What Cozy Mystery authors do to market their books, an inside look

So, you just published your cozy mystery series . . . now, what? You sit and watch your rank, but your book is not rising as fast as you’d like. And when that happens, you start to worry your book might not ever sell as many copies as you’d like it to. You could be the best cozy mystery author that ever graced this planet, but if readers don’t know your work is out there, they can’t buy your books. Well, don’t despair! We’re here for you. Keep reading if you want learn what some of the most successful cozy mystery authors are doing to sell their books.

Proven Social Media Strategies for Cozy Mystery Authors

Social media is one of the best methods you can use to reach your future readers because that’s exactly where they’re hanging out. The trick is to figure out what platforms work the best for cozy mysteries and how exactly those authors are using their platforms to connect with readers.

Post regularly on Facebook

If you’re going to start with only one social media platform, we recommend focusing on Facebook because you will find that many of your readers hang out on Facebook regularly. This strategy is not a particularly time-consuming one because it doesn’t take a long time to create a Facebook post. As an example, it takes me less than an hour to schedule my weekly posts for Facebook. Of course, that doesn’t account for time I interact with fans, but I do that as it comes. Once you establish your following and it starts to get a bit time consuming, you can always think about hiring a virtual assistant to assist you.

Coming up with your Facebook strategy doesn’t need to take hours and hours. Your strategy can be as simple as a list of general themes for each day of the week. For instance, if you are a culinary cozy mystery author, maybe your strategy would look something like this:

  1. Monday: Post an excerpt of a book review from a book retailer or an ARC reader
  2. Tuesday: Post a video of you reading an excerpt of your book—could even be a live video that allows you to answer readers’ questions afterward
  3. Wednesday: Create an image with recipe instructions for a dish that was in one of your novels
  4. Thursday: Post a funny food or mystery meme
  5. Friday: Post a quick update about your current work in progress
  6. Saturday: Make a post from your sleuth’s perspective related to food (ex: her/his favorite snack to take when investigating a mystery)
  7. Sunday: Ask readers a question related to one of the themes in your book that encourages engagement

The best general advice I can give here is to avoid “buy my book” type posts. It’s okay to post a link to your book in your posts, but you don’t want to hit them over the head with constant sales pitches.

Use Pinterest to Post Your Best Marketing Images

The recommended post frequency for Pinterest is a bit higher than Facebook, so I wouldn’t throw this in the mix unless you have a fair amount of extra time to do so. This CoSchedule blog post recommends between 3 and 30 pins per day, erring on the high side if your goal is to get more visibility. That sounds like a lot more work than it is theory, especially if you can curate content from others’ blogs. CoSchedule also says that 80% of those pins should be outside your own content.

This can be tricky if you’re trying to gain visibility and fans to get more sales for your books because your main goal is to get those future reads to your sales page. Using the culinary cozy example again, this type of book is prime for easy pins in volume because you’ll be able to focus on finding great recipes your readers will love.

Post Frequently on Twitter

One of the reasons I love Twitter so much is because it has a really supportive #WritingCommunity. However, that comes with a downside: Twitter is extremely fast paced because of how many people there are posting at any given time. Are you sitting down? Experts recommend posting 15 times per day on Twitter because of how fast your Twitter feed moves. The good news? Twitter posts are super short, and they don’t have to be the best piece of short content you’ve ever written.

If you’re just getting started on Twitter, I recommend making posts throughout the day—no more than once every one to two hours—that highlights what you’re working on. Add some high traffic hashtags, and you’ll likely get some likes, retweets, or follows. Here are the top five cozy mystery hashtags, according to best-hashtags.com:

  • #cozymystery
  • #cozymysteryseries
  • #cozymysteries
  • #cozymysterylover
  • #mystery

Start a YouTube Channel That Supports Your Book Themes

We talk a lot about your story themes when it comes to marketing your cozy mystery books because they can heavily influence your marketing strategy. More than any other genre, cozy mysteries are highly marketable, and you should have no issues coming up with creative ideas regularly. And this is especially true if you think you’d like to start a YouTube channel.

Once you break down your most important themes—culinary, paranormal, pets, hobby, etc.—you can start brainstorming ideas for what kind of content you can create for your YouTube channel. For instance, if your amateur sleuth is a dog trainer, you could create videos with training tips, or you could even post funny videos of your dogs to encourage engagement with your content.

If you’re comfortable creating high-quality video content—that means you’ll probably have to edit your video to make it look nice—then this would be an easy way for you to create more content by posting once or twice per week on your YouTube channel.

Other Marketing Strategies for Cozy Mystery Authors

But your work doesn’t start/stop with social media! Here is a quick list of other marketing strategies cozy mystery authors use to sell their books:

  • EMAIL MARKETING. Write a short story for your potential/current readers to entice them to sign up for your email marketing list. (Bonus: you can also publish this story as an ebook to get a boost in sales.)
  • POSTING IN COZY MYSTERY READER GROUPS. There are tons of reader groups out there that allow you to post your new releases—just search cozy mystery on Facebook and filter the list out so it only lists groups.
  • WORKING ON YOUR BOOK BLURB. One of the most important pieces of marketing you will do is your book blurb—your product description that potential readers see when they click on your book cover on Amazon or other online retailers. Check to see what’s working and build your blurb from there.
  • HIRING A COVER DESIGNER WHO UNDERSTANDS THE GENRE. The quickest way you can signal to a potential reader that you’ve written a cozy mystery is by hiring a cover designer who understands the current trends for cozy mystery covers.
  • WRITING A GREAT BOOK THAT READERS WANT TO RECOMMEND TO THEIR FRIENDS. This should always be your first priority as a cozy mystery author. And if you are new to the genre, hiring a knowledgeable developmental editor can help ensure you hit all the conventions that readers expect.

What other marketing strategies have been successful for you? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below!

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