Book marketing for self-published authors is tough, hard work, time-consuming, and can even be dispiriting.
Self-publishing is not a new phenomenon anymore. It is now an integral part of the publishing industry.
However, there is one component that remains a stumbling block – getting your books to sell.
If that’s not enough, it can also be expensive.
Self-publishing success stories
We all hear about the bestselling authors who ‘got lucky’ such as Amanda Hocking and E L James, but these are rarities.
However, in saying that, they didn’t achieve success without a lot of hard work.
Self-published authors have no choice but to face up to the arduous task of promoting themselves and their books and having a marketing plan.
However, traditional publishers are now cutting back on their book marketing budgets.
More and more of their contracted authors are having to use the Internet and social media to promote their published books.
Effective book marketing tactics have become a level playing field for all authors.
What can you do to give your book a chance of selling?
Here are ten quick book marketing tips that will work for both self-published authors and authors who have a publisher.
1. Write a great book
It may sound trite, but it’s the very first ingredient in getting a book to sell.
Knowing what readers will like isn’t easy, so don’t expect that just because you’ve written a book, it will sell thousands of copies.
You need a great story and a graphic designer to create an eye-catching book cover.
Very few books sell well, so be realistic in your expectations.
In my case, my favorite book is my very worst seller, so what would I know?
2. Social media is a must
If no one knows about you or your book, how can they buy your book?
Social networking is a one thing that leads to another tool. So by continually expanding your contacts, you help build your author platform.
You should at least have a Facebook Page and a Twitter account.
Another good reason to exploit social media is that it is free.
But you do have some paid potions such as Facebook Ads.
3. Don’t try to sell – learn to market your book
Don’t use social media to sell books. Selling is not marketing.
‘Buy my book,’ ‘Check out my book,’ and ‘My book is free today’ messages are 100% guaranteed to make you look like a spammer.
Could you imagine Neil Gaiman or Dan Brown sending messages like this?
Talk about yourself, other people, post intelligent comments and interact to get known.
Marketing is about ‘brand recognition,’ so your objective is to become known as an author.
When you are successful at this, your books will then hopefully sell themselves.
4. Use every contact point you can find
Set up accounts on all social media sites related to books. Goodreads, AuthorDen, Shelfari, or any others you find.
Also, use sites like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Facebook. All of these will add to your search engine listings and get your name out there.
Set up a Google Alert for your name, so you get notifications whenever your name is mentioned on the Internet.
Remember that you are marketing yourself as an author, not direct selling books.
Make sure you write an intelligent and informative author bio or description for these sites.
If you are an author, show people how well you can write when they first read your bio.
You could even try a press release as a part of your marketing efforts. Some sites offer this service for free.
5. You must have a blog
While an author’s website is a useful central resource for information about an author and their books, a blog is much more dynamic and should be the conduit through which you drive all your book marketing.
Having new informative blog posts circulated through several social networks is a great way to expand your reach and attract new readers.
Also, regular blog posts will be indexed by Google and Bing and help bring new potential readers to your blog.
You could also write guest posts for other blogs to spread your word further.
6. Giving away ebooks is cheap marketing
Free books should never be seen as giving away money.
You should view a free copy as an introduction to your writing and your name to new readers, and the more, the better.
Even if an author has only one title, a free book offer can help build a base of readers for the second and third books.
When I use Kindle’s KDP Select program from time to time to offer any of my titles for free, I’m pleased if 500 readers download the book.
I’m even happier when 5,000 do it. And I’m thrilled if it’s 20,000.
The more, the better. There are 6 billion people in the world, so you have plenty of book market left.
Free books should be a component of all your book launches.
7. Budget for some paid promotion
Pay for some exposure, but within reason and your budget.
There are many options available to buy advertising or promotion, and high traffic sites can boost exposure for your name and title.
I’ve used several sites, and while some have been more successful than others, it’s a long-term game of building your author brand.
Our sister site Whizbuzz Books offers very affordable book promotion for authors and small press publishers.
8. Keep your cool
Always be positive and never enter into conflict on any platform on the Internet.
Arguing, criticizing, and being obnoxious are all sure-fire routes to failure.
Never flare on the Internet because comments you post in a temper will last forever and tarnish your reputation.
Ignore bad book reviews, nasty comments, and trolls. Rise above their level, always.
9. Keep writing
Write another and much better book.
Work to improve your writing. Perhaps write a few short stories that might lead to an idea for a new book.
Quite simply, the more you write and the more books you write, the better you get, and the more chance you have of making book sales.
10. Stay positive
Don’t check your book sales hourly. It’s depressing. Do it once a week, or even better, once a month.
You might get a surprise.
Marketing a book takes time and patience.
Stay positive and think about what little things you can do each day that will help find new potential readers.
It’s no secret that book marketing for self-published authors is the toughest assignment.
The only way to succeed is to start by writing a fantastic book and then get a terrific cover design for your ebooks and print books.
You want to keep your book in front of potential readers’ noses, but don’t force it.
Always remember that you are marketing your book and not selling it.
Attract readers, and then you have a chance that they will buy and read your book.