Book Promotion in the Time of Coronavirus

If you’re an author with a recently published or upcoming book, it’s time to regroup and assess the impact Coronavirus will have on your book promotional plans. Even if you’ve had to cancel scheduled events or planned media or promotions, there is still plenty you can do to help your book succeed.

Most book tours at this time seem ill-advised. Even if you are willing to travel, you likely will not get much of an audience. TV, radio, and print media will be focusing on the news of the day, which is changing by the hour. By all accounts, the Coronavirus spread will get worse before it gets better, so you can expect this to dominate the news cycle for weeks and weeks.

So what can you do as an author? Plenty.

Now is the time to make a plan and to be proactive. You know you need a digital marketing strategy. The first step is to do a digital self-audit so you can see what you need. Then do these simple steps to ensure a successful book launch.
  1. All authors need a digital home base, of course. You need an easy to update, dynamic website that you can update daily. If you have been putting off updating your website, this is a good time to explore new tools for building or upgrading your author website. It will be the cornerstone of your marketing. Besides your website, here are a few more places where you can set up shop.
  1. If you don’t have a mailing list, this is the time to start building one. There are lots of tools that you can learn and use. Takes some time to consolidate all of those email addresses that you have in different locations and start building a cohesive mailing list of potential readers.
  1. Get more active on social media, update profiles and links to your book and website. Focus on at least two that you enjoy. It could be Goodreads, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
  1. If you are comfortable making videos, start posting those on YouTube or Vimeo. Shorter ones can go on Facebook and Instagram.
  1. Make sure your Amazon Author Central page is as robust as it can be. Many authors miss the opportunity to build a good author page on Amazon.
  1. Now is a good time to check your Zoom and Skype set up. You may be holding virtual events and meetings soon; make sure your accounts, plus your audio and video hardware, are ready to go.
  1. When you are ready with your Zoom or Skype set-up, post on your website that you are available for remote meetings and book club events.
  1. It’s going to be difficult to get exposure in traditional media with the current news cycle, so think about pivoting to digital PR. Start interviewing firms that are known for online publicity which is better when the news is covering the election and Coronavirus. The communities online still cover the topics of interest. The traditional media may not cover a book on Lyme disease now but Lyme communities online still need the help, and maybe more than ever.
  1. Do book or galley giveaways on Goodreads, on your website and social media.
  1. Join a group on Facebook. It’s become a popular place to share resources. Don’t just join to promote your book but be helpful and a good community member.

Take a deep breath. I don’t believe books have an expiration date. You don’t need to give up on your book if it does not sell in the first weeks. Plan your marketing for the long run. Create a year-long strategy with several phases that can be rolled out over time to make sure you stay connected with your audience and keep your book front of mind.

I hope these tips help. This is a great time to learn. If you have canceled plans and have some extra time on your hands, then learn some new digital tools. You’ll need them more and more in the coming years. Here are some of my favorites tools for digital marketing.

Good luck and feel free to reach out if there’s anything I can do to help.