Part of the How They Do It Series
JH: Promoting a book is tough no matter when it comes out, but it's harder for books well past their new release date. Chrys Fey visits the lecture hall today to share some tips on promoting your backlist titles. She's also offering a giveaway, so check out the entry link and information at the end of the article.
Chrys Fey is the author of Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication. Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. Fey is an editor for Dancing Lemur Press and runs the Insecure Writer’s Support Group’s Goodreads book club. She is also the author of the Disaster Crimes series. Visit her blog, Write with Fey, for more tips.
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Take it away Chrys...
Authors often forget about their backlist titles while planning for their new releases or doing what they do best…writing. But then they may realize their backlist titles aren’t receiving many sales or attention, and they wonder what they can do to promote a backlist title.
10 ways to promote backlist titles:
1. Bookbub Ad
Yes, this is a pricey option, which can range from $62 to $3,717 depending on the book’s category and its price at the time of the ad. The higher the book’s price and the more popular the category, the greater the fee. The $3,717 fee is for a $3+ (discounted book) of crime fiction.
It’s also tough to get accepted. Being a good match for their categories, with a lot of reviews, a professional cover, and a big discount really helps. The good news is, if you’re not accepted you get your fee back, so no harm done, right? Well, other than the fact you might be disappointed.
For a discounted book, you could have hundreds or thousands of downloads. For a free book, you could have thousands or tens of thousands of downloads. Again, that depends on the category and how many subscribers it has.
As you can imagine, with those download stats, many authors who win a Bookbub ad shoot to best-seller rankings. Wouldn’t that be sweet?
2. 99 Cents Sale
Running a sale and promoting it extensively is a great option to renew the life of a book and get new sales and new reviews. The key to doing this is the “promoting it extensively” part. Excluding a Bookbub ad, there are many things you can do to get the word out about your sale.
Send an announcement out to your mailing list.
Post about it on your blog.
Create a Facebook ad.
Add the sale’s info to book discount websites. There countless websites out there, such as:
- Books on the Knob
- Daily Free eBooks
- Indies Unlimited
- The eReader Café
- Daily Cheap Reads
- Choosy Bookworm
- Book Angel’s Bargain Site
- eBooks Habit
- Armadillo eBooks
- Book Bongo
Set up a Goodreads Event for your sale and invite all of your GR friends.
Post sale images on Instagram and Litsy, an awesome free app where readers have a ton of fun together. Before you post a promo to Litsy, though, I suggest being a reader there first.
If you do all of these methods, thousands of people could find out about your sale. If you do all of these on top of a Bookbub ad, just imagine the possibilities.
3. YouTube Reading
Record yourself doing readings for your backlist titles and upload them one at a time. If you put them all on YouTube at once, they may not all be viewed. Instead, distance each upload by a week. Or even post one a month.
After your video is up on YouTube, share it to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Then upload it to your Goodreads profile and Amazon author profile. Don’t forget your blog or newsletter! Add it to both when you send out a new post or email.
Don’t have a YouTube channel? Don’t worry! They are easy to set up and uploading a video takes a matter of minutes.
4. New Cover
As trends fade or years go by, covers can become outdated. Now is the time to see if you can get a new cover design. Having a new cover means you can do a cover reveal all over social media.
One big way to get attention for a book or eBook with a new cover is through a cover reveal tour. If you’re part of the blogging community, put an announcement up on your blog asking for help revealing your revamped cover. Include a simple Google Form requesting participants’ names, email addresses, and blog URLs. You can pick a specific day or let the blog hosts select a day that works for them in the month you’re showcasing the cover. When people sign up, provide the blurb, excerpt, buy links, and new cover.
Doing this will ensure that many people see your new cover art. You know how covers can attract readers? Well, a cover reveal tour for a book already released could lead to several new readers.
5. New Edition
Can you update your book with new material, such as a new ending, an extra chapter, a complete rewrite (or better editing), or back matter for readers, including a Q&A section, book group discussion prompts, character profiles, a glossary, etc? Yes? Great! Get to work on it. When you have a new edition, you can do exactly what you did the first time it came out—a blog tour, ads, announcements, etc.
