If you have a book out, you’re looking for effective author marketing tools. What happens when you do a search for those keywords — ‘book marketing tools?’

About 9,200,000 results (0.29 seconds)

BookMarketingWordleA whole industry has exploded in recent years with the growth in self-publishing and the success of the independent author market. Like you, I get dozens of emails each week from companies promising me a once-in-a-lifetime deal on a promotion that will surely result in a zillion book sales.

OK…maybe not that dramatic, but you get the idea.

Wading through all that is available to authors can be overwhelming. I have had success with some services and little or none with others. Here are six tools that I have found beneficial for a variety of reasons. The results I’m looking for are increased sales and new fans. I evaluate a service’s worth by effectiveness of results, value added, ease of use, and communication/customer service.

Six Effective Author Marketing Tools

BookBub: What it is. BookBub is an (expensive!) advertising list service that helps readers discover deals on acclaimed ebooks while providing authors with a way to drive sales and find new fans.  Why I like it: For deeply discounted or free books, it’s a great way to increase downloads, which can increase a book’s ranking and thus spike visibility. The significant distribution of the BookBub email list provides exposure to new readers. Toby’s Tip: Getting a BookBub deal isn’t easy, but keep trying and don’t give up! If you get turned down, evaluate your cover and blurb and get more reviews or win an award before submitting again. Also, use their Author Profile page and add their “follow me on BB” buttons to your website to build a presence there.

BookRhythm: What it is: BookRhythm has become a leader in marketing opportunities for independent and traditionally published authors.  Why I like it: They coordinate and host Facebook Parties which are a great way to engage fans and recruit new ones. Most importantly, they do all the heavy lifting! Great value. Toby’s Tip: Gather authors of similar genre and pool your readers to cross promote and “get to know” them through a Facebook party. The Bookrhythm Team has great suggestions for promoting your events and giveaways.

Facebook Ads: What it is: Facebook Ads have matured into a top marketing tool for all businesses, including publishing. Ads appear in users’ streams and in their sidebar on desktop and mobile devices. Why I like it: Enhanced targeting features in Ads Creation allows me to  target potential readers based upon location, interest — including other authors they follow — and demographic. I can also set my budget by spending as little as $5 a day. Toby’s Tip: Use the targeting feature to reach new, not existing, readers and fans. Existing readers can be reached via your Author Page and other non-paid venues.

Email List: What it is. Tools like Mailchimp (which I use), Constant Contact, and Topica allow authors to capture email addresses of fans to build a personally owned  list that can be used for communications. Why I like it: I can reach my devoted fans and offer special deals and promotions via dedicated links and content in a newsletter, without being dependent on any third party. Toby’s Tip: Try out the free version of a tool before committing to a paid plan (MaiChimp allows up to 2k email addresses before requiring a paid service!) Also, take advantage of all of the tools your mail list tool provides, including website and social media integration, creating sublists, and Google Analytics tracking.

StoryFinds: What it is: StoryFinds offers free and daily specials on independent books; showcasing books on sale and books priced for $1 or less. They offer book cover contests and a variety of promotion options. Why I like it: The staff are very easy to work with and the author page is a nice feature. Great value for dollar spent. Toby’s Tip: If you are a new author and don’t have a website, take advantage of their author page tool, it’s a terrific way to easily promote your works.

The Fussy Librarian: What it is: The Fussy Librarian is a website that matches readers not only with the genre of books they like but also their preferences about content. They also host various giveaways. Why I like it: Very easy to schedule promotions and discount for adding an additional book. Daily emails to a very large membership and robust website attracts new readers. Toby’s Tip: If your book covers multiple genres, be sure to select an additional genre (a reduced fee is applied) to increase your exposure.

These are just a sampling of the companies and services I have used in recent years. I would enjoy hearing others’ comments on these and other services.  

One last Toby Tip: If you are looking to advertise on a website, check its PageRank (There are free tools and browser extensions for this). High-quality sites—the ones you want to be on— receive a higher PageRank, which Google remembers each time it conducts a search. And Google rules! The bottom line is: Do your research! Find the best promotion opportunity and then check your data afterward to evaluate effectiveness.

Got any favorite author marketing tools I’ve missed?

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