Use Niche Marketing Techniques to Sell More Books

Novice writers, pro authors and business owners alike need to focus on their marketing plan, particularly with limited time available. But, which elements do we need to work on—and why?

Ironically, you should first work on your Why: your reason for writing.

Coming from a ‘why’ perspective, it gives any author a strong motive to move past their comfort zones. I lived my fear-of-being-seen for ten years, so I know first-hand how this inhibits sales. Therefore, identifying a good reason to spread your message is imperative.

As you undertake self-publishing lessons, you will be learning about author brand, reader benefit writing, landing pages, keywords, and teaser lines. These may be outside your comfort zone as well, but are all helpful for attracting the right people to any book.

Besides, planning your writing from an audience perspective has three other benefits.

Printed Materials for Book Marketing

While there are postcards, flyers, biz cards and more, there are a couple of print marketing materials I’d recommend you get done when marketing any book. That is:

a bookmark and a roll-up banner (or poster).

While I like designing, I reckon it’s somewhat risky to make your own bookmarks like I did. Still, I was pleased with the result and especially the LARGE bookmark size, printed at our friends PrintLinx Brisbane.

Bookmark (print copy) made with stock photos

Small Bookmark sizes: 55 x 176 mm, 38 x 184 mm

Large Bookmark sizes: 71 x 203 mm

Mine was 71 mm x 203 mm (final size) and cost $35 total for 100 at PrintLinx. I would guess it is 250 gsm.

Some places offer pre-made designs and low rates, like Their small size costs $38 ex GST and shipping, so about $50 total.

You can Design your own Bookmark at Canva and download their PDF. Not sure about controlling the size though.

You can also design with Publisher and print bookmarks on your own home printer, if has really good ink density.

Bookmark Designs: What to Tell the Designer

When providing a design to a printer, don’t forget to allow for BLEED.

This sounds painful, but it means giving artwork an extra 3 to 5mm all-round and then ensuring the final PDF encapsulates that extra bleed. This is only for designs that have background colour that runs right to the edge and it is because things often shift when printing and trimming.

The best program in which to design bookmarks is Adobe InDesign. MS Publisher would also be okay.

Make sure the PDF is High Print Quality or Press Quality and fonts are embedded. (Also, that your images and fonts are legally procured). Ensure all images used are 300 DPI or above. This can be done by buying stock photos at regular stock photo stores and selecting ‘M’ or ‘L’ size, not small.

The Process I Used for a Book Launch

It didn’t take long for me to realise my researched and well-crafted books weren’t selling and I needed a launch strategy: only ten years! Don’t let it take you this long…  Here I share my own book launch process and project management style for non-fiction books (indie authors).

It takes a bit more work than a written plan, but the fact that it reminds you daily of your tasks is enough impetus for me.  Asana is a Project Management tool, which is a SAAS (so yes, you can pay for more features by the month) and I use the free version.

How do I Spend my Book Promotion Time?

As a business author, it seems you need to split your time 50/50 between writing/editing and book promoting/connecting. But if you fit in client work too, it’s more like 75 clients | 25 writing/promoting. And there is so much to fit into your writing time already!

Using LinkedIn for Author Publicity

Using a book is a great introduction tool for an expert, therapist, coach or chef! And it is even better when you introduce yourself as an author of a thought leader book, via LinkedIn.  

Once your book is in circulation, you can add ‘author’ to your headline on LinkedIn. I personally recommend you add in the subject keyword too.

The Introvert’s Guide to Marketing for Authors

In this golden age of the personal publisher, introverts must play to their strengths. If you’ve ever read the book ‘Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’, then you’ll understand exactly what I’m saying. We introverts need to speak up, but in our own quiet way.

Are you good at asking questions, but self-conscious about video?  Then try Podcasting.

Podcast to a Larger Presence

Podcasting is the ‘slow burn’ way to attract a fan base. You own the podcast, so you also own the advertising that can be infused in a short grab inside the show.

Keep in mind that shows seem better with two people, so invite a specialist you know to talk about a topic within your new genre range.

To determine which category your tribe might seek, see (the live talk radio and podcast platform) and iTunes categories for category ideas.