Just make sure that you say it’s a new edition. You don’t want readers feeling tricked, thinking that it’s a new book. But, at the same time, fans of that book could want this new edition for their collection. So, state what it is upfront and explain what’s different about it.
6. Write a Prequel
A prequal could lead readers to check out the original story, so if your book has a story that takes place before your book began, write a prequal to share that story. Put “Prequel to XYZ” on the cover and as a part of the title on Amazon and Goodreads. Also, add the blurb and first chapter to the following book at the end of the prequel to make sure readers continue to read.
Then promote it everywhere as you would for a new release. Also, don’t forget to shout out the book that follows it in any guest post you do as part of a blog tour.
7. Guest Posts
You don’t need to have a new release to offer a guest post to book bloggers. Write a fascinating article about a topic related to a backlist title. When you have a guest post written, pair it with the blurb, cover art, and links.
When I wanted to highlight two of my paranormal eBooks published years ago, I went to couple of blog tour companies, like Bewitching Book Tours. No, I did not pay them to contact their bloggers for me. I clicked on their active tours and checked out the bloggers hosting those books. I emailed 37 of those bloggers with a request to be on their blog and got 18 acceptances. That’s almost half, which is awesome when you consider about 10% of reviewers you send requests to agree to review your book. Asking to be hosted on a blog with a guest post is much easier.
Visit your local library’s reference desk and set up a day you can come in and talk to library patrons about one of your books. Instead of showcasing a newer release, go back to your first one. You can talk about what it took for you to get published, and you can also do a reading. Make sure to bring promo items to hand out with your book’s info on it. Also well as copies of your book to sell.
9. Free eBook
A self-published eBook on Smashwords can be set as free, and that price will be carried through Barnes & Noble, Kobo, and other outlets that Smashwords connects to. You can also directly contact Amazon to notify them of a lower price, and they will price match. Once your eBook is free, add it to free eBook promo sites, set up ads, and announce, announce, announce.
Kindlepreneur has a nice list of 127+ sites.
10. Get Reviews
Reviews can breathe life into any book. Contact reviewers and book bloggers. Many of the bloggers hosting you for a guest post most likely do reviews, too, so while you’re at it, fill out their review request form or add that option to your email when you offer them a guest post.
If you have a street team, do a contest. The rules could be that to be entered to win a prize they have to review your book by a specific amount of time. You’re not paying them for a review, just offering the opportunity for them to be awarded for their support. These are people already interested in your work.
Anyone you give a review copy to, tell them to add something like this to the end of their review to appease Amazon: I was provided a complimentary copy by the author, but this in no way influenced my thoughts or opinions.
Whenever you get a new review, take a screenshot of it and share it across all social media platforms, even Instagram and Litsy. If you post a review to Instagram, pair it with relevant hashtags, like #authorsofinstagram, #bookstagram, and #readersofinstagram.
Every way that a new release can be promoted, a backlist title can be promoted, too. Even years later. And just as you should want to try different promo techniques for a new release, you can also do the same for a past release. All you have to do is put effort into these titles. You can focus on one a month, between one release and the next, or promote a backlist at the same time as your new release. It’s up to you, but it’ll be worth it when you see the outcome from your efforts.
Do what you can and have fun!
What else can an author do to promote a backlist title?
About Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication
Catch the sparks you need to write, edit, publish, and market your book!
Write with Fey: 10 Sparks to Guide You from Idea to Publication offers an abundance of data in one handy book. From writing your novel to prepping for publication and beyond, you’ll find sparks on every page, including 100 bonus marketing tips. You’ll also discover how to write specific scenes and characters, adding depth to your work.
- Spark One: Being a Writer
- Spark Two: Story Essentials
- Spark Three: A Book’s Stepping Stones
- Spark Four: How To
- Spark Five: Character ER
- Spark Six: Editing
- Spark Seven: Publishing
- Spark Eight: Marketing
- Spark Nine: Writing About
- Spark Ten: Final Inspiration
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