It’s an unpleasant fact of life: no matter how incredible your book is, if you neglect to do book marketing and gain publicity, few people will read it. Most independent authors are hesitant—or unable—to spend big money on book marketing and publicity. With so many elements at play, it can be impossible to know which specific blog post, article, or interview will yield the best results. Fortunately, there are several free and low-cost ways you can promote your book.
Consider a Virtual Assistant
You can hire a virtual assistant who can establish, monitor, and update your social media accounts and blog posts. Virtual assistants can also implement search engine optimization tactics for your author website and blog, increasing the likelihood that readers will find your content.
As with any working relationship, hire the right person for your needs. First, conduct an interview to see if the person is a good fit to help you promote your book. Once you’ve reviewed qualifications and experience, check references. Because you’ll have no real-life contact with your virtual assistant, it’s important to feel comfortable trusting the person with your projects. Look for red flags when you talk to previous employers. Was the person able to work independently and efficiently? How about communication style?
After you settle on the right person, ask for a work plan that indicates in detail what projects will be part of the job, the timelines for each project, and what you need to provide for the assistant to do his or her job. Establish protocol for getting updates from your assistant, as you’ll want to stay in the loop about his or her progress.
Develop a Media Kit
A comprehensive media kit can be one of your greatest publicity assets. Once you’ve assembled the kit, it basically does the work for you by giving members of the media or interested reviewers all of the essential information about your book in one place. To promote your book or your professionalism as an author to any media outlet, include:
- A high resolution author photo
- High quality book cover images
- Various lengths of author bios, ranging from a micro bio of one or two sentences to an in-depth bio with all of your credentials
- Links to interviews, articles about you, and reviews of your books
- Links to pieces you’ve written
- A link to your events calendar
- Your contact information
Distribute Press Releases
Press release distribution services can be relatively affordable. Some provide national and international distribution for as little as $500. For them to be picked up by media outlets, however, press releases must be very well-written, timely, and connected to specific events. If you do hire a distribution service, find one that will help you write the press release and distribute it.
When it comes to distributing press releases on your own, it’s often better to focus on quality over quantity. Rather than spending money and energy distributing to every possible media outlet, focus on a targeted list of media outlets that will have an interest in your topic. This will increase the likelihood of an outlet running your press release. You can also seek alternative methods of distribution. Try hiring a well-connected person in the industry to distribute your press release to his or her contacts.
With a small budget and a little creativity in your book marketing, you can promote your book to a whole new audience.