Top 10 Hardcover Book Promotion Sites

This is part of the WriteZero Top 10 Book Promotion Sites Guide for Authors & Publishers

This Top 10 lists covers the best book promotion sites and marketing methods for promoting hardcover books

  1. To promote paperbacks please look at this post
    1. Top 10 Paperback Book Promotion Sites
  2. To promote ebooks at $0.99 and $2.99 please look at these posts
    1. Top 10 $0.99 Book Promotion Sites
    2. Top 10 $2.99 Book Promotion Sites
  3. To promote full price ebooks, please look at this post
    1. Top 10 Full Price Book Promotion Sites

The following post is focused completely on promoting Hardcover Books

The Top 10 – Top 10 Hardcover Book Promotion Sites

  1. Facebook Ads
    1. Facebooks Ads are, arguably, the best book promotion method for hardcover books
  2. Bookbub CPC Ads
    1. Bookbub is the biggest book promotion site with 15 million readers
    2. Bookbub CPC Ads let you promote hardcover books
  3. Books Butterfly Paperback & Hardcover Book Promotion Packages
    1. Books Butterfly is the 2nd biggest book promotion site with 4 million readers
    2. Books Butterfly has packages tailored for promoting hardcovers and paperbacks
    3. Disclosure: Books Butterfly is our sister company which has successfully run $1.9 million of book promotion packages
  4. Amazon Marketing Services
    1. Amazon Marketing Services is Amazon’s in-house offering to promote books
    2. At the moment, AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) only lets you run Ads in the Amazon Kindle store section of
    3. You can target specific authors’ book pages, or you can target specific book pages. These two are the recommended methods
    4. You can also target keywords. That method is not recommended as it does not work well
    5. AMS Ads is worth trying out
  5. Google Adwords
    1. Google is the largest search engine in the world and Google Ads let you promote your book on Google Search and other Google Properties and Google Partners
      1. We strong recommend starting off by promoting only on Google Search and not on Google’s Partner sites
    2. Google Adwords is very competitive and you have to do a lot of work to find less competitive keywords
    3. Google Adwords can be very expensive, because there are so many companies advertising on Google Adwords
  6. Bing Ads
    1. Bing Ads is the 2nd largest search engine in the world
      1. Bing Ads lets you promote to Bing Search and to Micorsoft Bing’s partner sites
    2. Bing Ads is very similar to Google Adwords and also has the same strengths and weaknesses
  7. Social Media Ads (Twitter Ads, Tik Tok ads, Instagram Ads, Snapchat Ads & Snapchat Stories)
    1. Social Media is more attuned to creating awareness, creating buzz, and piquing readers’ interest
    2. Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Twitter all have their advertising networks
      1. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is arguably the best social media marketing method to start with

70% of people prefer reading paper books. However, online book marketing sites are still focused on ebook promotions. There are very few  good marketing options to promote hard cover books

Honorable Mentions – Hardcover Book Promotion Sites outside The Top 10

  1. To Be Updated

Due to the scarcity of book promotion sites which promote hardcovers and paperbacks well, we don’t yet have an Honorable Mentions list. Over time, as more book promotion sites become good at promoting hardcovers and paperbacks, we will update this post

Increasing Your Chances of Getting Accepted for a Hardcover Book Promotion with the top Hardcover book promotion sites

For the bidding based systems such as Facebook Ads, Amazon Marketing Services, Google Ads, and Bing Ads there is no ‘human approval’. However, your ads will sometimes be reviewed. Please be sure to follow their policies and not have anything very controversial or they will ban your account

The quality of your book doesn’t matter as there is no human approval

For the top Hardcover Book Promotion Sites there are a few things you should do to increase your chances of getting approved –

