How to promote YA novels (for indie authors)

Here’s the good news: despite what most people say or think, marketing YA fiction isn’t that different or harder than any other genre. The majority of buyers and readers for YA books are actually in their 20s or 30s. And if you’re looking for middle grade or teen readers and afraid that you can’t aggressively target them or advertise to them… you’re probably thinking about marketing all wrong anyway.

Paid advertising is expensive, competitive, and doesn’t work all that well. It’s great when you have a big backlist and a big enough platform to get a few dozen reviews on launch. Otherwise, you’ll burn through cash too quickly. What you *need* to do is get your book to show up and be visible where your readers are already browsing for or talking about books.

Like Goodreads, for example (you can set up a giveaway for visibility – these don’t convert to sales that well, but it helps to get started). You really want a website and an email list, but you can use bookfunnel, storyorigin or booksprout to give out ARC’s and get betareaders and reviews.

After that, it’s all about whatever traffic you can afford to buy; and unless your book converts well, you can’t afford to buy any, at any cost, because you’ll always run out of funds.

So, the first step to “book marketing” for YA authors (and all authors) is fixing your cover and blurb, because those are always the problem – unless you have less than 10 reviews, then THAT is the problem. Most of the good stuff happens during publishing; and most indie authors are inexperienced or on a budget, so often indie books with good stories get lost because of packaging problems.

But anyway – you should fix those things asap; yes even if it means trying a different cover. Apart from that, you want your book to show up in discussions when people are talking about things related to your subject or genre. And if that’s very unlikely, then YOU need to talk about the things your audience is interested in, by being part of the discussion. If social media feels overwhelming, you can blog weekly for long-term effective.

The problem with blogging is, it takes a lot of (great) content over a long period of time before Google trusts you enough to send traffic. That process can be sped up by getting backlinks from reputable, relevant sites.

That’s one reason why we set this site up, mostly for our members in the YA authors alliance.

Authors often aren’t that excited about blogging, but that means very few people are doing it; apart from the YA book reviewers. A lot of them won’t even take self-published books, and are already flooded with trad books to review. I know I know, you want someone to read your book and tell you it’s great: we don’t really do that here. We’re too busy writing.

But you *can* use this site to broaden your reach, boost your own site’s SEO and traffic, which could earn you readers over time. You can also join the alliance of YA authors to help organize joint promos or simply bask in the brilliance of our many six-figure YA authors champions.

Either way, here’s some info to get started:

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PS. I talk a LOT more about book marketing on my main site, – visit now for 3 guides to book promotion.

  • How to promote YA novels (for indie authors)

    Here’s the good news: despite what most people say or think, marketing YA fiction isn’t that different or harder than any ...
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