Debut author? You have finished publishing a book! Now What?
It does not matter if you have self-published, or have been published by a small press or publishing house; a new book release is a time writers get very excited, motivated and extremely keen to start seeing a lot of book sales roll in.
Unfortunately, though, in their eagerness and excitement, many new writers and indie authors make silly mistakes that can have exactly the opposite effect.
Most of these mistakes can be labelled as instant sales killers, and although the intention may be positive, the real results can be very negative.
Avoiding the typical debut author mistakes will save you a lot of time, and embarrassment.
Here is a step by step list of eleven do’s and don’t’s for new authors.
Don’t Bomb Social Media
Social media can be useful to market your book to readers. But if you have only a very small following of mostly friends and family, it is almost pointless. Bombarding your one hundred or so social contacts will drive them away in very quick time.
Social media is only useful if you have a large and growing following, and even then, book promotion should only represent about 5% of what you post.
What really matters, and works on social media is informing, entertaining, communicating and sharing your point of view on a range of topics and by doing so, you will build your following.
It is not about selling books. This is the most classic of all debut author mistakes.
Don’t Write Your Book Description As An Afterthought.
Your book description is the hook to get readers interested in your book, so it is vitally important that it does its job well. A short fifty-word outline is not a book description and will give potential readers a bad impression.
It takes time to write a good book description, so take the time to do your research.
Look at popular books in your genre and study their descriptions. Or even go a step further and pay a good copywriter to do it for you.
Don’t Make Your Own Book Cover.
Bad book covers are an instant sales killer. An amateur looking book cover is recognisable in an instant and will turn off book buyers as quickly. Always get a professionally designed cover.
Pre-made covers cost around $40.00, so even if you on a budget, it is money well spent. If you can spend a little more, a custom cover design is, of course, much better.
Do Use Amazon’s Book Promotion Tools.
Most book sales on Amazon, and indeed all other online book retailers, are generated by readers scanning, searching and stumbling across books that take their interest.
Learning to use and write your book metadata to attract book buyers is by far the most powerful means of gaining book sales.
Well-written metadata is more important than any other form of book promotion, so spending the time to learn how to improve a book’s metadata is absolutely critical in gaining book sales.
Do Use Amazon Author Central.
If your book is listed on Amazon, using its Author Central Author Page is an absolute imperative. Many new authors don’t even know about this Amazon service.
It is from an Author Central page that an author can add even more metadata, modify book descriptions, add editorial reviews, as well as back and front flap text.
All of these tools make your books on Amazon much more discoverable.
Don’t Add Lists of Book Buy Links.
Sure, you have to let people know that you have a book to sell, but adding a long list of book buy links to Amazon, Apple, B&N, Smashwords, your publisher, and any retailer that has your book is a huge turn-off and makes it look like you are desperate.
Debut author mistakes like this can really make you look like an amateur.
One buy link is always more than enough, and even then, if someone is genuinely interested in your book, they will find it by using Google Search, or retailer search. Use a universal book buy link rather than making a long list of retailer links.
In the long run, blogging is the very best way to show off your writing talents, engage with people, exchange comments and build a true author following, as well as increase your social media following.
Two intelligent blog posts per week can do more for your book sales than spending money on paid Facebook advertising.
However, make sure your writing is absolutely perfect for your blog post. If you are blogging regularly, you should consider using a premium online grammar checker like Grammarly or Ginger to make certain your content is top notch.
Don’t Ever Write ‘Buy My Book‘.
Desperate calls to ‘check out my book‘, buy my book‘, ‘follow me on Facebook‘ and ‘here’s a free ebook for you‘, all have a negative effect.
How do you react to imperative phrases like these?
No one buys a book because they are given an order to do so.
Do Be Patient.
Okay, you want to be a bestselling author, well, believe me, it won’t happen overnight.
Writing and selling books and ebooks is a long-term occupation, and success, even modest success, usually starts to happen only once you have a few books in your backlist.
So calm down, stop checking your book sales five times a day, and instead, write your next book.
Do Learn To Learn.
Like any other occupation, the more you learn, the better you become.
Find experienced authors and follow their blogs and subscribe to sites offering writing or book marketing advice. Self-publishing especially involves a long and steep learning curve, so never stop learning.
One of the most important lessons to learn is that not everyone will like your book.
In fact, very few people will be at all interested. Your book will have niche appeal, so learn to connect with people who share an interest in the genre or topic of your book.
You will never sell a book on How to Cook The Best Steaks to a vegetarian, nor a cosy romance to a reader of war novels.
Get to know your market and write and publish for your niche readership.
Don’t Give Up!
With self-publishing, a book never goes out of print now, so never give up on it, or yourself.
You can always improve it, modify it, change the cover, write a new book description or un-publish it and do a complete edit, add a new title, and re-publish.
Also, the more you write, the better you get, so keep trying, keep working on avoiding common writing mistakes, keep learning and over time, you may find that success comes your way.
Always remember that the harder you work, the luckier you get.