It is no secret that for most authors, succeeding at self-publishing is tough. But it can be even tougher if the basics are not met. There are so many factors at play in how one book can gain some traction and yet others do not.
It could be as simple as the predominant colour of the cover, the title being too obscure, or perhaps how a book is listed by genre or category.
Of course, the quality of the writing is a huge factor, so grammar errors, spelling mistakes and typos are a book killer.
Yet some of the outliers who have had great success over the years had initial success with poorly edited and even poorly proofread manuscripts. This means that in the end, it is the story that counts.
However, after publication, no matter how well a book is written, how well it is edited and proofread and how wonderful the cover may be, it needs to become known to potential readers and book buyers before it has any chance of selling.
This is when the grunt work of marketing a book usually starts, and it is very often started far too late to give a book a chance of success.
Marketing for self-published authors should not be understood to mean that it is a precise action taken for a set period of time after a book is published. Book marketing and author promotion is an ongoing and extremely time-consuming activity that needs to be worked on every single day.
It should be a well-planned routine that is designed to build a loyal niche following or audience over time, which can then be exploited before, during and after a book release.
This is exactly how outliers such as Amanda Hocking and E L James found initial success – on the back of a loyal blog following.
Although many self-published authors believe that social media is the best way to build a viable author platform, which has a degree of merit, of course, I would argue that there are two far more powerful promotional tools that authors have to be concentrating on, and with all their energy.
A mailing list is still by a huge margin the most powerful tool available to anyone wanting to promote anything. And to build a sizeable mailing list, you need a blog with regular and engaging content to encourage readers to subscribe to your articles.
Social media messages and posts are lost and forgotten within 15 minutes, but your blog’s mailing list is your opportunity to connect directly and personally with your potential book buyer’s email inbox at any time you wish. By subscribing, they have invited you.
Think about how popular authors and many large book marketing sites succeed, and particularly how Amazon sells books. It is always based on email campaigns.
Every time you look at a book on Amazon, you get an email reminder in a few days. If you buy book promotion from a website, you are buying access to their email list.
So why pay to get one-time access to someone else’s mailing list when you can easily build your own, and then you own a massive marketing advantage when you release a new book.
Yes, you need to write your books. But make sure you are spending time, every single day, doing the grunt work and building the means you need to sell your books.
Writing regular and quality blog articles is an investment, and the return is your invitation to communicate directly with your potential readers by email.
If you do not have a mailing list, isn’t it high time you started work on making it happen?
Oh, and just before you leave. Are you subscribed to our advice articles?
For those new to building an email list, this article from Forbes, The Definitive Guide To Building An Email List From Scratch, is a great place to begin.
More reading: Personal Branding Is The Best Promotion Tool For Authors
I started my working life as a lithographer and spent over 30 years in the printing and publishing business.
Originally from Australia, I moved to Switzerland 20 years ago. My days are spent teaching English, writing and wrestling with technology while enjoying my glorious view of Lake Geneva and the Alps.
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