(Originally published 2/7/19)
It’s an exciting time to be an author. And if you’re in still in the writing or editing phase, it’s a great idea to add some elements right into your book that you can use to help market your book when you publish.
Think of it like a product placement in a TV show or movie. An example might be a prominently placed (and labeled) box of Kleenex that someone reaches for and asks, “Would you like a Kleenex?” It subtly mentions the brand and fits the context of the movie.
Hallmark movies does this a lot – and if you look for it, you’ll start seeing it everywhere. It’s a smart marketing concept. And you can easily apply it to your book promotion, too. These carefully crafted angles can create opportunities for some really fun—and useful—book marketing strategies down the road.
Here are a few ideas that you may want to consider for your next novel.
One of the easiest ways to build book marketing into your book is a seasonal story setting. The Christmas season is a good example of this. And while Hallmark has really taken the idea of the Christmas movie and run with it, many authors have taken this cue. You may have noticed that countless books tying into Christmas are flooding the shelves.
And, if Christmas isn’t your thing, there are lots of other holidays that lend themselves to great book marketing. Consider Valentine’s Day, July 4th, Memorial Day, or even a summer-specific setting. And, don’t forget about January-New Year New You tie ins, for those of you writing about a protagonist who needs a fresh start.
Specific Situations and Causes
I’ve worked with authors who write in great characters facing very specific challenges. Examples might be someone recovering from an illness or overcoming a disability.
I’ve also seen authors write about domestic abuse, but never use it in their book promotion. An example of this might be promoting those books during specific awareness months. And as you know, there are awareness months for a huge number of causes from Juvenile Diabetes to Domestic Abuse, Breast Cancer to Autism, and more.
What’s more, if you talk about any of these topics in your writing, you likely have a personal tie to it. It’s something you should capitalize on in your book marketing. Don’t let it feel strange to you. Because, if your goal, however subtle, was to raise awareness, it makes a lot of sense to promote it to a specific awareness month, or group.
Some years ago, I worked with an author who wrote a book about a young man who battled epilepsy, which was something her brother struggled with. She was passionate about raising awareness, so we pitched specific awareness groups and wound up getting a lot of great book promotion because of it!
People and/or Jobs
We have an author who has written an entire series of books featuring military heroes. Her book promotion covers her market (romance) and the books are also set during specific holidays, but she’s also going after these specific markets around the military, like Veteran’s Day.
She focuses on honoring those who served, whatever the job. So maybe you have a character who is running for Mayor, making an election season a good tie in if you can weave a sidebar story into your book. We’ll look more at additional character stories in a minute!
Besides the obvious holidays, there are also many fun days like Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, Get Organized Week! or Fire Prevention Month that can work well for your book promotion.
And yes, some of these are pretty obscure, but they offer some fun opportunities for book marketing, even a blog post.
In a we recently started working with, there are a number of small business owners in the town who run eateries. What if, on National Cheese Pizza Day, the author rolled out some really fun ways to dress up your cheese pizza, and branded it to a specific restaurant she mentioned in the book? Bringing a book to life using these kinds of angles may not change the trajectory of your entire campaign, but they do become fun anchor points for your book marketing. (If you’re looking for lists of these monthly observances, I share some each month!)
Several years ago, I worked on a book called Cookin’ for Love where the main character was a cook book author. At the end of each chapter, the author included a recipe. One was called Orgasmic Cookies. We printed up recipe cards and her local bakery local agreed to make them so we could send them out with each book.
And now, with the visual marketing opportunities presented by Pinterest and Instagram, this is a fun way you could drive attention to your book, regardless of what you write.
Whenever I’ve used this tactic in book promotion campaigns, it’s been successful.
Bringing Characters to Life
There are some fun ways that you can really bring your characters to life, especially if you write fiction. It’s also a particularly good fit with eBooks.
I mentioned the recipes and focus on various jobs, and other book anchor points. But what if you turned your book promotion attention to different ways to bring characters to life and sharing that with readers in your books?
One author we worked with who wrote a series set in a small town and featured one character in each novel, really pushed this when she’d create things like wedding boards on Pinterest when a character got married.
Another idea is fun gender reveals when a character becomes pregnant. With eBooks, this is super easy because you can update links in your book and feature characters on your website. Blog posts can be a super fun way to share sidebar stories, and a crafty way to keep readers engaged with these characters via some well-placed book promotion. Consider, as you’re writing your novel, what you might want to do here. Even if you aren’t writing a book series, this is still a fun strategy!
Additional Character Stories
This may not be something you can write in, necessarily. But you may want to think about including some sidebar stories with popular characters. We worked with an author who wrote a detective novel and then, on his blog, shared additional short stories that the detective solved. Not only did it give him fun blog content, but also boosted reader engagement since they now had reason to check back periodically.
These baked-in book promotion ideas are a lot of fun, and don’t take a lot of extra work to build into your story. They can offer you a solid book marketing boost, and as a bonus can really help round out your story line. What’s more, you might already be well down this path without even realizing it. Start listing your top characters and settings, and then look through the strategies I’ve shared. Writing even just one of these ideas into your book will give you a great starting point for your marketing efforts.
Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.