  1. Ensure the book is in the right book categories
    1. You should have a very good idea of what book categories your book fits into
    2. You should place the book in those categories, and only in those categories
    3. This is a ‘must have’ rule, because authors who don’t even know what the right category for their book is, or who do not place it in the right book categories, hardly ever sell well
  2. Make sure the book price is reasonable for what readers are getting
    1. If you have written a book as good as a Stephen King book (not just in your imagination, in reality), then it’s fine if you want to charge $20 to $35 for the hardcover
      1. However, if it is only worth $15 then charge $15
    2. A satisfied reader provides repeat business, word of mouth, good reviews, and many other benefits
    3. Above all else, you should strive to make readers feel they got their money’s worth, and a lot more besides
  3. Ensure the hardcover is polished and ready
    1. Polished – professionally proof read and professionally edited
    2. That is the only acceptable definition of ‘polished’
    3. You cannot replace a professional book editor with
      1. Your cousin’s wife who teaches at a community college
      2. Your daughter who got a high score on her SATs
      3. Your neighbor who once wrote a book on best restaurants in Madrid
      4. You must get a professional book editor with experience in your book’s specific book categories
    4. You cannot replace a professional proof reader with
      1. Microsoft Spell Check
      2. Grammar checking software
      3. Editing Software
      4. Your friend
      5. A fellow author
      6. Some combination of the above
      7. You need a professional proof reader
  4. Ensure your hardcover is well packaged
    1. Beautiful book cover – By far the most important selling point is the quality and finish and attention to detail of the book cover
    2. Good book jacket
    3. Good back cover
    4. Make your book something readers will love seeing on their bookshelf and they will buy it
      1. If your book cover is good enough, they will buy it just for the book cover
  5. Make sure the book is well written and easy to read
    1. Our first draft is usually half baked
      1. Unfortunately, a few authors think it was written perfect and leave it in this half baked state
      2. Please don’t be one of those authors
      3. Keep improving your book
    2. A good book usually requires 3 to 5 rewrites to flow very well and read well
    3. Your editor will also help you greatly, to make your book more readable and to ensure it flows well
  6. Get some reviews for the book so readers know what other readers think of it
    1. Readers trust other readers more than anyone else
    2. A reader giving your book a good review is that reader vouching for the quality of your book to other readers
    3. Social Proof – People want ‘proof’ from other people (hence, social proof) that your book is good
    4. Pre Selection – People want other people to have tested and tried out your book and ‘selected’ it as a good read BEFORE they themselves take a gamble on it (hence pre selection)
    5. Reviews are essential to sell your book, and most of the top hardcover book promotion sites will require your book to have reviews before they accept it
  7. Make sure the book is a full book and stands well on its own
    1. Does it make sense to charge $15 to $35 for a hardcover book and not give readers a full experience?
    2. How would you feel if you watched a movie for $20 and at the end the movie said – Story completes in Part 2
    3. Make sure your book is a standalone book and stands on its own, even if it is part of a series
  8. Present yourself well and professionally
    1. Your author profile and the photograph you use must be professional and well done
    2. Your author website and social media presence must also be well managed and set up well
    3. Present yourself well as readers will not buy a book from anyone who seems to not be a serious author (unless you are a celebrity)
  9. Make it crystal clear to the readers what the book category is, and who the book is written for
    1. The book categories the book falls into must be clearly mentioned
    2. Book Cover must match genre conventions
    3. To the extent possible, share details on what books your book is similar to, and what authors your writing style is similar to
  10. Make sure your hardcover book meets genre expectations and is a pleasurable read for readers in its book genres
    1. Readers are buying your book to ensure they get the ‘reading satisfaction’ and ‘reading experience’ that they love
    2. Every book category has its own conventions and expectations
    3. You must make sure your book is in the right book categories, and you must make sure you satisfy those genre expectations
    4. New authors will sometimes think they can ‘break genre conventions’ and trailblaze a new path and change what the genre means
      1. They think they have a poetic license to redefine the genre
      2. Firstly, there are only a handful of authors in the entire world that can do that
      3. Secondly, it is better to first crawl (sell well while meeting genre expectations) than to try to start running (change an entire genre)
    5. Your book must provide the EXACT reading experience readers crave

The top hardcover book promotion sites will consider these factors because these are the factors that lead to book sales. The more they think ‘your book is going to do well’, the higher the chance they will accept your book

If you have a hard time getting accepted by hardcover book promotion sites, it is very important to not take it personally, not get upset, and make sure you are covering the factors listed above. The single biggest reason for books not getting accepted is – the author underestimating the level of fit and finish required to sell books

Hardcover Book Promotion Sites – Biggest Mistakes to Avoid

These are the biggest mistakes to avoid when marketing and promoting your Hardcover book

