Five tips on how to promote your self-published book. Any publicity is good publicity.
The title of this post should be credited, but because I have been asked, how to promote my book, so many times, I won’t, as it would end up being a very long list of credits.
So I apologise to all those who have asked me this question, but I doubt you will be upset that I haven’t mentioned you by name.
There are hundreds of free and paid ways to promote a book or ebook, but in answering the question, I will focus on the basics, and proven ways to attract potential book buyers’ attention.
To put things into context first, here is one clear way of thinking about how to promote a self-published book.
Book promotion is designed to get people to find your book, and NOT, to find people to get your book.
With that said, let’s look at ways of promoting your book and getting people to find you as an author, and your books, of course.
1. Your book or author website and/or blog should be a .com address
Gaining organic traffic from Google or Bing search is by far the most powerful way to promote your book. Readers who find your site by search are much more likely to be interested in your book topic, genre or themes because these factors are what they are searching for and how they find you.
However, you really need to have a website or blog with a .com address to gain reasonable search traffic.
I am not precisely sure why a .com address works better than .net or country codes such as .co.uk, .fr or .ca for example. While not an expert, I have the feeling that country code domains may be geo-targeted by search engines, thus restricting indexing.
All I do know for sure is that after having changed three of my sites from .ch over to .com, the resulting increase in traffic for each site has been remarkable. I can only presume that Google and Bing give preference to .com addresses, but I have no proof.
After changing my Just Publishing Advice address to .com a little over a year and a half ago, my daily traffic is now more than ten times what it was before I changed, and it continues to grow organically every day.
On the same thought, free blog and websites such as Google’s Blogger, WordPress (free), Weebly and Wix gain very little organic traffic, so are far less beneficial for book promotion. But, they are free, and if you can’t afford a hosted website, they are definitely better than nothing.
2. Social media, yeah, yeah
Social media is a must to promote your book, but it can be extremely time-consuming. If your aim is to write and sell books, then use social media judiciously as it can easily become a huge time waster.
Limit your social media exposure to only a couple of popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest for example.
Don’t spend hours each day posting your book buy link, as this will only serve to drive people away. Use social media to connect, communicate, reply and inform, and of course, hopefully, attract followers. Use social media to spread your author name, not to continually advertise your books.
Think of social media as a spider web, and continue to make it a little larger every day by following some people, making new friends and extending your reach. Concentrate on building your presence on only one or two social media sites, and not on every single one available.
Very importantly, however, make sure you use lots of image links to attract a better click-through rate for your book promotion on social media. People are now well trained by Facebook and Twitter to click on images rather than text links, and especially so for phone and tablet users. So, always use images to promote your book and blog posts.
If you are spending more than an hour per day on social media trying to promote your books, stop! Limit your time and get back to writing a new book.
If you really want to maximise your social media reach, but spend far less time in achieving it, you might want to consider making your blog more automated for social media posting and book promotion.
3. Forget that everything is for free
If you are serious about wanting to promote your book, whether self-published or published with a small press, you will have to pay at some time for certain services.
If you are of the mind that everything should be free, well good luck, but making money doesn’t work like that. Nothing much ever comes for free, especially profit.
You don’t need to break the bank, but you certainly should buy a great cover. (How many times have I said that?)
Homemade covers are the absolute worst way to promote your book, as they scream unprofessional and poor quality. If you can’t afford anything else, save up and get a killer cover.
Think of it this way.
A great cover might help sell a poor book, but a poor cover will never help sell a great book.
Great covers sell books! Homemade covers are a buyer turn off.
Remember that your book cover will end up being indexed in Google and Bing image search, so what better way to attract book buyers than with a killer book cover? A poor book cover will fail to take advantage of this opportunity.
So forget about using your expertise in creating a below average book cover using Microsoft Word, and spend a little money on a professional book cover.
4. Buy affordable book promotion
You can’t do it all by yourself.
Most authors, especially new authors, have a small online footprint, so paying to have your book spread much further makes good sense. There are many free and paid book promotion sites, and it is worth registering with some of them, but you don’t have to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for effective book promotion.
Just Publishing’s sister site, Whizbuzz Books offers very affordable book promotion for one year for exposure to over half a million Twitter users, as well as on Facebook, Pinterest, Google+ and on its website. Yes, it’s a plug, but compared to other book promotion sites, it represents extremely good value for money.
Another viable promotion tool is Facebook Ads. Be careful, though, as it can become very expensive to advertise your book on Facebook.
Facebook Ads are good for launching a new book but never expect that your investment in ads will be recouped in sales.
A more cost-effective way to use Facebook Ads is to attract Likes to your Author Page. If you are a new author, investing in page Likes is a very good way to increase your online presence.
Added to the fact is that you can sell your books directly from your Facebook Page, so building up Likes is definitely going to gain more potential book buyers.
Again, invest wisely and don’t chase dreams. A few hundred page Likes is normally enough to attract more free organic Likes.
5. Offer a free series starter
For some authors, this may mean writing a new book or two, but in today’s ebook, Internet, digital-driven book marketplace, free series starters are a proven winner when it comes to book promotion.
Never think about how many ebooks you give away as lost sales. Think about the fact that every ebook you give away is a potential means of attracting a new ebook buyer. If your free series starter grabs readers, you will help you sell more ebooks.
Make absolutely sure, though that your free series starter is complete with links to the rest of the books in the series. Draft2Digital really help in this regard, as they offer automated updating of other book titles in a series.
Of all the tips above, I am of the belief that a free series starter is the most cost-effective book promotion tool a self-published author can have. It costs nothing, and it will be promoting you day in and day out on all your retailers.
If you don’t have a book series, free ebook campaigns on Amazon or other retailers from time to time can similarly help in attracting new readers.
But combined with the other four tips I mentioned, you will have all the important promotional bases covered.
Looking for free book promotion and advertising opportunities can chew away at your time, but there are many ways you can boost your book promotion, so consider what is important for you.
For most authors, it is valuable writing time.
Paying a little by way of web hosting, advertising, book promotion and most importantly, book covers is money very well invested. But, of course, always invest wisely.
Note: We have added a new article with five more ideas to help you promote your books.