Every year, I share hundreds (even thousands) of articles and reports through my blog/website, conference presentations, social media, and email newsletters. Here, I look back on the best of the marketing information I shared during 2016 and have organized it by category. Enjoy!
- For a very clear and no-nonsense explanation of the Amazon sales rank number: the ALLi blog explains what factors change your sales rank, revealing that steady sales win the game.
- An author has recommended using only “clean” Amazon links to your book, especially for marketing and promotion purposes. While you might argue with some of the points made, it never hurts to practice good link hygiene. Learn how to clean up your Amazon links.
- Here’s a solid overview for writing and updating your Amazon book description. Veteran publicist Penny Sansevieri offers clear and organized advice. Read it at the Huffington Post.
- Struggling with your reach on Facebook? By decreasing the organic (non-paid) reach of business pages, Facebook continues to put a lot of pressure on everyone to advertise. This means you have to be smart and strategic about posting content to reach your fans; thankfully, it is possible to improve your reach quickly if you understand how Facebook’s algorithm works. Check out Hootsuite’s guide to Facebook organic reach.
- Want to increase your effectiveness on Facebook? One of the leading digital media marketing companies has studied more than 1 billion posts made by Facebook pages and released a report on how to increase engagement on Facebook.
- Use Facebook groups to build book buzz. If you’re frustrated with the performance of your Facebook business page, some authors are having better engagement by creating and nurturing Facebook groups. BookBub offers tips.
- A very insightful case study on how Facebook ads can spur book sales by author David Penny, featured at The Creative Penn. Suitable for beginners.
- More on Facebook advertising: one of the experts in this area is Mark Dawson, who was interviewed at The Creative Penn in 2016. You can listen to the podcast or read the transcript.
- For authors who advertise (or want to) on Facebook: Learn how to make a Facebook funnel that converts. Visit the Moz blog.
- How to find trending topics on social media. With social media, timing can be everything—and being able to tap into trending topics can help you get your messages in front of the right audience at the right time. Here are 11 ways to find out what’s trending across a range of social media sites.
- Want to get better at Instagram? More than 400 million people use Instagram, and in terms of social media engagement, it’s second only to Facebook. But how should authors use it? BookBub has put together an inspiring round up of authors successfully using Instagram for book marketing.
- A comprehensive guide to Instagram hashtags. As you may know, one of the keys to growing an Instagram following is using the right hashtags, but knowing which ones to use, and how, may feel like a bit of a mystery. The sharp people at Hootsuite have put together an extensive guide to using hashtags on Instagram.
- Trying to gain momentum on YouTube? The folks at Hootsuite have written a straightforward post with five ways to get more views on YouTube.
- The smart people at Moz have presented a detailed list of instructions for how to write and build a product page that has a better chance of resulting in a sale. The strategy is helpful whether you’re selling books, digital products, online courses, or services. Take a look.
- A definitive guide to copywriting: Try Quick Sprout’s free guide. It’s not focused specifically on books, but it does offer many best practices for writing marketing copy.
- This is for serious bloggers only: Many authors want to increase traffic to their website, but don’t know how. Blogging is one of the key ways, but a content strategy is required if you want to see that blogging pay off. This free guide on how to increase your website traffic steps you through the detailed process for identifying what kind of content to write and how to generate traffic to that content. You can read the whole guide online, or it’s available as a free 28-page PDF. Make no mistake: this is hard work. But the payoff is real.
- Learn how to write better, customized headlines. If you’re a blogger or frequently producing online writing, then having distinct headlines—customized by social media channel—dramatically affects the number of clicks on and shares of your work. Buffer has put together an excellent guide on what principles to follow based on where you’re sharing the article.
Giveaways, reviews & discounts
- Want to easily run an ebook giveaway? instaFreebie is a service for self-published authors that helps streamline the ebook giveaway process. It offers several tiers of service, including a free tier. Features include an email list opt-in, the ability to set an expiration date, and the ability to set a specific number of giveaway copies.