  1. Please don’t write a book for a market that doesn’t exist
    1. The biggest mistake to avoid is -> Writing a book for a market that only exists in your imagination
    2. Market research is critical BEFORE you start writing
    3. Please find a market with as many of the following characteristics as possible
      1. Lots of demand from readers to buy books and read books
        1. They must be willing to BUY books, not just read them
      2. Very little competition
        1. Ideally, there should be very few authors writing books for this market
        2. At the minimum, the supply of books should be much less than the amount of demand from readers
      3. A growing market, or a very stable market
        1. Ideal is a fast growing market
        2. Also acceptable is a stable market
      4. An ever green market
        1. A market that has been around for a long time
      5. You have some special competitive advantages
        1. Example: You’re a lawyer writing legal thrillers
        2. Example: You are a tech executive writing technothrillers
        3. Example: You are writing Cozy Mysteries set in Spain and you lived there for 6 years
      6. It is difficult for other Authors and other Publishers to copy you or clone your work
        1. Don’t enter a market where you will become successful and then, within 6 months, there will be 20 people who just duplicate your books and saturate the market
      7. It is difficult for other Authors to enter the market
        1. If there is some difficult requirement to write in a market, that makes it better suited
        2. Some markets are so easy to enter (Kids’ Books, some genres of Non Fiction) that they get overwhelmed with new authors the minute any existing author starts doing well
  2. Avoid assumptions that book publishing and book marketing are easy
    1. A very common mistake new authors make is confusing
      1. Anyone can now publish books
      2. with
      3. Anyone can now publish books successfully
    2. They start thinking that there is nothing to it
      1. Anyone can write a book
      2. Anyone can publish a book
      3. That must mean Anyone can become a successful author
      4. Truth is that it is very, very difficult to succeed as an author
      5. There are millions of authors trying to do well
    3. New authors are best served by affording existing authors and Publishers some respect for the success they have achieved
      1. That success took a lot of hard work
  3. Don’t promote a book to the wrong set of readers
    1. Everything will revolve around finding the right set of readers and promoting your book to them
    2. First of all, you need to figure out what your book categories are
    3. Then, you should set up a plan to reach the right readers for those book categories
    4. After that, you execute on your plan and actually market and promote your book to these readers
      1. Throughout the process, you need to make sure to measure results and see what is working and what is not working
    5. Your success as an author will depend on how good you become at finding the right readers for your book, and promoting them to it
  4. Avoid cutting corners on quality of Product
    1. With a hardcover book you are asking the reader to pay you $15 to $35 for a book
    2. It’s absolutely imperative to have a high quality product that is worth $15 to $35
    3. You have to make sure to cross all your t’s and dot all your i’s
  5. Please don’t fall in love with your book and start thinking it is Perfect
    1. A truly unfortunate new author mistake is to start thinking their first book ever was born perfect
      1. That the minute the first draft was finished, Stephen King and George Martin said – finally, someone as good as us
      2. If that sounds like a joke, it’s not
      3. There are an absurdly high number of first time authors walking around thinking they are as good as Stephen King
    2. The best way to kill your career as an author is to start thinking your work is perfect
    3. The less experience you have of writing books, the more you need to learn
    4. The more you think your books are born perfect, the less the chance you will improve
    5. To embrace success, you have to accept that you are starting off as a new author and you can’t just press the Easy button and become a world class author
  6. Avoid tiring yourself out early. It is a marathon
    1. A lot of new authors have the mind set of ‘I’ll get it all done in 3 months/6 months/12 months’
    2. Your first 1 or 2 years you should just sit back and take it all in
    3. Book Publishing has been around for CENTURIES
    4. It’s great that you’re excited as a new author
    5. However, you are not going to come in and figure everything out in a month or two
  7. Please don’t try to do it all yourself
    1. Book Publishing requires a number of specialists to coordinate to create a high quality product (a book)
    2. You need a very well written book
    3. Then you need a professional book editor to edit the book
    4. Then a professional proof reader to proof read the book
    5. Then a professional book cover designer to create a high quality book cover
    6. Similarly, at every step you need to work with experts and specialists
    7. It is very, very important to not think it’s trivial and one person can ‘do it all’
  8. Don’t re-invent the wheel
    1. Almost every problem you will face has been faced by millions of authors and thousands of Publishers
      1. There are solutions for nearly every problem
    2. Instead of spending 10 years re-inventing the wheel
      1. Learn from other people’s experiences and save yourself a lot of time and effort
    3. We only have a hundred years to live
      1. If you try to re-invent the wheel you will never have enough time to actually enjoy writing books and to enjoy having readers read your book
      2. All that time is better spent on improving your writing and improving your other Author skills
  9. Don’t be directionless and always follow your master plan
    1. There are a lot of different directions you can go in
    2. If you don’t have a clear sense of direction, you will end up somewhere you don’t want to be
    3. Have a master plan
      1. Follow your master plan

As an author you will make a lot of mistakes. If you can sidestep the above mistakes, you will have a significant advantage over other authors. The more you can learn from those who came before you, the higher your chances of doing well as an author

Improving the Results of Your Hardcover Book Promotion with the Top 10 Hardcover Book Promotion Sites

There are 8 main things to do to improve your results with a hardcover book promotion site

  1. Make sure your hardcover book is available for sale in the book stores and at the right price
    1. Last thing you want is for a technical error to derail your book promotion and marketing efforts
    2. Make sure your hardcover is available for sale – readers can actually buy it
    3. Make sure your hardcover is at the right price
  2. Make sure your hardcover is classified and categorized in the right book categories
    1. Additionally, make sure you clearly state (in the book title, or in the first paragraph of the book description) what the book categories are
  3. Make sure you promote your hardcover to the right set of readers
    1. Most marketing methods let you target very specific sets of readers
      1. Promote only to the right readers
    2.  Most top hardcover book promotion sites have readers categorized by book genres
      1. Promote only to the right readers
  4. Polish your book as much as you can
    1. Furthermore, polish the most obvious parts of your book the most
      1. The book cover
      2. The sample
      3. The editing of the sample
      4. The book description
      5. The author profile
  5. Treat your book as a Product, because It is a Product
    1. Is it meeting customers’ needs
    2. Is it priced right?
    3. Is it a high quality product?
    4. Is it marketed well?
    5. Are you making an effort to sell it well?
  6. Gather all the data you can, and then make improvements
    1. What kind of cover works for your books?
    2. What categories does your book do well in?
    3. What categories does your book not do well in?
    4. What marketing methods work for your book?
    5. What are your key performance indicators? What are the metrics that let you measure whether book promotion works or not?
    6. Gather as much data as you can
    7. Then analyze the data and make improvements
    8. What Gets Measured Gets Managed
      1. The better you measure what is working and what is not working
      2. The easier it will be for you to improve performance (by focusing on what is working for you)
  7. Be persistent and patient
    1. There are always small missteps and small failures
    2. There are even sometimes large challenges and painful failures
    3. In all cases, you have to keep moving along, to keep improving
    4. Be persistent because you have will have to overcome a lot of adversity to succeed
    5. Be patient because contrary to the ‘dream’ of fast success and great riches, being an author is a slow and tough grind
  8. Work with the book promotion site
    1. Ask them about best practices
    2. Check on what book categories they are going to promote your book in
    3. Ask them what you can do to improve results

These are all things worth doing. You might find internal resistance against ‘What Gets Measured Gets Managed’ and ‘Treat Your Book as a Product’. Overcome it by any means necessary

You are selling a product and you must measure how it is doing and you must optimize marketing and sales. The art parts finishes once you’ve written and polished your book. After that it is business and science and experience that comes into play

Hardcover Book Promotion Sites – Promoting to the Right Book Genres

The higher up you go in price, the more targeted you have to be in your marketing

