I was a bit hesitant writing this post at first because what works for one self-published author may not work for another. And no two authors have the same amount of time and resources to dedicate to marketing. Promoting a book can get expensive.
I didn’t want to dive deep into creating a marketing plan, although you must, at least a few months before publication to generate interest. But, that’s another post. I didn’t want to talk about guest blogging – the easiest way to get into guest blogging is to start with your writing circle.
See why I was hesitant? This is not an easy topic. There are lots of options and opportunities to increase your reach. But, a lot of them start long before you hit publish. Sometimes, we find that out too late. What I finally decided on for this post is what I’d like to see or think about when I pick up an indie book.
Thank everyone who has had a hand developing and publishing your novel. They are more likely to spread the word and purchase a copy.
Who doesn’t love to see their name in print? Or given recognition for something they have done? Many of us do. That little spark … okay, big wave of joy we feel seeing our name on the front cover of our book is the same joy your beta readers, editors, cover designers etc. feel seeing their name in the credits section of your book.
If they are freelancing like you, this is a win, win, giving them authority in their field. If they are family and friends – great! They are more likely to spread the word, and who doesn’t love grass roots readership?
All this potentially increases sales. So, don’t be afraid to spread the love.
Please, please, please organize your brand and covers.
Take a walk through any book store or online store. Look/ mimic the large publishing houses. If you’re publishing romance and it’s a series, be consistent with your font size, layout, and placing. If you can, have a theme for your cover art as well.
Give each of your genres the same attention. After a few dozen books with consistent branding, your readers can better identify your work.
I’ve never heard a reader say, “I’m going to buy this book because it was published by Random House.” What I do hear is, the cover looks intriguing, the back copy sounds fascinating, and I’ve heard great things (from the author’s sister, my bff) etc.
- Keep it clean
- Keep it silly simple
- Keep it consistent
I’m not going to pretend I don’t like free. Because I do. But what I’ve realised is that when a book is free, it sits on my shelf – virtual or otherwise – waiting to be read… sometimes months after the download. Maybe it’s my brain telling me… “girl, you got time, you didn’t invest anything.”
And, as much as I may like free from time to time, I’m not a fan of authors offering their works for free without a marketing plan (more on that in a sec.)
Story bundles are great alternatives. There are lots of them out there you can research and submit your manuscript to. The price is usually right. You get exposure amongst similar genres. Best of all, you continue making money.
Free books without a marketing plan is a waste of time.
So, you get a free book by an author, it’s great, you want more and…and…. Too bad, no other books exist. This is even true when the book is not free.
If you have a reason for promoting a free book, go for it, but if you don’t, put your marketing energy in creating the next manuscript, then the next. Create a backlist, then use promotion to build your readership.
I believe in creating a down to earth marketing plan: Know why you are doing something. What results you are expecting, and in what frame of time. Who you are targeting? How will you reach your target audience?
But, you can’t promote what you don’t have. And spending all your time promoting one book is hardly a winning business model.