earching for the must-have book promotion tool for 2024? After consulting many authors and promoters, I realized that a similar thread connected all their answers...time. Yes, we all want a magical solution that guarantees sales, but life just isn’t that easy. Marketing takes time. But let’s break it down into manageable tasks, and then you can choose your own path.
“Pursue multiple marketing and advertising efforts at once during the launch of your book.” —Nicole Pyles
Nicole Pyles, a writer and WOW! blog tour manager, explains where every book promotion plan should begin—the search. “Where are your readers? Look for them...if you aren’t sure, look at what other authors are doing in your genre (or book category), and see where they are putting their most effort.”
So, whatever you ultimately do, marketing starts with taking the time to do some research. You don’t want to reach every reader. You want to reach those who read your type of books. Nicole stresses that there isn’t one path that works for everyone. What offers the best chance for success? “Pursuing multiple marketing and advertising efforts at once during the launch of your book.”
So, what are your options?
“I tell all authors they should start [the podcast-booking] process three-four months before their book is released.” —Michelle Glogovac
Michelle Glogovac, author of How to Get on Podcasts, touts multiple benefits of podcast appearances. You can do multiple podcasts each day, reaching hundreds of thousands of listeners, without ever leaving your home. Don’t sit home waiting for podcasters to come to you! Instead, research where authors with books similar to yours are appearing and listen to those podcasts.
To start, pick the top five. Send those podcast hosts a personalized email telling them what you like about their podcasts or a recent episode and why you would be a good guest. Also, include an author media kit with information about you and your book, links, and author and book cover images as well as speaking topics that fit with their podcast.
Booking takes time. “I tell all authors they should start this process three-four months before their book is released. This allows for pre-orders leading up to the launch and also starts to create momentum around the book,” Michelle said.
Also, remember that your appearance should include the personal touch. Although other writers love to hear about your writing process, readers want to know more about you. Michelle encourages writers to remember the appeal of making a listener an “insider” by sharing a tidbit that isn’t in all the other interviews.
She recommends using the “insider” tactic to convert listeners into readers. In addition to telling listeners where to purchase your book and find you online, offer something special to those who share their email address. “For authors, this could be access to the first chapter of your book or book club questions or access to you to join their book club or even a book giveaway.” The “insider offer” is great advice for all types of book promotion, not just podcasts.
“I think that any genre can do well on the platform, assuming you know how to talk about your book in a way BookTok responds to.” —Lila Dubois
“TikTok is a complex, challenging app. It’s both a piece of video editing software, and a social media platform, and it also constantly changes,” said Lila Dubois, romance author and BookTok expert. I confess, that sounds intimidating. But Lila assures us that being involved in that booklovers’ niche of Tiktok—BookTok—is worth it. Again, you have to put in the time to learn about BookTok (there are classes and YouTube videos) to create content and to connect with other BookTok users.
Although originally seen as a place for YA, fantasy, and romance books, BookTok reach has expanded. “I think that any genre can do well on the platform, assuming you know how to talk about your book in a way BookTok responds to,” Lila said. The biggest mistake is believing content you used on other platforms or your media kit can transfer seamlessly to BookTok. BookTok is unique, and the content should be also.
Don’t dismiss BookTok as being “too young” for you or your books. A large percentage of people on BookTok are Millennials and Gen X. Ages for these two groups? 27 to 58 years old! More important than chronological age is attitude. BookTok is fun...even silly. So leave your serious author hat at the door and show viewers your lighthearted side.
There are three basic ways to participate on BookTok. First, create a TikTok account and add content that includes this tag, #booktok. Look to authors similar to you for ideas. Some fun things to do in addition to videos about your book are giveaways and AMAs (Ask Me Anythings) where followers get to submit questions, so you can post video answers.
You can also collaborate with other authors, either touting each other’s work or making content together that you both use on your account. Choose authors that have a readership that matches your book’s audience.