This is especially true in books as readers almost always stick to their favorite genre(s) and very rarely buy and read anything outside of those favorite genres

Hardcover book promotion depends almost completely on how well you select the book categories and promoting to readers in these categories

  1. You have to make sure you know what book genres your hardcover book falls into
  2. You have to ensure you are selecting a book cover, a book title, a book description, and book genres which make it crystal clear what the book’s categories are
  3. You have to place the hardcover book in the right categories when requesting book stores and online stores to ‘stock’ it
  4. You have to promote to readers in the right book genres
    1. Right book genres = the exact book genres the book fits into
  5. You have to make sure at every step of the process that you are reassuring readers that the book is in the genres they read
    1. While making sure you are promoting to the right readers

The Game is Won or Lost in the Selection of Book Categories

Everything else you do is useless if you put your book in the wrong categories or promote it to the wrong readers

Let’s compare with a real world example

  1. You make the best breakfast cereal in the world. You put it in the frozen goods aisle. It doesn’t sell
    1. Why does it not sell?
    2. Because customers looking for breakfast cereal don’t go to the frozen goods aisle
    3. Authors will use broken logic – Pretty sure some small percentage of people looking for frozen pizza will also be open to buying breakfast cereal. Einstein says – you will be the only breakfast cereal in the frozen pizza aisle. You are bound to sell very well
      1. In real life, that never works
      2. Authors will try crazy things like this and then they will wonder why none of the people looking for frozen goods bought their breakfast cereal
  2. It is far simpler to just put your breakfast cereal in the breakfast cereal aisle

If you are particularly stubborn and/or extremely wedded to failing without even taking a proper shot, you will be reluctant to put your book in the right book categories

Sometimes it’s best to just follow what has been proven to work. Putting books in the exact book categories they fit into works. Look at every bookstore in the world. They all categorize books by book category. If it’s been working for 100+ years. If every bookstore does it

Perhaps it’s best to just do the same – put your book into the exact book categories its is a good match for

Becoming a Bestseller with a Hardcover Book Promotion

Becoming a Bestseller with a Hardcover Book Promotion is very difficult

We are talking about the large bestseller lists (New York Times Bestsellers List, USA Today Bestsellers List, Wall Street Journal Bestsellers List)

You need to sell a very large number of hardcover books (thousands) to become a bestseller

As hardcover books are quite expensive, this takes a gargantuan marketing effort

We do not recommend spending a lot of money trying to become a bestseller with your hardcover book. It very rarely works

Here is how you could, in theory, become a Hardcover Bestselling Author

  1. If you are a big brand name author with a large following, then you can take a shot at becoming a bestseller with a Hardcover Book Promotion
    1. However, as a self published author it is almost impossible
    2. Even if you are a published author with a large publisher, it is difficult unless you already have a large reader base
  2. If you have a very large marketing budget then you can try to use a massive marketing push to overcome not being a big name author
    1. However, that marketing money is much better spent later in your career
    2. After readers know you as an author and trust you
    3. In the beginning of your career you should focus on smaller marketing pushes
  3. If you have the backing of a Large Publisher or a large company, and they are willing to spend heavily, then you can take a shot
    1. Again, the larger your reader base, the higher the chance you can become a bestseller
    2. If you are a new author, then even a Large Publisher will have a very hard time turning you into a Bestseller with a hardcover

We would recommend focusing on more attainable goals

How to Increase the Number of Reviews you get after Promoting a Hardcover Book

Getting reviews is an Art and a Science

The ‘Art’ part of it is

  1. Have a beautifully written book
  2. Appeal to readers’ higher senses
  3. Appeal to readers’ literary sensibilities
  4. Delight Readers
  5. Give readers stronger and higher emotions than they have ever experienced before

If readers ‘feel’ very strongly about your book, then they are likely to leave a review (and a good one too)

That (providing an exceptional experience and emotional highs and lows) is the best way to get reviews

The ‘Science’ part of it is

  1. Asking Readers for Reviews
  2. [When possible] Asking the readers most likely to enjoy the book
  3. Promoting to Readers who are a good fit for the book
  4. Having a very polished book
  5. [When possible] Asking the readers who enjoy the book enough to finish it to leave a review
  6. Having a story that flows very smoothly and reads very well
  7. [When possible] Asking your staunchest admirers and fans for reviews
  8. Having a very well edited book so the story is immersive
  9. Having a very well proof reader book so that readers stay in the story world and don’t have errors drag them back to reality

As you can see, there is a lot more to getting reviews than simply – writing a book and promoting it

You cannot ignore the ‘Art’ aspect, because in the end it must be a book that moves people, and that will compel them to leave a review

You also cannot ignore the ‘Science’ aspect, because Science works. Asking for reviews, asking readers who actually finish the book, having an immersive story, having a well polished book, are all necessary items

Getting good reviews for your book is an Art and a Science. It is a skill to be learnt and mastered

Avoiding Negative Reviews when promoting your Hardcover

Luckily, people who pay a high price are unlikely to leave bad reviews

However, you have to make an effort

Things to do to avoid negative reviews

  1. Have a well edited and well proof read book (edited and proof read by professionals)
    1. The best thing you can do to avoid negative reviews
  2. Have the book classified in the right book categories
  3. Represent the book honestly and accurately
  4. Don’t insult any set of people, if you can avoid it
  5. Don’t write something that is too political, unless you specifically are writing a political novel
  6. Make sure the book is worth at least the price you charge for it
  7. Rewrite the book at least once, and ideally thrice, to ensure the story flows well

