We have all heard the phrase “Never judge a book by its cover”, the point being that we should look a little deeper than just face value, however, at the same time we know that advertising (and this is what your book cover is) works. The leading brands in every avenue of industry spend a great deal of time and effort in creating advertising that speaks, and most importantly, relates to their audience, that connection is what can help to give the consumer the motivation in selecting their product (pricing is also a factor, but in a market where prices are similar, your advertising is what will make the decision for the buyer).
When you look at the publishing world and especially that of self-publishing, it is clear to see that the online bookshelves are saturated with indie publications. Bowker shows the amount of self-publishing titles have grown from 1.2 million to 1.6 million per year (this equates to over 4300 books being published every day), these numbers are astonishing.
With the massive increase in books being published the competition for any new or existing author is now vast, to think that on the day you publish your book, there will be another 4300+ titles also hitting the online bookstores. If you haven’t considered competition, maybe you should.
Choice is of course great for all of us as consumers, you can be sat in your pjs on the couch and in a second have downloaded a great book to read (I know I do this all the time), but when you scan through Amazon’s book store (making sure that you have narrowed the field a little with ratings and genre), you have an endless choice of books, and the very first thing that will grab your attention will be the cover.
If the cover looks unprofessional, rushed and as though corners have been cut, what do you think people will think of the book’s interior content?
When you go into a supermarket there’s a reason why people don’t buy odd shaped or blemished fruit and vegetables, we assume that if it looks odd then it’s going to be odd on the inside too, the growers and supermarkets know this, which is why everything looks highly manicured. We are all biased based upon the presentation of nearly everything, research shows that we make a lasting opinion of someone new within seven seconds of meeting them, further research indicates that this opinion starts to form within a tenth of a second. The point being, we judge what we view very quickly.
How you present your book will have an effect upon an audience, yes, the ratings will also help, but there are many other books available with five star ratings and great looking covers, so to compete effectively you should ensure that your book’s cover also looks professional and fitting for your chosen genre.
Along with a professional book cover design you should ensure that the title, subtitle, and blurb also hook your reader into wanting to know more about the book. A great title combined with an appealing subtitle will intrigue the reader, these two elements are important in selling the book and should be considered thoroughly before deciding upon. The same goes for the blurb, it has the job of further selling the book (now that they have it in their hands), you can learn more in our article on writing a great blurb.
Remember, we judge so much on first impressions, your book will be no different, so in an age of massive choice, give your book the advantage it deserves.
If you are trying to get your book published through the more traditional means of an established publishing house, you may find it incredibly hard to get it read by an editor if you’re ‘going it alone’. Most publishers rely upon literary agents bringing them manuscripts, these agents will have developed relationships within the publishing world, have specialized within just several specific genres, have their fingers on the pulse of current trends and understand how to best shape a book for an audience.
So, finding and working with a literary agent will give you a massive advantage when publishing your book, it will help in giving a clear path to not only polishing your work to its most professional version, but also with opening doors to the relevant parties who can make it a success.
Understanding you need an agent is one thing, getting one (a good one that is) is another.
The good news is that agents do in fact need authors, without authors they wouldn’t have a job of course, however, most agents get inundated with emails, letters and manuscripts from hundreds of authors every day, so you have a lot of competition even in getting an agent to represent you.
But first, you need to find an agent
You may or may not already know people within the publishing world, so you might want to ask those you do know if they have any contacts or recommendations. However, if you don’t get any luck here, don’t worry, there are other ways to find agents.
Firstly, you could try several publications which are more dedicated towards the publishing industry, books such as Jeff Herman’s Guide to Book Publishers, Editors and Literary Agents, Writer’s Market and/or Guide to Literary Agents both by Robert Lee Brewer are certainly good places to start.
There are also many websites which will give you the details of agents, sites such http://aaronline.org/, https://www.publishersmarketplace.com/ and also https://agentquery.com/default.aspx are three sites which have used by many authors and are certainly worth taking a look at.
Many agents also attend book and literary festivals along with writer’s conferences, these are great environments for authors and are well worth going to (even if you’re not looking for an agent), however, it should give the chance to meet with an agent or listen to a talk given by one, this information is invaluable.