- An indie author offers a very detailed history of her Goodreads book giveaways and concludes that it’s best to only give away one or two books at a time, since it’s cheaper that way but offers the same visibility. Read J.M. Ney-Grimm’s post.
- Want to create advance review copies of your book? It’s possible through IngramSpark. David Wogahn tells you how.
- How do you get nearly 100 reader reviews on your book within a few days of release? Author Anna Hackett shares her process at the Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast.
- You probably know about BookBub, but how do other ebook discount services rank in comparison? ALLi offers an in-depth analysis and overview.
- This is one of the most helpful guides I’ve seen on planning, launching, and running your first webinar. You’ll find lots of useful tool recommendations; no guessing required.
- How to learn SEO: The folks at HubSpot have rounded up the best free and paid educational resources for learning about search engine optimization. If you have a website or blog, this is a list worth saving. Read it here. (My favorite resource is Moz, which is at the top of the list!)
- How much does SEO affect novelists? Over at The Hot Sheet, we offered in-depth expertise from Pete McCarthy.
- Also, take a look at expert digital marketer Pete McCarthy’s presentations on marketing. He’s shared one of his slide packs, which will teach you about many different tools for researching your audience online.
Learn from successful authors
- An author who consistently makes a six-figure income from book sales shares his marketing strategies. Note that he has more than 100 books, mostly nonfiction, on the market. Find out more at Written Word Media.
- Bestselling author Colleen Gleason discusses how to relaunch and remarket a book after getting the rights back from the publisher. Read the full interview at BookBub.
- Romance author J.A. Huss discusses in depth what’s working (or not) for book marketing. She’s stepped away from Facebook ads, but invests heavily—although very carefully—in giveaways. Read the interview transcript at the Creative Penn.
Marketing ideas and roundups
- Here’s a 98-item list for planning a book launch or even re-marketing your book. It’s by the marketing team at BookBub. They’ve divided it into useful categories, such as “Create Box Sets and Bundles,” “Run Price Promotions,” and “Participate in Live Events.” It’s nearly guaranteed you’ll come away with at least one new action step.
- Interactive and free how-to guides to launch your book, product, or business: It’s called “Startup Toolkit,” but writers of all kinds will find these free tutorials useful for book and product launches. Each tutorial includes an article, a step-by-step workflow, and a ready-to-use project template. Topics covered: get press coverage, launch a Kickstarter, earn traffic from online communities, and much more. Check them out.
Marketing tools and resources
- Customizable and comprehensive book marketing checklist. If you’re not familiar with Tim Grahl’s work, you should be! He produces some of the best informational resources for authors I’ve seen, often focused on book marketing. His latest resource is a definitive checklist for book marketing that is customizable and easily printed.
- Trying to guess someone’s email address? Use this tool very wisely—that is, not in a way that will encourage you getting blacklisted: Email Hunter. (It even works for my website!)
- How authors can market books online to children under the age of 13: Author Karen Inglis discusses the tools and communities that can help. Read at ALLi.
- Tools and templates for authorship and book marketing: Author Jenny Blake has shared all the tips and materials she used to help her write and market her book Pivot. It’s an impressive collection of resources that is sure to inspire your next project. Take a look. (Also, in this excellent case study, learn about Jenny Blake’s podcast-focused launch plan for her second book, Pivot.)
- The Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi) offers formal service ratings of author services. Over time, ALLi has been offering more and more watchdog-type content at their website, and they now offer a formal area devoted to ratings of specific publishing companies. Take a look.
Here at my site in 2016 (in case you missed)
- Should You Pay for a Publicist?
- How to Find and Work with a Book Publicist Successfully
- Getting Ready to Launch a Book? Start with These 5 Questions
- How to Find and Reach Influencers to Promote Your Book
- How to Be Active on Social Media Without Losing Your Mind
- The Pros and Cons of Using a Facebook Profile But Not an Official Page
- How to Grow Your Email List
- How to Start Blogging: A Definitive Guide for Authors
- Are Paid Book Reviews Worth It?
Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.
In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.
Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.