Things to do to increase chances of getting a good review

  1. Ask for reviews and, if possible, ask for reviews multiple times
  2. Make sure the reader is not pulled out of the story world (book should be written and rewritten to flow very smoothly, all the facts must be correct, there must be no logical inconsistencies)
  3. Try and give way more value to the reader than you charge for the book
    1. With a $15 to $35 hardcover book, that would mean giving the reader $30 to $70 worth of writing excellence
  4. Write very, very well
  5. Find a market that is underserved and write for that
    1. If people are starved of good books in a market, then they are very, very happy to give good reviews for an actual good book

Please also read the section earlier on in the post, which covers Getting More Reviews at great length

Hardcover Book Promotion Sites vs Facebook Ads

Promoting Hardcover books is difficult on most marketing channels because of the higher price of hardcover books

That being said, Facebook is the best option for promoting hardcover books for a few reasons

  1. Facebook lets you reach readers who buy paper books
    1. Readers already buying paperbacks between $10 to $20 and hardcovers between $15 to $35 are the readers most likely to buy your hardcover
    2. Many of the other marketing channels promote ebooks and paperbacks and hardcovers, and a $20 hardcover seems exorbitantly priced when compared to $10 paperbacks and $3 ebooks
    3. Facebook’s biggest advantage is that you can reach readers who don’t even know cheap books (in the form of cheap ebooks) exist
  2.  Facebook allows micro targeting
    1. You can target people down to a scary level of detail
    2. If you have a war novel you can target any of the following groups
      1. People who read war novels
      2. People who served in the armed forces
      3. People who have shown interest in signing up for the armed forces
      4. People who like war video games
      5. People who have an interesting in a particular war (such as World War I history buffs)
    3. The level of targeting Facebook allows is unprecedented and can really help you reach the perfect set of readers for your hardcover
  3.  Facebook has an almost infinite stream of readers
    1. Facebook has 2 billion people (supposedly)
    2. Even if we assume only 10% of those read books, it’s still 200 million readers
    3. You can promote your book to 200 new readers a day and it would still take you a million days to run out of readers
      1. To consider how absurd that is, imagine if you had no marketing budget limitations
      2. You could promote your book to 20,000 new readers a day and you could keep promoting to 20,000 new readers every day for 10,000 days (30 years)
    4. Please note that the price to reach readers does not scale linearly
      1. It is easy to reach a small number of readers each day using Facebook Ads
      2. However, if you want to start reaching a large number of readers, costs go up quickly
      3. We recommend starting with a small $5 or $10 a day budget
  4.  Facebooks bidding model favors people selling higher priced books over people selling lower priced books
    1. An author selling a $3 ebook and making $2 per sale, can only afford 10 clicks per book sale
      1. Assuming each click costs 20 cents
      2. In actual practice click costs can rise quickly
      3. To get one sale from every 10 clicks, an author would need to get 10% conversion
        1. That’s very difficult to do
      4. An author selling a $3 ebook either has to find some way to get very cheap clicks (difficult as more and more people advertise on Facebook)
        1. Or the author has to find some way to get very high conversion (also very difficult to do)
    2. Whereas, an author selling a $20 hardcover who makes $6 per hardcover sale
      1. Can afford 30 clicks at 20 cents per click
      2. Getting 1 sale out of 30 clicks requires just 3.33% conversion
      3. A 3.33% conversion rate is quite doable
  5. Facebook works very well for books that are not in main stream categories
    1. Most authors don’t do market research and write books in small categories or even niche categories
    2. That means your addressable market is just 1% or 2% of readers
    3. However, as Facebook by our estimates has 200 million readers, even 1% or 2% of that is 2 to 4 million readers
    4. Even if you messed up and wrote a book that has a niche audience, you can reach most/all of that niche audience on Facebook

There are a few caveats

  1. The most important is that you have to learn how Facebook Ads work
  2. The 2nd most important is that you have to adapt when things start getting competitive, and have to find new segments of readers to market to
  3. The 3rd most important is that you cannot be completely dependent on Facebook because online tech companies are very undependable at the best of times

The top hardcover book promotion sites are very good to use alongside Facebook Ads. They have some advantages of their own

  1. The audience are all readers. You don’t have to sift through every day people to find readers to target
    1. The hardcover book promotion sites have already done the work of gathering up readers
  2. If your book is in a mainstream category then the number of book readers is often quite high
    1. You can reach those readers for a cheaper price than it would cost you to reach them via Facebook ADs
  3. They have a lot of experience of running book promotion packages
    1. They can help you figure out things such as what is the best book category for your book, what improvements you should make, and whether or not you should go all out with a book

Facebook Ads as your main marketing method (if it works for you) and hardcover book promotion sites as your second marketing method (works for most authors, but you must still verify) is a very good combination

Facebook Ads don’t work for everyone

It’s very important to keep in mind that Facebook Ads won’t work for everyone. It doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your book or with you

  1. The nature of marketing and promotion is that some products sell better using some marketing methods, and some products sell better using other marketing methods
  2. Facebook Ads do require you to figure out how to use Facebook Ads
  3. There is a chance that you are unable to figure out how to get positive Return on Investment
  4. There is also a chance that Facebook Ads works for you, and then more people enter the same market segment as you and make it ineffective
  5. If you fall into the 40% to 50% of Authors who can make Facebook Ads work for them – Great!
    1. Add them to your marketing toolbox
    2. If not, then search and test other marketing methods

