View Full Version : Any tips on non-fiction general interest promotion?

04-06-2018, 12:41 AM
Hi all,

I am just building up a database of places to market a non-fiction book. It's an original popular psychology / self-improvement book that I would think would be of interest to a fair amount of people. (i.e. It's not a niche book.)

Does anyone have experience of promoting a general interest non-fiction book? If so, what channels worked best for you?

I'm looking at both review sites and sites which just promote your books when they're discounted (ie. free or $0.99). It either has to be either fairly cheap or something on which I will make a fair ROI.

I have been going through the threads on this part of the forum and got some good ideas (thank you all!). But as I know many of you are probably fiction writers, I was wondering specifically about non-fiction promo. I guess what works for fiction may be different than for non-fiction, although perhaps that's not so if it's not a niche product.

If anyone could help or give me some thoughts on the above, I'd really appreciate it. I have already spent hours/days trawling through book blogs etc. but many of them look very much like genre fiction websites. Some of them say they'll consider anything, but just by looking at what they've actually reviewed, it doesn't look like they will!


cool pop
04-07-2018, 07:42 AM
Most nonfiction authors promote the traditional route meaning getting out there and pounding the pavement. I am not sure how much online helps a nonfiction book but the successful nonfiction writers I see don't rely on online promotion. Some of the things they do include radio interviews, local TV interviews, local newspaper interviews/reviews, reviews in places that focus on trade books, book signings, seminars, public speaking events, multi-author events, etc.

The most important thing a nonfiction author can have is a great website. You definitely need a mailing list and your website should have a landing page. You want a slick web site that looks professional with a professional photo.

Do you have a media kit? Put your media kit on your site where promotional outlets can download it in case they want to contact you. Get those kits to as many promotional spots as you can. Can you afford a publicist? A publicist or PR firm can work wonders for a nonfiction book and help you get your name out there.

All the things I named, you can do on your own. You can set up your own signings, events and interviews or get your publisher to do it. If you are self-published, contact local stores and ask them if they will host you. Look up media outlets in your city who might be more inclined to feature you. List local magazines (online and off) and contact them and see if you can get a feature. What about your local news stations? A great place to start! Check their websites and see how you get in contact with them. You can call instead and pitch yourself. Let them know you are a local author and they might give you a shout out on the news or even do a quick piece on you. Put out flyers with your book and ask local businesses if you can put your flyers up. Businesses love helping local authors.

If you are self-published, make sure you have your book in print and not just ebook. You need to be able to send print books for reviews. Many of the places that review nonfiction books most likely will want print copies if they agree to review. Also, having your book in print as a nonfiction author seems more professional. You want something to hold in your hands when you're doing those interviews.

But, yeah. To be successful in nonfiction means you gotta get off the computer (smiles), and put yourself out there because building a brand in nonfiction is even more important than building one in fiction.

Good luck!

04-07-2018, 03:21 PM
Thanks, Cool Pop

Unfortunately, I can't pound the pavement at all at the moment, as I'm off long-term sick. I used to do speeches and networking and all sorts to promote my previous books. They were more niche (as they were on addiction) and it was both easier and harder in different ways. Due to the nature of the topic, I have been in the media a lot and am often quoted as an expert - but can you guess how many people leave genuine reviews for addiction books? Not many, because of the stigma of addiction. I do have some good ones, but it is hard to get reviews if people are using their real name on Amazon etc.

I have done radio interviews before - including with the BBC - and they have been done over the phone, or in the case of international radio, done with Skype. I've also been featured in national newspapers and only once did I have to go out to get a professional photoshoot done - most interviews are done over the phone or via email. So maybe all is not lost. I wish I could do all the rest of the in-person stuff, but I just can't.

Yes, I really want official reviews for this book, so I'm taking a shot at Booklife by Publisher's Weekly, Foreword, Library Journal and Midwest, so I'm working hard on making my cover as professional as possible. It will be published in both paperback and ebook, and later as an audiobook if I have some better days to work on that.

I do have a website and mailing list and am building that up.

I've started my media kit, got a pre-pub sheet together and will add to it once I have finished the cover.

I suppose some of what you're suggesting could be converted into an online version. There are a lot of information marketers who sell their books and other products online using webinars, teleseminars, Google Hangouts/ FB Live etc to get people interested. I may not sell as many copies that way, but it's better than not doing anything at all!

Thanks for your help and suggestions. I will see how much of this I can turn into online stuff.

AW Admin
04-07-2018, 03:53 PM
First, did you see this thread (https://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?241431-How-to-promote-your-book-like-an-intelligent-human-being-and-not-an-SEO-Dweeb)?

Second: Get profiles up on book social sites; where they have an Author profile, make one. There are several other book social sites.

Goodreads now seems to charge for giveaways, but LibraryThing does not.

Third: Look for book review sites online that review books like yours and email them offering a free review copy (offer a digital ARC where possible; saves on shipping and etc. but some people really can't read digital books so do offer a printed version). Don't expect a review for every copy you send out. It won't happen.

Write reviews of books you can genuinely be enthusiastic about and post them on your blog and on GoodReads and Library Thing and maybe Amazon (Amazon has a thing about pulling reviews if they think you know the author of the book). People who read a review are quite likely to click through to your profile and see your books.

04-07-2018, 06:02 PM
Thanks AW, yes I already read that post. I am on a lot of profile sites. It would be great to do a giveaway - Goodreads now charges a LOT for it, so it's good to know that Librarything does not - I'll add that my list of marketing to do.

I will be sending out review copies - am making a database now. I never really thought of adding reviews to other books so people could click my profile (I do have an author profile set up. That's a good idea I will add to my list too. I guess it's best to review books in a similar field but not on the same topic. I.e personal/professional development, or perhaps biographies of great thinkers, instead of books which teach you how to be smarter, which is what my book covers.

Great suggestions - thanks.