Low-Cost Tips to Market a Self-Published Book

In an ideal world, we’d all have a million dollars to market our books and ourselves lavishly, but that’s almost never the case in the indie publishing world. Many self-published authors struggle with how to market their books. Here, we’ll talk about some simple, no-to-low-cost ways to get the marketing ball rolling.

First, tell everyone you know about your book. No, really. Word of mouth can be very effective, and you might be pleasantly surprised at the number of promotional opportunities that come up from someone mentioning your book to someone else. Tell your friends, family, coworkers, and mail carrier. Ask them to buy and tell their friends. Ask everyone to leave reviews.

Next, be sure to have an online presence. Establish a .com website that looks professional (this can be done easily and cheaply with many hosting providers’ drag-and-drop website makers) and an author page on your choice of social media—using several platforms is best, but choose what makes you comfortable.

Start a newsletter. Configure your website to allow readers to opt-in by providing their email addresses. Incentivize newsletter signups. A good way to do that is to offer something free—the first few chapters or your current book (to entice them to buy) or the first few chapters of the next book (and the next and the next—more on this in a moment). Treat your email list/followers as friends. Don’t inundate them with emails and cause them to cancel or opt out. Whenever something new comes up—an award, an appearance, an article, and so on, or when you’ve got some new information (“Hey, gang, I thought you’d want to know that I just finished the first draft of my new book. Things are coming along nicely, and if I continue at this pace, I should have a new work in your hands by…”).

Another great tip is to reach out to local media. Send out queries and get your book mentioned in local newspapers or info sources. People love to support local authors. Contact local bookstores and see if they’d let you do a signing or virtual event (which you’d have to promote with word of mouth, Facebook, Twitter, news stories, or announcements). (For in-person events, you’ll have to bring your own stock, usually.) See if bookstores in your area would carry a book by you (a local author).

And last but not least—write more (I can’t stress this enough!). People aren’t as willing to take a chance on a new book by a one-off author. However, if you’ve got several books or a series, and they know you’re sticking around, they’ll give you a try. And if they like you, they’ll keep coming back. The key to building success is to write and to keep writing. Successful authors are most often authors with more than one book. So, keep writing! You might find that this strategy is the one that eventually allows your books to practically market themselves. 

Good luck with your book!

Ginny Glass, editor at Book Helpline

Everything There Is to Know About Writing and Publishing Your Book

Maybe this book does not cover quite everything there is to know about writing and publishing, but authors planning to publish in the UK and Ireland should definitely have a look at this book:

Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook 2018

This is a tome of over 800 pages with a lot of background information about writing, the publishing industry, self-publishing, illustrations, writing for television, magazines and newspapers, and information about copyright. And there are a lot of invaluable tips and tricks from well-known, successful authors, who share their experiences in writing and publishing.

This is the book that answers all (or certainly many) of your questions.

The best part, however, are the listings!

They read a bit like the Yellow Pages. There are names, addresses, telephone numbers, website links, email addresses and a short description about:

  • Newspapers and magazines
  • Publishers
  • Literary agents
  • Art agents
  • Societies, prizes and awards
  • Festivals
  • Writers’ retreats and courses
  • Editorial services
  • Self-publishing providers

If you only use it for the listings, it will already be worth your money. Note that the listings are mainly for addresses in UK and Ireland, although there are also ‘overseas’ sections covering major publishers and literary agents.

The chapters with background information are very readable and not too long-winded (just a few pages each). So, the book is easy to dip in and out of and provides you with just the snippet of knowledge that you need at any moment.

Here’s the link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1472947495  Note that there is a new edition every year, and the edition for the next year is usually published in July. So, before you buy, always check that you have the newest edition. The 2019 edition is currently £15.40.

Did you find this useful or do you have a question? Have you used the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook yourself? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

 

[Between the two of us, of course, you won’t need the ‘Editorial Services’ listings because Book Helpline are the book editors for you! We offer feedback to help you improve your story line, and a copy edit to make sure your book is free from grammatical and spelling errors. Before you check out any other editors, ask for a free sample edit from Book Helpline.]

 

Book Helpline provides independent authors with professional feedback on their book. We also offer copy editing and proofreading, and publishing your book to Amazon. This way, we can help you get your book in the best possible shape so you can proudly present it to the world.

How to Compare Files in Word

Has it happened to you that you have two Word files with a similar filename, and you’re not sure how they differ? When you open them, they look almost identical. Which one should you keep? And should you delete the other one, or does that have some useful information that you maybe want to copy over into the other file?

You can use the COMPARE function in Word to find out how they differ.

This may also be useful when you want to see what your editor changed during the edit (if you didn’t get a file with Tracked Changes).

To compare files:

  • Open a new file (empty) in Word.
  • Click on the Review tab at the top of the screen.
  • Click on Compare and choose the Compare option.

 

 

  • In the pop-up (see below), click on the folder icon in the “Original Document” section and choose one of the two files (the one you believe is the older version). In the “Revised Document” section, choose the file that you wish to compare with the first one.
  • Press OK.

 

The newly created file (not saved yet!) now shows the differences between the files in a different color (see below). A vertical line in the left margin shows where differences occur. Underlines show the extra text in the second file compared to the first file. A strike through, such as at the beginning of the sentence (sentence 4) in the picture below, shows text that was present in the first file, but not in the second.

 

 

Hopefully, this will help you to decide whether to keep the first or the second file. Or maybe you’ll decide to edit the new file to use elements from either file.

Did you find this useful or do you have a question? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

 

 

 

Book Helpline provides independent authors with professional feedback on their book. We also offer copy editing and proofreading, and publishing your book to Amazon. This way, we can help you get your book in the best possible shape so you can proudly present it to the world.

Should you do a Kindle Free Book Promotion?

 

Kindle Free Book Promotion is an option when your eBook is enrolled in Amazon’s KDP Select. This is available for authors who have published their eBook via Kindle Direct Publishing (Amazon). Every 90-day period, you can offer your book for free for up to five days.

One of our authors asked us what we think of this option. He had just published his first eBook and wondered if the Free Book Promotion would be a good way to boost sales.

Some writers have found that freebies boost reviews, so this can be handy if you haven’t got any or only a few. However, the better sales boosts from freebies come from what’s called buy through, when authors have more than one book for sale. Buy-through is when you give, say, the first book of a series away, and everyone who likes it buys the rest of the series, netting the author increased profit. We really haven’t heard much on how a freebie giveaway boosts single-title sales.

Another way to boost sales is to do the buy-through in reverse. But it requires some work on your part. For instance, you’d write a 5,000-word short, preferably related to the story you have now, maybe featuring a peripheral character who figures in the story, or maybe a central character before the action occurs. You offer that story for free. Those who like it will then buy the next one, your actual full-size novel!

There’s debate about whether to make the smaller freebie a cliffhanger. Some people say it annoys readers who then refuse to buy the next one. (But would they have bought anyway without the freebie?) Others say the cliffhanger aspect, if done properly, brings the readers to the next book.

We do think it seems a cheat to offer something for free that the reader only gets resolved if they buy something else from you. So, a self-contained story (even if it features some or all of the characters from the main feature), but one without the heavy-handedness of a cliffhanger, seems a friendlier option.

In any case, the buy-through in reverse method means you’d have to write a short. So that means doing some extra work. But we think it’s better than giving the main event away for free.

Have you got other experiences with free book promotions? We’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below.

 

 

Book Helpline provides independent authors with professional feedback on their book. We also offer copy editing and proofreading, and publishing your book to Amazon. This way, we can help you get your book in the best possible shape so you can proudly present it to the world.