I have been a published children’s author now for 2 1/2 years and I’m STILL learning about marketing! I am taking new courses, attending webinars and watching YouTube videos pretty much nonstop. Sometimes, it just gets overwhelming- there is SO much information out there. I don’t want to waste a lot of time/money, which is why I decided to create this blog post for my fellow authors! This list contains tips/tricks you can do that will make your publishing life easier. Many of these are things I’ve done myself, but my author friends also served up lots of their own tips.
Now, without further ado, here they are: 60 tricks and tips for publishing and marketing your books!
Before you launch:
1. Create a launch team or event: make a graphic (www.canva.com) – offer anyone who joins a PDF of your book in exchange for reviewing yours when it comes out. Your launch team can also: like and comment on your social media posts, post your book on social media and tag you and share your Amazon link with their family and friends.
2. Start marketing NOW! Don’t wait until after you launch your book or right before you launch to start talking about it. Start building your audience by giving them a special, behind-the-scenes look into the making of your book: in progress illustrations, photos of your illustrator working on your book cover, character naming contests and more! Check out my instagram and facebook pages to see how I’ve brought my audience along for the ride.
3. Create a memorable hashtag for your book. Use it on all of your posts. Mine are #camikangaroo and #camikangarooandwyatttoo.
4. Build your audience. Search relevant hashtags on Instagram. Like/comment on their last few IG posts. Follow them. Do this for 10-15 minutes/day when you can. On Facebook, join relevant groups. Share your content from your author page in the groups.
5. Open a business checking account. Everything you make and spend should come from this account. So easy during tax season!
6. Use one credit card for all of your author purchases, then pay it with your business account.
7. Join author groups on facebook! I can’t stress this one enough! Friendship, support, encouragement, advice- all great reasons to start building relationships with other authors!
8. Follow and learn from other authors. There are tons of authors out there (me included) who LOVE to help! We offer lots of free advice and share what we know with others. Find them, follow them, read their posts.
9. Create an amazing book cover. People notice that first. Spend the money and hire an amazing illustrator and designer. Make your title big and bright enough to see- especially in that tiny Amazon thumbnail. Research other books similar to your topic on Amazon and take a look at their book covers.
10. Email/contact local newspapers and TV shows. I emailed about 15 different newspapers and TV shows before I launched my book and got a few features!
11. Learn about Amazon ads. There is TONS of info in author FB groups and lots of great books out there. I also do consults with people. Schedule one here.
12. Create a website– put the link in your IG bio, your email signature and your FB page.
13. Use beta readers to help you improve your manuscript before even hiring an editor.
14. Use more than 1 editor.
15. Pay people sometimes. Formatting your book for KDP, creating a simple website for you, designing a logo…sometimes it’s worth spending money to save yourself time and stress.
16. Take notes when you learn something new so you don’t forget how you did it!
17. Forgot which categories you’re in? Find out here.
1. Optimize your meta data. This just means to make sure you have relevant keywords throughout your Amazon listing (they do NOT need to repeat). In your description, in your title/subtitle, the categories you choose (you can have up to 10- make sure you email KDP the categories you’d like added) and the 7 keyword spots KDP gives you when you publish. You can even put more than 1 word in those keyword spots! This book is full of great information about how to optimize your meta data.
2. Find the right categories for your book. You can have 10. I have a course on how I do this here.
3. Write a great blurb. Research other books similar to yours on Amazon. Read their blurbs. Your blurb should be attention getting and relevant. You can also use the free kindlepreneur description generator.
4. Make sure your “look inside” feature is activated on Amazon to it’s FULL capacity. Don’t just show people your cover, show them some interior pages. Send Amazon an email to have them increase the number of pages shown.
- QR codes. Use QR codes to collect emails at author events, to put on bookmarks when you do school visits (I did this during one of my kickstarter campaigns), on your business cards and on flyers you put up.
- Include a nice thank you note/letter in the packaging whenever you ship a book out. In it, you can share a few celebratory comments about your book’s accomplishments, a link to a fun downloadable freebie and ask people to post a pic with your book tagging you while using your special hashtag.
- Search for your name/books on FB, twitter and IG and engage with people posting about you and your books.
