Traditional book marketing techniques

Posted by Fritter & Fry | 20 September 2015

Marketing doesn't come naturally to many of us, and planning and implementing a marketing strategy for your self-published book will probably be one of the most difficult and challenging things you will ever do. But never fear! We are here to help. In this post we'll be discussing some of the traditional marketing techniques used in the publishing industry.

First things first: you're probably going to need a marketing budget. It doesn't have to be huge and many of the techniques we'll be discussing won't cost you anything at all, but you will need to consider setting aside some funds. After all, it's for a good cause.

Hold a book launch. Like your budget, a book launch doesn't have to be huge. It could be a simple gathering of your family and friends to celebrate the publication of your book. (At least you won't feel bad about leaning on those closest to you to buy a copy of your book at the launch.) But you might also consider asking your local bookshop to host your launch or looking for established events that are somehow related to your book. For example, if your book is about a murderous restaurant critic you might consider setting up a stall at your local food and wine festival.

Build relationships with local writers group and media. You might find that writers groups will promote your book for free in their newsletters and magazines, and small independent newspapers will always be keen to promote the success of local writers.

Invest in your cover design. That investment may only need to be time if you know what you're doing but if not, you may want to think about hiring an editor and a designer. Why an editor and a designer? A designer can help with layout and artwork – those things that will initially attract a potential reader – but an editor can help you decide what gets printed on the back cover, i.e. the blurb. If you can't afford to pay for these services, do your research. Look at what works and what doesn't, and remember that simple can be beautiful. A good cover design is critical because whatever we're told, we are always going to judge a book by its cover.

Get your book reviewed. The internet has changed the way books are reviewed, and a good review can obviously have a huge impact on book sales. Look for trusted reviewers on websites like Good Reads and Amazon or through blogs. Remember though that they are doing you a favour, so always thank reviewers for their efforts.

Have a great author bio. In the publishing industry an author's bio is called author copy, and it usually consists of a photograph and a couple of paragraphs of text about the author. This is traditionally printed on or inside the back cover of a print book, but major retailers like Amazon also publish author copy on their websites. Humans are naturally curious – do your readers a favour and satisfy their curiosity.

So that's it for traditional marketing techniques. Next week we'll be discussing modern marketing techniques, including the (sometimes) dreaded social media.