first time. So don't do that! Especially if it's your first book. Pick a few platforms to start with. Expand it once you get the hang of it.

Here are my picks for the short term:

  • Amazon KDP
  • Google Play Books
  • Apple iBooks
  • Rakuten Kobo

Then for the future you want to look at:

  • Barnes & Noble Press
  • Draft2Digital
  • StreetLib (if interesting)
  • PublishDrive (if interesting)
  • Other?

Determine your marketing strategy

We have determined who the target group is, what our goals are and where we are going to publish. We have a website with the media/press kit. Time to turn all this into a strategy.

And now I could go on to give you a long list of possibilities on how to market your book, but that's not what this post is about.

What's important is that your strategy fits your target audience and goals. For example, does your target audience use social media is a good question to ask yourself. And which social media?

In your marketing plan you do not only state what you are going to do, but also how, when and in what order.

Executing your marketing plan can start even before your book is published. This is the pre-launch period when you generate interest from your audience.

When planning your strategy, you have to stay realistic. Yes, there is a lot possible, yes, you are enthusiastic. However, there are only 24 hours in a day and you need sleep. So don't plan your days too full, because the risk that you will not stick to it is high.

Also, be realistic with your publication date. Rushing to publish your book does not do it any favors most of the time.

For example, I initially wanted to publish my book in mid-October 2022. But when I drew up a calendar with all the work that had to be done for this, I quickly found out that was not realistic. Certainly not because I'm going abroad for a month. So that idea has been scrapped.

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