So you’ve just finished your first fiction book. Congratulations! You’ve reached an exciting milestone in your author journey.
However, you’re not done yet! Completing your book is only half the battle. The entire process of marketing still awaits you.
Marketing can be daunting, especially for first-time fiction authors. And that’s understandable. After all, marketing is a specialist skill in its own right. People study it for years, and there are plenty of misconceptions around.
As intimidating as fiction marketing can be, you can’t afford to ignore it. That’s the quickest way for your book to fall flat and for all your hard work amount to nothing.
Thankfully, it’s easier to get started with marketing a novel or other work of fiction than you might imagine. It also doesn’t have to cost you a single cent.
Here are six free and effective methods for you to use.
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Submit to free book promotion sites
If you’re looking to get the word out about a new fiction project, you can’t afford to ignore the power of book promotion sites.
These are specialist services that have spent years building up lists of readers eager for books in their favorite genre. When your book is accepted by a promo site, it reaches relevant readers who probably would never have otherwise heard of it.
Although there are plenty of book promotion sites you can submit to for free, you need to make sure you meet their requirements. Some sites require books with a certain number of reviews, or with a particular quality of cover. Each site’s requirements are slightly different so read up on them carefully before submitting.
One final thing to keep in mind about book promotion sites is they are often fully reserved far in advance. If you want to tie in your fiction promotion around your launch time, reach out way ahead of schedule to make sure a lot is available when you want it to be.
Share on social media
Some authors love social media. Others see it as a necessary evil.Regardless of which camp you fall into, you shouldn’t overlook social media as a free way to get your book in front of the right readers.
Social media is something you need to invest time into. A following doesn’t appear overnight. You need to put in the work to share valuable content and engage with other users.
If you’re not sure how social media could help you market a fiction project, here are five quick ideas to whet your appetite:
- Share images of your book cover or artwork on Instagram.
- Do a live Q and A with your friends and followers on Facebook.
- Tweet out excerpts from your book in the time before its launch.
- Share funny and quirky videos of your author life on TikTok.
- Offer an educational video insight into your process on YouTube.
You can make your social media marketing process more efficient by using an app like HootSuite to increase your efficiency and reduce your manual workload.
Guest blog on relevant sites
Guest blogging is one of the most powerful ways of getting exposure to new audiences.
When done well, guest blogging is a true win/win for both parties. You get to share your book with another blog’s audience while that blog gets a quality post from you.
However, it’s easy to go about guest blogging the wrong way. If you do that, even unintentionally, you end up wasting your time at best and alienating bloggers at worst.
So what are some things you should know before you embark upon a guest blogging campaign?
- Check the blog accepts posts. Don’t assume a blog accepts guest posts. Look through its content and make sure it has featured posts from guest contributors in the past.
- Know the blog’s style. Every blog has a different tone and style guide. Make sure you know what type of content the blog prefers before you go ahead and write something.
- Offer genuine value. A good blog post shouldn’t be all about you and your book. Offer something interesting or useful to the readers, and they will be more likely to check you out in return.
- Engage in the comments section. If the blog you post on has a comments section, be sure to reply to any comments you get after your blog goes live.
- Keep the blogger in mind. Ideally, contributing a guest post should be part of a wider relationship. Keep bloggers that have hosted you in mind, such as by linking to them in other guest posts, or seeing if there’s anything else you can do to repay their kindness.
Reaching out to bloggers you admire might seem a little scary at first, but push past your fear and do it anyway. It might just lead to some incredible relationships.
Optimize your book’s sales page
A key part of marketing is discoverability. You want the right people to come across your book and check it out.
One of the best ways to make this happen is by focusing on something directly within your control – your book’s sales page.
Let’s say you’re selling your book on Amazon. Did you know there are a lot of things you can do to help Amazon browsers find it?
Here are four of the most effective:
- Keywords. When you upload your book to Amazon, you can associate keywords with it to help it show up for search terms. Try and be as relevant and specific as you can. For example, don’t choose a broad keyword like horror. Niche down and go for something like ‘dark humor vampire horror’. Get into the head of someone searching for books like yours and think about what terms they would use.
- Categories. Categories are another good way to help your book get discovered. Try and choose a mix of broad and obscure categories. The obscure categories boost your chances of becoming a bestseller, while the broader categories give you the potential for wider-reaching success.
- Description. Writing a book description is an art in itself. Make sure you use HTML to help it pop off the page. As for the written content, check out the descriptions of bestselling books similar to yours to see what kind of text is proven to work.
- Author Central. Amazon allows you to create a profile page for your work as an author. Make sure to fill this out as it gives you extra credibility and increases the odds of readers buying more of your books.
Fiction marketing isn’t just about external promotion. Take care of everything within your direct control to help the right people find your book.
Tap into your network
Have you cultivated a network of fellow authors and relevant readers?
If you have, it might just be the best free fiction marketing resource you have!
You can make draw upon your network in several different ways.
Your network might be willing to share news of your book launch with their followers. You can offer free copies in exchange for an honest review. You can run competitions and giveaways to help build buzz and excitement among your network.
Similarly to guest blogging, you should aim to always make it a win/win situation for your network. Don’t expect to get something without offering value in return.
Give author interviews
There are plenty of places that love to feature authors and interview them about their life and work.
These interviews can help build exposure for your book and attract new readers.
If you feel shy about the thought of giving an interview, don’t worry! It doesn’t have to be as tough as you might be picturing. There are lots of opportunities to carry out even email interviews if the thought of speaking isn’t something that appeals.
Here are some possible places for you to be interviewed as an author.
- Simply carry out a quick Google search for your genre + author interview. You will probably find plenty of websites interviewing authors similar to yourself.
- Podcasts are always on the lookout for guests. Try and find authors with similar fiction books to yours by searching for their name + podcast. Then find the contact details and reach out expressing an interest in being featured.
- Local radio. Local media often loves to promote local artists. Look for culture shows on your local stations and get in touch.
- Local press. Local newspapers and magazines also love profiling local talent. Drop their editor a line and see if they want to feature you.
- Genre publications. There are plenty of niche publications for fans of certain genres, like sci-fi or Christian fiction. Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in interviewing you.
Try and make any interview you give interesting and informative rather than too self-promotional!
So, there you have it! Six tried and tested ways to promote fiction without putting a dent in your publishing budget.
Which methods have you tried? Are there any you love not on the list?
Feel free to drop a comment and share your thoughts!
Guest post provided by Chandler Bolt.
Chandler is the host of the Self Publishing School podcast & the author of 6 bestselling books including his most recent book titled “Published.”. He’s also the founder & CEO of Self-Publishing School, the #1 online resource for writing your first book. Self Publishing School made the INC 5000 in 2018 (#2,699) as one of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies in the US. Through his books, podcast, training videos, and Self-Publishing School, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.