There are many free ways to promote your self-published books.
To promote your self-published books and ebooks in an already crowded and competitive market is hard work.
Unless you can get your book featured on Oprah next week, it will take patience, a lot of work and of course a dose of old-fashioned good luck to get anywhere near the top of the tree.
One vital point to make is that active promotion and marketing serves the purpose of attracting people to your book and then leaving any further decisions up to them.
It doesn’t involve two-way communication, which then by definition would be selling.
I should make it clear from the outset though that I do not class myself as a successful author or guru on marketing.
However, I have used all of the following ideas at one time or another to help build my readership over a number of years.
While my book sales do not afford me champagne and caviar every evening, they do provide me with a side income, which is steady each month.
Here is a list of ideas to help you promote your self-published books for free.
1. Use a Facebook Page.
I made the mistake of using my personal Facebook profile for too long before realising my error.
Keep your personal life away from your book marketing and set up a Facebook Page. It’s much more professional and easier to manage.
Also, a personal Facebook profile is limited to 5,000 friends, whereas a Facebook Page can have unlimited Likes and followers.
If you do happen to strike it lucky, you do not want to be limited to only 5,000 people.
Another huge benefit of a Facebook page is that you can sell your books directly from your Facebook Page.
2. Always be positive.
It doesn’t matter what form your communication takes. Whether it be posting on Twitter, Facebook or another social platform, never be negative.
Even if you are insulted, do not react. Ignore, and even block that user.
Keep what you post friendly, informative, complimentary and of course, also add news or interesting tidbits about your books.
3. Use multiple Twitter accounts.
While it may have been frowned on earlier, I believe multiple Twitter accounts are a necessity for book promotion.
It serves to keep your main account; that is the one using your name, relatively free of direct promotional material.
As it is the account you use to interact with friends and probably other writers, filling your timeline with book promotion is not going to be received well.
By setting up another account (or two), you can aim at different target groups to follow and build a new following.
Of course, you need to add content to these accounts, but there are many ways to automate the process.
Think about re-posting interesting bloggers, publishing and book-related news stories and selective retweeting. Then add your promotional content in between.
4. Use Stumbleupon, Pinterest and Flipboard.
These three platforms are a terrific way to get your books and blog posts discovered, and by an increasing audience, because they all attract attention by the use of images. A great tool for book covers!
Stumbleupon and Pinterest are second and third to Twitter for me in attracting new traffic to my blog through social media, with Flipboard attracting more and more traffic each month.
5. Write and publish under a pen name.
It may sound off topic when talking about self-promotion, but it’s an excellent way to experiment and try new writing ideas.
Amazon allows publishing under a pen name on your account, so it opens up a lot of possibilities.
I have used it to experiment with writing short novellas in new genres. To do a little promotion and test the market, I use one of my secondary Twitter accounts.
If it looks like it could work, you can then un-publish, change the cover and title as well as make any other changes you think would improve the book then republish under your name.
As you hold the rights to both names, there’s no problem in republishing the same book again under your name.
6. Blog, blog, blog.
Keep posting regularly and often on your blog as every post you write adds to your search engine listings.
It is too easy to forget how important search engines are in bringing potential readers to you and your book.
Just make sure you stay on topic and don’t post trivial nonsense.
If you want to go to the effort of setting up your own self-hosted WordPress blog, it is really worth the initial learning curve as the tools available really can increase your blog’s traffic over time.
7. Advertise your books on your blog.
Why fill your blog with a column of advertising for other products when you have your books to sell?
Make sure though that your ads click through directly to where readers can buy your books. Draft2Digital has a new Universal Link that creates a link to all your ebook and book retailers, which is a fantastic book marketing tool.
8. Feed your blog.
You want people to read your blog posts, so make sure you use a delivery service such as Feedburner, Hootsuite or dlvr.it to post every new article on your blog to all your social media platforms. Like a book, blog posts also need to be promoted too to be successful.
9. Social Share buttons.
Always have a prominent social media share and follow buttons on all pages of your blog and website. Always, always, always.
One share by someone with a big following on Facebook or Twitter can attract a huge spike in visits to your blog.
Social sharing is second only to organic traffic from search engines, so it really is a big deal.
10. Have a website.
Old fashioned now perhaps, but a website is still the best way to provide long, detailed information to your potential readers about you and your books.
Again, it adds to your search engine presence and links back to your blog and all your other social media platforms.
Of course, you can incorporate your blog and website into one site, but blog visitors are usually interested in quick information.
Having prominent links from your blog to your books on your website serves to cater for readers who are genuinely interested in finding out more about your books.
There are always new ways developing to promote your self-published books.
Of course, there are many more ways you can promote your self-published books and the items in the list above should not be taken as anything more than suggestions to consider.
No matter what techniques you use for promotion, always think first about what your aims are and what you would like to achieve.
Of course, you want book sales, but what route do buyers take to get there?
In my case, my main aim is to attract traffic and potential readers to my blog, and from there for people to learn about what I do and then perhaps be interested enough to investigate further.
One of my blog readers told me that he had bought one of my books – after having read my blog for over six months. I think he is probably typical of many readers who have bought my books.
No one buys a book by an author they know nothing about.
So inform them!