- Use instagram stories. I post a story every day. Usually it’s sharing my post to my stories. To do this: click the little arrow below your post. Click “share to stories”. Add a short caption. Add hashtags! Hide your hashtags BEHIND your image by tapping on the image. Whatever you last tap on will be in the front. I also add a “call to action” by clicking on the smiley face on the top and typing in “tap”, then choosing a “tap here” icon. You can also create polls and questions in your stories to involve your audience.
- Try the new IG Reel feature. Similar to TikTok, these are fun little video clips you can add hashtags to and post on your IG page. Learn how to do them here.
- Run free eBook promotions. You get 5 days every 90 days. Use them to get page reads, eyes on your books and reviews. Learn how I’ve gotten thousands of downloads and hundreds of reviews from ebook promos here.
- Fussy librarian and BookBub are great for promoting your free eBook. Fussy librarian is cheaper with less reach.
- Find other authors who have books similar to yours and promote your books with theirs.
- Instagram hashtag tips: IG allows you to post 30 hashtags. Use them all. Put your hashtags in the comments instead of the post. Tag brands and people related to the post. You can tag up to 20 pages. More tips here.
- Make sure you have an Instagram BUSINESS account so you can see your insights. If you don’t, you can easily change it from personal: Go into your settings. Go to account and then change it to a business account.
- Link your IG and FB business accounts. You can post to both at the same time if you wish!
- Schedule your posts with Facebook Creator Studio.
- Engagement trumps numbers. You want ENGAGED followers, not just tons of followers. Engagement is any sort of reaction from your audience (versus passivity where they keep scrolling and never take action on your content). Liking is “good”, commenting is great, but tagging others+sharing your posts in stories, etc is gold.
- Write a great IG caption: Eye catching first line, Educational content (give value on a topic relevant to your niche, Call to Action : encourage your audience to engage with you by asking a question or directly asking them to share something in the comments, Easy to read captions (break up the text).
- Post content you know your audience loves.
- Learn how to use Canva– you don’t need the paid version!
- Share information and quotes about things that link to your theme/message and add in bits about your books. People appreciate getting to know you, outside of your role as an author.
- Create a series page for your books on Amazon. You can do it for eBooks too!
- Respond to everyone who comments on your IG/FB posts.
- Google shops in your area that might sell your book. Go there in person, ask for a manager, introduce yourself and ask if they’d be interested in selling your books!
- Support other authors in any way you can.
- Search FB author groups for any info you are looking for. Chances are, other people have asked the same thing!
- Post about your successes and your failures in FB groups.
- Encourage your fellow authors by commenting on their posts.
- Find IG influencers in your audience. Follow them, engage with them and then send them a DM asking if they would like a free copy of your book for review.
- Do giveaways to attract new followers.
- Use wetransfer to transfer PDF files to influencers.
- Create a 3D mock up of your book for marketing purposes.
- Make sure to create an author page on Amazon and that your books are on it. Author Central.
- When doing in person events: When someone comes up to look at your book, pick it up and open it and hand it to them. Getting out from behind the table is step one, step two is once you get out there, do something, engage your market.
- You can archive old IG posts that are no longer relevant.
- Open a pinterest account if you have time. Post your books there, along with some fun crafts to do with them.
- Add a call to action like “read now” in your instagram bio.
- Use linktree or another similar service so you can have more than one link in your IG bio.
35. Change your FB business page cover to whatever you’re currently promoting. Use the button to direct people to a website. See mine here.
36. When people post about you or your books on social media, take a screen shot and repost, tagging them. Post to your FB/IG stories.
37. Find relevant memes and images and post to your IG/FB page. Use your hashtags and tag people in your post.
38. When people like your FB posts, you can invite them to follow your page.
39. If you can’t figure out how to do something, search for it! Google, author FB groups, YouTube…the world is at your fingertips. Several of my blog posts were written about marketing!
40. Don’t give up! It’s all about mindset. You can do this! Be confident. Fake it at first if you have to. You are the salesperson, the businessperson, the CEO, the marketer, the social media expert, as well as the author. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, but also share some things that have worked for you! Many authors are introverts (me included), but I believe that in order to be self published, you need to put yourself out there. Be friendly, talk to people, talk about your books and your experience.
Do you have any other tips to share with self publishers? Comment below!