You can also look in books which are in your own genre, many will have details within their acknowledgements section, some will list their agents.
Social media is another way to find agents, it can also help give an understanding of their personalities and which would fit your style of writing best.
Once you have a list of agents who are relevant to your genre, you need to start reaching out to them.
But first things first, before you reach out to anyone, your book has to be finished and highly polished, if you send a manuscript (or chapters of one) which are incomplete, in need of editing and full of typos, your chance of success will be zero.
So, before you do anything, get your book edited, proofread, and refined to its absolute best.
Check each agent you plan to contact to ensure that you are doing so via their preferred method, for example, if they only except applications by email, don’t then send a 500 page manuscript printed on letter sized paper through the mail.
You should then send a query letter, this needs to be professional and be a one page pitch for you and your book, you’ll also need to include a synopsis for your novel which should be no more than one or two pages in length. For non-fiction, these synopses are a little more in-depth and should be more substantial in length.
You should also include a chapter of your book, for fiction it is recommended that you send the first chapter, with nonfiction you can send any.
Please remember that most agents will not accept a full manuscript being sent to them at first, send a query letter with samples, when in doubt, always refer to the agent’s own submission guidelines.
Be prepared for rejection, the best authors in the world have had to deal with this, it is normal, however, if you have sent out hundreds of applications/query letters and you’re still not getting anything back, you may want to go to your editor (or a new one) and get it reevaluated for any additional revisions it may need.
For many authors the current pandemic does nothing to help with creativity, when faced with a stressful situation the mind tends to concentrate on the more pressing issue, so for those who write as well as hold down a full or part time job, it’s understandable that your attention is preoccupied.
So many in our communities have been affected by social distancing and restrictions designed to keep us all safe , we stay within our house, for some of us we work from home, many are waiting for their employers to open back up again, and for some, the frustration of claiming benefit and trying to focus on an uncertain future is all that can be thought of.
However, we still need to give our minds the breaks they deserve, focusing 100% of your time on events that are far from your control will not help your mental health, investing time into something creative is not only a way to use the additional hours you may have, it is a break, a chance to become absorbed in something other than fear and the unknown.
When you apply yourself into something creative, when you truly focus on something which requires the beauty and might of your imagination, you open a door into world where you can focus on something else (even if for a short time).
And we need this relief, a distraction to create and for the briefest of moments let go of the continued news updates, social media rumors and misinformation.
Now is the time to be creative, to start that book you always knew you had inside or finish the one that’s remained saved on your PC for the past two years, it’s time to start painting, to draw, to sculpt, to sing and even dance, whatever your creative preference is, now is the time to embrace it.
For the majority of us the new ‘norm’ is one very different from a month or two ago, most towns, cities and countries are on lock down, those of us who can work from home are doing so, many brave essential workers are risking their health to keep us going and for others, their jobs are either gone or on hold.
This can be considered a scary time, and rightly so.
But whether we like it or not, this is the state of things and we have to adapt under the stressful circumstances. There is help out there and for many people assistance from government is on the way, systems are certainly feeling the pressure (and moving slower than ever before), but our support systems do (and are trying) to help us all.
The main message that we hear time and time again is to stay home and stay safe, quarantining can lose its charm quickly, but it is essential and most of us understand this. However, as hard as it might seem, we have to look for the opportunity for us all in these circumstances, and the one thing that being in quarantine does afford us is time.
Time, whether we are spending it actually talking to the loved ones we’re living with, or using Skype to talk to those who are geographically distant. We have time to read, to listen, to learn something new and to create, we can write, paint, draw, sing, dance and put all of our passions into something which becomes the focus of our fears, frustrations, hopes and dreams.
We now have time to reflect on who we are as individuals, who we are as creatives and who we are to those around us.
This current situation will pass, but we should also use it as an opportunity to come out the other side as better people.
What will you do with the time that you now have?
Now that you have published your book, you may be looking for other ways to market it to a larger audience, this is where many authors have turned to publishing in audio as well as print (and eBook), and the majority of these authors didn’t read/record it either.
