This week and next week James A. Rose has very kindly offered to do some guest posts for us about writing and the self-publishing process, specifically as regards marketing. Thanks again James for some wonderful nuts and bolts stuff!
As if the undertaking of the monumental task of writing a book was not enough; marketing the book on a limited budget has the potential to be an even bigger challenge if you let it. There are quite a few marketing tactics you can use to promote your book but you don’t have to use all of them. Some may be more suited to your skills or budget than others. They key is to be proactive. When starting out, just focus on one or two methods.
- Build a website. This is vital and priority number one. You need a showcase for your work. The many content management platforms out there make this a very achievable task but if time is an issue, it can be outsourced for a reasonable cost. Your site will not only be a place to exhibit your book/s but will also be a forum where you can build your personal brand, express ideas and engage your audience.
- Establish your target market. Your marketing efforts will be wasted on the wrong demographic. You’ll need to tailor your message to this specific market segment. Think about what images and colors would be appropriate in ads. Where do these people hang out online? Your budget is likely limited so this step is important to make sure as little effort is wasted as possible.
- Give away some free eBook copies and ask for an honest review on Amazon in exchange. Do this prior to launch so the reviews already exist on launch day. Be sure to get email addresses as some of these initial readers may need a polite reminder about leaving a review. Giving away free copies is also a great way to generate word of mouth. Some of these initial recipients may have a blog or a strong presence on social media. They say word of mouth is the best advertising.
- Buy ads on relevant sites. Preferably image ads on independent sites that focus on various aspects of writing or reading. You can also seek placement on corporate sites such as Bookbub.com. The more traffic a site gets, the more expensive the ads will be but a minimum two week run the week before release and the week after should suffice.
- Utilize social media. If you are already a social media whiz then you likely have a lot of friends and followers. This existing base is great way to elicit more word of mouth advertising. Actively engage with people on a regular basis. Social media is also a venue for cheap paid advertising. You’re in luck because of the nature of what you will be promoting. People go onto social media sites to be entertained. This is why traditionally some businesses like Bob’s Auto Glass Repair have struggled to see any tangible results from paid social media advertising but your new book is the perfect subject for a social media campaign as it falls directly in line with people’s desire to be entertained.
- Write for related blogs. You’re undoubtedly a proficient writer so capitalize on those skills and offer to write articles for blogs targeted at writing and reading enthusiasts. Blog owners are usually overworked and will happily accept guest post submissions, especially from an accomplished author. Include a few links to your book and you’ll have some quality free traffic while building your reputation as a professional.
- Seek interview opportunities either on podcasts or in written form on blogs. You’d be surprised at how many people listen to some of these small podcasts you’ve likely never heard of. Most podcast hosts and blog owners will welcome an interview opportunity with a published author.
- Set realistic goals and proper scheduling. If your marketing experience and budget are low then don’t take on more than you can handle. Also be sure to keep a calendar to keep track of all your interview dates, ad schedules, posting times, etc. Know what will run in the weeks before the book launch and what will run after.
Hopefully this guide will help set you in the right direction for promoting your next book. It is by no means an exhaustive list but does cover some of the most effective methods. As a self-publisher you will need to learn to think like an agent for a trade publisher. If writing for writing’s sake is your primary motivator then that is fine but if you want to make a living as an author then you’ll have to learn to put feelings aside and look at the numbers. Your book is a product and you’re a business owner. There’s no shame in shameless self-promotion so don’t give up.
James A. Rose is a writer for InstantPublisher.com, a self-publishing company that has been helping authors bring their visions to life for the past 15 years. He has worked in the book publishing industry since 2010 and during that time he has seen pretty much every problem that authors encounter during the self-publishing process. It is James’ goal to utilize his experience at Instant Publisher to help budding authors avoid common mistakes and self-publish the best book possible.