Almost 600 years after Gutenberg invented the printing press, books are still creating frenzy, not unlike the newest iPhone or the hottest pair of Prada boots. Long lines in Murakami’s latest book release only prove this point. Content creators are the new way brands and products sneak into the audience’s hearts, so it’s a no-brainer that they’d make a great way of marketing new books for publishers and bookstores.
Content marketing has infused a breath of fresh air over the industry, making books cool and accessible to an audience some deemed “lost to the Internet.” So, what’s the secret sauce for making a book go viral—and, most importantly, reach sales goals—in 2023? Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Understanding the shift in book marketing strategy
Traditionally, book marketing relied heavily on reviews, personal recommendations, author tours, book fairs, public readings, and established media channels. Today, the role of content creators in book marketing has become crucial.
High-performing content creators have a strong connection with an audience that trusts them when it comes to product recommendations. Their influence has become so powerful that brands have started to invest more in creator-based strategies than traditional ads.
According to WordsRated, the powerful influence of social media content creators has supercharged the publishing industry. TikTok’s “BookTok,” for instance, had 42 billion views by 2022. This growing trend has significantly affected sales, with the BookTok phenomenon driving four out of the five top-selling YA titles in the UK in 2021. Integrating social media platforms in book marketing strategy and branding has transformed how books are discovered and sold, emphasizing the importance of publishers collaborating with online content creators.
9 best practices for a collaborative book marketing strategy with creators
- Identify relevant creators: Self-published authors and bookstores can amplify their reach by identifying creators who vibe with the book’s genre and audience. Select those who can connect with its message and make its promotion much more heartfelt and real.
- Pitch it right: Be clear about what makes your book special. If you can show creators the unique charm of your book, they’re more likely to fall in love with it too.
- Use creator discovery tools like web extensions, creator-focused landing pages, and platforms to help find and recruit your future partners.
- Build strong relationships: Building a strong connection with creators is a process, not just a one-time deal. Cultivate these with real interactions and mutual respect as you would any relationship.
- Keep the communication smooth: Regularly chat with your creators through email or other platforms. It keeps things running effortlessly, making sure everybody’s on the same page.
- Make shipping simple: Getting your book to a creator for review doesn’t need to be a headache. Organize it well, and it’ll be a breeze.
- Stay in the loop with notifications: Switch on notifications to know when creators post about your book. It means you can see your book’s journey, engage when it makes sense, and offer a helping hand if needed.
- Metrics matter: Keep a close eye on the impact of the strategy. Knowing metrics like engagement rates, book sales, social media impressions, and shares will help you understand what works and what requires improvement.
- Reporting and refining: Use an influencer marketing reporting platform/organized system to track important numbers, such as sales, costs, and Return on Investment (ROI). Analyzing these insights can help you fine-tune your strategies based on real-time data analysis.
Following these best practices can help guide a flourishing long-term book marketing strategy that continually elevates brand awareness and boosts sales. This ensures a fruitful marketing journey, transforming relationships with creators into significant opportunities for growth.
Case study: the best book marketing campaigns in 2023
One of the standout book marketing examples of 2023 was for “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin. Spearheaded by Katrina Northern from Vintage Books, the team distributed the first limited-edition proof copies of the book, designed as PC-DVD gaming packages, to booksellers, bloggers, and influencers—invoking shared nostalgia and sparking excitement for the book’s gaming-themed narrative. Online, the marketing team launched an interactive campaign inviting readers to create and share their video game avatars under the hashtag #Tomorrowx3. This clever initiative facilitated user-generated content that broadened the organic reach of their marketing strategies.
By engaging content creators and followers, the campaign led “Tomorrowx3” to earn prestigious accolades, including becoming a Sunday Times bestseller and the Goodreads Choice Award winner.
C.G. Drews and “A Thousand Perfect Notes”
C.G. Drews, also known as the Paper Fury in the blogging world, illustrated successful book marketing with her debut novel, “A Thousand Perfect Notes.” As a YA author with an established online presence, Drews adeptly utilized her existing platform to generate interest in her work. She shared behind-the-scenes content about the book’s development process, fostering a sense of intrigue and anticipation among her followers. Drews created a significant buzz around her book before it even hit the shelves by using her status in the blogging community. This is a prime example of effective influencer marketing in the literary world.
Tansey Morgan’s Select Reader Newsletter
Image via MailerLite
Tansey Morgan adopted an innovative approach to marketing her books through a select reader newsletter. By creating an exclusive space for her most engaged fans, Morgan cultivated a community of people invested in her work. She offered this group exclusive content, sneak peeks, and advanced review copies of her upcoming books. By doing so, Morgan effectively created a group of influencers within her reader base who would eagerly review, rate, and suggest her books within their circles. This strategy built anticipation and interest in Morgan’s new releases and fostered a sense of connection and loyalty among her readers, showcasing an excellent example of community-driven marketing.
Key takeaway: Leverage creators for book marketing strategies of the future.
Embracing the power of content creators has revolutionized the book marketing landscape, ushering in a new era of accessibility and engagement for literature enthusiasts. Publishers and bookstores that adapt to this change have witnessed increased sales, heightened brand awareness, and a refreshed perspective on the once “lost to the Internet” audience.
By incorporating collaborative strategies, sustaining genuine relationships, and continuously refining marketing tactics based on real-time data, brands can maximize the potential of content creators to ensure a successful book marketing journey. This approach reinforces books’ relevance and allure, safeguarding their appeal in an increasingly media-competitive world.