We’re writers. We just want to write. But if you’re an indie author, you’re shouldered with many other responsibilities, ones you may not be ready for. Book promotion can be an overwhelming task, but it can be done. The biggest challenge is where to start.
So, here are 10 things you should know to help ease you into it:
This is you NOT freaking out! Remember why you started this venture. Don’t give up. You want it – go and get it.
2.) Let Your Books Promote Your Books
After pouring your heart and soul into your book, you’ve proofread and edited, you’ve had someone else (preferably someone who knows what they’re doing) to proofread and edit… and now you’re ready to publish. But wait! What’s at the end of your book? You know – after the ending? First thing: thank them for reading. And maybe toss in a polite prompt for them to review your book. In an e-book, you can even add a link to take them directly where they need to go to do so. Then, toss in a little bit about yourself: education, achievements, background. And make sure you let them know where they can find you: on Facebook, on Twitter, on your website or blog. Lastly, but surely not least, let them know what other books you have available or books that you plan to release soon. If they liked what they just read, they’ll probably want to read more books you’ve written. Then they’ll tell two friends and they’ll tell two friends and so on and so on…
You can also post excerpts, or snippets, from you book on you website or blog. Just be cautious when doing this. This is the internet, after all.
I’m habitually unorganized when it comes to book promotion, something I don’t recommend. Get a calender or a day planner. Come up with a game plan. Make a list. Any of that. Schedule out when to work on promotion, as well as when to write. You have to find a balance between your book(s), your job, your family and, God willing, some sort of a social life. If things start to stress you out, reorganize your plan. Writing may be your passion, but don’t let it take over your entire life.
This site provides a basic Promotion Plan idea:
And this site lists blogs with Digital Marketing advice:
The biggest thing that’s been helping me are the droves of sites I have bookmarked. I would be lost without them. Every time I find a legit site that either lists books for free or does reviews, I bookmark it. Afterwards, I sort them into folders. (Okay, so I’m not totally unorganized…)
These are some of the more popular Book Listing sites:
http://www.goodreads.com/ (This one is important to readers – join!)
http://www.shelfari.com/ (If your books are on Amazon, you’re already a member!)
And here is a compiled list of Book Listing sites:
5.) Follow Through
Don’t just toss your name and your books on a site and then forget about it. On most of those sites, readers can “follow” or “friend” you, so don’t ignore them. Make sure they can find you on other sites as well: your author website, your blog, Facebook, etc. There’s usually a way to feed them all into each other. And don’t forget to genuinely “follow” and “friend” others while you’re there. If readers think that you think that you’re too good for them, why would they bother to read your books?
Here’s a nice “to the point” piece on what I mean:
Who doesn’t like free stuff? Really. There are a number of ways to go about this:
- Free Books – This is the obvious one. If you’re enrolled with the KDP Select Program through Amazon, then you can offer your book(s) free for up to 5 days during your 90 day enrollment. The downfall to this is that your work must be exclusively available on Amazon – that means you can’t sell your books on any other site. If you’re not in this program, check out the other sites people can get your books for coupon codes or giveaway options.
- Bookmarks – I know, I know. If all you sell are e-books, why would anyone want your bookmark? Because books made from slaughtered trees do still exist. An e-reader uses a digital bookmark, but an actual book lacks this ability. So, make up some bookmarks of your own! Use the art from your book cover or commission an artist to design some.
- Things and Stuff – Pretty vague, but hear me out. Maybe there’s a cute novelty shop nearby that sells local goods people can’t find anywhere else – handmade candies, convenient tote bags, monogrammed t-shirts. Don’t underestimate the ominous power of free stuff, whatever it may be.
- Gift Cards – The ole reliable. When you don’t know what to get someone, you get them a gift card. There are a number of major companies that offer prepaid gift cards. And if you go with something like a prepaid Visa gift card, it can be used pretty much anywhere. You don’t like to be told what to do and readers don’t want to be told where to shop.
Book bloggers are our saviors. Well, some of them. Make sure to read their Review Policies. Not everyone accepts e-books or self-published works.
Truth is: book bloggers can reach a wide audience, especially if they have a lot of followers. If you send them a copy of your book for review and they review it, think of all the potential readers that value their opinion. Plus, they usually leave a review on the purchase site and Goodreads, or even other sites if you ask nicely.
These are a few Book Blog Directories to check out:
Seeking out Amazon Top Reviewers is another issue. For starters, there’s no initial indication of who reviews what. I was clicking on each profile and bookmarking those I thought would be a good fit for my book. Also, be aware that some of them don’t want piles of emails from indie authors telling them about their new book. And if they do, make sure you offer them a free copy of the book for review. Otherwise, you’re just some jerk randomly peddling your book from one inbox to the other.
Here is the Amazon Top Reviewers list:
8.) Interviews, Guest Posts & Blog Tours
If you do get your work reviewed on a blog, they may ask you for an author interview or guest post to go along with it. Be open to both options. It’s not as painful as you might think. A blog tour may (or may not) be. They’re usually done in conjunction with book blog reviews. Just make sure that said bloggers are willing to participate. Some are eager to, some just don’t have the time.
Here’s an Informational Link to help you get started:
9.) Ads & Press Releases
Once you’ve got some juicy reviews in your arsenal,why not let people know? If people have been enjoying your book, get the buzz out with an ad or a press release. Now, if you’ve seen a press release site, they can look a little sketchy at first. You’ll think, “Who actually reads these things?” People do – people with letters after their names, people in journalism, people who know people in journalism – all the people you want to know about your book and its success. Throw on your “big boy pants” and go for it.
This site offers tips on How to Write an Effective Press Release:
And here are some Free Press Release sites (some offer paid services as well):
Placing an ad can be a rather sound investment. Book listing sites and even book blogs sometimes offer ad space, for a price. Make sure they get a fair amount of traffic and remember to stay on budget. There are also some free options for ads.
Google offers writers Free Book Advertisements:
10.) Write More Books
This is probably the most important thing you can do to promote your work – by offering more of it. Plus, it’s what we do best! It keeps us sane, keeps us happy. And once you’ve gotten another book ready, you get to promote it! (Notice I said “get to” and not “have to” – if you think of it as a chore, then it will be.)
Write! Write! Write!
All in all, I hope these tips have helped you in some way. There are plenty of other strategies that indie authors use, so hop onto a search engine and seek them out. Buck up, get out there, learn from your mistakes and keep trying. As much as we’d like them to, our books aren’t going to sell themselves… at least not right away.
Speaking of which, did you know you can get a sweet little sneak peek at my books, right on Amazon? It’s true!
I’d love to hear from you all. Share what promotion and marketing strategies work best for you. Share links to the sites that you found most helpful. Technology grows quickly and so do the ways in which we can use it. So offer up your latest and greatest techniques.
And during your endeavors, anytime your start to doubt yourself…
READ STEP #1!
Best wishes to you all.