If you’re reading this blog post, you almost certainly have access to a free way of promoting your book that you may have overlooked. Every time you send an email, you can include an advertisement for your book beneath your signature. It’s quick and simple to create what’s effectively an advert by using the “settings” option in your email menu, the same facility that you’d use to set up a signature block or out-of-office reply.
Along with your book’s title, consider including in your advert:
- a line of text describing your book (a “strapline” as it’s known in the advertising trade)
- technical details such as ISBN, format (paperback, e-book, etc), price, number of pages
- a clickable link to your author website
- a clickable link to an online ordering facility (either on your author website, on your publisher’s online bookshop, Amazon or similar)
- a quote from one of your best reviews as a third-party endorsement
- a small picture (thumbnail) of your bookjacket, to create familiarity with its appearance
- any other hotlinks to relevant sites e.g. if you have an author page on Facebook or a LinkedIn profile
If you have any further books in the pipeline, you can highlight them here too with a “Coming Soon!” flash. Don’t forget to come back and update this advert when the book is published!
Regarding the links to online buying facilities, make sure you link directly to the page showing your book, not just to the store in general, where your potential buyer could easily get distracted and go off in search of someone else’s books. To find the precise link that you need, visit the page that shows your book, then cut and paste the URL in the white search box at the top of the screen.
When you insert the link in your advert, you will be given the option to choose a different word or phrase that will be visible to the reader. Thus you should end up with the advert saying something like “Click here to order my book online” rather than showing the unwieldy URL.
Take time to arrange all of this information neatly, making the most of the options your email package allows you. Choose the font, its colour, size and layout with as much care as you would take over a printed letterhead. I spent an hour and a half setting up my email footer before I was happy with it, and I daresay I’ll change it again in a week or two, just to keep it looking fresh and different and therefore noticeable.
You might decide you’d like different versions of your advert – one for readers, one for stockists, another for libraries, for example. In that case, try setting it up as a series of templates, so that you can select the most appropriate one for each email.
Of course, if you want to send an email without any advert at the end, you can simply delete it as appropriate, e.g. if you’re sending an email to someone who you know has already bought your book!
However you go about it, it will be time well spent. Even if adding this advert doesn’t yield you any instant orders, you’ll still be familiarising potential buyers with your book and gently reminding them of its appeal each time you contact them. They’ll certainly be able to spot it on a bookshelf next time they see it in a shop or library.
Revisit your ad every so often to refresh it, perhaps changing the review or adding your latest news headline, for example your next book signing event, along with a clickable link to the news story about it on your author site or to an online invitation with more details and RSVP instructions. If you write a blog on your author website, you could add a link to the latest blog post, showing its title for a bit of extra intrigue. (Just remember to change it every time you add a new post.)
Have fun creating your advert, and if you’d ever like to test it out on a friendly recipient, just email it to me and I’ll be happy to give you a free appraisal!