Hardcover Book Promotion – Facebook Ads vs Amazon Marketing Services

Amazon Marketing Services works for 20% or so of authors

It’s difficult to make Amazon Marketing Services work with hardcovers

We would recommend first trying out Facebook Ads and Hardcover Book Promotion Sites

If those marketing methods work for you, then stick with those

If those marketing methods don’t work for you, then focus on Amazon Marketing Services Ads or on real world marketing opportunities

Amazon Marketing Services has 3 main advantages

  1. You can promote your book right on the book pages of popular books and right on the book pages of big name authors
    1. You are literally putting your book on the shelf next to the bestsellers
  2. You can decide how much, or how little, you want to spend on advertising
  3. It is a good complement to Facebook Ads, if you can make AMS Ads work

It also has 4 main disadvantages

  1. It’s difficult to get it to work with positive Return on Investment
    1. Only 20% to 25% of authors get it to work
  2. Amazon reaches far fewer people on its book pages than Facebook Ads reach on Facebook
    1. Please remember that you can show your ads only on book pages
    2. That’s ‘millions of readers’
    3. By our estimates Facebook lets you reach 200 million readers
  3. Works only at certain price points and for certain book categories
    1. AMS Ads work best for books at certain prices and for certain book categories

Overall, Amazon Marketing Services is worth your time if you can’t get Facebook Ads and the top hardcover book promotion sites to work. Approach it with patience and care as it is quite a headache to get it working

Is Promoting a Hardcover the right decision? 

Promoting a Hardcover is a tough, tough endeavor

For most authors it is much better to focus on marketing and promoting your ebook

Even if you decide you must promote a paper book and not an electronic book, promoting a lower priced paperback is much better than  promoting a hardcover. The price difference makes promoting and selling paperbacks 2 to 3 easier than promoting and selling hardcover books

So, in general, promoting a hardcover book is not the right decision

If you absolutely must promote a hardcover book, be prepared for a tough journey and make sure your hardcover is well worth the price you are charging for it

Is your Hardcover ready for promotion

This is a question you MUST answer BEFORE you start marketing and promoting your hardcover

If you are not absolutely sure your Hardcover is ready, please first polish it more and work more on your strategy

These are 10 items that are critical to ensuring book sales. Out of these 10 you must have at least 8 covered BEFORE you start promoting your hardcover

  1. A beautiful and professionally designed book cover
    1. This is absolutely imperative when promoting and selling hardcovers
  2. A book that is worth at least what you are selling it for, and ideally is worth twice that
    1. This is the amount of value and/or reading pleasure the reader gets from your book
  3.  A book that is crystal clear on what book categories it fits into, and is promoted to readers in those specific book categories
  4.  A very clear strategy for how you will get good reviews to help kick start sales of the book
    1. Also Critical: A clear strategy for how you will keep getting good reviews
  5. A very well polished book that is professionally edited and professionally proof read
  6. A book that has been rewritten for readability and flow of the story
    1. The first draft is never ideal
    2. You have to rewrite a book 2 to 5 times to make it easier and more pleasurable to read
    3. You also have to ensure the story’s flow is good
  7. A book that matches genre conventions and satisfies what readers of the book’s genres desire
    1. Every book category has certain conventions. Your book must match those
    2. Every book category has certain needs and desires that readers in that genre want fulfilled. Your book must fulfil those
  8. A book price that makes sense given the level of competition, the expectations in that book category, and your target market’s financial affluence (or lack thereof)
    1. A hardcover on raising horses can afford to be priced higher
    2. A hardcover on saving money and cutting grocery bills might not work at a high price
    3. Some genres are very accommodating of higher prices, and others are not
  9. A very clear strategy and vision for your Author Career, and an understanding of how this particular hardcover fits in
    1. A very clear marketing strategy
      1. This must include whether you will keep any money you make from selling your book for yourself, or whether you will reinvest it into further marketing
    2.  A very clear strategy and plan for your career as an author
    3. A very clear idea of how this particular book fits into your master plan, and what its main function is
  10. A very patient and persistent mindset
    1. Prepare for the worst, Hope for the Best
    2. Book marketing is rather difficult
    3. Hardcover book promotion and marketing might be the most difficult of all types of book marketing
    4. You must be prepared for a long journey
    5. You must be willing and able to get through the highs and lows

Marketing and Promoting a Hardcover book is not to be taken lightly. It is a difficult endeavor and requires you to bring your A game

The 3 Core Skills for Authors

The 3 most important skills Authors need to learn are

  1. Knowing What to Write
    1. This is the skill of knowing
      1. What market to write for
      2. What book to write for that market
    2. It is a learned skill i.e. you have to do market research
      1. The more you practice this skill, the better you become
      2. The more market research you do, the higher the chance you create The Right Product for The Right Market
  2. Writing Very Well
    1. This is the skill of writing very well and creating a very polished story which is a pleasure to read
    2. This includes fit and finish
      1. Getting a professional editor and a professional proof reader are necessary and considered part of ‘Writing Very Well’
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. This is the skill of reaching the right readers, showing them your product (your book) meets their needs, and closing the sale
    2. This is actually Marketing & Sales & Customer Retention
    3. Customer Retention is absolutely critical because repeat customers make you a lot more money than one time customers
      1. Repeat customers also have zero acquisition cost
      2. It might cost you $10 to find a reader willing to buy your book
      3. If your book gives them what they are looking for, they will come back and buy your other books
      4. It costs you nothing to ‘acquire’ those sales

