Marketing tips for self-publishers
Marketing tips for self-publishers
A well-thought out marketing strategy, executed consistently, can help any self-publisher to raise awareness about his or her book. The key is to plan effectively and to increase your book’s visibility as much as possible. Focus on the following:
- Define your audience
- Build a network
- Build a mailing list
- Get reviews
- Use social media strategically
- Record an audiobook
- Promote your book – give discount deals
- Write a memorable and polished book description
- Communicate clearly and consistently across all platforms
Traditional publishers have massive marketing machines that help spread the word on new and upcoming titles. Their methods are tried and tested for every genre and they therefore know exactly where to focus their efforts. To give your book the best possible chance of success, an effective marketing campaign is key.
The last thing many self-publishers want to do is think about marketing – you just want to focus on writing a great book! Although an outstanding product is part of the process, people will need to know about it. Below we share some valuable tips on how to effectively plan a marketing strategy. Whatever avenues you choose, it is of the utmost importance to do it consistently – as such, you need to plan and dedicate the daily or weekly time exclusively to marketing and promotion.
1. Define your audience
Defining your target audience is one of the first and most important principles of marketing. You need to know about the people that would want to read your book. You cannot market the book to “everyone” and you need to understand what your ideal or potential reader expects from a specific genre. Knowing your target audience means knowing what they buy and having a clear idea of who you want to reach will help sell more books.
2. Build a network
Building a network starts with the people you know and connect with on a daily basis. You can start with your existing family and friends, email and social media contacts as well as connecting with people on professional platforms and getting onto the email lists of bookstores or fellow writers. This can also include joining or engaging with the platforms, blogs, websites etc. that your potential or ideal reader visits. Organising readings, writing guest blogposts, or attending the right functions are all ways in which to effectively network.
Whether it’s a physical space or online, you need to connect and engage with and be seen by your potential readers. It is about creating as much visibility for your book as you possibly can.
It is also important to remember to not get too focussed on numbers in the beginning. Building a network takes time and if you focus first on providing valuable content and maintaining genuine relationships, your network will expand that much faster.
3. Build a mailing list
Building a mailing list obviously relates to building a network. Email as a marketing channel is still considered as one of the most effective marketing tools. This can be a really efficient way to keep track of your contacts and to keep people on your mailing list up to date with book launches, events or other engagements.
An email list can also help you to test specific content, to understand what readers want, thereby keeping track of what resonates. People will stay subscribed if you provide them with something valuable and interesting.
A blog is a great way to showcase your writing. People usually want to get some insight into who you are and what you write about. You can also get email addresses from your blog when people visit it and when people are looking for information on you, a well-written and thoughtful blog can create a lasting impression of professionalism and talent.
5. Get reviews
This is very important. When readers see a thorough and thoughtful review, they are much more likely to find your work credible and buy your book. If you publish your book on Amazon, for example, it will help tremendously to have some reviews in advance. In this way, Amazon will begin to recommend it and people are much more likely to purchase it.
You can actively reach out to reviewers and offer them a complimentary copy of the book. You can find reviewers on a number of websites, such as Goodreads and Audible. You can also use Google, Facebook and genre-specific websites.
Think of possible neutral reviewers in your existing contacts and ask them to write an honest review. You can even swap books with another author and post reviews on each other’s blogs. Not only will you get valuable feedback, but you will be able to use these reviews in a number of ways when marketing your book – whether sharing them on social media, on your blog, to your email list or websites that potential readers frequent.
6. Use social media strategically
As mentioned, when building your network, you can use social media to raise awareness about your book or projects. If you are willing to spend some money, you can also pay for targeted ads on Facebook or other platforms. However, you don’t need to pay an arm and a leg for marketing. If you are consistent with posting and use creative ways (such as reaching out to “bookfluencers” to promote you for example) you can gain a respectable following. Ultimately, it is about reaching as many of the right people as you possibly can.
7. Record an audiobook
Audiobooks are extremely popular and will continue to be for some time. And what is more, an audiobook will make your book accessible to a larger number of readers. Recording an audiobook might seem a bit daunting, but there are great articles online that can help you start the journey of recording an audiobook. An audiobook can set you apart from all the other self-publishers in the genre.
8. Promote your book
Promoting your book can include things like count-down deals for example. Offering your book at a special price for a period of time can boost sales. If you publish on Amazon and choose KDP select, you can run what is called countdown deals. You can run email promotions and even, as this self-publisher explains, run paid eBook promotions through book promotion sites that list discount deals and send out daily emails to their subscribers. They include BookGorilla, FussyLibrarian, BargainBooksy, Booksends, Ereader News Today, and several others.
9. Write a great description
Your book’s description is something you will most likely share with many people and across many platforms. It therefore needs to be the most considered piece of writing in your marketing process. People read descriptions to see what a book is about and it is usually where their interest is peaked or lost. If possible, attempt to get feedback on your description as it needs to be perfect. It will make marketing your book that much easier.
10. Connect the dots – consistent and clear communication
Your marketing strategy or plan needs to be specific and all your channels should connect to one another properly. For example, share your newest blogpost on social media and be sure to share events or news across all platforms. You need to communicate your message consistently – take some time daily or weekly to execute your strategy and keep considering new ways to reach people. Ultimately, enough time and thoughtful planning will see you raising awareness. Learning to market your book is a skill absolutely worth having as it will allow you to independently share and effectively sell your work.