While great works of literature are read and enjoyed by millions in each generation, much of the day-to-day action in book sales occurs in nonfiction genres. Therefore, when it comes to how to market a book, the options can be wider-ranging for nonfiction authors. Many writers are aware of the opportunities making the competition fierce, so success requires a well-executed publicity campaign. No two books and their authors are alike, so each title requires careful PR planning and strategy. It begins with identifying your target readers and making sure to be visible in spots where they are in the audience.
When allowed to talk about a book, an author’s natural impulse is to explain its contents. But seasoned publicists remind writers that the trick is to understand why a book is more valuable than others in its genre. As a result, when you have opportunities to speak, remember the need to suggest superiority rather than merely offering a summary. Hiring one is generally an excellent idea if your budget allows for a publicist. When you do, stay active and visible in your PR campaign. Staying in the background rarely sells books or gains media attention. Visible authors nearly always do better.
Anyone who writes a book today is well advised to have two active social media platforms. Because it takes time to build a following, start early (years in advance, ideally) so you’re ready when your book’s publication date arrives. The best posts are informational or entertaining and steer clear of overly controversial topics. The goal is to engage with as many people as possible and polarizing issues can cost you followers or make some people tune out. Looking at social media posts from authors you compete with can be an excellent way to get ideas. You can put your spin on similar topics.
Many media companies today are short on content because of budget and staff cuts. When you offer to contribute a 600 to 800-word article on a newsworthy topic related to your book and expertise, it will be easy to find someone to publish it. Bylined articles offer a brief bio at the end, and you can mention your book’s title. People who have read and enjoyed the article will likely search for your book online. It’s also likely other producers and editors will notice your theme, which may lead to more coverage offers, whether interviews or quotes in articles on similar subjects.