There are multiple ways to promote your book. If you Google “ideas to promote a book” you’ll get a lot of search results like:
- 120 Ideas to Help Authors Sell Books
- 39 Creative Book Marketing Ideas
- 50+ Book Promotion Ideas
and so on… The truth is, some of these ideas will work for nonfiction titles but a great many of them won’t.
In this article, I’ll show you a set of 20 powerful book promotion ideas that are ideally tailored for nonfiction authors like you. These ideas capitalize on the fact that you’re an expert in your field and you have a very targeted audience you want to reach.
Most importantly, these are proven ideas that have been used by established nonfiction authors with great success over the years.
Do I have to Implement all Twenty Ideas for My Nonfiction Book to Succeed?
Not necessarily. You’ll observe below that some of these ideas are in the “must-do” category. These lie at the core of your book-promotion efforts and must be executed by all nonfiction authors.
Some are in the “recommended” category. These are my personal recommendations and you certainly don’t have to implement all of them, but at least start with the ones you’re the most comfortable with and build on them over time.
Finally, some of the ideas are in the “optional” category. Which ones you implement will depend on your target audience. Some ideas might be applicable to your nonfiction book and some might not. For example, some ideas cater to B2B audiences only and some just to B2C audiences.
20 Powerful Ideas to Promote Your Nonfiction Book
So, let’s get to it, here they are:
- Create an Author Website (must-do): Your author website will become the nerve center of all your promotional activities. It’ll contain information about your book and yourself, your upcoming calendar of events, where to buy your book, your media kit and your blog. Your goal is to have as many external websites as possible linking back to your website to drive traffic that you can then convert into leads and customers.
- Create a Blog (must-do): By creating an author blog, you’ll be able to create articles full of valuable information that are written in response to Google searches done by members of your target audience. As you match more and more targeted search keywords, you’ll be able to tap into the over 3 billion searches performed on Google every day to drive even more traffic back to your site.
- Add a Link to Your Author Website in Your Email Signature (optional): Simply add a link back to your author website in the signature area of your email platform (e.g. My Name, Author of XYZ), where “Author of XYZ” is the link.
- Create an Email List in an Autoresponder (must-do): Once your website and blog articles begin receiving online traffic, create an email capture form in order to get emails in exchange for a small eBook, a newsletter, a white paper, an infographic, or any other document with a high perceived value for your target audience. Then set up an autoresponder to send regular emails to your list with even more valuable free content, and every now and again a paid offer.
- Create an Advance Book Review Team (must-do): Early reviews are critical for new books. Before you publish, create an advance book review team to generate early reviews that you can post on your website in your testimonials page. Also use this technique to line up Amazon book reviews ahead of your book publishing date (read this post for more information).
- Create a Page on Amazon’s Author Central (recommended): Once your book is set up on Amazon through their Kindle Direct Publishing subsidiary, make sure to create an author page in Amazon’s Author Central. This page will act as your author’s homepage within Amazon.
- Do Guest Blogging (recommended): Once you’ve become proficient in writing articles for your blog, you’ll begin to attract the attention of other bloggers who will ask you to write guest posts on their blogs in exchange for linking back to your website. In this fashion, you’ll be able to add yet another source of online traffic to your site that can be turned into leads and customers.
- Write LinkedIn Articles (optional): If your target audience is B2B, LinkedIn provides the best forum for reaching out to prospects: LinkedIn Publishing. Simply begin writing articles from your account that are targeted to your audience. Over time, the platform will begin to post them in the news feeds of your connections, increasing your outreach and generating even more traffic back to your website.
- Answer Questions on Quora and Yahoo Answers (optional): Another way to promote your nonfiction book, and to generate additional traffic to your website, is to answer questions on Q&A platforms like Quora and Yahoo Answers. Search for questions that are typically asked by members of your target audience and answer them thoroughly while working a link to your book and your website into your answer.
- Participate in Online Forums (optional): Although online forums typically have anti-promotion rules, you can still participate very effectively by answering questions and providing value to the other forum members (your target audience). Focus on building trust and goodwill and eventually people will contact you for more information through your About or Profile pages where you can list ways to get in touch with you.
- Participate in Facebook Groups and Create Your Own (optional): You can join existing Facebook groups in the subject area of your book and participate in the same way you do in online forums. Facebook groups typically have the same anti-promotion rules online forums do, so follow the same approach of providing lots of value without asking for anything in return. Eventually other members will seek you out. You can also create a public Facebook group to develop a community around your book and its subject matter. Growing a Facebook group takes time and effort, so you’ll have to first enlist the help of your friends to help you spread the word.