If you have a WordPress or Blogger site, then it’s a six-step process to get your RSS feed (linking the files) to connect to Apple iTunes. First you’ll need to find a place to host your podcasts and apply post tags, categories, etc. Apple Podcasts Connect has a podcasting guide and best practices.

You’ll also need a good quality USB microphone (e.g. Nessie Blue), come up with a Podcast logo – which you can make on Canva for free – and plan how often you’ll produce an episode. It’s best to plan ahead a few podcast shows, and launch the first three all at once.

5 Book Marketing Mistakes to Avoid (for Influential Authors)

If you’re writing a non-fiction book, then you’re in for a lot of fun as you come up with creative ways to market your book, all while juggling your coaching, consulting or creative business. As a busy person, you want to spend your time marketing wisely, as well as your money.

Problem #1: Trying to Pitch to Everyone

Freelance Writing to Promote your Book

If your goal behind writing a book is to develop skill, express creativity, and simply be published, then you won’t need a book marketing plan. But if your goal is to write to disseminate ideas to as many as possible, and receive a return on time spent, then you need promotional ideas to get that message out.

For talented novelist and writer’s festival speaker Susan Johnson, having had a roaring writing career in the 80s and travelling the world in the 90s, on returning to Australia and enquiring into publishing, she had a rude shock. No longer did traditional publishers give big advances, and she could not return to teach creative writing at University due to ‘qualifications’ at that point.

Why I Don’t Pay for Book Review Programs

Why do authors pay for book review programs? I have been reading on Publishers Weekly (USA) about authors opting for paid-at-source book reviews, like Kirkus, IndieReader, BlueInk Review, and others. While assuredness of a newsletter promo and reviews can seem like water to a parched author, it comes with a cost. And not just the $149 to $500 they charge per time, which is quite substantial.

Besides the monetary risk, there is the risk it’s a one-off event. You still might not get reviewers’ email addresses as the review companies try to protect their reviewers’ privacy. That means no future promotion.

If you do get their email addresses, then please ask gently for a review – and do not connect to them on social media first. Some authors might try to send the ePub, but you know, many people cannot work out how to open it without the benefit of their Kindle reader app.

It is imperative that you protect this list of potential Advance Reader emails, because these people are going to come in very handy.

Use a Street Team

street team reviewers
Photo by Helena Lopes on

What about people who know you? These genuine helpers can form part of your ‘street team’, or advance reader copy (ARC) team. You can either offer your ebook for 99c on Amazon or send a PDF directly to them, for free. You might want to remove the ability to print it though.

Although I was terminally shy at first, because of my networking, I now have a nice list of 420 connections on LinkedIn to ask for endorsements or to notify of a giveaway on Goodreads. Plus Goodreads forums is an ideal place to recruit your street team/ARCs as its chock-full of book lovers.

Remember though, we can’t ask for Amazon reviews from LinkedIn 1st connections because now Amazon is disallowing an author’s social connections to give reviews — whether they bought the book or not.

The Problem of Asking Strangers

Even though I had fairly regular buyers in the first 3 months of launching Create Your New Life of Abundance and How to Start a Freelance Business, there were no reader reviews, which is a common problem. The library copies generally don’t prompt reviews either.

The workaround for this suggested by Mike Kowitz in his book, Smart Marketing for Indie Authors, is to quickly publish a second book and have a page summarising past books within its back matter. But for the first one, he says you’ll have to rely on the Street Team of friends/family who are not connected to you on socials. You may also prompt the review on your own blog posts. I noticed that at least one of his reviews were from a paid reviewer (or at least a pro reviewer) and the others were reading very real. 

So, while book reviews are crucial for social proof to better sell your book to others searching for that topic… there are many catches with getting them. 

Sometimes it pays to join up with someone who has a bigger email list than you for launch promotions. Think up creative ideas to reward new reader-reviewers. Cute stickers, daily planner printables (letter size PDFs), quote posters, and other low-cost items could be just the thing. Since we are not allowed to pay for the reviews listed at Amazon or Goodreads, and a gift is just a thank you card in physical form.

Always keep your personal return-on-investment in mind when planning book promotions.

