There are hundreds of book marketing tactics. In fact, John Kremer, an expert in book marketing, wrote a book called 1001 Ways to Market Your Books. In the December SkillBites Show, my guest, Marika Flatt, focused on the best ways to market a book during the pandemic.
Marika is the founder and chief publicity strategist for PR By The Book. Her company helps authors elevate their relevancy and create buzz. Marika has worked with over 900 authors to promote their books and shared her wisdom on the best ways for authors to promote their books during a pandemic.
One important difference in book marketing this past year as been in connection with obtaining media reviews. Typically, advance review copies (ARCs) are mailed to media outlets. With everyone working from home, however, Marika discovered that the individuals at those media outlets who would review those ARCs were accepting eBook files. That made it quicker and less expensive to send them the files than mailing them the ARCs.
Another benefit of the pandemic for book marketing is the ability to get interviewed on TV. Previously, authors would have to go to the TV studio to have an interview. During this past year, authors have been able to do interviews via Zoom or other video conferencing applications, enabling them to seek interviews from media outlets further afield from their local area.
With no in person events, authors have had to turn to virtual events. To maintain engagement of their clientele, bookstores and libraries have been more open to having authors do virtual events through them. My local library, for instance, ran a fundraiser by having a bestselling author do a talk over zoom, with each person who contributed to the fundraiser getting a copy of the author’s book, a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine, as well as the link to hear the author’s talk.
Marika gave several tips on getting booked to do a virtual event at a bookstore. Before you approach a bookstore, she advised that you should define what you want the event to look like. Will you have someone interview you? Will you do a reading? Will you have music? One of Marika’s clients did a happy hour talk with a “signature cocktail”. Another did a give-away. A third author did a trivia contest. You need to come up with creative ideas that would make people want to spend another hour in front of their computer on a zoom call.
Start with an email to the person at the bookstore responsible for events, or the marketing manager. If no response, then leave a voicemail for the person. Independent bookstores are usually easier to get talks at than chains like Barnes & Noble.
Marika has developed a program called Author to Influencer, which consists of over 50 lectures on such topics as how to pitch your book to media, who to reach out to, and how to build a platform. The program is subscription based, at $47/month. Members have access to a new workshop every week with more hacks and tips, as well as Marika’s private Facebook group, where they can get answers from Marika to their questions, and her monthly office hours to get their questions answered. For more information, go to www.authortoinfluencer.com. Marika offered to members of the SkillBites community the opportunity to join her program at no charge for 30 days. To take advantage of this opportunity, email Marika at marika@PRByTheBook.com and let her know you are a member of the SkillBites community.