Please read this post on Levels of Mastery of The 3 Core Skills to better understand the 3 Core Skills for Authors

Let’s consider an example to better understand what The 3 Core Skills are. Let’s say you want to set up a Cafe which will serve food and beverages

While this might seem completely different from writing a book, it is exactly the same. You have a product in mind. You are finding the right market for it, then creating a high quality product for this market, and then you are selling it

  1. Knowing What to Sell & Where to Sell
    1. Book – What market should you write for. What book should you write for this market
    2. Cafe – What market (location) should you set up the Cafe at. What products (what kind of food and beverages) should you serve this market
    3. In either case, identifying the wrong market, or selling the wrong product, will slow you down considerably
      1. You must find The Right Market
      2. You must figure out what is The Right Product for this Right Market
  2. Writing Very Well i.e. Creating Very High Quality Food & Experiences
    1. Book – how well written is your book, how well polished is it, how well packaged is it
    2. Cafe – how delicious is your food, how well presented is it, how well is it laid out, how is the Cafe experience
  3. Marketing Very Well
    1. Book – are you reaching the right readers? Are you convincing them your book will satisfy their reading needs? Are you closing the sale?
    2. Cafe – are you reaching the right people? Are you convincing them your Cafe experience and food and beverages will meet what they are looking for? Are you getting them to visit and purchase?

Authors tend to think they are artists and there are no business aspects to writing books

The truth is that you are an entrepreneur running a small business. Being an artist is fine when you are writing the book. The minute the book is finished, you have to start thinking like a small business or an entrepreneur

You are selling a product (a book) in a market (a particular book category) to end customers (readers) through a platform (ebook stores and book stores)

Do the 3 Core Skills apply to Hardcover Book Promotion?

Yes. The higher in price you go, the more important the 3 Core Skills become

  1. eBooks range from $0.99 to $9.99, sometimes higher
    1. Authors will also make ebooks free sometimes, to use them as ‘marketing loss leaders’
  2. Paperback books range from $10 to $20, sometimes higher
  3. Hardcover books range from $10 to $30, sometimes higher

The higher your asking price for your book, the better you have to become in the 3 Core Skills

Knowing What to Write

Perhaps the toughest challenge is to find a market that is open to buying $10 to $30 hardcover books

There are three key aspects

  1. There has to be a market for the book you are writing
  2. That market must have readers willing to pay the price for a hardcover
  3. The market must not be overcrowded or have too much competition

Knowing What to Write is by far the most important skill. It is even more critical when writing and promoting hardcover books

Writing Very Well

There’s a very high expectation level when you’re charging hardcover book prices. You’re asking readers to pony up $15 to $35 for your hardcover book. You have to make sure they get their money’s worth

You have to think very deeply about what your writing skill level is – Are you better suited to selling $25 hardcovers? Or should you be selling $0.99 ebooks?

You should be charging what your writing is worth, and not 5 or 10 times that

Marketing Very Well

Marketing and Selling higher priced books (hardcover books) is different from marketing and selling lower priced books

It’s different and it’s also tougher

  1. It’s a completely different set of readers
    1. Most of what applies to readers buying cheap ebooks does not apply
    2. Some of what applies to readers buying paperbacks also does not apply
  2. It’s a completely different mindset
    1. You are operating at the higher end of the market and must understand the psychology of this market segment
  3. Your marketing and sales needs to be very, very polished
    1. Consider Apple and how they sell high price smart phones
    2. Look at what Apple stores are like
    3. Look at what their website is like
    4. If you’re charging a high price your product has to be very well packaged
    5. Additionally, the entire purchase experience has to be polished

Marketing and Sales is incredibly important because selling $10 to $35 hardcovers is 3 to 10 times more difficult than promoting cheap ebooks

Can Self Published Authors be successful selling Hardcover Books?

Unfortunately, the reality is that your chances are very low

Not only can you not undercut big name authors (as you can with ebooks), your hardcover books are going to be higher priced (because you don’t have efficiencies of scale of printing tens of thousands of copies like big name authors)

To add to that you won’t be able to get your hardcover books into book stores, grocery stores, airport stores, and many other places

Overall, the odds are against you

There are a few things you can do to improve your odds (you can do multiple of these to further increase your chances)

  1. Use cheap ebooks ($0 or $0.99 or $2.99) as a gateway to your hardcover books
  2. Find a fast growing market with low competition
  3. Develop some very strong marketing strategy
  4. Learn to write superbly well, so readers are willing to pay a higher price for your book
  5. Piggy back on hot trends in the market
  6. Tie up with a powerful ally, such as a Large Publisher
  7. Partner up other authors and work on Box Sets and Series
  8. Create your own Series and Box Sets
  9. Focus on becoming the ‘expert’ or ‘best known author’ in one small sub category
  10. Separate yourself from everyone else by finding some very unique way to position yourself (Differentiate Your Brand)
  11. Build up a very strong story world (creating a completely new world/story universe is a very powerful way to create a strong and loyal readership)

If at some point of time it seems very hard to succeed selling hardcovers books, it’s completely OK to change your strategy. It’s tough for everyone. Hardcover books are a hard sell

