Myth or fact: once a book has launched and the new release buzz has died down, there’s nothing else you can do to market that book except write the next one.
Myth! Unfortunately, many authors and publishers think there’s nothing more they can do for a book after the crucial first few weeks. But the truth is, with a little creativity and persistence, you can continue marketing a book to effectively reach new readers well after its birthday.
Here are some strategies you can use to promote a book in the two to six months following its release to keep the momentum going before it’s considered “backlist”:
1. Use discounting to hook new readers
If you’re promoting a book released within the past six months, consider discounting an older book in your backlist. You can use a backlist book to hook new readers and build a fanbase that will be interested in your newer release. While this strategy can work in the leadup to a book launch, it’s also effective in the weeks and months following the new book’s release.
Readers are more inclined to try a book or author they’ve never heard of if it’s offered at a lower price, like $0.99 or $1.99. However, they’re less likely to risk spending full-price before they’re a fan of an author’s work. So while you may not want to discount your new title, 60% of bargain readers purchase other books from an author they discovered through a price promotion, so after they buy a discounted backlist title they’ll often be willing to buy your newer book at full price. In fact, over 70% of BookBub partners reported increased sales for their other books after running a price promotion, so this cross-promotion strategy could be highly lucrative. Prior to discounting a book, update it to cross-promote your newer release in the back matter, so it’s easy for your new readers to discover it.
For example, if you’re promoting the latest book in a series, offer the first book in the series for free or at a deeply discounted price for more than three days and promote the discount using a service like BookBub. By discounting the first in the series, you’ll hook new readers who will likely buy the subsequent books in the series at full price, including the title you’re actively promoting.
Discounting a backlist title is also an effective strategy for promoting frontlist books, even if the newer book isn’t part of a series. For example, hybrid author Cheryl Kaye Tardif increased sales of her standalone book 130x by discounting it to $0.99 and promoting the discount with BookBub.