It’s worth considering an audio version of your book, more people are subscribing to the likes of Amazon’s Audible and the process itself is a great deal easier than you may have imagined. If you decide to release an audio version, there are two main options you will consider in preparing your book for its audio release.
One – Doing it yourself
Ensure you have a quiet and sound adequate space to record in, you may need to choose your room carefully and set up so that you don’t get poor audio and background noise. You’ll also need a good quality microphone along with the software to be able to record and also edit your sound files.
Other elements you’ll need to keep in mind will be:
Recording your own book by yourself can be done, but, there is a lot to take on board, in many cases (unless you have some sort of experience in recording) it can be a great deal easier to get others involved, it will lead to an easier process and a professional finish.
Two – Getting help from professionals
If you have used KDP to publish your book (and so many authors already have) then using Amazon’s ACX program is the logical step in converting your book into audio.
Here you can get everything you’ll need to have a professional audio book created and then distributed through Audible, Amazon and even iTunes.
The process is broken down into eight steps:
Once your audio book is live and ready to be purchased, you’ll then start with the more familiar role of self-promotion and advertising.
There are of course option services out there who can record your book and distribute it, but ACX is a good option to consider and they really do try to make the process as user friendly as possible.
Currently many people are having to work from home, their places of work doing the right thing (and where possible) ensuring that their team can still be productive, but from a distance. For many authors this may feel like an extension of how you would set your home up for writing, it’s just that now most of us are quarantined and making your home/work life work is vital (if you want to stay productive).
So, what should you consider when spending more time at home and either working or writing your book? Here is our list of what will help any author have a more productive time while working from home.
One – Find a space.
Trying to work in your living room from your sofa sounds great to many, but the reality is that it really doesn’t work, you have more distractions and the temptation to just relax is overwhelming (after all, a living room is normally set up for doing anything but work).
Now, not everyone will be lucky enough to have a home office in their house, so you may have to be creative in choosing a location to work in, if you have a spare bedroom (and a desk with chair) then this could become your work space, if not, then you could use your kitchen table (so many of today’s big business originally started from a kitchen table, so if this is your option, you’re in good company).
Basically you need an area which is as free from distractions as possible, a table to place your pens, paper, tablet or laptop on to and a decent chair which you can sit in for a longer period of time with out getting back ache.
Two – Mindset
If you’ve never worked from home before then you’ll have a clear boundary between your place of work and your house, this can be a good thing, as your home is a place to relax and take a break from the business world, however, now that you are working from home, you need to shift that mindset slightly.
Having a clearly defined area to work in really helps with this, as once you are in that area, technically you’re at ‘work’, but not only this, you should approach the whole situation as if you were in your normal work place, you may not be wearing your usual work clothes, but you should approach it with the same professional attitude.
Three – Scheduling
Working from home requires some structure, without your boss looming over your shoulder the temptation is to work when you feel like it, this may work for some, but it really isn’t the most productive way of planning your day. Having a schedule where you can plan how and when you will spend your working hours is really useful to ensure you get the most out of your day (and also means you’re not working until midnight either).
You can download apps and software which will easily allow you to plan out your day, week and month, but if you don’t want to buy/use new software, you can always set up a planner in either Microsoft Excel or Apple’s Numbers.
When you plan your day you should list the tasks that have to be completed that day and check them off as you complete, this is good in two ways, firstly it ensures that you don’t miss anything important and secondly it helps you when reflecting upon the day that you have actually been productive (when working alone it’s good to feel a sense of achievement, even if it’s from yourself).
Four – Distractions
Distractions are far more prevalent when working from home, social media is only a click away and it is easy to get sucked into watching an hours worth of nonsense on YouTube, so you have to be strict with yourself, switch off all social media and only check a couple of times during your working day. Now this may be a little harder for some, if you use social media for your business then you may have to go on to check and update, but be realistic in your usage.
Five – Breaks
The flip side from working from home is that you tend to find yourself working more hours, you can also miss out on taking a lunch break and instead eat while working. It’s really important that you take the time and schedule a break within your new working day, get up and away from your desk (or kitchen table) and step outside for a moment, of course keep your distance from others, but spending five minutes in the fresh air (even if it is just outside your front door) is really good for clearing the mind.
