So after years of toil and trouble, you’ve finally given birth to your beautiful novel. But it’s a busy, complicated world, with 184,000 books released every year in the UK. Plus you should not rely solely on your publisher to get your book noticed. What can you do?
Follow these 8 tips…
1. Have an eye catching cover
Arguably this will be largely in the control of your publisher, but make sure your cover communicates its genre straight away to the reader. If it’s a thriller, study covers of other popular thrillers and position it using similar imagery. Also go into bookshops, look at which covers your eyes are drawn to first.
2. Have a marketing campaign who knows its audience
This is super important. Crime’s readership is 68% women, so you’d better be targeting women in your Facebook ads, but also Facebook groups, readers clubs, tweets. You need to make them aware that your book a). exists, and b). is worth their while.
3. Do local press/publicity stunts
Local press are often fascinated with a new author and can react very positively to a polite email explaining who you are and what your book is about. This can lead to online articles, and if you’re really lucky a full blown double page spread. This is excellent coverage and makes you look legit.
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For Playing With Death, we created a prequel app ‘Catch a Killer’ to help sell and promote the book. It’s just crossed a thousand downloads, which is not earth shattering, but steadily ticks over around 100 downloads a month. It’s a message based game in which you pose undercover as an FBI agent and your mission is to seduce a serial killer. It’s a fun, very tense 10 minute experience to introduce the reader to the world of the story. It is available for iOs and Android. When you complete the assignment, there’s a book link to convert the players into readers. This experience all adds extra differentiation to a potential reader and blogger.
5. Realise publicity never ends
Even when your book has been out for a while, ongoing publicity opportunities crop up. Local libraries, crime festivals, networking with fellow authors- do them all, as it helps keep your profile raised and can offer you valuable insight (and therapy) from other authors.
6. Don’t be shy
Possibly the most important of all. With such a fleeting spot in a permanently cluttered marketplace, you cannot afford to be timid or shy about your book. Imagine you’re at a train station and you’ve got only one chance to shout about your book. Your ballsy passion and commitment will eventually enthral others to buy your book. Compel them!
7. Know your booksellers
It’s tempting to focus only on online sales, but don’t forget the human element in selling your book. There are humble local booksellers physically lugging copies of your books in and out the stores. Often they are a knowledgeable, witty bunch and very much worth getting to know.
8. Ignore your ‘friends’
After your enormous struggle, you’ll likely hear things from your friends like: ‘I’m not into thrillers’, ‘I haven’t had time to download the app yet’, or balk at your book’s price tag. They’ll then yak on about how they’ve just bought a bag of overpriced snacks and lattes from Starbucks, or how they spent all their money drinking the night before. Then a few months later, they may even suddenly ask your advice for writing a novel! It’s depressingly selfish and sadly quite common. They may not realise that’s how they are coming across, so accept now that not many people close to you will care you have written a book. So spend the time nurturing the ones who do!
By following these 8 top tips, your book will now have a better chance of standing out in the forest of novels released every year. Good luck!