Knowledge BiteHow can I market my book?
As a self-publisher, one of your biggest tasks will be to market your book. Possibly the greatest bonus of a traditional publisher is that they have a large advertising budget, but even now, many like their prospective authors to have built up a social media following of their own before coming aboard.
Nobody will find your book unless you market it. Without advertising and getting your name out there, your book will sink to the bottom of Amazon, never to be found again.
Here are some brief ideas to get you thinking about how to market yourself.
Use hashtags to get your tweets seen by a wider audience than just your followers. Popular ones for authors are: #amwriting #amediting #writetip #writingGENRENAMEHERE
Make sure you ‘pin’ a Tweet at the top, preferably one that gives information about your book and where to buy it, etc. A picture is good too. This way, when a new follower clicks on your page, they can instantly see something to retweet. Most people won’t scroll down the page to try and find something interesting to tweet, so make it easy for them.
Other independent authors are good at following back and retweeting. There’s a huge amount of them on Twitter, and once you’ve followed a few, more will pop up as suggested followers in the sidebar. From reading their retweets, you can find some other authors to follow, etc.
Good things to tweet are intriguing quotes from your book. You can shorten links to your website and book pages by using something like bit.ly
Retweet others and they will retweet you Retweet interesting articles and things about writing: don’t just tweet adverts for your book. You want people to see you as being useful to follow. Have a look for the #writetip hashtag as that’s a good place to start for useful articles and things.
I don’t recommend one of those automated messages you can set up to thank followers. People sometimes get annoyed by unsolicited direct messages, and by the usual hard-sell that’s contained in them. Stick to thanking people directly by Tweeting them (or save them up and Tweet them in a group once a week)
You can make an author page and, like Twitter, find other authors to like and join author groups to promote your books. You aren’t confined character-wise like you are on Twitter, but it’s best to still keep your posts concise. Don’t over-post either – while you can get away with lots of posting on Twitter, on Facebook stick to two or three a day at most. You can use your Facebook to promote your Twitter account and vice versa.
Facebook lends itself more to discussions, so post things on there to stimulate that: ask people to share their favourite books in your genre, ask people what they would like to see from your next book, etc. Engage with your fans.
Your own website
You don’t have to be a web wizard to set up your own site. Sites like Weebly or Wix offer easy web-building for very little cost, or even free. If you’re serious about your writing, it’s worth paying for your own domain (so www.authorname.com or www.seriesname.com) as it looks professional. You can usually save money by going through a third party for this, instead of Weebly or Wix, and then just linking your domain to your Weebly or Wix site. It’s more straightforward than it sounds, and there are easy to follow guides to this online.
On your website, you can have things like an author biography, a gallery of your books with links to buy them on the various platforms, a contact form, and a blog. The latter is really recommended: blogging sends people to your website that might not usually find it. It can be about anything, too, although loosely connected at least to writing is best to target your demograph. You can even get guest bloggers to write for you: this will give you a wider audience and most guest bloggers are happy to write something for free as it gives them exposure too. It’s win-win!
Using something like MailChimp, you can set up a mailing list that people can subscribe to. This is great if your novel isn’t released yet, as you can give updates on its status so people know when they can buy it. Again, you don’t want to spam people. I’d say once a month is more than sufficient, unless you have something really exciting to say. You can provide small teasers of your books, exclusive cover reveals, book reviews, etc.
Sign up as a Goodreads author to engage directly with readers. Goodreads is a great place to find beta readers, as well as run giveaways to promote your book. The giveaways have to be in hard copies, but I can advise on how to do that with Createspace. Alternatively, you can run informal giveaways on your social media with the e-book files. There are various groups and forums you can join and participate in. Share what you’re reading, too!
Don’t neglect local opportunities and contacts. If you’ve written a book based in a specific area, then why not contact local newspapers, magazines and bloggers? If it’s a children’s book, get in touch with local schools and libraries and offer to come in and do a reading. And don’t forget small independent bookshops too!