Book Marketing During COVID-19

Over the last few days, I’ve fielded a lot of questions about what to do with book marketing during this COVID-19 pandemic.

I’ve got all this time, what should I do with it?

Is it rude to try to market right now?

Am I going to annoy people if I do outreach?

In this article, I’m going to walk you through do’s and don’ts of how to put a book marketing silver lining around this world crisis.

BOOK MARKETING DURING COVID-19

You Know What Most People Are Doing… Nothing

Usually, when you’re trying to promote something, you’re competing with thousands of other little unknown distractions in people’s lives. However now, for the first time, you know what everybody is thinking about and what most people are doing.

While, yes, this outbreak is affecting people’s lives and keeping them busy. The sick, health care providers and others are very busy, most people are social distancing and sitting at home with not a lot going on.

Knowing that is powerful.

So how can you make progress towards your book marketing goals during this time?

Follow these rules…

Rules for Book Marketing During COVID-19

Here are the rules I’ve come up with to grow your platform and sell more books while being respectful of the crisis going on in the world.

1. Do a lot of outreach

If you’ve ever wanted to connect with an influencer, now is the time to do it. If you’ve wanted to interview someone for your podcast or blog, they probably have time now. If they have ignored you in the past, try again now. If you want to be a guest on a podcast or write a guest post for a blog, reach out.

There are two hard things about outreach:

  1. It’s time-consuming.
  2. People are busy and unresponsive.

Well, during this pandemic:

  1. You have time on your hands.
  2. People are way less busy.

Use this opportunity to reach out to people you’ve always wanted to connect with.

2. Acknowledge But Don’t Apologize

On the 17th I got an email from my mortgage broker wishing me a happy St. Patrick’s Day. It had zero mention of the current pandemic.

It was weird.

I logically know this was an automated email setup months ago, but it was still weird. All it needed was one sentence at the beginning acknowledging what was going on but still wishing me a happy holiday and it would have been fine.

In everything you do — sending email promotions, outreach, etc — give simple acknowledgment at the beginning and then move on with what you are doing. Don’t apologize (you’re not doing anything wrong) but don’t try to ignore the elephant in our collective room.

3. Figure Out a Win-Win

I talk about this all the time. There is always a way to make your marketing a win-win.

Even when you are directly asking people to buy your book, it’s a win-win. They get this amazing story and knowledge for a few bucks. That’s a great deal for both of you!

In this case, how can you tie your marketing into what is going on? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Start a social distancing book club with people (that includes your book). You can have daily/weekly meetings on Zoom or Skype to discuss. This will give isolated people a way to connect.
  2. Run a “boredom promotion” where people can get your books at a discount.
  3. Partner with other authors to promote a box set of all of your books.

People are feeling isolated, stir-crazy, and bored. How can you help them with one or more of those problems while selling some books?

4. Start Something New

Have you been putting off starting your blog or podcast? Have you been wanting to get ahead on your email newsletters?

Now is the time to start something new.

If you’ve wanted to start an interview-based podcast, now is a good time to get a bunch of guests (see point #1 above) and you can bank a lot of episodes so you can start off ahead.

Plus, if you’ve always been overwhelmed by how to start something new, now you have the time to dig in and figure it out!

A few days ago I was really freaking out about COVID-19.

While I’m not too concerned about the health aspects, I was spiraling about money and book sales and being cooped up in my house for weeks or, potentially, months.

So, as I do, I started journaling about it and realized I could look at this as an opportunity.

Yes, I’m cooped up inside, but that means I have time to do things I’ve been putting off.

Yes, everybody is dealing with COVID-19, but if I really believe my definition of marketing — creating long-lasting connections with people and being relentlessly helpful — then now, more than ever, I need to focus on marketing.

Your books are here to help people. You are here to help people.

We need that now more than ever.

Don’t be afraid to step out and work on your author platform and book marketing during COVID-19. You have the time to learn it and people will be open to it.

Where To Start

Here are two resources to get you started:

  • Author Platform 101 Program – This is the start-to-finish walkthrough on setting up your author platform and beginning book marketing. It also includes monthly Q&As with me to get your questions answered.
  • How to Build an Author Website in 1-hour – Still don’t have your author website setup? In this free training I walk you through exactly how to do it.
Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl
Tim Grahl is the author of Your First 1000 Copies and the founder of BookLaunch.com. He has worked with authors for a decade to help them build their platform, connect with readers, and sell more books. He has worked 1-on-1 with over a hundred authors including Daniel Pink, Hugh Howey, Barbara Corcoran, Chip and Dan Heath, Sally Hogshead and many others. He has also launched dozens of New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post bestsellers.

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