It’s rather humorous knowing most authors cannot properly market their books.
Marketing is the “creative” side of business, yet as novelists we have trouble grasping a strong sense of the concept. If you are reading this, chances are you have, at some point, looked online for “marketing your self-published book,” and that is okay. However, you have to enjoy the humor in this: we can create magic words on paper yet we cannot figure out a plausible way to tap into that creativity on a business level! So, here are a few tips to get you started.
1) Harness web presence.
You have probably read this one before. What is web presence though? It is not just setting up a website and some social media pages. Rather, it requires a definitive sense of forming a following. Just having a website is not enough; you need a following. We have on our Promotion page some tips on this, and we are currently working on the first ever marketing website geared toward individuals with large followings becoming self-made marketers! But until then, it is really a matter of finding individuals who have large followings (i.e. high engagement on posts such as Likes (Facebook), Retweets (Twitter), and Shares (all of the rest!)) and forming a partnership with them. As an author, it is usually best to find other authors with large followings and form a partnership with them. Then agree to the your terms.
2) Find a gimmick for your book.
You have heard the term: “niche market” over and over again, haven’t you? Well, we disagree with this concept. For one, not every book has a niche market. My book, “Through Jaded Eyes,” has a niche market in theory, but in practice…not so much. So, I created a gimmick. What do I mean by this? Well, I realized that its release was timed with political upheaval: the Occupy Wallstreet movement was underway and I knew these were individuals who would love this kind of novel. However, what differentiates this from a gimmick and a niche market is simple: instead of simply targeting my niche market, I utilized the fact that the book is about fear and quite literally made that my marketing strategy: giving the potential reader a sense of fear that would unleash itself upon reading the book. In any instance, it can also be humor or something implied.
3) Partner with other authors.
As aforementioned, it can be a good idea to partner with other authors. These are called “strategic partnerships” and can be utilized to gain their own personal followings for your benefit, advertise and promote on their website and social media accounts, and work with them on promoting yourself and their books equally and methodologically. You also get advice from additional authors who may have different marketing tactics that can assist in your own ventures while marketing. This is also a great strategy when you are in the process of writing your book. You will find a wealth of information and knowledge with more experienced authors, and for those below your own level of marketing intelligence, you can assist and mentor them so that they, too, can be successful.
4) Submit a press release.
A press release is a great way to promote the launch of your book (and at later times, they can be used to remind the world of your masterpiece when you run a promotional deal or a discount). Though they can be pricey, remember that these go out to just about every journalist and media outlet that matters. And I mean thousands of them. This is actually something not many authors are aware of, yet remains one of the most influential tactics you can work with when releasing a new book or novel. In the marketing world this is actually the first thing you will be told about, and this is because they work! Though you have to know how to properly word one in order for a journalist, blogger or media outlet to care enough, I am attaching a sample press release here. Use it wisely!
5) Cultivate guest blog posts.
A guest blog post is just that: a post on another person’s blog. This may be another author, or simply someone who happens to have high engagement on their blog. The first thing to keep in mind is that, you cannot go right for the sale; you need to hook the potential reader with something interesting. I have several “chapter previews” on this blog, all of which are actual pieces of books I have written. Something like that on another person’s blog will do wonders for your own books, and be sure to include a link to a place where they can purchase your work. This is usually a mutual phenomenon: you publish on their page and they publish on yours. In doing so, you are creating opportunities for you and the other party to promote what they do.
This is explained more so on our Promotions page.
6) Use chapter previews.
As you can see from our own blog, we issue regular chapter previews. If you did not see it yet, look here. This is just one example of a preview chapter post. The point you are trying to get across is not a freebie read. Rather, it is to entice the reader in regard to what your book entails. Sometimes a book can be a bit hard to figure out from just the primary description and cover; you need to show people what’s inside! This has worked wonders for “Through Jaded Eyes,” and we urge you to try it yourself! Just take a brief snippet from a single chapter and copy/paste it into a blog entry. Then publish it, and let your viewers become soon-to-be readers! Or, hold onto it for a more demographically-proficient time.
7) Run promotional offers.
When you run a promotional offer (such as a discount on sales), you are giving potential readers the chance to experience your work at a lower price or through easier means. You can sell up to 73 percent more if you offer users what is called a “bonus pack,” or an added benefit to buying your book. What if you are marketing a cook book? Run a 2-week special where each book you sell also comes with a special item such as a spatula that is stick-free. This is a great area to partner with other companies, like we have done with CreateSpace. It gives a sense of perceived value, like there is more being given even though you are losing nothing in the process. Read more about “perceived value” here.
8) Use Meetup for book events.
Meetup.com is a great website where you can set up (and invite people to) events and get the word out. Trying to get a book reading going is next to impossible for a self-published author, so you have to be creative. I ran an event called “Adult Night,” which took place between 3 other authors and myself. We paid for coffee and each reader had a chance to read from their novels. Of course, we also had a table with each book available for sale. Think of new and creative ways to do book readings and use Meetup.com as just one of many ways to advertise your upcoming event!
9) Avoid sales pitches.
When selling your novel, avoid sales pitches and instead, try to relate the material to the potential reader. When you write in a social media post: “Buy my book” with a link to it, you are fanning tiresome flames. But when you say: “It’s that time of the year again, when the wolves come out looking for their next feast. Help deter them! Read now!” you are giving them a mission (and assuming the book is about wolves who hunt at a certain time of the year). People avoid sales pitches because they are not personable enough. But giving a reason to buy your book always works.
10) Be creative above all else!
Be creative! Nothing is worse than a boring marketing campaign. Let your inhibitions go and think like the reader. What would make you want to buy the book? What does it encompass and why is it worth reading? As a novelist, your creativity is strong. Use it in your marketing tactics.