Top 10 Marketing Trends Every Nonfiction Author Needs to Know

author marketing Jun 20, 2024

With over 3.5 million nonfiction books published annually, you face unique challenges and opportunities when marketing your work.

Unlike fiction, which often relies on a good story and a popular genre, your nonfiction book is typically based on your expertise, experiences, and insights. This distinction means you need a different approach to marketing, one that emphasizes your authority, credibility, and the value your book offers readers.

You must stay current on industry trends to effectively promote your book and reach a wider audience. By understanding and leveraging these trends, you can boost your visibility, build a loyal following, and ultimately increase your book sales. From personal branding and content marketing to advanced analytics and influencer partnerships, each trend offers specific strategies you can tailor to your unique voice and message.

Here are 10 of the latest nonfiction book marketing strategies. Whether you’re a seasoned author or just starting out, let’s explore these trends in detail, starting with the importance of building a strong personal brand that resonates with your target audience.

1. Personal Branding

Creating a strong personal brand has become essential. Readers are drawn to authors who are seen as authorities in their fields. To establish your brand:

  • Develop a professional website showcasing your work with a biography, and a blog. For instance, Brené Brown’s website features her research, books, podcast, and a blog, positioning her as a thought leader in vulnerability and shame research.
  • Engage on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and FaceBook, where your target audience is active. Malcolm Gladwell uses X (formerly Twitter) to share his thoughts, engage with readers, and promote his latest works.
  • Leverage video content to share insights, behind-the-scenes looks, and expert opinions. Simon Sinek frequently posts videos on YouTube and LinkedIn, discussing leadership and organizational culture, strengthening his personal brand.

2. Podcasting and Guest Appearances

Podcasts offer a dynamic platform to reach potential readers.

  • Start your own podcast focusing on topics related to your book. For example, Gretchen Rubin, author of “The Happiness Project,” hosts a podcast called “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” where she discusses habits and happiness.
  • Be a guest on popular podcasts within your niche to tap into existing audiences. Tim Ferriss, author of “The 4-Hour Workweek,” has appeared on numerous podcasts, including “The Joe Rogan Experience” and “The Tim Ferriss Show.”
  • Promote podcast appearances on your social media and website to drive traffic and interest.

3. Content Marketing

High-quality, relevant content can attract and engage readers.

  • Write blog posts, articles, and whitepapers that highlight your expertise. Seth Godin, a marketing expert, regularly updates his blog with insightful posts on marketing and leadership.
  • Create a newsletter to regularly update your audience on new content, book progress, and events. James Clear, author of “Atomic Habits,” sends out a popular weekly newsletter, “3–2–1 Thursday,” sharing quotes, articles, and tips.
  • Utilize SEO strategies to ensure your content ranks well on search engines, driving organic traffic to your site.

4. Email Marketing

Building and maintaining an email list is crucial.

  • Offer a freebie such as a chapter of your book or a useful resource in exchange for email sign-ups. Marie Forleo offers free training videos and guides to attract subscribers to her email list.
  • Send regular, valuable emails to keep your audience engaged and informed about book updates and promotions. Ryan Holiday, author of “The Daily Stoic,” sends daily emails with Stoic wisdom and insights.
  • Personalize your emails to make your audience feel valued, using tools like Mailchimp or ConvertKit to segment your list and tailor your messages.

5. Influencer Partnerships

Collaborating with influencers can significantly boost your reach.

  • Identify influencers in your niche who align with your book’s theme. Gary Vaynerchuk, a social media expert, collaborates with various influencers to promote his books and content.
  • Engage with them on social media and propose mutually beneficial collaborations. Adam Grant, author of “Give and Take,” often partners with other thought leaders for joint webinars and social media takeovers.
  • Leverage their platforms to reach a broader audience, ensuring that the collaboration feels authentic and relevant.

6. Virtual Book Tours and Webinars

With the rise of digital interactions, virtual book tours and webinars are highly effective.

  • Organize virtual book readings and Q&A sessions to engage with readers directly. Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Big Magic,” hosted virtual events and readings during the pandemic to connect with her audience.
  • Host webinars on topics related to your book to establish your authority and attract interest. Daniel Pink, author of “Drive,” regularly hosts webinars discussing the science of motivation and productivity.
  • Collaborate with online communities and book clubs to widen your reach, using platforms like Zoom or Facebook Live.

7. Utilizing Advanced Analytics

Data-driven marketing allows for more targeted and efficient campaigns.

  • Use analytics tools to track the performance of your marketing efforts. Tools like Google Analytics and HubSpot can provide insights into website traffic and user behavior.
  • Analyze audience behavior to refine your strategies and focus on what works. For example, identifying which blog posts or emails generate the most engagement can help you create more of that content.
  • Adjust your campaigns based on data insights to maximize ROI, ensuring that your marketing efforts are both effective and efficient.

8. Interactive Content

Engaging your audience with interactive content can enhance their experience and connection to your book.

  • Create quizzes, polls, and surveys related to your book’s topics. Millions of people have taken the "Four Tendencies Quiz" that Gretchen Rubin offers on her website.
  • Develop interactive infographics and tools that provide value and insight. For instance, Hans Rosling's interactive infographics, author of “Factfulness,” make complex data more accessible and engaging.
  • Encourage audience participation through social media challenges and contests, fostering community and engagement around your book.

9. Self-Publishing Platforms

Leveraging self-publishing platforms can offer greater control and profits.

  • Explore platforms like Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP), IngramSpark, and others. Mark Dawson, a successful self-published author, uses KDP to reach a wide audience while maintaining creative control.
  • Understand the benefits and drawbacks of each platform to choose the best fit for your needs. Joanna Penn, author and self-publishing expert, provides comprehensive comparisons of various platforms on her blog.
  • Utilize platform-specific marketing tools to promote your book effectively, such as Amazon’s advertising services or IngramSpark’s distribution network.

10. Audiobook Production

The demand for audiobooks continues to rise.

  • Invest in a professional narrator to produce a high-quality audiobook version of your book. Michelle Obama’s audiobook for “Becoming,” narrated by herself, received widespread acclaim.
  • Distribute your audiobook on popular platforms like Audible, Google Play, and Apple Books. Authors like Neil Gaiman have successfully reached broader audiences by offering their books in audio format.
  • Promote the audiobook through your existing channels and collaborations, emphasizing the convenience and accessibility of audiobooks for busy readers.

By embracing these trends, you can enhance your marketing efforts and increase your book’s visibility and sales. Remember to stay adaptable and continuously monitor the effectiveness of your strategies to ensure long-term success.