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Updated: 3/8/2021

It’s the one market that is rewarding to those who write in it and frustrating for those who have to market it.  It’s both adult, yet not fully adult.  The genre itself is as diverse as the readers who obsess over it. I’m of course referring to young adult books. 

Today, I want to address how to market a YA book and give you the lowdown on who to market to.  So let’s get started…

Your Demographic

It’s been said that around 55 – 80% of YA readers are adults who are often gatekeepers such as librarians, and parents, while the rest are just adults who love the genre. What attracts adults to this genre are universal themes such as love, good vs evil, and overcoming adversity.  Many of the bigger YA bloggers are also adults as are the online communities that have sprung up on Goodreads, and Facebook. I know it sounds like a paradox, writing books that feature young people for adult readers but according to the data, that’s the YA audience.    

Building Buzz

To do a proper launch for a book requires lots of preplanning.  Many publishers do what’s called a prelaunch or soft launch, where they;

  1. solicit book reviews
  2. secure interviews
  3. schedule book tours
  4. plan giveaways 

As you can see, this takes a lot of work which is why it’s done months in advance.  Amazon and Barnes & Noble allow for prereleases where the book is announced but not quite released yet.  It’s all an attempt to build buzz via word of mouth and many authors find it effective.  Below, I’m going to list specific places to check out for each of these steps. 

Soliciting Book Reviews

Book reviews are an important part of any book marketing strategy because it’s all about social proof.  If no one is talking about your book, then there will be little word of mouth and word of mouth is vital if you want organic sales.  Below are some places to check out:                      

Free Book Reviews

If you don’t have the time or energy to research and pitch reviewers yourself, there are services that can help you for a fee.  Be careful, prices can get rather high depending on how many reviews you’d like and most of these services don’t guarantee positive reviews.  They only provide honest reviews from real readers and reviewers. 

However, if you don’t have a lot of money to burn, you can pay for access to a database or directory of active reviewers which usually costs a lot less than a full-service site.  I list them all down below:    

Paid Services

Interviews

Most publicists say that it’s best to be interviewed rather than do a guest post which puts a lot of newer authors in a pickle. I mean who wants to interview an unknown?  The answer is plenty of people like bloggers, podcasters, radio shows, local television stations, newspapers and magazines.  If you can find an angle, you can pretty much book yourself anywhere.  Recently, I updated an article I wrote called: How To Find Interview Opportunities.  You need to check that out, it’s filled with resources.  

Here’s a tip: the easiest way to book interviews is find an author in your genre who writes similar books and find out where they’re being interviewed.

Book Tours

Book tours have gotten a bad rep in the indie community since they don’t equal sales.  However, book tours aren’t about sales, they’re about connecting with potential readers.  Books tours are also good SEO so if you need links to your website or blog, a book tour may be in order. 

I think book tours are helpful to authors who are just starting out and also, for careers that are stagnant.  Most book tours are handled by a company that will hook you up with book bloggers for a fee.  However, you can easily set up your own book tour free of charge but again, you’ll have to plan ahead.

Paid Services

Giveaways

Giveaways are the backbone of most book marketing strategies, and authors use them for various reasons with some using them to solicit reviews, while others using them to build their email lists.  It’s all up to you how you’ll decide how to use this powerful marketing tool. 

Here are some ideas on where you can offer a giveaway:  

  • Your Website
  • Your Email Newsletter 
  • Goodreads
  • LibraryThing
  • Social Media

If you use your email list or social media account to offer a giveaway, be aware that there are rules you need to abide by. So if you want to stay on the right side of things, you might want to consider using an app like Rafflecopter or KingSumo both are free to use and they make life easier.

 A Final Note

As you can see, there’s very little difference in promoting a YA novel vs any other novel.  This is actually a good thing for authors looking to promote their work.  So good luck and don’t forget that the people who read this genre are attracted to universal themes and as long as your work speaks to that, your marketing plans should be easier to execute.  After all, marketing is about reaching people on their level and YA authors seem to be good at that.