- Tweet Valuable Tips Regularly (optional): If your target audience is composed of frequent Twitter users, get in the habit of twitting regularly with valuable tips linking back to your blog articles. This is another way to increase the number of traffic sources to your website.
- Create Boards on Pinterest Linking Back to Your Website (optional): Depending on your audience, you can create boards on Pinterest that relate to searches users do about your book’s topic. You could provide valuable advice to your target audience through well thought-out image and text combinations that link back to a related article on your blog. Pinterest also has a feature called Rich Pins (you need to apply to get it enabled) that allows you to pin an article from your blog, or one written entirely for Pinterest. Each article pin will show users a headline, the author and a description of the article.
- Speak at Rotary/Kiwanis/Lions Meetings (recommended): Now, let’s move on to the face-to-face book promotion ideas. These have proven to be extremely effective for nonfiction authors over the years. Let’s begin with business service organizations. Rotary International, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs International are three examples of organizations that hold regular meetings. Depending on the size of local chapters it’s very common for them to invite speakers to their meetings to present topics that are of interest to their members. These organizations present a great opportunity to sharpen your oratory skills and, as an added benefit, most allow back-of-the-room book sales.
- Give a Workshop at a Bookstore (recommended): Bookstores are always looking for ways to bring in foot traffic, and in-store workshops run by nonfiction authors are an ideal way to keep people inside the store for an extended period of time. Talk to the event managers in bookstores near you and get them to schedule you on their upcoming calendar of events. If your book is not yet available from their distributors, most bookstores (including chain stores) will allow you to bring your own copies to sell to the audience for a share of the list price.
- Give a Workshop at a Public Library (optional): Depending on your target audience, public libraries also like to schedule authors to come to speak to the public. This is also a great opportunity to gain exposure and to exercise your public-speaking muscle. Plus, if enough library patrons request your book to the librarian, chances are they’ll order copies, increasing exposure to your book even more.
- Give a Talk at a Local Professional or Trade Organization (optional): Depending on the nature of your book’s topic, you could be a perfectly suited speaker for local professional or trade organizations. These groups often offer regular training or talks for their members in a subject of interest which could be a perfect opportunity for you. Research the organizations that are best suited to your content ahead of time and contact their event managers to get booked for a speaking engagement.
- Speak at the Local Chamber of Commerce (optional): Local chambers of commerce hold frequent meetings for their members and they usually invite speakers. If the subject of your book is intended for a B2B audience, this could present another great opportunity for you. Research their events calendars to see the type of speakers that they typically invite, and then contact the event managers in the relevant Chambers to schedule a speaking engagement.
- Register as a Source with Helpareporter.com (recommended): This website is frequented by reporters looking for experts to interview as they constantly look for new content for their stories. Once you register as a source (this is a free service), you’ll begin to receive emails three times a day with requests for experts. All you have to do is to reply to those requests that interest you with your pitch, answering the reporter’s questions and providing any personal information requested, such as your bio and your contact information. If the reporter is interested in your pitch they’ll contact you with more details.
- Do Media Interviews (recommended): Nonfiction authors make ideal experts for media outlets who’re constantly looking for content to fill day-in-and-day-out. Your book is the perfect calling card for segment producers because it proves to them that you’re a recognized expert (your book must be professionally edited and designed!). Media producers move in small circles and if you do a great job in a segment, chances are you’ll be top of mind for future segments as well. Also, in addition to mainstream media, don’t dismiss online alternative media channels, including news blogs, podcasts and news YouTube channels, since some of them have developed very large audiences in their own right.
Although looking at all these ideas may feel a bit overwhelming, your playbook is to divide and conquer. Begin with the “must-do” ideas first, implementing them one at a time.
In some cases, you’ll be able to implement these ideas yourself and in other cases you’ll need the help of professionals. Throughout the article, you’ll find links to in-depth articles where you can get information where to seek help.
Finally, remember that book promotion is a process, not an end goal. The more you promote the more your books will sell.
Whenever you’re not doing your day-to-day business you want to be promoting, because in the world of book promotion the effects compound over time. So, take these ideas one step at a time, get good at one of them and only then move on to the next one.
All the best!
Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or a specific need that I can help you address – I operate an author services firm that specializes in helping entrepreneurs, professionals and business owners who want to publish books as a calling card for prospects, to establish their status as an expert or to just to generate additional leads for their businesses.
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Bennett R. Coles is the author of 6 books published through Harper Collins (NY) and Titan Publishing Group (UK). He is also the publisher at Promontory Press and the founder/CEO of Cascadia Author Services, a boutique full-service firm that specializes in premium author services specifically designed for busy professionals. Our end-to-end services include writer coaching, ghostwriting, editing, proofing, cover design, book layout, eBook production, printing, distribution and marketing.