Try to eat away from your desk and make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Six – Communication
Working remotely will still mean that you have meetings with colleagues, it’s just now they’ll all be conducted online. There are many different applications that can be used for this and your company may have its own preferred application that it will want you to use, the same goes for your email and messengers. So, it may sound obvious, but, making sure these are set up upon your device correctly before you start work will lead to a smoother day (realizing five minutes before an important meeting that your laptop needs to be configured for it to work is not great). Also, for meetings, make sure you are dressed the part and not in a dressing gown.
Seven – End of Day
Once you have completed your work for the day, make sure you close the door on your work space or clear everything off of your kitchen table, it’s good to still have some boundaries between work and home, it helps you to unwind from the day’s work and ensures you can sleep well (so you can still be productive for the following day).
Social media (like fashion) changes with time, most of us have a Facebook account followed by a Twitter feed, but the switch to predominantly using Instagram happened a while ago, so if you’re not already on this platform too, you could be missing out.
The great thing with Instagram is that it’s very visual, it’s easy to use and very focused towards using with your cellphone, so no matter when and where you are, there’s normally an opportunity to connect with your followers/readers.
So, first thing’s first, if you don’t yet have an account, now is the time to set one up, you can sign up at https://www.instagram.com/ make sure you select a professional looking (and relevant) profile image, also take the time to write a short bio for your profile. If you download the app from either the Google Play or Apple Store, you’ll be able to sign up via the app too.
One – Adding content
Instagram is focused more towards mobile use, so adding images is incredible easy using their app which allows you to take photos from your phone, add filters and then upload. However, if you want to add content that you make on your computer you’ll need to ensure that the size is correct (you don’t want to add a huge panoramic only for it to be hard to view once uploaded.
If you go larger than their recommended sizes Instagram will compress the image, this can make the post look a little blocky in comparison to the original image, so try to stick within their guidelines for the best results.
You can add content to your Instagram page through your PC, but it will normally require the use of a third party app to do so, you could also save the post to any cloud storage and access from you phone to post, or send it directly to your phone to post.
Two – Using Hashtags
When I first started with Instagram I was posting some great content but never using hashtags, the result, no one saw my posts. Hashtags help people (who aren’t following you) find your content, of course they need to be specific to what you’ve posted and more than just one or two of them, however, don’t get carried away, if you use more than thirty you’ll find that the caption for the image gets removed.
Three – Self Promotion?
The golden rule is in not over promoting your book, if your feed is just one long advert then people won’t engage, you should aim to have just 20% of your posts being ads and the other 80% being non advertising. Think of what you like to view when browsing Instagram (or which ever social media site you prefer), is it just the advertising you look at? No, we all quickly scroll through this, your viewers will be just the same.
Four – Engagement
Social media is, well… about being social (the key is kind of in the name), so engage with people, comment on others posts and reply when people comment on yours.
Five – Look for moments to share
There will be millions of opportunities for you to share posts with your followers, now this doesn’t have to be every single meal you eat from now on (please, if you’re not a food writer, don’t share meals, we all eat, we get it). But, if you wander into your local Barnes & Noble and they have your book on display, take a photo and shout about it. Or you may have just completed chapter one of your next novel, an image of you with a big smile sat at your laptop would be great too.
Be creative and have fun, as long as it’s not a stream of constant adverts you’ll have a better chance of connecting with others.
Six – Keep Posting
Try to post something every day if you can, this will keep your feed in the mind of your followers and indicate to Instagram that the account is being actively used.
Also think about when you should post, now this will be different for each author, if your audience is made up of adults in their 30’s (for example) then you might want to post from 7pm onwards when they’re back from work. However, if your audience is mainly teens, then posting earlier when they’re back from school would be better.
If you’re not sure when you should post, look at other authors who publish in the same genre and to the same demographic, you can always copy when they post.
Seven – Ask some questions
An easy way to engage with your followers is to ask them something, what are they reading? What’s the best book or worst book they’ve ever read? What are they planning to read next? The list of questions you can ask is endless, just be creative and engage when your readers respond.
Eight – Advertising
You can pay to advertise your posts which can really help in targeting specific readers, just remember that if you are setting up an ad campaign it will be done through Facebook’s Ad Manager, this will allow you to get very specific with your targeting and also your budget, you can set daily budgets and specify the timeframe for the ad to run.
