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