Finishing a paperback novel is a feat for a self-published author and receiving that first shipment of freshly bound books from the printer is an exciting prospect. The task ahead of new authors at this stage now shifts from authorship to getting the books into the hands of readers who will enjoy the book. And the best way to do that is by marketing your self-published novel.
What Can Marketing Do for Your Paperback Novel?
Marketing is essentially the act of advertising and connecting with potential customers. To market paperback novel content successfully, the primary goal should be an increase in sales for a self-published novel. But in order to increase sales, marketing needs to reach the right reader for the novel and ultimately grow the readership of the book. Let’s look at how you can market a self-published novel successfully so your book will end up in the hands of the right readers and you can develop a fan base for your future novels.
In order to market paperback novel content and reach the right audience, self-published authors need to create a marketing plan. Authors seeking the most effective marketing for their specific novel will need to decide who the ideal reader is, think about how to reach them, and determine a way to see if their efforts are successful.
1 Identify the target audience. The first step to market paperback novel content is to consider who will read the book. Many authors create a mock “target reader” by giving them a name, describing who they are, their reading habits, and where they spend their time. By clarifying what a target reader (or two) looks like, creating a marketing plan for them is much easier.
Research your genre to determine who is the likely reader for your book’s content and look at where those readers connect with authors in the genre, find out about new books, and learn about the topics and themes in their preferred genres.
Sample Target Reader:
- Susan is a small business owner who loves true crime and mystery novels, and her favorite authors are Ann Rule and Erik Larson. She spends time on Goodreads, Book Tok, and Bookstagram accounts.
2 Set goals for your marketing efforts. Deciding exactly what you want out of your marketing will help you create targeted action plans to follow as well as determine if your marketing strategies are working.
Sample Questions to Formulate Goals or Objectives:
- Should your marketing tie in with your previously written works or hook them in for a future series?
- How many books would you need to sell for your book to be successful?
3 Create a timeline that works for you. Time the majority of your marketing efforts to coordinate with your book’s launch, but create a timeline that allows you to pre-market your book, connect with potential readers and build the excitement around the launch, too.
4 Establish the budget for your marketing plan. Many self-published authors don’t have a large marketing budget. You may decide that you have extra funds for paid marketing, or you may want to market your book on a slim budget. Either way, decide what resources you will dedicate to marketing strategies before you begin.
5 Pick the marketing channels you will use. Once you know where your potential readers are, select one or more marketing channels that they will see like social media platforms or in-person literary events.
6 Decide on a tracking system. A marketing plan needs a way for you to evaluate how well your efforts are working. Your tracking may simply be the number of books that have been sold or it might be social media impressions or even how many new readers you have added to your email newsletter.
Target Audience Connection
Now that you have developed a plan, your next step is to start to make connections with your potential readers. The genre research you completed to identify your target audience should determine where to start building a relationship with those who are most likely to enjoy your book. Some of the ways you can begin to connect with potential readers are:
- Attend virtual and in-person literary events that your potential readers already attend.
- Build your perceived expertise with potential readers by chiming in with your expert opinion and knowledge when appropriate.
- Create social media handles for yourself as well as for your book and then use both to follow readers and other genre authors.
- Engage with readers on literary forums, online discussions, and social media get-togethers.
The bulk of your paperback novel marketing plan will include how you reach readers through different channels.
Email Marketing Lists
One of the common ways to become and stay connected to readers is through periodic email marketing. Authors can use their website, social media interactions, or other methods to request permission to send occasional content to readers. Building a list of willing recipients provides authors with an opportunity for direct communication with potential readers at any time.
Email lists can be used to send out regular newsletters, quick missives about your upcoming book, or reminders about author events you will be attending. They can also give you a chance to share a little information about you as an author, interesting tidbits about the genre, or other compelling content that will build a relationship with your audience while positioning you as a professional.
One way to reach potential new readers is to ask to pen a guest article or blog for free. Authors marketing their new paperback novels can offer to write a guest column, article, or blog for established literary influencers, popular blogs, or websites with connections to their book’s genre or topic.
Another low or no-cost marketing channel includes participating in live events. Some authors may be able to find a podcast or other broadcasted productions that are seeking participants that appeal to listeners, like book reviewers or genre-specific podcasts. Many readers also love to attend live events like conventions, genre gatherings, author meet and greets, and book festivals.
Participating as a published author, joining expert panels, or reserving a table to meet attendees and sell your book can all be excellent marketing channels to increase your book’s visibility and your brand as an author and increase book sales.
Self-published authors can seek out collaborations with influencers within their niche. Authors benefit from learning from and working with more established, well-known authors and influencers who can provide the platform for bringing awareness to a new book or a new author. Authors can look for paid opportunities to work with an influencer through sites like BuzzSumo.
Another way to market paperback novel content is through paid advertising. By understanding where your potential reader spends their time, authors can strategically pay for advertising that will reach the right reader. Social media groups are excellent locations to advertise books to readers that may already be searching for their next favorite read.
And social media platforms build in easy-to-understand metrics with all of their ad purchases making it easy to track how many views your advertisement is getting, who is looking at them, and what kind of actions the advertisements initiate in users (like making a purchase, looking at your website, or “liking” a post.)
Probably the most critical marketing channel a self-published author can use is social media. Interacting with potential readers is a great way to build rapport with your audience. So-called “bookstagram” accounts on Instagram love to interact with authors, and they often have large followings that can boost an author’s visibility and bring awareness to their personal brand and book.
Connecting with online blogger communities and book-centric sites like Goodreads can provide opportunities for authors to reach more readers through social media platforms. By creating a social media handle for your book, you can engage with readers online in a way that subtly draws attention to the new title.
YouTube and Tik Tok are becoming hotspots for book lovers. Authors can create videos hyping their book, reading selected passages, discussing their writing process, or delving into characters or interesting genre details to bring attention to market paperback novel content.
Your Self-Published Novel
Writing, editing, revising, and finally printing your paperback novel are all exciting steps in becoming a published author. And partnering with a trusted printer like Dazzle Printing will ensure that your paperback novel looks great so it is ready for the next phase of being a self-published author: launching your marketing campaign.
A strong, multi-faceted marketing strategy will help you bring attention to your new book, draw the right readers to your writing, and help you build a strong audience for any future books you write and self-publish as well.