Email Jen for Joint Venture proposals:

Target Reader Profiling

I know all too well the feeling that everyone should be interested in my latest book’s content. I mean, who doesn’t want to manage their money better… or as with the Simple Drive to a Healthier Life book, who wouldn’t be interested in better health? Well, the fact is, some of us are cuckoo for money advice (and some are spenders)… and others are nuts on health (while some like to eat anything tasty).

Producing a Book, with VA Help

1. Producing Your Book Costs Time and Money

Writing a ‘serious’ book takes a really long time. Producing a book takes, in some cases, even longer. In one case, it took 72 hours to proofread, layout, produce, administrate and convert the eBook for a self-published client book. 

If you want a copy editor to do a ‘quick run-through’, remember that she or he must take it to a publishable standard. Editing a book properly takes quite some time, but this depends on whether your book needs structural editing help, developmental suggestions (a manuscript review)–or simply a copy edit. It is not just your budget that constrains this editing; it’s also the skill level of your editor. 

So, a 30,000-word non-fiction book may take between 22 hours and 30 hours for me to line edit in one pass. I’m good at spotting things that don’t sound right. So, a client-focussed editing project might cost between AU$1,400 and $2,000 for a 30,000-word book, for a rough idea. Overseas editors might charge less, but you might not know if they are up to standard.

Author VA to help produce book

Producing and Marketing a Book with Virtual Assistance

Self-publishing processes and book marketing takes much time to learn. Many novices Google to find a solution and end up with a basic author services package that costs $2,000 – $3,000. This normally doesn’t cover the marketing angle! There are a few good Australian self-publishing companies whom I recommend, e.g. Publicious (small, Gold Coast) and Fontaine (large). Under no circumstances should you just choose a company you clicked on the Google ad of, without further research. 

So, perhaps spend 2-3 hours researching and interviewing a local freelance book editor, marketing VA, and book designer. It’s worth it. A Virtual Author Assistant will free up your time. There is a small group of Australian virtual author assistants on FB and although it’s a closed group, you can apply and say you’re a client. 

You can also try to find an author VA on the global VA Directory. The worst place to find an Author VA would be Upwork or similar; I think you know why. 

The best thing an author can do is to focus on benchmarks that they want to achieve.

Book Production or Marketing Tasks  to Outsource

Some of the fiddly and time-consuming things an awesome Author VA can do:

* Fill out all the ISBN details at Thorpe, once collated. 

* Ensure the book’s Search Inside (Amazon) is working and upload PDF preview or widget to website. 

* Communicate with your book designer on some matters, like the PDF and upload problems you don’t want to handle!

* Fill out meta data at your Printer/POD, and send your final PDFs

* Advise on and/or create a website book sales page, if they have this skill

* Set up your Amazon author page at Amazon Central.

* Set up your Goodreads author profile and claim any books you’ve written

* Set up a BookLife, Scribd and BookBub profile and book title (optional)

* Integrate book promotion images and ideas into your social media postings

* Update your social media profile headers to include the book and author image.

Keep Focussed on your Outcomes, Not Production

What do you want to do with your book? There are lots of ideas for utilising it: 

  • Sell it at training and speaking events? 
  • Give it away as a prospect offering (ensuring to capture contact details)? 
  • Send it out to referrers?  
  • Keep it low-priced for new subscriber offers on emails? 

If the multitude of things in the ‘Tasks to Outsource’ list above sounds like it is worth it to outsource (your hourly rate being at least twice theirs), then offloading means you can focus on strategy and relationships.

Building relationships with similar others and educational portals in your niche is a wonderful thing. Focussing on your Linkedin and blog content can pay off too; not forgetting trade magazine articles, Women’s Network articles, etc.

Preparing a 1-sentence pitch about your book’s thesis can also come in handy, when someone asks for your expertise.

Why Online Book Publicity Leads to Sales Success

It’s really important to understand the world of social media and online publicity when releasing a non-fiction book for sales success (and not just fulfillment).  To see how good online book publicity creates general success, look at how are now growing their business.

With a growing army of 267,000 Facebook fans, they’re pushing their whole business by publishing a book: Chapter One. The book gives people an insight into their journey and some personal inspo’. Their sales? Check the link and see for yourself.

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