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Marketing books during lockdown

When the first lockdown was announced, none of us were prepared for the impact it would have on business, finances, and everything else.

For new authors, lockdown was an instant dampener on marketing. The immediate question was, 'how do I promote my work?'

Having launched my debut novel just weeks before lockdown in February 2020, I had to find the answers to this question. Now, just over a year later, I thought I'd share some tips with you.

1. Utilise social media

Social media marketing (Pexels)

Social media is a useful marketing tool. Whether you use LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or another platform entirely, online marketing shouldn't be dismissed. While it's not always easy to maintain, there are some things you can do to achieve more success:

  • Post regularly

The definition of regularly does vary according to which platform you're using, but the principles are the same. The more frequently you post, the more engagement you're likely to receive.

  • Peak timings

All platforms have 'peak posting' times. If you google peak times for Facebook, for example, it will give you a general idea based on collective evidence. However, it's better if you analyse your own analytics to see when your posts are most successful.

  • Seek out your audience

Marketing in the wrong places can be a waste of time. It's important that you know who your audience is and where they are most active. If you can pitch directly to your readers, you are more likely to generate interaction and sales.

2. Create a website

Setting up a website (Pexels)

Many people saw lockdown as a time to get their websites sorted, myself included. Websites are essential to marketing your books, and here's why:

  • Your base

A website acts as a base, a place where you can clearly lay out what you do. It's a space where you can tell people about yourself and your books in a concise but personal way. Readers want to know who you are and a website allows you to tell them.

  • Increased sales

A website can also help to drive sales. Many authors embed links into their sites which readers can click on to buy books. Links can lead to external sites or to a form where users can request signed and personalised copies.

  • Integrated blogging

A blog will add another level of engagement to your website. Posting regular articles will start to attract an audience who may become loyal readers. if you hook people with blogs, they may want to buy your books too.

3. Articles and interviews

Partaking in interviews (Pexels)

While social media and websites have their place, doing something more active is always worth a shot. Participating in news articles and interviews is a great way to market yourself and your books.

  • Online material

A great way to market your books is to get them mentioned by various online channels. Book mentions in articles, reviews, and social content will attract more readers. Approaching bloggers who conduct author interviews is another promotional possibility.

  • Print material

The same applies to print material. Contact magazines that might be interested in your books and get them to run an article or interview with you. The more exposure you and your books have the better.

  • TV and radio

It can be hard to muster the courage to approach TV, radio, or podcast producers to request a news report about your book. However, if you start with small, local conversations your confidence will grow.

4. Online events

Participating in online events (Unplash)

When physical events aren't possible, attention turns to online equivalents. As an author, it's always worth joining online groups and events, even when you're not in lockdown.

  • Speak at events

Attending events is one thing, but speaking at them takes your marketing to another level. As an author, one of the best marketing tools you have is you. Try and book yourself a speaker space at an online event or set up your own workshops and Q&A sessions for interested parties.

  • Groups

If an event is too much for you, then consider joining a writer's group. These groups are set up to provide writers with a supportive, familiar environment. The more people you connect with, the more confident you will feel.

To conclude

Developing your marketing strategy (Unplash)

Marketing doesn't have to be defined by social media or events. It's up to you (and often your publisher) how you promote your books. The main thing is to find a way that works.

My message to all writers at the end of lockdown is to keep going. Make plans, set goals, and don’t let anything get in your way.

‘When writing is a passion, you keep doing it, no matter what.’

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