One of the greatest gifts afforded to indie authors is the opportunity to get creative when generating our own book promotion ideas. Yes, sometimes it can seem tiresome, and too often it feels like a chore, so if you resonate with this, I encourage you to dive into the new year with a new book marketing approach!
And here is a tried and tested idea to help you do just that: create a special calendar just for bonus content and giveaways. This particular calendar should be separate from the regular promotion you do for your book releases and also separate from the day-to-day engagement you try to create with fans via email or social media. Giveaways and bonus content are an awesome way to set yourself apart from the crowd. All indie authors do book marketing (I hope!), but no one can replicate your giveaway prizes and bonus content because these elements stem from your books, and they make your brand unique. Yes, as an indie author you’re a brand, and the sooner you start thinking that way, the more successful you’ll be!
Bonus content and giveaways also let your fans and followers know you care about them. Those of you not so warm and fuzzy types need to hear me out — it can’t be all about you. Your book promotion should really max out at 30% actual product pushing. The rest of your content, communication, and engagement need to be more personal and more creative — that’s how you build true fans and not just one time buyers.
Promotions to Drive Sales
A lot of indie authors shy away from structuring their book promotion ideas around giveaways because they only hear “free” and “investment” and assume there’s not much return, but that doesn’t have to be the case. My favorite kinds of giveaways are those that drive sales. At the core, these require participants to email you a proof of purchase for entry. BONUS: you also get to build your reader contact list!
One example is super easy. Choose a gift card — it can be Amazon, Starbucks, whatever you think resonates most with your buyer market. Make it worth people’s while, so go for $20 if you’re going to do these often, up to $50 if you’re only thinking twice a year. Or keep them guessing by changing it up each time. Simply ask your network to send you a proof of purchase from Amazon to be entered into the drawing. This works really well combined with a short-term discount eBook promotion.
Giveaways to Create New Readers
Another example is a form of BOGO. Buy one, get one, or my personal favorite, buy one, give one — this creates new readers and potential fans. There are a lot of ways to work this, so get creative and do what makes sense for where you’re at in your career and for your publishing schedule.
What I like to do is ask readers to email a proof of purchase and the email of a friend they’d like an eBook copy gifted to. I’ve done this with lots of my books; in fact, with the purchase of a print book, I’ll often gift the eBook version to a friend or colleague of the original purchaser. The BOGO doesn’t have to be for published works, either; it can be a great way to tease an upcoming release.
Another promotion based around bonus content is to have readers email you a proof of purchase to get the first three to five chapters of your upcoming book in advance. Or if you’re an expert in a particular topic or industry, create a special quiz that’s only available to buyers. The “get one” facet of these kinds of promotions can go well beyond just another already published title.
Bonus Content Keeps Them on the Hook
Bonus content that works for new or potential readers is valuable because it helps establish a personal connection. Indie authors need to always be focused on developing book promotion ideas that strengthen their personal connections with fans because that’s what helps sell future titles.
One way to do this is to not be stingy with previews and excerpts. As indie authors, you can’t miss an opportunity to show potential readers WHY they want to read your books. Pick out a scene you’re really proud of or a particularly exciting chapter, and then promote the heck out of it on social. If you write non-fiction, be sure you’re always sharing additional tips and guidance that show you really have the chops — and always direct followers to your book to learn more. The beauty of this strategy? You already have all this content; you just need to get creative with ways you can tease it.
Bonus Content Rewards Dedicated Fans
Dedicated fans will love next level bonus content that you create or develop from the cutting room floor or your brainstorming notes. Taking the time to do this will most likely result in some of your most unique book promotion ideas, the things that truly set you apart from every other author you’re trying to compete with.
For fiction this can include character profiles and background information that isn’t in your books. Give your readers more insight into your characters’ likes and dislikes, maybe info about their families. Maybe a post that discusses who you’d cast in the movie! The more readers connect with your characters, the better impression they’ll have of your work and your brand.
For non-fiction, think quizzes, super short workbooks that focus on a single problem you can help them solve, or events on social that let them ask you questions for an hour. All of these things are excellent to promote as well — and who can’t use more ideas for book marketing in general?
There’s only one you. But there are over 4,500 books published every day. So get creative with your book promotion ideas and additional content to set yourself apart from the competition and support a brand your fans and followers will champion.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out in Spring 2021.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.