Guess what? 2016 is here. There’s no wishing it were still 2015, that ship has sailed… which means, it’s time to focus on figuring out how you’re going to make this year awesome in your author business.

Aside from building an email list and setting up your author platform, what you should be thinking about (and implementing) is a solid marketing plan for your books.

Yep, you need a marketing plan. It’s that simple. If you’re not approaching your books like you would any other business, then they are going to die a slow (or quick!) death in the interwebs unless you’re constantly and consistently telling people about your books.

We’re going to show you some ideas around how you can set up your marketing plan for the first quarter, which is about how far you should be planning out in advance. We’d also recommend that you plan out the next quarter in Feb/March, so that you’re sorted for the first half of the year.

Marketing Ideas for Authors

#1: To start with, you’re going to need access to a calendar, my preference is to use a physical calendar that I can write on. I use a desk calendar (grabbed from a store called Typo here in Australia, but I’m sure there is something similar in other parts of the world!)

#2: Once you’ve got the calendar, go ahead and note down all the public holidays or special holidays for the next 3 months that you’re aware of. You can see a fairly comprehensive list here of holidays from around the world: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_holidays 

#3: Once you’ve done that, look at your books and see if there is a way that you can make use of those holidays or special dates to market your book. Maybe you could put your book on sale, run a promotion with another author or add some downloads that are relevant to the holiday — think outside the square when it comes to holiday promotions!

Here’s some holiday promo ideas:

  • Valentine’s Day – calling all romance authors! Giveaway chocolate hearts, your entire collection of romance novels etc
  • Easter (in March this year) – create Easter egg printables and games to go along with your children’s book promo
  • Chinese New Year – find out what the year is and use that to promote your books in a unique way, maybe record a video of how you enjoy the Chinese New Year festival

#4: Once you’ve got the holiday’s and special dates scheduled, now it’s time to get creative and think about ways that you can be marketing your book every, single day!

Here’s our Top 20 Daily Marketing Ideas:

  1. Create a Twitter image, using a quote from your book. Make sure you include the Amazon short-code (Amazon Associates affiliate URL) on the image and then tweet this out every day. Buffer is perfect for scheduling this. Aim to create 5-10 images that you can recycle and reuse.
    Marketing ideas for authors
  2. Create a Facebook image or video excerpt from your book and share this on relevant Facebook groups and your author page. Aim to do this 2-3 times per week.
  3. Create a Pinterest image, similar to above and pin it to your board and to as many other boards that you’re able to, particularly group boards you’re a member of. Pinterest is great for driving traffic, so if you’re maintaining a blog, this makes pinning to Pinterest relatively easy.
  4. Blog about your book, or your genre or niche. If you’re a fiction author, you could be providing blog posts about the research that goes into your books, how you come up with character outlines, provide background information about the world your story is created in, etc, etc. If you’re a non-fiction author, you can expand on the concepts discussed in your book as well.
  5. Create a book trailer video and share it on your YouTube channel and then across your social media accounts (schedule to share this once a week per book)
  6. Share your book on Book Goodies and do an author interview for each book.
  7. Pay for a Fiverr gig to share your book with their Kindle readers. BKnights is one we’ve used successfully. Note that you’ll need to choose the right service depending on the price of your book. You could do this once a month for each book.
  8. Use a WordPress site? Try out the MyBookTable plugin and add all your books to it!
  9. Create a Facebook advertising campaign to promote your permafree book – make this evergreen (ie, set a low budget and run it for at least a month then reevaluate) – more details on this coming soon in an up-and-coming AB case study!
  10. Take a photo of you with your physical book and ask readers to send in theirs, share on social media. You could run a competition where the first person to send you a pic of them with your book gets an Amazon gift card.
  11. Run a giveaway. Use a tool like Rafflecopter or KingSumo Giveaways to manage this. It’s a great way to build your list too!
  12. Write a press release about each of your books for PRWeb. Make sure it links back to your author website so you get the benefits of the backlinks for SEO (search engine optimization) purposes.
  13. Approach your local library to see if they will stock your book and offer to do a free talk about your book or the writing process.
  14. Chat to your local bookstore to see if they are interested in stocking your book and then see if they are open to doing a book signing or having you talk about your book. Think Carrie from Sex and The City 😉
  15. Do a Goodreads Giveaway. Just be aware that reviewers on Goodreads can be a little harsher than on Amazon, so prepare yourself for this. It’s a great way to build momentum around a new book you’ve got coming up.
  16. Fiction authors – try http://scribd.com — consider sharing some free content or excerpts from your books here to build exposure. And you can also sell your book here too, another option if you’re not locked into KDP Select.
  17. Non-fiction authors – you could look at making a how-to series of blog posts around your topic, or create how-to video’s for your YouTube channel.
  18. Get interviewed on a number of different podcasts about your specific book or books. Make sure you provide a freebie a la your permafree book or the next book in your series (ideally the book that you use to hook people into your email list inside your permafree book, which is also one that is available for sale).
  19. Create a series of YouTube videos of you reading excerpts from your book and include a link to your book sales page in the description — this works particularly well for fiction authors but can also work well for non-fiction authors if done right. Think outside the square and have fun!
  20. Do a virtual book tour where you have a number of guest posts scheduled for a week or a month(!) where you talk about your book, or topics that your book is about or expand the story if you’re a fiction author. Make sure you’ve got prizes and giveaways scheduled during this time as well, just like you would in a ‘normal’ book tour. Do some video interviews, podcasts and radio interviews if you can during this time as well.

This list is not exhaustive, but it should help you with building your plan for the next 90 days!

If you’ve got any other ideas you’d like to add to the list, leave them in the comments below and we’ll update the blog post.

In the coming months, we’ll be sharing with you about our 365 day marketing plan! You’ll want to know about that, so make sure you’re subscribed to the blog 🙂

Lise Cartwright