Whether you write fiction or textbooks, research journals or how-to books, when it comes to getting your book seen, read, and cited, you and your platform are the most important factors in your book’s success.
Your platform is made up of ways to reach out to readers and target new ones. These can include your newsletter, social media networks, appearances, and many other factors. And here at Wiley, we want to make sure you have the knowledge and tools to help your book grow and reach new markets.
If you only have time to do a couple of things, we recommend the following:
If you have more time, then here are some targeted ways you can build your platform.
More people buy books from Amazon than from any other bookstore. Wiley makes sure information about your book is correct and feeds to Amazon six months ahead of publication - you don't have to do anything for this to happen. But there are ways you can help boost sales at Amazon:
If people can’t find your book, they can’t read it. Make sure they can find you and your book by:
Social media can play a huge role in marketing your book, but it can be hard to know where to focus your efforts. We outline the various social media platforms below, but virtually every platform is a great place to share information about your book. When you do, remember to include the title, plus a link to your book’s wiley.com page.
Some quick ways to make social media work for you include:
Note: The largest tip for social media is not to post about your book all the time. Nothing will lose your fans faster than posting only about that. Stick to the “80-20 Rule,” where you share newsworthy and interesting content related to your field/topic 80% of the time and only share about your book 20% of the time.
Consider starting an author Facebook page. This will give you a place to direct fans and readers. They can also send you messages and questions directly here, so it’s a great way to interact. Try to post daily. Figure out when your audience is online. If they’re students, they may not be on during the day. Same with some professionals. Experiment with posting at different times to see when you get the most interaction.
Grow your following by joining and interacting in groups centered around the topics you write about.
Twitter is huge in the writing world. It’s an easy way to connect with others around the world. Maintain a presence here—again trying to post roughly once a day. On Twitter, you can “retweet” another thought leader’s tweet to your followers, making it easier to stick to that 80-20 rule. Do be wary of “trolls” who may want to argue with you for no reason.
Grow your following by following others and interacting with their tweets. Make yourself a thought leader by sharing useful content and make use of appropriate hashtags.
LinkedIn is a great platform if you’re a business author or looking for good connections in your field. It can be a good way to reach people by job title and area expertise. Be sure to include in your job title that you’re also an author and share news about your book in the feed.
You don’t truly have followers in this platform, but you do have connections. Gain more connections by posting good, relevant content.
Instagram has a bit of a younger crowd, but it’s a great way to get great visuals out there. If you have a lot of visually appealing content, get on Instagram. You can also post pictures of you speaking at events or working on your manuscript. Give people a glimpse into your life.
Follow people in your field. Share their content. Do giveaways to gain followers.
If videos are your thing, then consider starting a YouTube channel. Post videos regularly to get people to subscribe. Some authors will do a separate video for each chapter of their book, as a good starting point.
Consider ending your video by asking viewers to subscribe. You can also direct them to your other social media channels.
It can feel like a second job building up a social media following, but it’s worth it. Here are some easy tips to use to gain followers.
There are lots of ways to promote yourself across the internet, and the book buying audiences are now more responsive to valuable content, such as videos and short articles offering educational tips, than traditional advertising.
Some quick ways to promote your books online include:
If you have more time, you can create pieces that will make you a thought leader in your field and expose your audience to your book. You can create these content pieces on your own by filming short videos on your cell phone or by writing articles to share on your blog or another website. Read on for different types of content you can create.
Events are a great way to connect with readers directly. Whether you’re doing a book signing, speaking at a conference, or giving a keynote, every time you get in front of a crowd is a great time to not only tell them about your book, but to direct them to your newsletter and other social media accounts so they can continue to interact with you in the future.
Mention your book in sessions where you are a panelist or presenter, or add a slide at the end of your PowerPoint presentation.