Nine – Give stuff away
Offering a free copy of your book (especially if it’s signed) is a great way to get followers to like your post and engage with you, you can also offer other prizes to increase the interaction with people who may not currently be following you. There are authors who give away copies of their own books with copies of a famous author’s book too, this way they have a better chance of gaining the attention of the other audience too.
Ten – Test and Monitor your posts
Try different approaches and offers with your posts, with some trial and error you’ll find out what works and what doesn’t, just make sure that your content looks great, it’s interesting and that it’s not all advertising.
It’s no secret that Amazon is most author’s ‘go-to’ when it come to a platform to sell their books, its reach is massive, and it’s trusted by millions of us for our online shopping, so once your book is published and ready for sale on their platform, is there anything else that we can do to increase sales?
Well this is where their own Advertising comes in, you can place ads upon their site to promote your own book, depending upon your budget, you can now give your book a boost and reach more readers that simply uploading and hoping for the best.
One – Check eligibility
You will need to ensure that your book meets their requirements for advertising, they have two policies to consider:
Most of it is obvious, but it is still worth taking the time to go through before you proceed.
Two – Getting your page ready
When customers click on your ad they’ll be taken through to a product detail page, here you will need to check to ensure that you have enough detail and that everything is correct too. You should consider a descriptive title along with precise details, use a professional book cover image and ensure that any quotes or claims can be supported.
Three – Creating an Advertising account
First, you’ll need to go to your Amazon Bookshelf and then select the book that you’d like to promote, you’ll see a button on the right which say’s ‘Promote and Advertise’ click on this.
On the next page you’ll see the option for ‘Run an Ad Campaign’, there’s a drop down menu which will allow you to select your chosen country to advertise in, once selected you can continue by clicking on ‘Create an ad campaign’
Four – Choosing your ad type
There are two options here, Sponsored products and Lockscreen Ads,
With Sponsored Products you’ll be able to advertise your eBook and paperback, these are targeted through keywords and will appear with search results on desktops and mobile devices, Amazon currently recommend this as the best way in getting started with advertising with them.
With Lockscreen Ads you can only advertise your eBook, these ads appear on Kindle e-reader devices and Fire Tablet lockscreens, they are very specific in their targeting but again, are limited to those devices and eBook titles.
Five – Creating your ad
If you select Sponsored Products you’ll go through to the next page where you’ll set up your campaign, the complete set up guide for this can be found on Amazon’s site at help page.
Here you’ll set up a campaign name, organize a portfolio for your campaigns, set a daily budget for your advertising, set start and end dates and also specify your target keywords.
With the ad format, you can chose to launch a campaign with or without custom copy, custom copy is worth taking the time to create, but please note, at the time of writing, this is only available though the .com version of their website.
Once you have selected the books you want to advertise, you’ll move on to entering keywords and bidding. Bidding is where Amazon run auctions to determine which ads they’ll show, ones which are selected have to meet Amazon’s minimum criteria, you can view the video below which gives details of bids and advertising.
There is also more info on the strategies and set of bidding at their bidding set up help page.
Six – Previewing your ad
Once everything has been set up, you’ll be able to review and check that everything is how you want it, take your time and ensure that you’re happy with everything before submitting.
Seven – Submitting your ad
Once submitted, your ad will be checked by Amazon with 72 hours, they will check to ensure that the ad meets their requirements. So, before you submit, make sure you check for grammatical errors, that any claims you make about the book are true and that any images you use are appropriate and not offensive to any audience.
Whether you hate it or love it, Twitter is still an influential platform that can be used to tell the world about your new (or existing) book, but if you don’t use it that often or don’t even have an account yet, what should you be doing when it comes to this specific social media channel (if you want it to help in self-promotion as an author).
The likelihood is that if you’re reading this, you are serious about promoting your book and reaching out to a larger audience, so along with other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is still a good channel to connect with others.
So, what is the best way of using Twitter and are there things you could be doing right now to make it work better for you? Here are our top eleven tips on getting the most out of it for you as an author.
One – What’s in a name?
