Tips for Promoting Your Fall Books

Calling all writers! 

Are you ready to start promoting your fall books?  If you publish frequently you may remember how 2020 went.  The newscycle was super fast and everyone was distracted by stories about politics and the pandemic.  Well in 2024 we don’t have the pandemic to worry about, but it’s “take two” in November and it could be brutal for books seeking mainstream attention.  However, I do have some tips and strategies that can help.

Start Promoting Your Fall Books Now

The time is now to start promoting your books for fall 2024.  To take advantage of holiday shopping season, publishers release way too many books. If you start pitching your book and you want to be on podcasts in September, this is your month.  The rule is to prepare and execute your media campaign two to three months ahead of publication.  If you have extra time and your book can be printed and sent to reviewers now, then start going after publications and longer leads as soon as you are ready. 

Some examples are:  Foreword Magazine, City Book Reviews, and Publishers Weekly.

Taboo Words in Marketing This Fall

Do not use the eight letter word that begins with “e” and ends with “n”.  Sorry to be mysterious here, but this post will not see the light of day if I use this word or individual names pertaining to the two opposing sides. (Hint: we have to choose one in November) 

Unless your work is about the event or related stories, do not write about social issues, politics, or the words and names I mentioned.  If you do have a topic related to social issues and you want to post on a Meta platform, then you will have to go through their identification and validation process. 

Here is an interesting document called the Hatch Act, which is a set of rules for content and social media for federal employees.  

Another source is which breaks down guidelines for marketers by platform.

Market to Niche Audiences via Niche Media

Dig deep for potential niche audiences that might love your book.  You may find a sweet spot in the news cycle that works, but in lieu of that try breaking down your book into multiple topics and subject areas.  This way you can look for media and influencers that cover topics like religion, parenting, video games, mental health and wellness, horses, pets, and more. Writers need to target an audience they know has an interest in a topic relating to their books.  Find out where these people are and focus on the media that can reach them.

For more book marketing tips check out these blog posts:

Publicizing a book? What to expect & when

How To Talk About Your Book for the First Time on Social Media

Interview with an SEO Expert

This week, we talked to an expert on SEO about all the questions you may have on maintaining a successful website with the best practices for SEO in 2024.

What makes a website SEO friendly?

SEO friendliness takes a lot of things into account. Keyword density and placement, properly using “ALT” tags (which is also important for ADA compliance), and context that is relevant. Meta tags (title/description) for search are also important.

What kind of factors do search engines consider when ranking?

Search engines don’t want to be scammed. They can tell when people are using gimmicks or tricks to skew their SEO scores. Every time the algorithm changes, and people freak out, it’s often because they like shortcuts instead of doing the work.

How can I find relevant keywords?

Chances are you didn’t invent the industry you work in. Use Google trends / search / keywords to find out what is relevant to the specific page you’re working on. If you’re targeting a local market, research that specifically and compare it with larger scale results.

Why is my organic traffic dropping?

Is your content stale? Is it relevant? Keep your content fresh. If you have a blog, utilize it.

How long will it take to rank on search engines?

Could be 2 weeks or 2 decades depending on your content (first) and SEO (second). SEO happens naturally to some extent if your copy is presented well.

 How long should my content be?

Long enough. Sometimes people write novels, sometimes nothing. Present your content in a way that makes sense to humans.

How often should I be adding new content?

Is it good quality content, or filler because you feel like you need to be adding things? Go for quality over quantity but if you can manage both, great!

What are some common SEO mistakes I should avoid?

Don’t put 600 keywords on one page and then list every city on the planet. Keyword density targets are usually small. Overdo it and you’ll lose points fast. Don’t go changing your URLs to ridiculous long-winded keywords. For example, your about page is your about page and should simply be /about; it should not be /about-the-best-car-dealership-in-new-york.

Above all else, remember that your target audience is usually human. Your goal is to engage humans by engaging search engines to get humans to your website. If your website isn’t geared towards humans (simple & concise language), and focused on specific content, then you’re wasting your time.

