Marketing your self-published book – what exactly does that mean and how does that look for the self-published author?
Marketing is the act of promoting and selling services or products (your book) including research and advertising. When you are self-publishing your book you have to be responsible for the marketing of that book just as a publisher would be if you published traditionally. Your first step is to do your research. Scratch that, your first step is to start writing your book and while you’re doing that do your marketing research. Pinpoint the genre of your book. Genres can be general or oddly specific – like medical romances – did you know there was a medical romance genre? I found this out while doing my own genre research. Look at how other books in the same genre are being marketed. Look for people who review these types of books. Figure out how much you should charge for your book, based on how similar books are priced, or decide if you want to price for maximum readership – 99 cents a book – or maximum revenue – $2.99 to 9.99 a book. Research how to set up your author platforms, and how much you want to pay for marketing.
Before you’re finished with your book, and after your research, you need to start marketing your book. Create your author platform, which includes the various social media sites. Purchase a domain and create a website. Use your name or pen name for that domain rather than the title of the book; This way you build a fan base for you as the writer and you are easily found with the various internet search engines. Link your website to your social media accounts – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram – one or all you choose to use. Blog regularly: Blog about your life as a writer, about the craft of writing, your experiences with self-publishing, or just about your life in general. There’s a reason “mommy blogs” are so popular — people love reading about the day-to-day life of the average person. You can be funny, dark, informative, or whatever — just become a presence on the Internet.
Once your book is finished and you are in the editing process, start introducing your work. Share a chapter on your blog. Have a contest on your social media accounts about which book cover to choose, or what to use as your last line of whatever chapter, or even what name to use for one of your characters. Look for people to review your book.
When your book is completed and you have your ISBN and it’s loaded up on to Amazon, B&N, or Smashwords, create your Goodreads profile. Ask those reviewers that you’ve researched to review your work and ask them to post those reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and their own blogs. Be sure to link back to those reviews on your social media sites, and your own blog. Have a link on your website, blog and other social media sites to where your book can be sold. Ask your readers (not your family and friends) to review your work. When you’re close to 100 reviews, then ask family and friends so you can flush out your reviews that much more. You don’t want 5 star reviews – I’m not sure even the Bible has across-the-board 5-star reviews. People don’t believe 5-star reviews (do you?). They believe some people liked it enough for a 5-star, some people liked it as little as a 1-star, and a lot of people liked it as a 3-4 star. Volunteer to do book readings. Offer your book to local book clubs and let them know you’re available to speak at their next meeting (you may even get cookies out of it). If you’re writing young adult fiction, let your local English teachers know you can come speak to their classes about writing and about your book. My middle-schooler was pretty excited to purchase a signed book and meeting a local author when an author did this at his school and my middle-schooler hates to read (he may have been switched at birth).
Marketing doesn’t stop here – use your book to market your next book. Add a chapter of your next book to the end of your current book. List all your books in your current book with a synopsis of each book.
These are just a few tips. We can’t really go into depth in a blog post. Thankfully, our CMO, Bill Van Orsdel, has quite a few webinars on how to market your book and we have a couple of blog posts to help you along. I’ve included the links below to get you started. Take a look at them; pick and choose what you are willing to do to market your book. Your success is not only a reflection of a well-written book, but also as a well-marketed book.
Links for marketing information: