Updated: Mar 8
As a nonfiction author, marketing your book can seem daunting, as you may feel like you're marketing yourself. But with some planning and effort, you can successfully market your nonfiction book to drive sales. In this post, I discuss marketing nonfiction books and provide seven marketing tips for nonfiction authors.
Marketing nonfiction books
While fiction authors offer their readers escapism and adventure, many nonfiction authors provide information about reality. Often, nonfiction authors market their books as solutions to their readers’ problems. This can be an effective marketing strategy if you own your expertise and still come across as relatable to your readers.
Creating an effective marketing plan is crucial to driving sales. Knowing your audience, your book’s message, and how to get your book in front of your audience are all key aspects of this plan. If you want help devising a marketing strategy for your book, I’m here to help! In addition to reading this post, you can also download my FREE guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch, to help you with marketing your book. I created this guide after years of working closely with authors, successfully launching over 100 books.
7 Marketing Tips for Nonfiction Authors
After helping countless authors market their books, I'm happy to share seven of my marketing tips for nonfiction authors:
1. Know your audience
As you may envision your target audience while you're writing your book, continue to do so as you develop your book's marketing plan. Ensure that you're speaking about your book in a way that’s relevant to those who may purchase it. If you’re unsure who your target audience is, consider best-selling books that are similar and identify who’s reading them.
If you have a sizable social media following, see who’s interacting with you, as they may be likely to purchase your book as well.
It's also worth noting that defining a niche audience can lead to a more successful campaign. I hear from many authors that they think their book is for "everyone," but I find that authors who establish their audience sell more books.
2. Know your message
One of the biggest mistakes I see authors make with their book promotion is not having consistent messaging. Whether printed on the back of the book, in your ad copy, your social media posts, or your newsletters, ensure your messaging clearly explains what your book is about and what the reader can gain from reading it. Take the time to ensure your message is clear, and always keep the reader's needs in mind.
One author who excels at messaging is Lysa TerKeurst. Before Lysa even announces a new book, she starts priming her audience on social media with the topic of her upcoming release. Her messaging stays consistent for the duration of each book launch and she always considers her audience's needs
Author recommendation: Check Out Author Lysa TerKeurst's Work
3. Be confident
My next tip is to be confident when marketing your book. You wrote an entire book on your message and/or experience, so own your expertise and be confident in your ability to speak about your book and its message. Readers may consider you as their guide to help them get from point A to point B on their journey. So be a confident leader and provide your readers with the tools and advice to walk the path successfully.
Learn more: How to Get Your Book on Bookstore Shelves
4. Be human
Although it’s important to be confident, ensure that you still come across as relatable and human. While it’s okay to have boundaries and keep certain information or events private, there’s a benefit to connecting with readers by opening up and allowing them to get to know the person behind the words.
A quote from Ulysses author, James Joyce, comes to mind: “In the particular is contained the universal”. Consider sharing your interests, hobbies, and struggles with your readers. Doing so allows them to better understand who you are and how they can relate to you.
Interact with social media followers. Consider speaking with your readers as you speak to your friends. If you’re friendly, be friendly. If you’re witty, be witty. Be your authentic self and others will relate. This way, when your audience gets to know you and purchases your book, they’ll feel as if they’re supporting someone they know and not just an author.
Jen Hatmaker is a nonfiction author who excels at connecting with her readers by sharing real-life experiences. While she’s rightfully known for sharing helpful and humorous parenting advice, she doesn’t shy away from sharing her personal struggles with her readers, too. Her openness helped her grow and broaden her audience, as many people felt they could relate to her experiences.
Author recommendation: Check Out Author Jen Hatmaker's Work
5. Grow your social media presence smartly
Grow your social media presence smartly by uncovering where your target audience is spending their time and then building your presence on those platforms. For example, if you’re a business leader or coach, consider using a platform like LinkedIn. However, if you’re more of a lifestyle or self-help author, Instagram may be a better platform to use. Note that you don’t have to have a presence on all platforms to market your book successfully. In fact, focusing in on one or two platforms can be a better strategy than spreading yourself too thin.
Once you decide which social media platforms to use, share relevant content regularly. The best way to grow your platform is to provide high-quality content for your target audience. Allow your readers to engage with you and get to know you better through your posts. Some effective post ideas include:
personal life updates
a cover reveal
an unboxing video
positive book review
posing a question for your readers
sharing other author’s content that your target audience may enjoy
6. Utilize email
In the age of social media, some authors don't view email as an important piece of their marketing strategy. However, I'd argue that it's one of the most important tools for establishing long-term support. Social media trends come and go, and the days when Facebook goes dark mean authors may lose access to their audience. An email list is a guaranteed way to always have a channel to communicate with your readers.
Ensure that you share content that’s meaningful to your audience. Many authors achieve this by sending routine newsletters to their email lists. Some ideas for author newsletters include:
personal life updates
sales and promotions
a free sample chapter
insight into your writing process
resources related to your book
what you’re reading
thank you messages
Learn more: 7 Reasons Every Author Should Have an Email List
7. Network with other experts in your field
Network and communicate with other authors and experts in your field. Share their work with your readers so that when your book releases, these individuals may be willing to share your book with their audiences as well. When other respected authors and professionals endorse your book, it helps establish your credibility and is free promotion.
If you’re an author who is hoping to get your book - nonfiction or fiction - in the hands of more readers, you can download my FREE guide,10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch.