Promoting a Book, Promoting an Anthology.
I’ve pulled together a comprehensive list of marketing activities for promoting a book or promoting an anthology. Most of these marketing activities are simple, some are a little more complex. The most important thing to remember when promoting a book or promoting an anthology is to get yourself and your book or anthology into as many channels as you can. Authors have to market themselves – even if you’re lucky enough to have landed a publishing contract, nobody’s going to do it all for you.
Infrastructure/Tools for Promoting a Book or Promoting an Anthology:
- Email/Marketing Automation Solution
- Video Editing Software
- Website/Blog Site
- Graphic Design Tools
- Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- YouTube Channel
Email Marketing for Promoting a Book or Promoting an Anthology:
- Include a subscribe option on your website so you can regularly email people who are interested in your work.
- Who do you know? Go through your contact files, pull all the email addresses of people you already know, and email and ask if they’d like to receive scheduled communications from you about upcoming book releases going forward. If yes, set them up as the first people in your opt-in email file.
- Tell people! If you already have a subscribe/opt-in list, announce that the anthology/book is coming, and that it is available at a discounted rate for pre-orders.
- Email and offer the book/anthology at a discount to people who’ve bought your books before.
- In your emails, always ask that readers post a review on Amazon (and Good Reads, and wherever else the book will appear).
- Setup a page on your website where you list other similar authors. Link to their site. Ask them to link to your site in return. This will help to optimize your SEO results. Offer to link to specific titles that you like. Ask them to do the same for you.
- If you’re site is setup with ecommerce, offer to sell one of the titles from another author on your website (if you like the book they’ve published) if they will do the same for one of your books that they like.
- For promoting an anthology specifically, find websites that sell anthologies and ask them to sell your anthology.
- Offer to review the books of other authors if they review your books. Post a review for one of their books in your blog, and on Amazon. Ask for the same in return. You want both amazon reviews and more traditional long reviews published online or in magazines.
- Sell the book or anthology through small presses/bookstores in the home towns of you and/or the authors. For example, in the small Canadian city of Owen Sound, there is an amazing bookstore and regional press called The Ginger Press that is interested in promoting the work of local authors.
- Sell at Farmer’s Markets and other local markets. If you have more than one book, setup your own stand. You can also ask other vendors to sell physical copies at their stalls for a small cut. Similarly, nature-based music/food festivals would be a good option (Summerfolk in Owen Sound, for example). Also, outdoor antique venues (Aberfoyle Market, for example).
- Promote via email specifically to small bookstores and emphasize the local author angle if applicable. Consider offering them free copies to sell where you are paid after the sale, and where they can return the ones that go unsold.
Website Promotion for Promoting a Book or Anthology:
- Content, Content, Content: Make money off your site with content marketing initiatives. Create and post excerpts, blogs, author guest blogs, poems, short stories, etc., on a once a week basis (minimum), then once your site is up to 10,000 visitors per month, monetize it (for example, AdWords). Use the fact that you are an author as your area of expertise to create content that people will be interested in. For example: how you go about soliciting authors; why you chose this as your career; what 10 things drive you to write; what 10 things stand out about this anthology; why you write nature-based stories; who influenced you (for example, I’m heavily influence by the writing of John Muir); etc. FYI – people like lists.
- Add a subscriber list to your website. (See above).
- Add a cross-promotion page to your website. This really helps with natural/organic search. (See above).
- Maximize SEO: The more words, and appropriate keyword combinations you have on your website, the more you’ll be found in natural search results (SEO). Example – I found Riverfeet Press because of the words “ecological identity” in one of their author bios. Having a blog helps. Having resource pages people where people can consume information helps.
- Concerning anthologies specifically, write a blog post about each story in the anthology, including info about the author, why they wrote the piece, etc. Include an excerpt. You can release each post in a staggered way, one at a time, or you can release them all at once using a central landing page. See how the CBC does it for their contest longlists.
- Offer rotating promotions – free shipping, discounts for pre-orders, discounts for bulk orders, free ebook version with the purchase of every print version, discounts for anyone who subscribes to email, etc.
- Include a contact form on your site for inquiry’s from bookstores interested in ordering a bulk order for resale.
Using Social Media for Promoting a Book or Anthology:
- Blog: Make sure to have a blog. People often forget that blogs are social media. Via your blog, run writing contests and offer the winner publication on your blog or in your next print anthology. They’ll want to buy earlier anthologies to see what kind of submission they should send. Charge a contest entry fee. Offer an optional writing critique for an additional fee.
- Facebook: Promote each piece in your anthology individually on Facebook. Ask each author to promote on their Facebook page. If you have any budget available, spend a little bit of money to ‘boost’ Facebook posts for the anthology. Make sure the ones you boost are about the stories, not the sales pitch. Often this costs around $25 and gets an immense amount of uplift on the post.
- Twitter: Same as Facebook, but with more frequency. Use TweetDeck to preschedule many Tweets at once to go out over time.
- YouTube: Have a Youtube channel for your books. Do little videos, such as a video about how to submit to the press, a video for bookstores, a weekly video with a writing prompt, a video that shows the wilderness location where you wrote your book(s), a video with info about each anthology author, etc. Do an Anthology release video and then separate videos about each piece in the anthology. Have the authors do little informal videos about how excited they are.
- Make sure your social media outlets are interconnected, and connected to your website. Embed your YouTube videos in your blogs, for example, and then link from the YouTube video back to your blog using video pop-ups. Point to your videos from Facebook. Create images that contain a quote from the anthology and post on Facebook and Instagram. If it’s something people like, they’ll share it. Have your company logo and website link (written in small-print at the bottom) on every picture you distribute this way.
- Find relevant groups on Facebook, join them, then contribute to them. Ask the groups to promote your book directly themselves if it’s highly relevant to their own goals. Offer to help them by promoting something of theirs in return.
- Find relevant forums or blogs, such as Dreamers Creative Writing, and contribute, making sure to include a link back to your site from within your contribution. If there is a forum on Reddit where your kind of writing is discussed, this would be a good place to contribute. Make sure your contribution is relevant to the forum and keep any promotion subtle.
- Via social media, ask for public reviews for your book, such as from relevant websites, magazines and online pubs. Ask that they post them on your Facebook page and/or on Amazon.
Contributing Authors – Promoting an Anthology:
- Ask contributing authors to help with promoting an anthology by posting on social media (see above).
- Request that your authors ask for reviews from their family and friends.
- Ask your authors to buy extra copies they can sell, or gift, to their family.
- Encourage your authors to refer people to your website and especially your subscriber list. **Building a subscriber list is a marketing best practice.
- Ask your authors to guest blog on your blog about their own work in the anthology. (They’ll see it as another publishing opportunity!)
- Suggest that authors search for bloggers that review books, and have them ask the bloggers to review your anthology.
Miscellaneous Options for Promoting a Book or Anthology:
- Make sure to create a one-page flyer for your book or anthology as a PDF that is posted online, with author info, abstract, press info, a pic of the cover, and testimonials from pre-readers. This can be sent to bookstores to solicit bulk orders, among other things. Authors may also want to point to this in some of their own communications, as they personally promote the anthology.
- Press Release: Write a press release and issue it to appropriate locations including websites, print magazines, publishers of similar anthologies, eZines, etc. Be prepared to respond to interview requests.
There! Now you know best practices for promoting a book or promoting an anthology. Get out there and start promoting!