2020 became a challenging year for book publishing houses. It’s not easy to promote new books without having offline launch parties, panels and festivals.
So I wrote down some things you can still do to get your new book off the ground.
First, don’t forget about the Publishing House Marketing Starter Kit:
Mail review copies of the book to magazines, newspapers and digital media that publish book reviews.
Announce the new book on your social media and use relevant hashtags.
Update your website and make sure all information on the new book is available.
Set a Zoom book launch and announce it on your social media. Ask the writer to invite their friends individually via messenger. Also, book them for as many organized Zoom readings as you can find.
Submit the book for relevant prizes.
Now, let’s look at some additional promotional options that you might find useful.
6. Offer e-books (or send hard copies) to Goodreads readers; this platform hosts a large reading community, and it wouldn't hurt to have them give your book some good reviews. You might also look into other platforms like Goodreads.
If you’re launching a big book, you probably have a list of popular books that it resembles. Look up people who have left good reviews on the books from your list and offer them a copy of the upcoming one in exchange for an honest review.
If you’re launching a book by an author with a smaller platform, see who has left good reviews for the author’s previous books and offer them a copy. You already know that these readers like your author, so there is a good chance they’ll like their new book.
7. If you want to do giveaways on social media, collaborate. Collaborate like there’s no tomorrow! Collaborate with bookstores, other publishing houses, artists, stationery makers - anyone who can help make your offer special.
For example, you can bundle books that have overlapping themes - summer romance novels, fiction on Indigenous issues, sublime Northern landscapes - and add your launching book in there. Don’t be shy; make it a box: add a postcard, a (cheap!) notebook, a magazine - all of which should fit the theme as well. That’s why it’s beneficial to collaborate with bookstores - they often sell stationery in addition to books, and they might have more social media followers. Ask them to host the giveaway on their Instagram page instead of yours. Advertise widely.
Important note: don’t tank your giveaway by adding something expensive to the prize box. No scarves, no one-of-a-kind pieces of art, no expensive Moleskine notebooks - nothing that people might want to win more than the books instead of alongside them. The focus should always be on the books.
8. Send excerpts of to-be-published books to literary magazines. Broadly share fragments and quotes online to spark interest. If you have a link to an excerpt published online, you can even try running Facebook ads with it to get exposure. 9. Look up some virtual book clubs and pitch the book to them. The great news is - you’re no longer restricted by a certain location, so if you feel like dropping a note to Reese Witherspoon or Emma Watson, go for it.
10. Jump on reading challenges. Goodreads has many challenges going, and the Toronto Public Library has one too. See if your book fits any of the categories. If yes, find out how the challenge participants communicate with each other: do they use a particular hashtag? Do they have a Facebook group? Join it. Use the hashtag. Get your book out there!
11. Get your author on a podcast. Think widely - it doesn’t necessarily have to be a literary podcast; it could be a podcast that explores a topic brought up in the book. If you pitch your author well to the podcast hosts, this might open a whole new audience to you.
I know, many of these are tough. If just anyone could get their book in a book club or on a podcast, then everyone would. If you were rejected, don’t give up. Try smaller podcasts. Try smaller book clubs. If that doesn’t work, just do the necessary minimum: cover the first 4 points of this list.
This year is not easy, and we all know you’re doing your best!
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