The 8 Golden Rules of Hardcover Book Promotion

Please follow these 8 Golden Rules to maximize your chances of doing well with hardcovers and also to have a more enjoyable journey as an Author

  1. Finding The Right Market is EVERYTHING
    1. If someone were to give you a choice between
      1. Selling lemonade to people coming out of the Sahara desert after a week long trip
      2. Selling those same people winter jackets
      3. What would YOU prefer to sell them?
    2. Selling books is the same
    3. In some book categories the people are dying for books
    4. In other book categories, there is so much competition people are spoilt for choice
    5. The worst are book categories that do not exist anywhere except in the minds of authors
    6. Are you going to sell lemonade to people coming out of the Sahara desert?
      1. Or would you rather struggle for 10 years trying to create a market where one does not exist?
  2. Product Market Fit Always Wins
    1. Product Market Fit = Writing The Right Book for The Right Market
    2. Product Market Fit beats quality of writing
    3. Product Market Fit beats quality of marketing
    4. Product Market Fit beats marketing budget
    5. Product Market Fit beats EVERYTHING
  3. Book Categories are far more important than Authors realize or admit – Make sure you get your Book Categories perfectly right
    1. Notice how a physical book store has all the books arranged by category
    2. Notice how readers who read romance will go straight to the romance section and NEVER visit the other sections
    3. It’s exactly the same online
      1. Except there is no helpful store staff to neatly categorize books by category
      2. Authors are given the option to put their books into any category they choose, whether right or wrong
        1. This leads to authors who try to game the system
        2. This leads to authors who are not tech savvy enough
        3. This leads to authors who cannot be bothered to put their book into the right category
      3. Readers have been trained (after much pain and torture) to NEVER trust the book categories the author has set
    4. Readers want multiple reassurances that your book is in the book categories they read
    5. It’s your job as the author to make sure your book is in the right book category and you make it very clear to the readers what the book categories are
      1. If you don’t then you lose 80% to 90% of your potential sales
      2. The crazy thing is that if you told authors – you could increase sales 20% by doing one hour of yoga every day, 90% of authors would start doing Yoga the very same day
      3. But you tell authors – you lose 80% of sales by putting your book in the wrong categories
        1. And they look at you as if you are speaking Farsi
        2. Author mind set is still – I thought it was meant to be a treasure hunt. I put my book in all the wrong categories. And then the reader has to guess what category the book is actually in. You’re telling me readers don’t like buying books and finding out they are not the type of books they read? Isn’t variety the spice of life? 
  4. The quality of your Book Cover determines the level of your book sales
    1. Don’t judge a book by its cover
      1. Yet, everyone does
    2.  This is what happens depending on the quality of your book cover
      1. Lowest Tier (self made; my talented niece made it; $5 designer from the South Antartic Island nation of MarinerAlbatross made it; crowdsourced it for $20) – book doesn’t sell much at all
      2. Low Tier (found a designer who has never made book covers before and they designed it; they design furniture all the time and book covers should be a piece of cake) – book sells very slowly
      3. Mid Tier (found a good designer and then beat them with a stick until they made exactly what I think a book cover should be) – Book sells sporadically
      4. Good Tier (found a good designer and let them make something based on their expertise and experience) – good sales
      5. Top Tier (found a world class designer and let them make a world class cover that is appropriate to the book categories the book is in) – very good sales
    3. A good book cover is the single most important marketing and sales tool
      1. Even more than a marketing tool, it is the determinant of whether or not people will even click on your book to go to the book page
      2. If they do not click, they are not going to buy
      3. A very high quality cover is what gets people to click
  5. A book that has not been professionally edited and professionally proof read should not be put up for sale
    1. Professional editing is necessary and vital to create a high quality book
    2. Professional proof reading is absolutely essential for fit and finish, and also to ensure readers stay immersed in their story world
  6. Don’t double down on your mistakes
    1. Let’s consider some examples of mistakes you should not make worse by doubling down on them
      1. You wrote for a market that doesn’t exist. You decide to write a second book for that imaginary market
      2. You made a cover yourself and the book fails to sell. Your solution is to get someone on the Internet make you a cover for $5
      3. You don’t get a professional proof reader and start getting 2 star reviews because book has spelling mistakes and typographical errors. You decide that it’s not a professional proof reader that you need, but your uncle Sal who took Creative Writing for one semester 43 years ago
    2. When you make mistakes, it is very important to identify them and to not repeat them
  7. Until you find the Right Market focus above all else on Finding the Right Market
    1. Your first and only aim should be to Find the Right Market
    2. If you have not found the right market, everything else is pointless
      1. Excellent marketing is worthless if there is no one to market the book to
      2. Amazing writing has no value if no one is reading it
    3. Focus on Finding the Right Market until you actually find a great market
  8. After you find the Right Market make sure you write The Right Product for This Right Market
    1. Authors get so overjoyed when they find a great market, they forget that they have to have a product SUITED to this great market
      1. You have to have a book the readers in this great market will actually buy
    2. You are on 3rd base, you are the game winning run, and your teammate just hit a single to left field
      1. Stop clapping and run to home base
      2. AFTER you’ve won the game, there will be a lot of time to admire the game winning single
    3. After you find the right market, your job is to find The Right Product
      1. Your ONLY job, in fact

Being an author can be very challenging and also very exhilarating. Please pay close attention to these Golden Rules. They will serve you well

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