It’s an exciting time to be an author. And if you’re in still in the writing or editing phase, you can add some elements right now to help market your book when you publish.
Think of it like product placement in a TV show or movie. An example might be a prominently placed (and labeled) box of Kleenex that someone reaches for, asking, “Would you like a Kleenex?” A subtle mention of the brand that fits the context of the movie.
Hallmark movies do this a lot — and if you look for it, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. It’s a smart marketing concept, one you can easily apply to your own book promotion.
Here are a few ideas that you may want to consider for your next novel.
One of the easiest ways to build book marketing into your book is a seasonal story setting. The Christmas season is a good example. Hallmark has run with the idea of the Christmas movie, and many authors have taken their cue.
If Christmas isn’t your thing, lots of other holidays lend themselves to great book marketing: Valentine’s Day, July 4th, Memorial Day, or even a summer-specific setting. And don’t forget about January New Year, New You tie ins, for those of you writing about a protagonist who needs a fresh start.
Specific Situations and Causes
I’ve worked with authors who write in great characters facing very specific challenges, such as recovering from an illness or overcoming a disability.
One strategy is to promote those books during specific awareness months, of which there are a huge number, including Juvenile Diabetes, Domestic Abuse, Breast Cancer and Autism, among others.
What’s more, if you talk about one of these topics in your writing, you likely have a personal tie to it. Your goal, however subtle, most likely IS to raise awareness.
People and/or Jobs
We have an author who has written an entire series of books featuring military heroes. Her book promotion covers her market (romance) and the books are also set during specific holidays, but she’s also going after these specific markets around the military, like Veteran’s Day.
She focuses on honoring those who served, whatever the job. Maybe you have a character who is running for Mayor, making an election season a good tie in if you can weave a sidebar story into your book.
Besides the obvious holidays, there are also many fun days like Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, Get Organized Week! or Fire Prevention Month that can work well for your book promotion.
And yes, some of these are pretty obscure, but they offer some fun opportunities for book marketing, even a blog post.
In a novel we recently started working with, there are a number of small business owners in the town who run eateries. On National Cheese Pizza Day, the author might roll out some really fun ways to dress up cheese pizza and branded them to a restaurant she mentions in the book. Bringing a book to life using these kinds of angles may not change the trajectory of your entire campaign, but they do become fun anchor points for your book marketing.
Several years ago, I worked on a book called Cookin’ for Love where the main character was a cookbook author. At the end of each chapter, the author included a recipe. One was called Orgasmic Cookies. We printed up recipe cards and her local bakery agreed to make them so we could send them out with each book.
With the visual marketing opportunities presented by Pinterest and Instagram, this is a fun way to drive attention to your book, regardless of what you write.
Whenever I’ve used this tactic in book promotion campaigns, it’s been successful.
Bringing Characters to Life
There are some fun ways that you can really bring your characters to life, especially if you write fiction.
We worked with an author who wrote a series set in a small town and featured one character in each novel. She really pushed this, for example creating wedding boards on Pinterest when a character got married. You could also do a gender reveal when a character becomes pregnant.
With eBooks, this is super easy because you can update links in your book and feature characters on your website. Blog posts are a fun way to share sidebar stories, and a crafty way to keep readers engaged with these characters via some well-placed book promotion. Even if you aren’t writing a series, this is still a fun strategy!
Additional Character Stories
This may not be something you can write in, necessarily. But you may want to think about including some sidebar stories with popular characters. We worked with an author who wrote a detective novel and then, on his blog, shared additional short stories that the detective solved. Not only did it give him fun blog content, but it also boosted reader engagement since they now had reason to check back periodically.
These baked-in book promotion ideas are a lot of fun and don’t take a lot of extra work. They can offer you a solid book marketing boost, and as a bonus can help round out your story line. What’s more, you might already be well down this path without even realizing it. Start listing your characters and settings, then look through the strategies I’ve shared. Writing even just one of these ideas into your book will give you a great starting point for your marketing efforts.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.