Back in 2007 Amazon launched their Kindle platform and since then publishing has never been the same, eBooks have gone on to be a vital point of entry for many authors and they’ll continue to do so, but traditional publishing (that is publishing in print) is still strong and numbers continue to grow for the format. So, although some authors may start off in eBook alone, they will soon expand their offered formats into print too, which makes sense if you want to reach as big an audience as possible.
But why do some authors only publish as an eBook alone? Well, the digital format is normally a quicker route to market, making the book cover requires less technical ability than that required for a cover made for print, you can sell a digital book easier from your own website and the overall costs in production of an eBook tend to be cheaper. It’s essentially a great way of dipping your toe into publishing without spending a fortune.
So why go over to publishing your book in print? The book buying public seem to be falling back in love with traditional printed books, the figures show a steady decline in eBook sales and steady growth from printed formats. A recent survey showed that 39% of Americans say they only read printed, 29% say they read both formats and only 7% say they read just digital alone (25% saying they’re non-book readers - statistics from Pew Research), so not publishing in print does exclude a large chunk of readers.
Publishing in print does require a little more in the way of ‘set up’ in comparison to an eBook, the formatting (although it can be done through KDP) is better when completed by a professional, it can take a week or two to complete but the effort is worth it. There are plenty of services available to format printed books, some of which are self-service options which you can do completely online and others which will require downloading specific software to do the job for you (the likes of InDesign or Quark Xpress are two good examples of formatting software).
With formatting your own book for print it can involve a steep learning curve, if you have never used InDesign/Quark (or any of the online tools) then you may want to take some lessons beforehand, if you plan to publish many books and want to micro manage every aspect of your book’s production then this could be a good thing, if not, then we would recommend getting a professional to complete the task for you, it will be easier and a great deal quicker in the long run.
The resolution of the book cover will also need to be sharper for print, the pixels per inch (PPI) or dots per inch (DPI from print) for an eBook cover is a standard 72 DPI, with your printed cover the resolution needs to be at 300 DPI, so using high quality images will ensure a smooth print.
The book cover design layout is also far different from that of an eBook, you need to design for the back page, spine and the front page, what’s more, the layout will also need to have a bleed area which extends outwards on all four sides of the print, this area gets trimmed off in production to ensure that there are no white lines running down the sides of the book cover.
Again, as with book formatting this is something that you’ll need specific software to complete and there will be another steep learning curve if you want to create a printed book cover for yourself, realistically you may just want to use a professional, as before, it’s quicker and much easier.
So there are several things you’ll need to take in to consideration when planning to print your book, but there are lots of people who can help you with these elements (we of course design book covers from start to finish and even convert existing eBook designs to print), printing your book as a paperback or hardback is quite straightforward and well worth doing, it will certainly help you to reach a far larger audience.
Book marketing has become more commonplace for the self-publishing author than ever before, with so many new authors launching titles every day it’s clear that you must have a plan in order to reach an audience (and sell more copies of YOUR book).
This can seem daunting at first but there are plenty of things you can do in order to stand out and promote your book. Here are 18 tips you can use to market your book and self-promote.
Get on to it NOW – The earlier that you can start the process of self-promotion the better, you may be at the editing stage right now, or half way through writing the first draft, it doesn’t matter, what matters is that you understand how important it is to make a start early. Most of the social media channels will be saturated with other authors, also SEO for your website (if using one) is a long-term game, the earlier you start the more followers and site traffic you’ll have.
Get organized – Planning for your book’s success is the first step in promotion, you should work out a timeframe as to when you’ll launch and the stages which you’ll need to cover to get there. Understanding what help you’ll need (as in editing, publishing and design) will enable a clear path to publication and its timeframe, once you have that end date in mind you can plan back from it with your promotions.
Have a budget – This is going to be something that you need to be honest with yourself over, how serious are you about the launch of the book and how much do you want to invest into it? Many authors approach this element like that of a small business, creating an affordable budget for advertising which they then monitor and stick to, again, plan what you can afford (you can always increase/decrease this at a later date if needed).
Who is your audience? – One of the biggest mistakes any author can make is in believing that their book is for everyone, the simple truth is that it isn’t. And it’s a great thing when you realize this, it means that you don’t have to try and market to a massive audience (an audience who only a small percentage will be interested). So you need to understand who your readers are, be honest with yourself and just market to this group, there are over 2,500 books published daily, so unless you have millions to spend on advertising you would not be able to reach everyone even if you wanted to. Be Specific with your audience.
Who are you? – Write a bio for your website, your book (if applicable), social media, seller’s page in the online book stores and any other platform that allows. You want to connect with your reader so make sure you use a photograph (and not a pouting selfie taken from your iPhone either). You don’t need to write more than a couple of paragraphs, but it should give an insight and help your readers see you at a personal level, people buy from people they like.
Book cover design – Yes, we were bound to say it, but people do judge a book by its cover, we are all predisposed to make quick decisions based our initial perception of anything we look at, this is why advertising is such a thriving industry. Your cover is the face and advertising of your book, people will assume that it reflects the quality of the interior, if you have an unprofessional cover they will think that the pages within must be the same.
Have an author’s website – Getting a website as an author is easier than ever, there are lots of click and drag services available which will make the process so much easier for you, we have a great article on this here.
Email lists – Once you have a website, create an email list, again, there are plenty of mailing list services you can use (popular choices are the MailChimp and AWeber). You will need to give your reader something in return for their email address, so offering a free first chapter of your up and coming book, or an eBook version of one of your earlier books are great ways to increase your list.
Start a blog – If you can use this upon your website then great, if not, there are services such as Wordpress which offer pages you can use to blog from. Write about information that is relevant and always write for your reader (not just to advertise). Over time this will help to build a following and interest in YOU as an author.
Have links – Make it easy for your readers to buy a copy of your book, embed links into your website and social media posts.
Social media – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are all free to set up, so you would be crazy not to use them, just ensure that you maintain a consistent look and set them up as separate ‘author’ accounts (keep your personal ones private – as you are building a brand as an author).
Use social media – It will only work if you use it, engage with others (in a positive manner) and post elements that your followers will find genuinely interesting, do not constantly spam people.
Advertising on Social media – You can advertise on social media and most platforms do this very well with incredibly specific targeted ads (this is a far better way than boring your followers alone with spam). It enables you to set exact budgets with great controls over how much you spend and who sees the ad.
Give your book away – eBook promotions through KDP are great and certainly help to increase the awareness of your new book, you can run them for several days and then promote accordingly.
Have book signings – they do take some planning but they can really help, speak to your local small book stores and see if this is something they’ll help you with. You can then promote on line several weeks in advance, make sure you have plenty of books along with promotional materials to highlight yourself and give away.
Guest post – If you have a particular insight to a subject you can guest post for someone else’s blog, the only thing you’ll ask for in return is a link back to your site or your book’s sales page, you would be surprised how many people are happy to have someone else write great content for their blog/website, just ask and be polite.
Book/writer’s fares – these pop up all over the place and are normally well advertised in advance, there will more than likely be a fee if you wish to have a stand set up for yourself, but they will get you in front of an important audience.
Reviews – Having reviews for your book is so important, but can be quite hard to come by, there are services that will do this for a fee, or why not run a free offer on the eBook version of your work and then promote it to all of your friends and family asking for a review once they’ve read it.
Book cover designers.