This may be a little obvious, but, if you haven’t yet created a Twitter account, make sure you chose a name which is relevant to you and your chosen genre. For example, If you’re an author of historical novels and yet your Twitter handle is @fluffybunny1, you may find that people will make assumptions about your credibility when looking at your page.
If you have an existing and personal Twitter account, you may want to consider opening a new one specifically for you as an author, this will then allow you to align yourself more closely to the genre.
Two – Profile Image
People will make assumptions based upon what they see, so your profile image needs to do you justice, as an author it is better to use a professional photograph of yourself, a good head-shot will give the impression of professionalism from the get-go.
If you don’t want to use a head-shot, do instead use a high-res image of an element that’s tied into your book, it could be a logo or a graphic which is important to the series. But please don’t simply stick with the default image of the egg, you tend to see this used on many fake accounts.
Three – Banner Image
Like the profile image, the banner you choose to represent you & your work is important, it should be professional, relevant and clearly showcase your book/s. Obviously we would recommend that you have one designed which includes images of your work along with copy which promotes, but if you don’t want to do this, at least use an image which (again) is relevant and looks professional.
Four – Bio
Your bio should not be something that you throw together quickly, it’s one of the first things that visitors to your profile will read, so it should let them know what to expect from you. Admittedly, you do only have the space for 160 characters, but this doesn’t mean you should waste them, a well-constructed bio along with your profile and banner images should highlight your professionalism as an author.
Five – Followers
One of the most frustrating things of starting a new account will be the lack of followers, this may lead to the temptation in seeking robot followers, these are still a thing (although Twitter is always clamping down on them), but it is easy to gain followers with them and for a fee. The simple answer is….. Don’t, they are fake, they’ll never retweet anything you post and they will make your account look shady.
Gaining real followers takes time, it takes some effort and it will require you connecting with others, but then that’s what social media is there for, to connect with other people. So, take your time, engage with others, like, retweet and comment, and above all, have fun, before you know it your followers will start to grow, and best of all, they’ll be genuine.
Six – Follow others
Find other influential people within your genre and follow them, you’ll find that lots of people will follow you back, but you will also see how they interact with their own followers (which can be really useful).
Seven – Saying thanks
If people retweet content from your page, make sure your say thanks and tag them in the post using their Twitter handle, this may seem like a little be of work, but it really helps to grow relationships and your presence upon the channel.
Eight – Self Promotion
Now the main reason that most professionals use Twitter is to sell something, however, if your page is simply one continuous advert, people will switch off, think of watching a show on TV, you’ll sit through the ads, but they’re not the reason your watching, and if it was 30 mins of pure ads, wouldn’t you just change channels?
So, be sparing with your adverts, post content that you would want to read yourself along with a couple of ads.
Nine – Hashtags
Adding great content to your channel is important, but you want it to be found, and one of the best ways of doing this is in using Hashtags. So if you have written a post about self-publishing, you simply add the tag #selfpublishing to the post, this way anyone looking for posts on self-publishing will have a better chance of finding your post, just make sure you add several tags and keep them specific to your audience.
Ten – Lists
Creating a list in Twitter is a great way of staying connected to other users without having to follow them, you can bunch people together and go back to them when you need to, you’ll also find that most people love being added to one of these too.
Eleven – Use it
The main thing with Twitter (and any other social media channel) is that you’ll get out of it what you put in, if you take the time and effort to connect with others, post content that you find interesting, retweet, like, engage and follow others too, you’ll have fun, make connections and build a platform that will help with your goals as an author.
When we want to buy a product these days we always look for reviews to see how others found it, and a book is no different, a great review can work wonders in helping the unsure reader make the decision to purchase your publication and not another.
Reviews themselves can and should be used in several locations too, when most people think of reviews for a book they think of its Amazon’s sales page, the gold stars and the comments left by people who have already bought the book. But there are other places to use your reviews and (most importantly) several different ways of getting reviews.
Let’s look at how you can get some reviews first.
One – Promote your eBook
Giving your eBook away for free as part of a promotion can be a great way to increase your downloads, the more people who get to read it will eventually lead to an increased chance of reviews. This can work incredibly well if you have a series of books, making the first in the series permanently free will not only help with obtaining reviews, it will also help in selling the other books in the series.
