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Writing and publishing a book is a significant achievement, and marketing it well is a nearly equivalent task. Authors who want to succeed need to plan their book marketing and publicity efforts carefully, and they should do it long in advance. PR gurus agree that an author's platform is also a crucial part of success. For these purposes, a marketing platform is defined as a growing social media presence, launching a book and author website, and cultivating an extensive professional network. While the final campaign will include other elements like media outreach and tours, they need to be built from a strong author platform.

Publicity experts warn writers not to have overly high expectations of social media – a.k.a. it alone is not enough to market a book. But successful authors today generally are active on social media and have substantial numbers of followers (many thousands). A large social media following doesn't happen overnight, so it's crucial to begin long in advance. Pick two channels and focus your efforts on them. It's wise to follow or friend media contacts, reviewers, and other influencers who you'd like to read and comment about your book. Watch other authors in your genre for ideas about what works best.

No one agrees on exactly when it happened, but a couple of years ago, having an author website moved from being a good idea to a requirement. A website provides an online home for everything about you and your book, and the content is under your control. Any member of the media planning to interview you will check it out along with most fans who buy and read your book(s). You need to include your bio, a page for each book you've written, cover art and images, links to press coverage and good reviews, and anything else relevant. Your site doesn't need to be overly long, but it should be well-rounded. 

When it comes time to launch a book, there is no substitute for having a solid network of contacts. Your community – professional colleagues, friends, past classmates, family, etc. – plays a vital role in getting the word out about your book. Before you begin a marketing campaign, you'll want to make a list including emails so that you have an excellent group ready to be contacted. You'll want your contacts to know when your book is launching and other details about it. Some may buy copies, and even more will talk about it to their family, friends, and contacts. Word-of-mouth book publicity is powerful.


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