This is an ongoing series of self-publishing tips. Click here to view part four.
We have discussed quite a bit in this series on self-publishing including publishing platforms, finding a freelance editor, making a killer cover, and getting that interior to shine. We have discussed that self-publishing is not something to jump into without some thought. It’s hard work! You can’t just upload a book, hit publish, and expect to be an overnight success—it takes lots of time and lots of effort. But if you have the determination and the drive, you can be successful. One of the key ingredients to making your book a bestseller is marketing.
Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh no, he brought up the ‘M-word’. I’m a writer not a salesman!” I am going to say this only one, but I want you to lock it into your brain, “Writing is a business—not a hobby, not a fun thing to do on the weekends—it’s a business!” I am about to put to rest the misconception that traditional authors don’t have to worry about marketing—the fact is: they do. Even the big publishers expect authors to have a platform (an audience and following to sell to). Sure the traditional publishers will give their authors backing for a short time, but the majority of the marketing is left to the author to get their voice out there for people to hear.
So what is marketing? It is the process of promoting the value of your book to readers to get them to buy it. It’s all about getting your book into the hands of readers. I will share a few things you can do to help market your book. Do not limit yourself to these ideas only, with an ever changing world, our marketing tactics should change too. Be ever open to new ideas and ways to get your book into the hands of readers.
Step 1: Have a marketing plan. Don’t go into without thought. Traditional publishers take a good six months prior to the book’s release to get people excited about it—remember you’re competing with them. Plan ahead. You’ll need time to get reviews, blogs, tours, interviews, and publicity set up. You can’t have it all come together in just a couple days—well you could, but you’d probably fail and then quit—and we don’t want that!
Step 2: List your options. There are tons of things you can do to get your book noticed. Make sure you list them all out. Make a list of the things you feel you can do and afford to do, and dream to do (normally the things I can’t afford). Basically this is just prioritizing your goals. Need marketing ideas? Here is an example of my lists:
Can do and afford to do:
15 day blog tour, book giveaways, book bombs, author interviews, 10-20 reviews posted before the release date, create a reader email list (mailchimp.com), setup a Blog or website, setup an Amazon-Author-Page, start a platform (get a Facebook page, setup Twitter account, start a Pinterest board), create a cover reveal, order bookmarks, set up a book launch.
Dream list, If Only I had the $:
Book trailer, postcards, create ads online and in local papers, ads in areas that focus on your target market, TV and radio ads, snail mail mailers, and reviews by large reviewing sites (Kirkus and NY Times).
For my last book release I actually invested in some of the things on my ‘dream list’. I purchased postcards and used them as invitations to the book launch. It worked great. You can also use postcards to send to local bookstores and libraries, make sure to include your book’s ISBN number on them. I also upped the efforts on some of my ‘can do’ list like doing 30 days of blog touring instead of just 15. The point is you see what you can do and what you can afford, and then focus your efforts on it. Just because I didn’t do a book trailer doesn’t mean I won’t. There is a huge audience on YouTube.com that can be potential readers—the question is whether you want to focus your efforts there or not?
Step 3: Write another book! The best marketing you can do for yourself is to get another book out there. The more books you have the better you will do in becoming a successful indie-author. Once you have multiple books you can play with pricing to market your books (a post for another day). But think about it. You go into a store and they are sampling a delicious cheesy pizza. You have but a taste and you want more. So you buy the pizza. Then you discover the same company also sales calzones and pasta, so then you buy those. It’s the same with your books. If you give your readers a well-crafted story that has been edited, formatted, displayed with an excellent cover—they will want more! You give them more and they will buy it.
Step 4: Go back to step 1 and start over. Yes, you’ll have to market every book you write. It doesn’t stop with book 1. You are in it for the long haul now. But guess what? Keep doing what you are doing and you’ll be living your dream: working as a full-time author.
This was just a taste on the things you can do in marketing your book. I plan on going into detail on each area of marketing but that will happen another day. Check back soon and until then, happy writing! CLICK HERE TO VIEW PART SIX.