BookTokers, people that post content relating to reading and writing, are also possibilities for promoting your work. Build relationships with BookTokers you like by following them, commenting on their content, and eventually reaching out to them through email or DM to see if they are interested in reading your book or promoting your work.
Once again, that magical tool is needed to make this a success. Time. Time to research and create content. Time to build relationships with BookTokers. Many authors like to think of BookTok as an “extra,” but Dubois predicts that it is fast becoming a requirement, as necessary as Facebook. Don’t get left behind. Start learning about BookTok now.
“Don’t wear people out trying to 'sell’ them. Draw readers in by entertaining, informing, and caring about them.” —Rebecca Forster
The Old Ways Are Still Effective
We all want the latest and greatest new idea in book promotion, but more traditional ideas are still getting the job done. Reach out to new readers by introducing your book to the public in a variety of ways. Request online and traditional reviews (watch your publication timeline, as many want to review before the launch date), do guest blog posts, arrange interviews, and schedule personal appearances.
Building an audience and establishing a way to reach out to your audience will always work. Collect emails or offer a way for readers to sign up for your readers’ group, emails, or Substack, so you can keep in touch with them and offer fresh content.
Every appearance should include a call-to-action to join your community of readers. Just remember that you don’t have to constantly be shouting, “Buy!” at your audience. Offer fun quizzes, news, insider info, giveaways, and a peek at your life to keep your readers interested. Author Rebecca Forster pinpoints the true secret to her success as keeping it personal. She answers every piece of fan mail and every comment on Twitter and Facebook!
“Don’t wear people out trying to 'sell’ them. Draw readers in by entertaining, informing, and caring about them.”
“Round Robins involve authors in the same or similar genres collaborating to feature one another in their newsletters on a monthly basis.” —Gayle Leeson
Join forces with other authors. Gayle Leeson, a mystery author also writing as Gayle Trent and Amanda Lee, shared a fun way to introduce yourself to an already established author’s audience. “Round Robins involve authors in the same or similar genres collaborating to feature one another in their newsletters on a monthly basis.”
You can also connect with other authors by posting book reviews or author news on your social media. Don’t forget to be authentic. Talk about other authors because you truly enjoy their work, not because you’re hoping they’ll talk about you.
Share your expertise. Nonfiction author Kimberly King
advises making it as easy as possible for people to spread the word about your book. “Host free and informative webinars. Share your story by joining HARO
. Pitch to reporters and build your authentic authority. Make it easy for them to share with a book launch kit with Canva
shareables, social media copy, posts.”
“Host free and informative webinars. ... Pitch to reporters and build your authentic authority. Make it easy for them to share with a book launch kit.” —Kimberly King
Making Your Choices
How do you choose? First, accept the fact that book promotion is not a once and done activity but an ongoing process. Rebecca estimated that 75 percent of her work was promotion, whether she was traditionally or indie published. Research what is best for your type of book, but then be honest with yourself. What will you actively engage with? Every expert may be telling you BookTok or a podcast tour or a personal newsletter is the way to go for your book. But it only works if you enthusiastically engage that avenue. If you’re reluctant, uncomfortable, or unwilling to invest the time, it will not work. So, choose marketing efforts that both have been successful for your genre and are something you’re willing to participate in. Only if you enjoy a specific marketing avenue and allow your personality to shine will you convince potential readers to give your book a try.
Recognize that there are many different options for book promotion and that you can’t possibly be active in all of them. Nicole mentioned the “splintering of social media” which is encouraging people to look beyond social media for places to talk about books. Although she believes that social media and influencers have a big impact, they are not the only option. She urges authors not to overlook other avenues, such as blogs, traditional reviews, paid ads, and appearances.
So, what is the best book promotion plan for your book in 2024? Only you can decide!
Jodi M. Webb was published in dozens of magazines and anthologies you won’t recognize. She even spent several years as a WOW! Blog Tour Manager and has the sweatshirt to prove it! For the last 12 years, she’s written ad copy, advertorials and organized contests for her local newspaper. Stay tuned for what comes next!