This shouldn't be a mystery or something which strikes fear into the heart of an author, but it is a little more than uploading your manuscript to a self-publishing site and hoping for the best.
With a little forethought you can become a marketing expert and still enjoy the process at the same time, here we’ve put together our top tips on how to get your book to the maximum audience.
1) Start early – This may be late for you if you’re just about to publish and haven’t done anything so far, however, the earlier you can start your marketing the better. Many authors start their publicizing as they start to write the book itself, a slow ‘drip-drip’ of info going out will gradually create interest ready for its launch.
2) Plan – To be successful you need to have a plan as to where you want to go with your book and (more importantly) how you’re going to get there. Write out your marketing strategies along with goals and time frames, you need to be able to measure if you’re on track at all points of the process.
3) Money, Money, Money – Setting a budget with regards to how much you’re going to be investing (and I do mean investing) into the promotion and advertising of your book is vital. Again, this takes time to complete because you’ll want to research costings with regards to editing, proof reading, book cover design, advertising, website, launch parties and so on.
4) Who is buying your book? – Very early on you need to establish who your audience is, the biggest mistake any author can make is believing that EVERYONE will be, they won’t. The reality is that you will have a specific audience who will love your book, you need to target these people, be specific and find out where they’ll be both on the internet and in the real world.
5) Biography – Create a biography about yourself as an author, it needs to connect with your readers on a personal level and at the same time qualify why you’re writing. You’ll only need a couple of paragraphs but they need to be well crafted.
6) Your book cover – Get a professional book cover designed, people will judge your book by its cover so ensure that it stands out upon the shelves and in a great way too. Also, when using a designer, listen to what they have to say with regards to the design itself, you’re paying for their expertise so use it!
7) Photograph – Getting a professional portrait done to go along with your biography is also important, even if it’s by a friend with a DSLR camera, just make sure that it looks professional, preferably in black & white and not taken from cell-phone (don’t be tempted to use a selfie, it won’t be a high enough resolution for print and it will cheapen your book), just check out your favorite author’s books in your local book store for great examples.
8) Get a website – Most successful authors have a website where they can connect with their readers, give out news and self-promote their own books, it enables them to generate a mailing list (over time) of people interested in their work. You need to keep in mind that it is a long-term investment and although it is a lot cheaper (free in some cases) to run than you may think, it’s something that you need to be prepared to invest time in to.
9) Mailing lists – A mailing list is something which you’ll generate over time, having a subscription box upon your website along with a ‘call to action’ for your readers to sign up in order to get offers, news and release dates etc. Don’t underestimate the power of your mailing list and don’t overwhelm your subscribers with too many emails either, no more than twice a month will keep them with you.
10) Blog – Having a blog upon your site will help draw traffic to you and create interest in what you have to say, you can give lots of helpful advice to other authors along with news and any publishing events you wish to share.
11) Show your readers where to buy – Having direct links to your books online (wherever they may be) will make it easier for your readers and more likely to purchase, you can send these out along with posters on social media sites along with linking upon your own website.
12) Getting social – Social media is a great way to get your message out to many people, but like your website, blog and mailing lists it will take time to grow followers. Again, this is something which should be started from as early as possible, however, some do utilize their own personal social media pages to reach a larger audience, our advice is to create new pages for you as an author and keep the two sides of you (personal & professional author) separate.
13) Using social media – Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter work well so long as you actually remember to use them, but the golden rule is in making posts which are more than just adverts for your book. The quickest way to lose followers is in banging out advert after advert non-stop, make your posts interesting and something which will engage.
14) Ads on Social media – When you do advertise your book try to be visual, it’s proven that people respond to visual media more so than just a line or two of text, get a banner created for both the header of your page and also a digital image which advertises your book quickly, when you post this ensure you have a link with it (use a url shortener for your link) and include those hash tags too..
15) eBook advertising – There are many great free eBook promoters upon the internet and a quick search from Google will give you plenty of options, here you can upload details of your book, its cover image, release dates and costs. They’ll then send this information out to their own followers along with details of other books, it’s a brilliant way of getting a free plug.