Great places to make appearances include:
Every time you’re in front of people with your book is an opportunity. Speaking is often the biggest driver of book sales over the lifetime of a book and only you, the author, can do that for your book. Take every opportunity to build the book into events, with one copy for every attendee, ahead of time to ensure a 100% conversion rate, avoid selling from stage or back of the room, and add value to every engagement.
Have the cost of books built into the contract, attendee fee, have them sponsored/donated, or buy them with your author discount. Seeding the market is crucial to building word of mouth over the long term. Authors with books are more valuable and effective speakers – the book helps make your ideas stick, serves as a welcome takeaway, and gives pass-along value as a lead generator for your next client or engagement.
Guidelines for booking events
The prime time to do events is within the first three months after your pub date and more specifically the first 3-4 weeks that your book is in full distribution. Remember to allow at least 3 weeks for your book to be shipped and received by book shops from the date of the book being received in the Wiley warehouse. Authors traveling outside of their home country need to allow a minimum of 5-6 week lead time for their book to be received overseas and/or to go through customs of another country.
Having personal connections in the media is one of the best ways to get them to feature you. Reach out to any personal contacts you know to see if they’ll do an article, review, or segment on the book. If you can tie the book to a recent newsworthy event, you’re even more likely to get featured.
If you don’t have any media contacts, you can usually find their email addresses attached to their LinkedIn profiles or on their media websites. Reach out with a targeted email explaining exactly what you’re looking for and why they should feature the book. It may help to offer them a free review copy of the book.
Do note that many media personalities will not open emails from unknown senders with attachments included due to security concerns. Avoid sending attachments until you’ve made contact with the person you’re trying to reach.
Also, remember that magazines will have a longer lead-time, meaning they go to print much earlier, than outlets like newspapers. So reach out to certain outlets earlier in order to try and secure coverage.
Besides traditional media, there are other avenues you can reach out to that may be happy to feature information about you and your book. Consider reaching out to:
Also, if you hear about or see reviews or your book wins any prizes and/or awards, please let us know. We will promote the details on your webpage, as well as in our e-newsletter and social media accounts.
When used selectively, email marketing is still very effective. But first and foremost, the easiest thing you can do is add a link to your book in your email signature.
Email your contacts before publication to let them know you are writing a book, and again when the book is published. Tell them how they can connect with you, as well as where they can buy the book and any appearances/conferences you’ll be attending. If they are not buying directly, encourage them to recommend your book to their institutional library.
Also, if you’re publishing a textbook, recommendations amongst faculty and students are a key factor to your book’s success. If you have any contacts that you feel might adopt your book or recommend it to their students, email the list to us.
Use your newsletter to keep fans and readers informed about upcoming events and books. Share updates in your field to keep them interested. Don’t worry so much about how often you send it out. Instead, focus on the quality of your content and being helpful.
There are a number of free newsletter services out there to choose from. Pick one that you find easy to use. Authors use Mailchimp, TinyLetter, Constant Contact, Emma, and others.
Grow your followers by posting about your newsletter. Or offer an incentive for joining—like a free piece of content. Have a call to action on your website directing people to sign up.
Use your newsletter to:
Author videos and book trailers are yet another way for an author to communicate directly with their audience. We encourage you to put together a short video that we can use to help promote your book.
When you share these videos on your own social media, one of the benefits is that on many platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, you can see exactly how many times your video has been viewed, which is a great metric to judge how your content is performing. However, some platforms—like Instagram—have time limits of 1 minute on videos, so keep that in mind when recording.
You can also “go live” on Facebook and do your own broadcast on your page where you can answer questions, talk about your book, converse about current industry topics and more.
Remember to relax on camera. Also, if you’re using a cell phone or other device where you can watch yourself as you’re recording, remember to keep your eyes on the camera and not on the screen. Speak a little slower than usual and don’t be afraid to show personality.
Once you really start working on your platform and promoting your book, it doesn’t take long to see the results. Plus, you’ll also have a built-in audience you can leverage to help promote future books. Putting your time and effort into promotion is one of the most valuable things you can do for your book and your career.