We’re already on the other side of January, and for most of us the postholiday daze has given way to work, deadlines, responsibilities, and—if you’re totally on top of your game—creating a marketing plan for your book.
Book marketing can be one of the unsexiest parts of book publishing. For indie and self-published authors, much of the work falls on you. And as much as we all want to reap the money rewards of publishing our books, the thought of marketing is daunting indeed. But it’s important to know what opportunities await you in the coming months. Even if you have a plan, you might be missing a unique opportunity—one that could generate some nice visibility and/or sales. And who doesn’t love that?
Note holidays and special events
Start by writing down days that are important for your book, whether that’s a release date/book birthday, cover reveals, review publication deadlines, or any other important milestones. Next, take note of special holidays or events that tie in with your book. Writing a romance? Make a note of Valentine’s Day. Wrote a beach read? Mark off any long weekends in the summer months for promotion. Wrote a political thriller or nonfiction book? Mark off the midterm elections.
Once you’ve done that, take special note of important retail sales events such as the December holidays, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and others. Then start planning promotions for your book, whether that’s contests, giveaways, sales, or even bundling your books for gifts. Once you have your marketing calendar sorted, you can start looking for other opportunities to promote and sell your book. You’ll also be able to better gauge what extra work you might want to do between important marketing campaigns.
Once you have your marketing calendar roughly plotted out, you can start looking for ways to implement and create new marketing strategies for both your book and your author brand.
Release an audiobook
As life gets busier, more and more readers are turning to audiobooks to keep them company during trips, during long commutes, at work, and while relaxing at home. Some folks are even drifting off to sleep to them. Audiobook sales are increasing every year, and while creating them takes time, many authors find the extra work pays off. If you need any more proof that audio is growing, audio services like Audible, Spotify, and Storytel are expanding their offerings and subscription-based services.
“2022 will be when the impact of these moves is felt as these companies dig into their new properties and begin to implement their plans for growth,” writes Clayton Noblit in The Top Eight Publishing Trends For 2022. “Authors who are interested in audio should keep a close eye on these different retailers to be poised to get in early when an opportunity arises. In 2022 expect to see more shifts in the audiobook space as the big players compete for pole position in this growing market.”
Keep an eye out for TV and film potential
With streaming film and television at an all-time high, there is a huge demand for original content. So if you have a fantastic idea, ask yourself if this could be easily adapted to film and/or television. It might just change your career.
Check out #BookTok
In the latter half of 2021, the hashtag #BookTok began making waves on TikTok among authors, publishers, and readers. Authors now have an opportunity to plug into the TikTok hype and engage with readers in a unique way. Noblit points out that while romance authors seem well on top of the wave (because they usually are), more genres will explore how to engage on the video social media platform in the coming year.
“Larger players are taking note as well. Barnes & Noble has a BookTok page, and we expect adoption will become more widespread in 2022,” says Noblit. “If you are interested in potentially catching the BookTok wave, now is a good time to get familiar with the platform.”
Explore creating a series
If you want to boost your book sales in the coming year, one of the most effective methods is by creating a series. Readers are looking to invest in characters, worlds, and familiar faces.
“If you don’t have a series yet, or haven’t branded your books as a series, you are leaving money on the table,” writes Penny Sansevieri in 22 Awesome Book Marketing Promotions and Predictions for 2022. “One of the best ways to grow your revenue as a fiction author, is to produce a series.”
Add more diversity
More than ever, readers want to see more of themselves in books. That means more people of color, disabled folks, those who are neurodiverse, and/or those who are part of the LGBTQ2IAA+ community. It’s time for everyone—especially those folks who belong to marginalized communities—to be seen and heard, and readers want to hear their stories, their words, and their perspectives. It’s also time for authors to look beyond outdated character archetypes in their books, so even if you’re not representing one of these communities, your book can benefit by including them, provided you do so in an informed, authentic, and respectful way.
“Diversity is still huge, but readers are savvy,” points out Sansevieri. “Diversity to check a box won’t cut it, but broader representation done well will naturally open up your potential reader market.”
Consider budgeting for influencers
Previously a market for products like accessories, fashion, and tech, influencers have become a growing opportunity for book publicity and marketing over the last couple of years. Larger publishers are currently tapping into influencer markets in order to reach their target reader, and this trend could be trickling down to self-published and indie authors. Marketing professionals are placing a lot of trust in influencer marketing, and this might be a new avenue for all authors who have a budget.
“Publishers seek influencers that appeal to their target readership such as micro influencers, with particularly strong engagement, which can be better than mainstream influencers with more followers,” says Book Machine’s Top 5 Marketing Trends for 2022. “These influencers already have an established audience which the publisher can tap into by providing free book titles and products for them to share with their followers.”Hannah Guy lives in Toronto and is a professional writer and copywriter who specializes in books, books, and more books. Follow her on Twitter at @hannorg.