Marketing & Promotion
Certain things are fundamental to a successful book promotion.
- Your book is one that enough people will find interesting.
- Your book has been properly edited.
- The cover design is one that will draw attention.
- The back cover blurb will entice readers to buy the book.
Once these requirements have been met, you're ready to start promoting your book. One thing I want to point out is that it’s difficult to
predict which of the following strategies will pay off for you. Sometimes book sales happen as a result of a combination of two or more
different strategies, and if you've implemented many different strategies simultaneously like most of us do, it's not always obvious
which ones played a role.
Most of these approaches are free, except for your time, so I say, try as many of them as you can.
Create a Good Product
I can't emphasize this enough. Self-published books often get a bad rap because they violate basic writing rules and/or contain errors.
All the marketing in the world will not sell a badly written book.
At the very least, I recommend investing in a professional proofreader. And if you're really serious about writing, hire an editor. For a
discussion about what editors will do for you, click here.
Strive to make your finished product flawless—one you're proud to call your own.
Start Promoting Before Your Book is Published
You donʾt have to wait until your book has been released to start promoting it. Some authors start this process as much as three
months before the release date. I prefer no sooner than thirty days, as I believe promoting something too far in advance of it being
available can also have a negative effect. Here are some ways to get the word out while your book is still in the works.
- Include on your website an invitation to be notified when your latest book has been
released, and then use these e-mail addresses to start building your fan base.
- Write storyline teasers on social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.).
- Include a synopsis of your book on your website.
- Offer an advanced review copy (ARC) of your book in exchange for a review. Having reviews in place as soon as your book is
released will help sales. If you do this before your book is proofread, be sure to tell the reviewer so that wonʾt count against you
in their review.
- Participate in interviews. Interviewers almost always ask, "What is your current project?"
- Write a short story with the same setting and characters and offer it for free (on Smashwords, for example), promoting your
upcoming book at the end. When your book is released, add a where-to-purchase link. (Thank you Kenneth Foster, for this one.)
- Have your elevator pitch ready to go. Word of mouth advertising still works, even in this electronic age we live in.
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Being an Author Means Running a Business
Unless you’re a celebrity, famous author, or just an author
who caught some lucky breaks, you will have to spend more time
than you had originally planned marketing your books.
- Receive periodic notifications when additional subjects are added to
the writer’s advice sections (about one per quarter).
- Learn of my future book releases (about one per year).
- Let me know if you would like to see additional topics included on
this website, and if I use your suggestion, receive a complimentary
copy of one of my books (your choice).
So if you're a new author, don't be surprised to learn how much effort goes into promoting a book.
I learned in business school that there are four elements to marketing: product, place, price, and promotion. For
Product = our books
Place = where our books are available for purchase
Price = that sweet spot where we'll earn the most profit
Promotion = everything we do to reach prospective readers
I mention this because being an author is no different than running any other kind of business. Read any book
on managing a small business, and you'll see what it takes to be a self-published author. You have to produce
a quality product, let people know it's for sale for a reasonable price, and deliver it when they want it.
While this part of our author life may not seem as exciting or
creative, it is essential. You can’t really succeed without it.
Following are some basic considerations for book marketing and
promotion. Be sure to also click the tabs on your left for ways to
promote and market your books.