Marketing Tips From The Publishers Roundtable

Book Publishers Northwest’s February 2016 meeting was a meet-up of local publishers and authors to discuss what works and doesn’t work for them. For many, the major task remains marketing. Here’s a few suggestions made during the evening and at earlier meetings in 2015.

BookBub was mentioned by several members as one of the better sites for advertising ebook deals.

Advertise In Ebook Reader Newsletters
One of the largest e-newsletters out there for ebook readers, BookBub drives sales for publishers by allowing them to advertise ebook deals to their readers. This is not an inexpensive advertising option. BPNW members suggested this marketing tactic works best for publishers of genre fiction, particularly romance, and also mentioned that it can take several months to get a slot in a popular newsletter like BookBub. Several similar enewsletter sites are listed below. Each has different requirements for the type of book that they will advertise. Some required a minimum number of reviews on Amazon. Others will only take new titles. Read directions carefully. One tip from a publisher is to spread out ads on such sites so you never have more than one ad running during a set time period. This allows easier tracking of impact than running several ads simultaneously. All of these sites depend upon an ebook version being available via a major seller such as Amazon:

Create Box Sets or Anthologies
This topic will be explored in-depth for BPNW’s March meeting. Largely used by publishers of fiction, “box sets” allow authors to partner with several people to present several ebooks sold together as a “box set.” For those with short fiction or essays, an anthology serves the same purpose.  Whether single author or multiple author, box sets are priced so that readers spend less than if they had purchased each book in the set individually. Anthologies also serve as a way that authors can reprint stories or essays previously appearing in several different publications. This technique is used to build word-of-mouth as well as better results in sale site search engines for authors. Such sets work well for “deals” in the ebook newsletters listed above.

Send Out Review Copies
A variety of websites offer ways to get digital review copies, aka galleys, into the hands of readers, librarians, and booksellers. The best-known and, according to some, most expensive is NetGalley. Unless publishing multiple titles per year, BPNW members suggested joining with other authors or publishers to defray costs. Another site that offers “giveaways” of galleys is GoodReads. GoodReads suggests running a giveaway about one month prior to publication but the timing is up to the author or publisher. Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association runs a program for publishers to send review copies to interested booksellers called Northwest New Title Preview. Information about this and other advertising programs is available on PNBA’s website.

Show Off Photos On Instagram
Instagram is all about posting images via smartphones or tablets. It can be viewed but not accessed through laptops or desktop computers. Nonfiction publishers with photo-heavy books can tease a topic with selected pictures or using pictures that didn’t make the final printed edition. Several mentioned that using hashtags (#flowers or #Seattle) are essential for building a following. It was suggested that for each photo posted that people should put three or more hashtags in the comment section.

Reader Magnets To Build Newsletter Lists
The idea of creating “reader magnets” to build a newsletter following for an author or publisher comes from a site called A free copy of his tips are available from author Nick Stephenson by emailing or you can watch his webinars on his site. His methods rely on building value for the reader to encourage them to sign up for an enewsletter. Said one BPNW member: “He does simple step-by-step graphics for building an email list that I really like.”

Got a tip that you’d like to share? Post it in the comments section.