Basic book marketing information
you need to know to get started

by Victoria Bennion

If you’re planning to or have already published a book you need to know some basic book marketing information because whichever publishing route you choose you’ll need to be actively involved in promoting your book.

One of the saddest things an editor told me was about a children’s book he’d worked on which was published and sank without a trace. He said it was a beautiful book, traditionally published, but the publishers did not have a large marketing budget and the author wasn’t keen to carry out any promotion herself.

Don’t let this happen to your baby. Roll up your sleeves and spread the word about your book. If you need some inspiration read how award-winning author Jini Reddy went about marketing her book.

Book marketing information: Where should you start?

There are plenty of marketing tools which don’t cost. We’d suggest you start here. You’ve probably seen some of your favourite author’s podcasts or visited their blogs, Facebook pages or interacted with them on Twitter. By building your own community on these platforms you’ll have a ready-made audience who will be pleased to hear when your latest book is released.

Social media marketing

The great thing about social media is that it doesn’t have to cost you money. It’s advisable to start building your platform as soon as possible. It doesn’t matter what stage you’re at of your writing journey, just get going.

Natalie and I attended a panel on author branding at the London Book Fair and they had lots of advice about beginning to build your platform.

I’ve found the writing community on Twitter extremely supportive and there are regular chats you can join and mingle with like-minded people such as #geaqa #ukmgchat #ukteenchat If you spend time interacting, networking and building up followers you’ll have a larger audience when your book is published. Take a look at our guide to getting started with Twitter if you're new to the platform.

(If you fancy dropping by to say Hi and chat about books and writing you can find me @VictoriaBennion and Natalie @NatTealdi)

Instagram is another platform where you’ll find thousands of writers. Just don’t waste too much time scrolling through all the fabulous pictures of books instead of writing.

Carry out some Facebook marketing either through your profile or by setting up an author page where you can share your writing news and build an audience.

1001 Ways to Market Your Books

When I was searching for book marketing information for the children’s book I published with the Arts Council, John Kremer’s 1001 Ways to Market Your Books was my first stop. It’s the only book I’ve read which rivals the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook in stature at a sturdy 700 pages.

If you’re serious about marketing then John Kremer’s advice is solid and comprehensive. My copy is dog eared with highlights all over it. He tells you how to promote and publicise your books, advertise your books, sell them online, seek distribution, work with book shops, sell through other outlets, sell your books to schools and libraries, sell subsidiary rights and sell your books abroad.

Book marketing information: Review copies

I sent out review copies of my book The Legend of the Golden Carp. From the title you have likely guessed that one of the main characters is a fish. I bought some fish shaped sweets which I put into cellophane bags, wrote a card to each of the contacts and packaged each up with a copy of my book. The personalised touch really went a long way. I had some lovely messages of thanks and Caroline Horn from the Bookseller called to interview me for a story she was writing.

Marketing services

If you want some extra oomph in your marketing efforts there are paid services you can use. You can find PRs which specialise in children’s book promotions. It’s a good idea to get recommendations from other writers.

School visits

School visits are so important for children's writers. It's a great way for them to meet their readers and grow a readership. Recently I shadowed children's author Jennifer Killick on an author visit to see how it should be done.

Do something everyday

A good piece of advice is to do something to promote your book every day. If you’ve got any book marketing tips we’d love to hear them.

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