5 Book Promotion Trends Every Publisher Should Try in 2019


Book publishing is a well-established industry that continues to evolve at lightning speed. For this reason, it’s important for marketing strategies to keep pace with the innovative and high quality work being published. Employing the following promotional tactics can ensure a publisher’s books reach the widest (and most engaged) audience possible.

1. Optimize your website for voice content searches

With the rise of voice command technology on phones and in homes, internet users are relying more on online voice searching. Like text searching, voice commands require that publishers utilize best practices with tagging, captioning, and using SEO, keywords, and metadata. However, voice searching is different from text searching in a number of ways that require a different kind of website optimization. Ensuring voice search optimization will result in more book sales.

  • Voice searches are usually longer and more conversational which means the keywords that work for text searches won’t always work for voice searches.
  • People using voice search usually just want one direct answernot a list of links.
  • Embrace long keyword phrases. It’s not necessary to have only long keyword phrases, but ensuring that keyword phrases of five words placed throughout content will allow you to get your information in front of people using voice search. Rememberthey are using longer, conversational searches when speaking.
  • Use natural, question-oriented language to generate the best keyword phrases. For example, a text search might be “award-winning children’s book in 2019.” But a voice search is more likely to ask, “which children’s books won awards this year?”
  • Responses to voice searches should be under 30 words. Since most website content is not this short, providing a FAQ page on your website is the ideal way to ensure that a voice search will bring up your company’s information.
  • Avoid jargon and acronyms where possible.

2. Get creative with chatbots

Not only are more people becoming comfortable with texting than answering the phone, but now direct messaging has become even more popular than social media. As online users’ preference for direct, private communication increases, companies everywhere are seeing a rise in the use of website chatbots. While some customer questions require personalized responses, many recurring questions can be addressed by well-designed chatbots. Publishers can effectively use chatbots in their marketing plans in a variety of ways.

  • The number one incentive for utilizing chatbots is efficiency. When chatbots are able to respond to common questions it frees up time and money for publishers.
  • Chatbots are great tools for promoting and selling specific titles. When readers are in search of something, chatbots can make recommendations and provide purchasing links.
  • Curating and growing an email list for newsletter subscribers and customers can be a challenge even in the best of circumstances. Chatbots can easily distribute surveys and polls to collect contact information along with other helpful data, such as demographic or geographic information.
  • Avid readers who frequently use chatbots to ask questions and discover new titles may be interested in writing book reviews. Using chatbots to solicit readers’ responseswhether lengthy or briefcan be a great way to obtain fresh perspectives on books or authors that publishers can use across a variety of social media platforms.

3. Fine-tune your content marketing

Content marketing is here to stay but the glut of information on the internet can make it hard to stand out. No matter what the size of your marketing budget is, the most important strategy in 2019 is a greater dedication to quality content. Blasting a large volume of content out will certainly get your name in front of potential readers, but it’s the useful, high-quality pieces that will retain readers’ attention and loyalty. For book promotion, one new customer is good but selling many books to the same reader over time is even better. Engaging, personalized content will help publishers expand their list of loyal readers.

  • Despite fears that print is dead, many companies are reintroducing print into their marketing mix. With a glut of digital content online, consumers find print to be more trustworthy and are responding at higher rates than ever to print catalogs and print postcards promoting author events.  
  • Turn sales questions into content. Often, there can be a gap between the content publishers provide and the content readers are seeking. Compiling a list of frequent questions from email, chatbots, and phone calls can help you identify topics you can expand on in newsletters, on social media, and on your website.
  • Creating an e-newsletter and curating your list of subscribers is a vital way to promote books. Not only are returns higher on e-newsletter content than social media content, but you have control over your list and a better ability to personalize it for your target audience. To promote books in an e-newsletter, focus on two strategies: provide content that your users won’t find anywhere else and make it personallike a true letter.
  • Podcasts are booming and for book promotion, there may be no better media. Podcasts are versatile and allow publishers a platform for author interviews, editor insights or commentary on a particular title, readers’ conversations about a book or author, and many other content opportunities that aid book marketing.
  • Immersive storytelling can provide yet another avenue for book promotion by helping readers appreciate the publishing process. Using video to provide an inside look at your publishing office, and walking viewers through the journey from manuscript to published book can enhance a reader’s appreciation for the work that goes into a title.

4. Seek out micro-influencers

Younger generations increasingly value interpersonal relationships and authenticity—they are more likely to trust recommendations from friends and family members than celebrities. This means it is increasingly important to identify non-celebrities with large social media followings who can recommend book titles to their followers. Hiring micro-influencers and providing them with advanced readers copies can be a great way to make book promotion go viral.

  • The fastest way to discover micro-influencers is to ask readers where they spend their time online, and who they are following. Be sure to ask readers if they have large followings on social media, too.
  • Once you’ve compiled a list of potential micro-influencers, take a little time to check out their content. You want to be sure their message will help your book promotion and not hurt it.
  • Be sure to reach out to a broad range of micro-influencers so you can target different demographics of readers.

5. Build relationships to gain loyalty and trust

At its core, book promotion in 2019 should be about building real relationships. While metrics are helpful at identifying trends and predicting outcomes, it can be easy for important feedback to fall through the cracks. Having real, ongoing conversations with readers and potential customers will help emphasize the human side of publishing for them.

  • Have marketing department staff join sales calls to get a deeper understanding of the questions being asked and what customer’s needs are.
  • Suggest that authors make themselves available on the platforms or mediums that are most comfortable to them. If readers can email or tweet at their favorite authors and receive a response, this will build loyalty.
  • Establish a presence at conferences, book fairs, trade shows, and other book publishing events where you can have conversations with readers. Be sure to ask them what they think about your books or marketing strategies. You may get valuable feedback.
  • Identify all of your audiences but reach out to only a few at a time. This will help you implement ideas or changes at a reasonable pace.
  • Remember to stay curious and keep listening. Readers will tell you what they want if you ask.
Emily Withnall

Emily Withnall works as a freelance writer and editor. Emily also teaches poetry in public schools in and outside of Missoula and in the Missoula County Detention Center. Some of her work is available at emilywithnall.com.