How To Market A Book

The first job of an author is, of course, to write great books, but these days, their second job is to market them.

Marketing isn’t a skill that most authors have naturally, and there is little formal training. But when your book hits the shelves, and the sales don’t start rolling in, there’s only two things an author can do. Keep writing more books and … Get to grips with marketing.

This book is for authors who want to sell more books, but it’s also for those writers who want to think more like an entrepreneur. It’s for traditionally published authors who want to take control of their future, and for self-published authors who want to jump-start a career.

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“Joanna Penn’s How to Market a Book is the most up to date, personable guide to modern book marketing I know. Packed with tips from the charming and well-informed Penn, it’s an essential guide for indie authors who want to keep up with the ever-shifting world of book marketing.”

Joel Friedlander, TheBookDesigner.com, A Self-Publisher’s Companion

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There are some short-term tactics for those who want to kick up immediate sales, but the focus of the book is more about instilling values and marketing principles that will help your long-term career as a writer.

It’s also about going beyond just the book, because the methods in this guide can take you from being an author into professional speaking, making money from other products and creating opportunities that you can’t even imagine yet.

There are no rules in this game, but learning this kind of authentic marketing has certainly changed my life, so read on and I’ll share everything I know with you.

How To Market A Book covers an extensive range of marketing principles, strategies and tactics:

  • Part 1: Marketing Principles – including myths, how to balance your time, co-opetition and generosity
  • Part 2: Prerequisites for Success – including an understanding of yourself and your target market, professional editing and cover design, your book page on the retailer websites, pricing and the use of free
  • Part 3: No Platform Needed – Short-term Marketing – including how to get book reviews, paid advertising, using traditional media and tips for TV, radio and press releases
  • Part 4: The Author Platform – Long-term Marketing – including the reasons why a platform is a good thing, author branding, your author website, list-building and email marketing, content marketing and blogging, audio and podcasting, video and book trailers, social networking, professional speaking, and becoming an author-entrepreneur.
  • Part 5: Launching Your Book – including how launching has changed, soft launch, launch spikes, post launch and relaunches as well as lessons learned from some major book launches.

Plus/ tips for when you get overwhelmed and plenty more links to further resources.

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“Right now, self-publishing is a wide open opportunity for writers. But it’s a confusing and increasingly competitive field. Joanna Penn is one of the guides I rely on to help me navigate the maze, make better marketing decisions, and sell more books. If you read this book, she’ll do the same for you.”

Mark McGuinness, Coach and author of Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success

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3 Responses to How To Market A Book

  1. Joanna not only talks the talk but walks the walk… Being a self-published author is a daunting undertaking assuming you want more than your family and close friends to read the outpourings of your mind. Creating an engaging story without typos, missing punctuation or split infinitives is a significant part but only one aspect of writing in the digital age. The power of the internet has/is still unleashing a wave of creativity unprecedented in the history of mankind. To be heard above the rest seems impossible, yet Joanna tells us from a standing start 5 years ago to the present day she has sold over 50,000 books and still counting.Education and training are the keys to achievement in all disciplines, sharing experiences – successes and failures – of a person with a proven track record is an excellent start for any intending, new or recent author wanting to realise the same without the mistakes. We all learn all the time, though with writing this is a very public process, Joanna has shared with us her extensive pool of knowledge to enable us to expedite and excel in the marketing aspect of being a successful author.Any book needs to be viewed in all three of its dimensions – structure, content and presentation. Looking at the Table of Contents of How to Market a Book, the inclusivity and ordering of the topics is very apparent. When it comes to book marketing Joanna not only talks the talk but walks the walk. She has based her book on hard won experience presented in digestible chunks allowing the reader to dip in and out as needed. Book marketing is shifting sands, take Facebook as an example; you think you’ve understood their platform and optimize your pages. You turn your attention to another area only to discover FB has added/changed/amended/removed some feature. With eBooks at least this aspect of change is covered – the files can be updated and re-uploaded so keeping the content current.Joanna is very much a person of the digital age, embracing technology as it becomes available. Her involvement with this book doesn’t cease with the last full stop: she has put in place a raft of added value feedback mechanisms, including video blogs to keep her work contemporary and relevant.In terms of content, as a fiction author, she’s demonstrated convincingly she can write, as a non-fiction author, her skills carry over. Time is tight for all of us. Joanna hasn’t padded out the 226 pages to make you feel you’re getting value for money – never mind the quality, feel the width syndrome, but she’s included sufficient to get over the nub of each topic with links for further reading where necessary. So navigating this book becomes a very personal experience, which is great given the diversity of her audience. “How to’s” can be daunting or leave you wanting, she has worked hard, and succeeded, in producing a book worthy of its title.This is a great resource, written in a very open and honest manner – qualities much to be admired. She, I think, has discovered the secret of expanding available time, (which she doesn’t share) either that or she hardly ever sleeps! The upshot is we, her readers, have benefited hugely from her efforts. Although assessing and reworking my own approach to marketing my books will take some time/effort as a result, at least I know I’m not wasting my energy, money and resources. Thank you Joanna.

  2. Interesting, informative, invaluable I received a free ebook of this book for an unbiased, honest review but I would have been more than happy to buy it.Having just self-published my third crime novel, exploring new marketing opportunities is high on my current list of priorities. I must admit marketing has always been a minefield for me as an author, but Ms Penn’s book has cleared up a lot of questions and made the process feel much less intimidating.How to Market A Book takes the reader on a long journey, for ease split into five sub-headings, starting with Marketing Principals right through to Launching Your Book, with everything else in between to appeal to both short term and long term writing plans and ambitions. It’s ideal for both an In-depth examination of every option available to authors or for dipping in at relevant sections as and when needed. The author goes into detailed advice which could prove invaluable for novices trying something new – eg podcasts or book trailers. There really is something for everyone here.Ms Penn spends time explaining how many writers will first need to alter their mindset from seeing marketing as something tacky and embarrassing into the positive idea of ‘sharing what you love with people who will appreciate hearing about it’ and uses her own story and experiences of how to achieve your goals. In this section, I was particularly impressed with her time management advice.By the end of the book many of my perceived marketing myths had been wiped out and I felt so much more confident about a range of topics which previously would have meant nothing to me at all! Metadata, keywords, author platforms, paid advertising, email lists. Fair to say, I already have a long list of my own of things I need to be doing! And luckily I now have the perfect guide to refer to along the way.So, if you want to know more about ‘social karma and relationship serendipity’ or find the answer to questions like ‘So, what exactly is an author platform?’ I’d advise this book should be top of your reading list. I’ve no doubt I shall be referring to it time and again, and believe it will be an invaluable asset on any author’s virtual bookshelf.

  3. Derek Murphy "(Creativindie)"

    Lots of good tips! Joanna reveals her own history with publishing, marketing and platform building in this useful guide. It’s a good all-around primer for what it takes to promote a book, filled with recommendations for further reading and extra content. The topics are loosely organized into categories, and range from social media, setting up a blog, TV and radio appearances, Amazon tips, developing and author brand, advertising and more. Even if you’re a marketing pro, you’re sure to learn something new.

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