Two – Ask the reader
You will have noticed that in the back of most books you’ll see a call to action for the reader themselves, this is a polite request asking the reader to leave a review online of your book, this works incredibly well in eBooks, here the request gives a link to the book’s sales page, making it incredibly easy for the reader. But even with a printed book, you can still have a page which politely asks the reader to leave a review, it’s best to have this just after the final page of the book, once they’ve read ‘The End’ the next page asks for their review (include a picture of the book and make it stand out).
Three – Use your website & mailing list
Any serious author these days will have a website (if you don’t have one yet, it really is worth considering), your website is your platform to the world and gives you the opportunity to self-promote, inform and engage with your readers. Again, you may need to offer something for free (maybe a chapter of your latest book or even a complete book) in exchange for their email address. Once you build a mailing list you can send out news, promotions and even sneak previews of new books, just make sure you ask for a review in return.
Four – Beta Test your book
Opting for a ‘soft-launch’ where you only promote the book to a select few is more common than you may realize, the purpose of this is to fine tune the book and get feed-back, some of this feed-back may then be usable for a quote, but it’s really important that you get honest feed-back that you can then act on, the most successful films do this with test audiences and you should do the same with test readers.
These test readers could be part of online authors groups (such as Goodreads), they could be readers who you engage with through your author social media channels or they could be people who are part of your mailing list. This process can take several months to complete, so you should be patient, but it really is worth taking the time to complete, it can really help with the editing, proofing and promotion of your book and really doesn’t cost much to do.
Five – Give your book to people of influence
This could be as simple as sending out free copies to book bloggers in return for a review/quote, you may send a copy to someone you admire and has relevance to your subject and genre. The key is in doing some research, if you are going to send your book to a prominent Blog writer or Vlogger, make sure that they actually review books that are in your own chosen genre.
Six – Use Social Media
Engaging with your audience via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other channels is a great way to self-promote and also get to know those who read your work, the main thing to always keep in mind is that it should not just be about promotion, you do need to have a conversation/interaction with your followers, it should be fun and engaging.
When done correctly, social media is a great platform to ask for reviews and promote free (or discounted) books, but again, just don’t go overboard with non-stop adverts.
Seven – Using paid services?
Yes, you can buy reviews and there are plenty of people on freelance and independent sites who are more than happy to write one for you. But, you do have to consider the ethics and feedback of what you may be about to buy, some services will simply put your book in front of readers who are happy to leave reviews, this is a little better, but if you have a review which when quoted shows where it came from, then your reader may not trust its validity. Given the choice, it may be better to look for more organic reviews first.
Once you have some reviews, where do you place them?
One – Your book cover
A great review is always worth placing upon the cover design of your book, for most books the quote/s are place upon the back page, normally above the main blurb, this is so that the reader is hit with it prior to reading anything else. Depending upon the design and available spacing, you may also want to consider placing a small quote upon the front page too, this works really well if it’s relatively small and of course punchy/positive (remember, it is a sales tool for your book).
Two – Your Book’s Sales Page
When you upload your book to Amazon, it will allow you to add a detailed description about the book itself, in a lot of cases this is where an author will simply copy and paste their book’s blurb. It is of course worth taking your time with this page as this does become a sales tool for your book and should be approached with some serious thought, but along with the description you can of course add a quote, adding this just above the description of the book will add some gravitas to your page and help in the book’s promotion.
Three – Your social media
A quote will also look great when placed upon the social media banners for your author’s profile pages, you’ll normally have a banner which has artwork and your book on, you should consider adding a quote to it too, just don’t over-crowd the banner.
Four – Your Website
You should definitely have your quotes placed throughout your website, make sure that they stand out as quotes and have them upon all of the relevant pages, in most cases the quote will be in a different style font or placed within a quotation box, the website should also give you more room to publish multiple quotes.
Five – In Print
If you are making any promotional materials such as posters, business cards, bookmarks, flyers, t-shirts and other give-a-ways, make sure you include a good quote within the designs, again, this is another great opportunity to sell your book, so use it.
Book cover designers.