For example, if I click a keyword in your paid ad for “ice cream” and your page is entirely about salad, I’m going to bounce. Follow the funnel logic (before funnels were a keyword) and SEO drives people to your website, and your website is supposed to convert them by encouraging them to participate (by communication, interaction, sales etc.).

Don’t fall for large company gimmicks that include services like monitored/recorded phone calls as part of their SEO package. Some companies charge many thousands of dollars and do almost nothing for you. If you want to monitor and record your incoming calls, get yourself a good phone service (most good business plans offer this anyway).

Finally, keep your websites fully maintained. Making sure your website is up to date will usually also keep things running safer and smoother. Outdated plugins or scripts can put your website at risk. Any visible risk can often be seen by crawlers, especially if there is a malware or other security issue. These things also affect the speed and reliability of your website, which can greatly impact your search performance.

Catch up with Josh:

Getting Attention on Social Media

Getting attention on social media can feel like looking for a needle in a haystack. With millions of people on each platform, how do you get the right people to see your content? 


Many people think hashtags are a thing of the past, but they do still have their place on many social media platforms. The landscape around them, however, is constantly changing and every site tends to leverage them slightly differently. It can be very confusing if you’re new to social media or coming back from a long hiatus to find everything has changed. This is why tailoring your hashtag strategy should be a routine part of your social media plan.

First you will want to identify your target audience and search for appropriate hashtags that the audience may be interested in. Get in the mind of your audience. Think about what tags they might search for on social media. If you’re an author, #bookstoread and #bookstagram are popular, community-based hashtags that many bookworms use when looking for new reading material. Complete a search of your own to see which posts get the most traction, and remember to be continually researching as information is changing constantly.


Potentially the simplest way to get attention on social media is to tag people or accounts that may be interested in your content. Tagging an account will get your post to pop up in their notifications, giving your content a higher chance of being seen by specific people.

Similar to your hashtag research, you will want to find accounts that you think would be interested in your content. Think about your target audience and identify accounts that may want your content to show up in their notifications. Once you have these accounts identified, you can begin mentioning them in your captions. On Instagram, Facebook, and X, start by typing ‘@’ and proceed to type in the account name you want to tag.

For example, if you put @mckinneymediagroup in an Instagram caption, we will be notified and see your post.

The Algorithm

The main way your content will get attention on social media is through the elusive algorithm. Social media platforms will deliver content they think you want to see based on things you have searched for and looked at previously. It looks at content and users and tries to serve the right content to the right people. 

“Beating” the algorithm and getting people to see your content isn’t always so easy and there isn’t one thing or another that you can do that will work every time. What is important is creating consistent, high quality content that you know your target audience will enjoy. Constantly keep an eye on trends in the algorithm on all your social media platforms to make sure that you’re staying up to date on how content is being pushed to users. Check out these 2024 guides to the algorithm on Instagram, Facebook, and X (Twitter) for more information.

What is SEO and Why Should You Be Interested?

Last month we talked about managing your social media content and audience. Now it’s time to discuss SEO, keywords, and getting people to visit your website. When you hear the term SEO, you may be thinking, what even is that? Or, does that really pertain to me? Everyone with a website should be thinking about SEO.

What is SEO?

SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of designing your website and content in a way that will increase its visibility on search engines such as Google and Bing. Organic traffic from search engines is one of the main ways a website gets viewed. 

There are three main types of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical. Off-page and technical SEO refer to the optimizations that occur behind the scenes of a website. On-page SEO on the other hand focuses on aspects of the web page itself such as content quality and how much it aligns with what people are searching. This type of SEO can be the easiest for you to control.

The simplest way to begin optimizing your website is to find out what people in your audience are searching for and then create relevant and optimized content using these popular search terms. Use a keyword tool like Google Trends to research what people in your niche are searching. Once you have this information, create the type of content that your audience wants to see. Blogs, videos, interactive tools and more all work in different ways to serve your audience. Research what those you are targeting want to see and model your content accordingly.

