As we approach two years of COVID restrictions and guidelines, we’re coming to terms with the fact that going back to “normal” may not happen, or at the very least, it will take longer than we originally thought. Being mostly virtual for the past two years has affected multiple industries, and publishing is no exception. Where book releases and author tours were once in-person at local bookstores, they are now virtual (or canceled), among other changes. This also means that the way marketers advertise books has changed as well. Marketing books has always been an ever-changing field, but now this fact rings even more true. Here are three tips to help you market your books during COVID that will help you reach a wide audience.
Social media campaigns have seen much success in recent years, even more so with the increased use of social media during the pandemic. Instagram stories and well-made graphics tend to get a lot of views, comments, and likes, especially if a story is interactive. Snapchat stories also receive some interaction, but not as much as they used to. Short tweets on Twitter, especially with images or polls, also work, as do some Facebook posts. The key is to space your posts out between platforms and days so that you don’t spam anyone’s feed.
In lieu of in-person book launches or tours, hosting events over Zoom or on other live streaming platforms has been successful. People still want to celebrate the release of new books, interact with authors, and attend readings, and while this can’t be done in the same way, an in-person event can happen, and virtual events can still pull in large audiences. Similar to a book tour, scheduling more than one date may be beneficial depending on how wide an audience you wish to reach. You may also want to consider running a giveaway during the event for books and other collateral or offering a limited number of signed copies online.
Many publishers and authors send out emails a few times a month to advertise new releases, events, giveaways, and more. Email lists can be a great way to market your books and events as long as the emails have attention-grabbing images and headers, aren’t too long, and aren’t sent out too frequently. Email lists are great places to advertise book events, promote giveaways, and offer exclusive sneak peeks of book covers and previews of the first few chapters of a book.
Given the extended switch to virtual that we are all facing due to COVID, many marketing strategies within the publishing industry have had to become virtual as well. Finding the right combination of digital marketing strategies can be tricky, but this list is a good starting point when marketing your book or bookish event.