Streaming services like Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Peacock have changed the way we watch (and how producers create) movies and shows. On-demand content has become better and more fluid as the competition grows. And the tech-savvy experts here at Self-Publishing Relief have noticed that some of the tactics used by streaming services, the studios behind them, and even the people who watch them every day can be directly applied to self-publishing. With more writers self-publishing and competing for attention, here are some smart lessons from streaming services that writers can use to their advantage.
5 Self-Publishing Lessons From Streaming Services That Will Help Your Book Succeed
Create your own timeline. Before the advent of streaming services, TV shows were on a standard yearly schedule of production and airing. Summer was for reruns, and pilots premiered in autumn. Now, new shows drop all the time—and viewers can watch the shows on their own schedules.
A flexible timeline is also one of the best benefits of self-publishing: You make your own schedule. The amount of time it takes to self-publish will be different for everyone, but since you’re in charge of production (and when it releases), you are in complete command of the speed at which you work. And you won’t have to squeeze your book into the crowded calendar of a traditional publishing house, which could take a year. You can get your writing into the hands of readers when you’re ready—and much more quickly—when you self-publish.
Premiere your book at the most opportune time. Since streaming services can drop new shows whenever they want, rather than waiting for the typical fall “new season” slots that once dominated TV, they often release shows around the time of year that coincides thematically with the story. From a marketing perspective, this is a simple but effective idea—and one you can definitely steal when it comes to self-publishing.
When you self-publish, you get to choose when your book debuts. Publishing a horror novel? A Halloween release can get your readers hyped up and ready to be scared! A beach read? The summer months are calling your name. A historical novel tied to a real event? Release your book around the anniversary of that featured event! You might also publish your book at the beginning of the holiday season for gift-giving, or simply as soon as possible.
Run pricing specials. Streaming services often run specials aimed at getting new people to sign on—typically around the release of a hugely anticipated series on their platform. You can mimic this tactic to promote your self-published book!
Before you publish, you could run a giveaway contest. Or, if your book has been out for a while and sales have slowed, try running a promo and lowering the price for a limited time. Get creative! Throw your book a birthday party on its one-year publication anniversary and offer free copies for a limited time, or strategically lower the price around the holidays when everyone is buying gifts!
Only pay for what you need. With streaming services, consumers can pick and choose which platforms they want to pay for at any given time. You can pay for a month of one service to watch a show you really want to check out, and then cancel and try another platform in the next month. The freedom to only pay for what you want or need at any given time is also a perk you have when you self-publish.
While it might be possible to perform all the detailed tasks necessary to create a professional-looking book, most people will outsource some elements to experts. And just as selecting a streaming service lets you pick and choose what you want to watch, you can pick and choose which self-publishing tasks (like proofreading, cover design, or formatting) you want to outsource and pay for.
Use word of mouth to boost interest. While some of the big-ticket shows will get a lot of traditional advertising, most movies and shows released through streaming services don’t have big advertising budgets. Instead, the cast and crew jump on social media to spread the word.
And once people watch a new show, whether it floats to the top or sinks into obscurity depends on the reviews. When a movie or show gets good buzz and a great score on Rotten Tomatoes, suddenly everyone you know is streaming and talking about it (examples: Stranger Things and Squid Game).
Word of mouth can also boost your book sales. Start posting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok to spread the word—if a few #BookTokers start talking about your self-published book, more will usually follow. Find your audience and ask them to read and post reviews of your book! The more positive reviews you have on your Amazon sales page, the better your book will rank in searches!
These lessons from streaming services will help you ace the self-publishing process, stand out from the competition, and boost your book sales. If you’d like help navigating all the steps in self-publishing a book, the experts at Self-Publishing Relief are ready to guide you along the way! Sign up for a free consultation today.
Question: Which streaming service tactic seems most useful to self-publishing authors?