16) Give your book away for FREE – This may sound a little counter intuitive, however, most of the digital book stores will have a ranking system and as such the more popular your book the higher up the rankings it will go. You’ll normally only do this for a maximum of five days and whilst you do so you’ll need to shout loudly about it to generate interest.
17) Book Launch – Holding a book launch can be a great way of connecting with readers and if done correctly can get you free advertising in the press and online, however, it does need to be planned, you can check out our great article on organizing a book launch for more details.
18) Press Release – A press release is not as complicated as you may think and not just for celebrities either, it should include relevant and interesting information that any writer (journalist and even blogger) will need to fully understand your event and publication. It should also give them a reason to pay attention to what you’re doing and want to learn more, you can check out our article on press releases and even get a free template.
19) Write for other people – Becoming a guest on another person’s blog is a great way to get interest from a new audience, again, this shouldn’t be just one long advert but something which will help its readers. In return you can ask the host of the blog to write an article for your blog.
20) Release one chapter for free – Teasing your readers by giving them the first chapter of your next novel either as part of a mail out, upon your website or even added in at the end of your last book is a great way to gain interest and future sales.
21) Book Fares – Participating in book fares and conferences is a great way to meet lots of others within the publishing world, when you go ensure you have business cards and a media pack which includes handouts for your new book, along with copies of your bio too.
22) Get reviews – Once your book is available for sale, recruit all of your friends and family to buy (or get for free if you’re running a promotion), then ask them to review It and give a rating online, the more of these you can get the better, you want to try and aim for twenty if possible.
For even more details on how to successfully launch and promote your book, take a look at our ‘Writer’s Room’ here you’ll find loads of free advice all designed to help you become a successful author.
Any author these days is going to need a website in order to maintain an online presence that is more than just social media based, it also shows that you have invested (and therefore believe) a little more in yourself as a writer and professional author.
But many look at starting a website with a sense of trepidation, don’t you need to understand coding to do that? Or maybe it’s the layout and the design aspect which is putting you off, it could be the prices too (you can spend thousands in getting a website up and running).
Okay, don’t panic, as with services which will allow you to build your own apps without any prior knowledge of coding, there are a great many website services which will also allow you to build a complete website without any in-depth computer skills.
Most of these use templates which allow you to simply add images, graphics, text and video to be able to build a professional looking website which will impress any reader which clicks onto it.
So here are three of the most popular website building services currently being used (and in no particular order).
Their prices start from $4 and move up to $25 for their top of the line service, with many templates they also provide lots of gadgets to enrich your site and a great mobile building option (which keeps things looking good for Google). Wix also gives the option of having an online store (sell copies of your own book and other merchandise here). It’s an easy to use interface which has lots of features to keep most authors happy.
They do start off with a free option but this does have the Weebly branding and ads, from here they have three other price points which are $8, $12 and $25 per month, again, there are plenty of themes to choose from and an interface which is easy to navigate and use. It also gives you more data with regards to your site’s statistic and even allows you to download your source code (should you want to). It also boasts an online store and the ability to use apps upon the site (free and charged).
Prices start from $5 for their entry level service and rise to $70 for their full on business account (maybe not quite what you’re after) however, they do have an option at $12 which gives you a 20 page beautiful looking website with a whole host of features to help promote yourself as an author. A great service for e-commerce their shop also enables selling digital downloads.
There are of course many other website building platforms, but once you have your site up and running the real work begins.
SEO (or search engine optimization) is somewhat of a mystery to most people who don’t work in an I.T. related job, but it is vital to the success of your website. Ensuring that your site is friendly to the search engines will enable your readers to actually find you when looking on Google.
What does this mean? It means creating great content for your site which is actually relevant and of interest to your subject (and more importantly) reader, it also means labeling everything correcting, using keywords throughout your text, submitting your site details to Google, Bing and the countless other directories. You’ll also need to keep on top of creating regular new content for your site, writing a blog once to twice a week will really help, also refreshing the content upon the sites landing/front page makes a difference too.
Running a website does involve a lot of work (and you will lose track of the hours – believe me) but the rewards are well worth it, you’ll have a platform to interact with your audience and readers, a way to self-promote without limitations or restrictions, it also shows that you’re serious about your craft as a writer and professional author.
Book cover designers.