You may think the hardest, most important parts of self-publishing your book are the writing and the actual process of creating a book. But you would only be half right—the part of self-publishing that is vital to the success of your book is still ahead: self-promotion. Because publishing companies are devoting less of their time, energy, and money to promoting a book, most of the marketing work falls to the author. But a vast majority of authors don’t have any prior marketing experience; often, they don’t know where—or how—to get started.
You may have heard the saying “Self-publishing is a contact sport.” It’s true—in the sense that you need to make contact with your audience of potential buyers. We at Self-Publishing Relief will tell you how:
Successfully Promote Your Self-Published Book
Get an author website, a blog, social media, the works—and cross-promote. Many authors feel allergic to social media, but few things are more crucial for promoting self-published books. In this digital age, social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest aren’t optional for authors—they’re necessities! If the idea of maintaining multiple accounts seems overwhelming, our Virtual Assistant program can do all the work for you.
Connect with your fans. While having social media accounts is a huge first step, they can’t help maximize your author platform unless you’re using them actively. Answer comments and messages as speedily as possible and post regularly. (Psst—with Google Hangouts you can see as well as talk to your fans!)
Raise interest in your book by hosting digital contests and giveaways. Getting readers to come to you can seem impossible—but often, all you need to do is offer an incentive. Hosting a contest or giveaway on your author website will build up the hype about your book. Once you set the contest guidelines (the simpler and more creative, the better) and the deadline, promote your event as frequently as possible to entice more participants to join in. And once the contest is over, interview the winner to gain additional promotional mileage!
Get book reviews. This step leaves many self-published authors cowering in fear. But if you want to successfully promote your book and get some book sales, you’ll need to knock on the doors of a few reviewers. The worst that can happen? They’ll say no. But guess what? They may also say yes! There are numerous book bloggers who will be happy to read and review your book. You can also reach out to Amazon’s preferred customers and ask them for reviews. For faster results, consider the paid review services available: Kirkus, San Francisco Book Review, and Publisher’s Weekly’s PW Select…just to name a few.
Make your book available through as many retail venues as possible—both online and brick-and-mortar. Most self-published authors default to the Amazon store, which is great because it’s well-known and comes with many benefits. But make sure your book is also available through other online retailers such as Google Books, iBooks, and the Nook Store. Then visit brick-and-mortar bookstores in person to ask that they carry your book, especially independently owned bookstores that may be interested in promoting local authors.
Ensure your book is well designed. This is imperative for your book cover: Choose a cover design that’s eye-catching and professionally designed to complement the mood and content of your book. For the inner pages, format to industry standards and select fonts that are legible and look good in both digital and print versions. You don’t want bad word-of-mouth about sloppy formatting and illegible type to ruin your book’s reputation and sabotage your sales efforts.
Although promoting your self-published book can seem like a lot of work—and sometimes it will be—it’s not unmanageable. Follow these six marketing steps and you’ll soon be ringing up book sales!
QUESTION: What strategies for marketing self-published books have brought you the most success?