Why Does SEO Pertain to Me?

So why does SEO pertain to you and your website? When people are searching for a product you sell or a service you provide, you want your website to show up at the top of their search results so that they are more likely to see it. A higher-ranking search result is made possible by SEO. 

Let’s say you wrote a mystery novel and you want more people to visit your website and ultimately purchase the book. Writing a blog on a relevant topic, such as a certain type of technology used in the book to solve the mystery, may drive more people from that niche to your website. This in turn gives them the opportunity to see your book on other pages of your website. It is not always about getting people to see the content itself, but also a way to drive them to the website as a whole and see the product or service you are selling without directly searching for it themselves.

Think about it, when was the last time you made it to the last page of your search engine results before finding what you were looking for, or even giving up? Probably never. You want your audience to find your website as soon as possible after searching, or there’s not a very likely chance of them finding it at all. 

If you have a website, SEO is something you should be thinking about, and it is something you can do yourself with a little research. Start by looking for those relevant keywords and begin tailoring your content to what your audience wants to see. The higher the search engine ranking you have, the higher your chance of being found organically.

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Two Ways to Influence Your Rankings on Amazon

If you self-publish, there are two ways to influence your rankings on Amazon that I have learned from adapting and experimenting on the platform.  Although these tactics have been available in one form or other for a while now, they are still a mystery for many self-published authors who upload their books directly to Amazon.   Here I will address each method in order of importance.

1. Kindle Direct

I love Kindle Direct because it satisfies the practice of giving to get something in marketing.  When you publish your book directly on Amazon and sign up for Kindle Direct,  you are giving Amazon the right to sell your ebook exclusively for a period of 90 days.  This means  you are not publishing your ebook on any other platform until the 90 days are over.  In exchange you get access to a very valuable tool–a Kindle promotion.

A Kindle promotion is either a free ebook giveaway or a countdown deal.  If you look on your “marketing” tab in your KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) account you can read the descriptions of both.  I like to do the free ebook because it generates more downloads–“free is free” after all.  By signing up you are now part of an Amazon promotion that is optimized based on an algorithm.  You didn’t have to learn it or guess it or pray for it, it is just there because Amazon sees some value in having exclusive access to your book for three months.

Your deal will help generate awareness, rankings, and reviews.  Rankings are based on sales numbers, rate of sales, and page visits.  So when more people click through to your deal they are counted toward your bestsellers number.  Also, in my experience, people who receive free copies of books often rate and/or review them.  You don’t even have to ask!  The rate of return of reviews is based on the amount of downloads you get.  If 100 people take advantage of the promotion, you could get between 5 – 10 reviews, which is a 5 – 10% rate of return.  Not bad for clicking a few boxes.

2. Amazon Categories

The second way to influence your rankings on Amazon is to take advantage of selecting as many categories as you can, at a granular level.  This year Amazon changed its category policies, which has made some people upset.  You can check out this Reddit link to read arguments for and against the new rules. I have a more favorable view because the new system allows you to apply some powerful marketing to themes in your book.

For example if your book is a thriller you can drill down to “psychological thriller”, “sci fi thriller”, and “techno thriller”, among others.  We had a client with a “techno thriller” book that ranked in the Amazon bestsellers top ten.  You are allowed three category listings per book page and some classifications allow you to enter two subcategories.  There are people who have expressed concern because Amazon made changes to their books’ category listings without getting approval.  In the fineprint your will find that this is permissible.  To reduce the chances of this happening, do your best to be creative but stick to topics that truly represent what is in between the covers.  If you want to play with more ideas, use them as keywords.  Just remember that what is cool or witty to you may not be for your readers.  Always think about what your readers want.

My recommendation would be to take advantage of both of these tools.  Pick your categories carefully (and your keywords) and when you are ready, launch your Kindle Select promotion.  If you do and you want to share your experience, please email us at  For other information about Amazon, check out our most recent post about Amazon’s ordering policy.

Amazon’s Order Policy Will Affect Indie Authors and Publishers