It’s one thing to write and publish a book; reader engagement is a whole different ballgame. Reader engagement gives you longevity and helps you sell more books, so it should really be the driver for all of your book marketing. But I’ll be honest, it’s also really hard, especially when you’re just starting out.
I’ve collected a few tips to jumpstart reader engagement, but really the key to book marketing isn’t doing everything, it’s doing what works for your genre and your reader market. It will take some trial and error before you sell more books in response to your efforts, but it will be worth it because reader engagement is the key to a long and prosperous publishing career.
An added bonus is that developing and encouraging reader engagement also creates a community of likeminded souls who can keep you connected and grounded during the very strange times we’re currently living in. And that may be an even bigger win for everyone involved!
Get Feedback from Fans
A great way to boost reader engagement is by asking for your readers’ and followers’ opinions. Mix it up with some personal and some book related posts, so maybe a quick poll on something going on with your favorite TV show followed a few days later by an invitation for followers to vote on a few names you’re considering for a character in your next book. Book marketing is so much more effective when it gets personal; remember that.
Run Promotions to Attract New Readers
Another key benefit of higher reader engagement is their possible recommendations. People recommend things they feel connected to, and this definitely goes for books. I’m a big fan of the BOGO offer, so when you release a new book, invite fans to send you a copy of their purchase receipt in exchange for you gifting the eBook to a friend or colleague of their choosing. You may be thinking, “How do I sell more books by giving them away?” The strategy here is that you’re encouraging your current fans to help you create new fans — and if you succeed, you’re looking to sell more books at your next release. Book marketing, and being a successful author, is a marathon, not a sprint.
Create a Contest for the Die Hards
These people are also known as your super fans. They’ll buy every book you put out, so you want to keep them happy and reader engagement with them should be the easiest to get. Release a trivia contest on social, via your newsletter, or even on your website, and offer prizes for those who get all the answers correct. If you have a really big network, you could limit it to the first 5 – 10 submissions with all the correct answers.
Be Camera Ready
Most of us hate being on camera, me included, but I can tell you it’s a book marketing strategy that works and so few authors are doing it. If you want to sell more books, you have to do things that make you stand out. Videos you post on social shouldn’t be long — no one has time for that anyway — but should be thoughtful. Make an announcement, film at a fun locale, or get in a routine of doing a weekly update for fans.
Ask Fans to Get Creative
If you’ve written a really good book, you’ve created a world your fans can connect with. And that’s an amazing feat. Use that to your book marketing advantage and increase reader engagement by asking your followers to share images or quotes that remind them of your book. Have them share images of famous actors who could play the starring roles in a movie! Ask them for quotes that they can imagine your main characters connecting with. Get personal and ask them to post selfies of them reading your book or of their favorite reading spot.
One of the most consistent ways to sell more books is by creating a platform with strong reader engagement because readers who engage buy almost every time. The added bonus? These are fun ways to spend your time, too, versus staring blankly at your computer wondering what to post on your blog or social, again. No one said book marketing can’t be fun — you just need to get into a rhythm with the right strategies.
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.