One of the most difficult aspects of being an author is the need to market and promote your books. Most would prefer to simply write the next book and hope their other books will be discovered on their own. It could happen. But to ensure your book is discovered, here are some steps you can take.
Asking for Book Reviews
The more reviews there are for your book, the more your book will gain visibility on a retailer’s site. How do you get reviews, you wonder? Ask!
At the end of your book, add the following paragraph (or something like it):
Thank you for taking the time to read Book Title. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend. Thank you. Author Name.
To increase your book’s reviews on release day
- Arrange for a review with an e-magazine (InD’Tale Magazine reviews independently published books, for example) or a respected publication or service
- Before you upload your e-books on retail sites, set up your paperback on CreateSpace
- Send out advanced review copies (ARCs) to your beta readers (these can be e-books or paperbacks you’ve ordered as author copies from CreateSpace)
- Request that reviewers post their reviews on CreateSpace
- Once you have ten to twenty or more reviews, then publish the e-book on Amazon. All the reviews from CreateSpace will port over to your book’s page on Amazon when the e-book is linked with your paperback version.
Using Startup Techniques
Before you can develop your brand, it helps to know a bit more about to whom you’re trying to appeal.
Know Your Audience
When you wrote your book, let’s hope you had a specific reader in mind. That reader and others like him or her are your audience.
- Learn which social media they use. Younger readers are using Instagram versus Facebook, for instance
- Learn where they spend their time on the web. Do they read blogs? If so, which ones?
- Learn who is influencing your target readership and then you’ll know where to target the right audience in the right place
- Contribute valuable content on the platforms to which your audience already pays attention
- Attract an audience to your platform.
Your author name is your brand.
- Develop a “look and feel” that fits you and your books
- Work with a designer if you don’t know where to start
- Apply the brand to everything your produce
- Business cards
- Blog site
- Facebook author page
- Twitter page
- Create a Twitter phrase that best describes you in 15 words or less
- Look professional!
For most authors, the least enjoyable or likeable part of authorpreneurship is the marketing. We just want to write!
Making a Plan
In this day and age, marketing fall on an author’s shoulders. Even traditional publishers are requiring authors to take on the marketing responsibilities (and the associated cost). If you are traditionally published and receive an advance, be sure to read your contract as it may stipulate your advance be used for advertising your book.
Start your marketing before your book is even published. Remember the audience for which you wrote your book? That’s who you’ll be targeting.
- Decide how much you can afford to spend. If you’re not currently bringing in a regular royalty from existing books, start with $100 or more.
- Decide where you want to spend your marketing dollars and make a plan that will help your book get discovered right from the beginning. We’ll cover some options in Part 5, including ads, blog tours, email blasts and newsletters.
- You’ll find you’ll need to go through a bit of trial and error as you run ads—what works for some doesn’t work for others.
- A 90-day cycle works for many authors.
- Running a series of “stacked” ads (ads placed on a variety of sites over a period of several days) ups visibility and generates sales that eventually decline after about 90 days.
- Repeat the above.
- When you have more than one book to market, you’ll find running a series of stacked ads on a regular basis keeps your sales numbers up to help even out the peaks and valleys.
Making Marketing an Everyday Task
Commit to spending 15 minutes a day on marketing. In those fifteen minutes, you can do one or more of the following:
- Update your website
- Place ads (Facebook, book promotion sites, e-mags, e-mail book blasters)
- Send a tweet
- Set up a newsletter campaign
- Write a newsletter article
- Manage newsletter subscriptions
- Work with a blogger to feature your book (remember that media kit you created?)
- Set up a book’s Facebook page (more about this in Part 4)
- Post from your Facebook author page
- Update your Pinterest board (more about this in Part 4)
That’s it for now. Check back for Part 4, where we’ll cover promotion using a variety of options. Happy writing!