The Smart Author Toolkit: 7 Must-Have Tools To Sell Books

There are authors, and then there are smart authors.

By “smart,” I don’t mean a measure of intelligence. I simply mean there are authors who work too hard (and often haphazardly) to market their books–and then there are authors who are incredibly strategic and efficient marketers.

I’m not talking about working less; I’m talking about working smarter. Less time, more ammo. And I love helping other people do the same.

The trick to smart work is using the right tools, and anyone can use them. The internet is full of apps and programs that promise big results for marketers. But you’re probably skeptical about their results–and even skeptical about their necessity. So, I’m here to help!

The trick to smart marketing is using the right tools. Click To Tweet

Here are the 7 must-have tools for any author to sell their book:

1. Email autoresponder marketing software. Email marketing is good marketing. It’s proven to be successful. For someone to give you their email address is like someone giving you an invitation to talk to them. You will be far better received than if you speak to a cold lead. Take advantage of that warm relationship by communicating with your list strategically and professionally. Purchasing email software is a must in order to measure engagement, respond to each person differently based on their behavior, set up email sequences and lead magnets, etc. Get it, use it, be smart about it. You’ll see results. My suggestions for the best options are ConvertKit, MailChimp, and InfusionSoft. (The prices and capabilities of these vary widely. Be sure to check out the cost and scope of each.)

2. DIY graphic design software. If you’re only doing simple design projects, there’s no need to pay a graphic designer. You can do it yourself with any one of a number of awesome DIY graphic design programs. Images win; multimedia engages. You need to be using graphics in your ongoing book promotion if you’re not already. Get out of the box and make awesome promotional images and memes to share on social media, via email, and on your landing page. My favorite design software is Canva, which offers you lots of capabilities beyonds just memes (quote images). If you’re looking for memes only, though, there are lots of great apps out there, such as Meme Generator.

3. The right social media platforms. Social media is the language of the internet. If you’re not actively growing your platforms and engaging with your followers, you are missing a massive opportunity to prime your audience to buy and build an even larger tribe. Use social media to publicize everything you do in other places. Is something happening in the media about your book? Are you doing an awesome giveaway campaign? Is there a new blog post up? Post it on social every single time–and see your content exposure multiply. The “right” social media platforms means you don’t need to be active on every one. Simply pour into the places where your audience already lives. And, on a more specific note, have a Facebook page, rather than a Facebook profile. (I’ll tell you why here.)

4. Social media scheduling tool. Speaking of social media, schedule it out. The best social strategies are just that: strategies. That means that the content you post on each platform is written out (and designed with your snazzy graphic design software) prior to posting. I always suggest that authors spend time at the beginning of each week planning out their social posting, across all platforms, for the days to follow. Doing so allows for a goal-centered approach and consistent posting. Grab your copy and images and load them into a scheduling tool at the beginning of the week. It reduces your stress and makes for a more cohesive online presence. (There are times when spontaneous posting is necessary. You don’t want them to feel scheduled, so be sure to leave room to call an audible.) My favorite scheduling tool is Buffer, but Hootsuite and Sprout Social are also widely used.

5. Landing page software. Your book landing page is the most powerful piece of your marketing campaign. (If you’re wondering why, check this out.) You cannot afford to not have one. Fortunately, there are awesome software programs out there that allow everyday folks to build really strong landing pages–no designer nor developer needed. Many of these programs come with templates that allow you to simply plug in your copy, your images, your CTAs… and go! We sometimes use custom design for our clients, but we often use landing page software because it really is a strong option that gives the user lots of control and editing abilities on the fly. I highly suggest that authors use ClickFunnels, LeadPages, or Unbounce.

6. Tools to measure engagement. Data is power. You must know the who, the what, and the how of your online people. Know who’s looking at your landing page, what they’re doing when they hit it, and how they got there. Know what your audience’s online behaviors are, who engages with what on which social platform, which pages or ads convert best. The list goes on… But the point is: the more you know, the more strategic you can be. Data allows for strategy, and strategy breeds success. In order to gather data and measure engagement, I suggest you set up and actively use all the analytics tools you can get your hands on. Focus on Google Analytics and Facebook Analytics.

Data allows for strategy, and strategy breeds success. Click To Tweet

7. A darn good book. It’s not a digital tool; it’s a real-world, pick-it-up, true-to-life tool. (There aren’t many of these around these days in our marketing world, are there?) Seriously though, your book is, in and of itself, your #1 piece of marketing ammo. You can’t ethically sell anything to a target audience that doesn’t meet that audience’s needs–that doesn’t add real value to their lives. In theory, strong marketing can sell anything. But when push comes to shove, only great products rise to the top of the market. What’s more, your book will sell itself if it’s truly a unique, value-laden resource (more on that here!). Start with the product itself.


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