Advertising and self-promotion of your book (as an indie author) has never been so important, the sheer volume of new titles that are released on a daily basis now runs into thousands, so ensuring that your new work stands out requires some effort and a ‘can-do’ attitude.
The promotion of your book should start whilst you’re still writing it, many successful authors will start to promote their own when only one or two chapters in, this is a slow-burn method of building up interest prior to the launch, at this point it should already have readers interested in it and be easier to increase awareness.
So how do you promote and get an increase of awareness? You have two options, the physical world and the internet, the physical world will be through book fares, signings, tours, events, talks and readings, whereas the internet will be your social media, website, forums, blogs, paid advertising and email shots.
One - TIME - Starting with the real world, you have lots of opportunities to get out and talk to people about your book, but, how much time do you actually have? If you’re a single mom you may find that you have very little free time to give to actual ‘physical’ promotion, whereas if you are retired you’ll have a great deal more. Be aware of how you spend your free time, all of us can gain many more hours back by making the smallest of tweaks, maybe it’s an hours less TV or waking up 30 mins earlier each day, if you want the success of your book (and you as an author) you can normally find a way.
Two - BOOK SIGNING - Once you figure out how much time you have you can look at promotion, this can be in arranging a book signing in an afternoon, maybe contact your local café and ask if you could hold a signing there for a couple of hours, even perform a reading from your book, it will help sales for them and generate interest/sales for you, if not a café then ask around at your local book stores. There are local businesses who will love to help if you only ask, you can promote your signing and increase their footfall at the same time, a win-win.
Promoting your book signing can be done through social media, posters, ads, word of mouth and blogs, you could even hold a competition to win prizes or a free draw to bring in the crowds, just make sure you have leaflets, posters, business cards and of course lots of copies of your book.
Three – FAIRS – A quick search on line will find a whole host of fares and expos going on around you, getting involved at these will help you to make contacts within the publishing community along with selling some copies of your book on the day. As with a book signing though it’s important that you have the appropriate promotional materials to support you and your book, you’ll need copies of the book, business cards, posters, bookmarks, leaflets/flyers and banners.
Four – Competitions – There are many competitions for every genre to enter, yes you may not win them all but if you enter none then that’s how many you will win. Get involved with them and enter your book, some of the most successful authors get their name know this way and it works.
Five – Talks – Having written a book you are in a great position to teach others in what you have learned from your experience, this may well be at a local community center or even at a conference, this is also something that non-fiction writers have an excellent opportunity with, whatever your area of expertise there is a forum/platform for you to talk from – use it!
Six – Social Media – There are plenty of free platforms for you to choose from, the likes of Twitter, Facebook and even G+ being three popular ones, it is still worth opening up new accounts for each but just specifically for you as an author (try to stay away from using personal accounts). Make sure that your social media pages look professional and that you post items of interest, if you only ever post to promote your book then you will lose followers. Social media works well when you get involved, chat with others, comment on topics and offer advice too, you can also promote competitions and update your followers with any news.
Seven – Website – Having an author’s website is a great platform for you to self-promote from, it also gives you an opportunity to sell copies of your book, run competitions, give updates and even host your own blog. Building your own website is easier than you imagine and you don’t need to understand how to code either, with companies like Wix, Weebly and Wordpress you can be up and running with a new site in an afternoon.
Eight – Blogs & Vlogs – Having a blog is a great way to build a following and also to engage with people, there are lots of services which offer free blog hosting and if you have your own website then you should blog from there too. The other option is to host a vlog (a video blog), this you can do from Youtube for free (if you have a Gmail account you’ll instantly have a Youtube account also), these vlogs you can promote via your social media and website, talk about what interests you, run competitions, host interviews with other writers etc. and remember not to over promote.
Nine – Subscribers – With your website you have an opportunity to build a database of people who are interested in your work, by capturing their email address you have the opportunity to send them mailouts with news, articles of interest and promotions. There are services such as Mail Chimp or AWeber which enable you to build these lists and run your mailouts, remember that in order for someone to give their email address they’ll expect something in return, so write a free downloadable book or an offer that is of VALUE to them.
Ten – Paid Advertising – This can be in many forms, from the traditional ad in a magazine or upon a website/social media channel to a fee paid to a book promotion service, just weigh up the options before you part with your money. The likes of Facebook offer very specific and targeted advertising which can be controlled daily and is worth considering, some ads in magazines work well too (just be very specific in your target audience). There are also some companies who will offer to promote your book for a fee, just be wary of how much they charge and what guarantees they do or don’t offer.
Bonus - Get more advice from the experts
Promoting your book and ensuring that it's a success can be a long road of trial and error for many indie authors, but it doesn't have to be. What if there were a way of getting the experience of a seasoned published author? Someone who's been there, done it and has the T-Shirt too!!
Launching a book is far more than simply uploading it to Createspace (or your other publisher of choice), in an era where self-publishing is not only easy but incredibly popular you have work to do in order to make your book ready for an audience.
But if you are publishing for the very first time then it can seem confusing and even a little overwhelming as how to proceed successfully, your book will need to be edited, proof read, formatted, a book cover designed, advertising made, promoted, launched and then continued promotion….phew, yes, you will be busy!
So, now that you have your manuscript completed (well, you have typed the words ‘The End’ upon the last page anyway), it’s now time to get it seen and start the process of getting both it and you ready for launch, but where next? What will you need to do in order to have a successful book?
Well there are several services and processes that you should consider in order to finetune your manuscript, remember, there are over one thousand books launched every day, you need to give your book a fighting chance if you want to be successful.
ONE - Editing
A good editor will be able to help polish what you have already made so far, however, it is a role which can lead to friction as not everyone can take criticism that well, if you have made structural errors and the recommendation comes back that you should rewrite large sections of your book it can lead to a stalling of progress from the author. Being open enough to see this service for professional guidance and not a personal attack will help in getting the most benefit from it, if your story is great, good editing will help make it shine further for you.
There are many editing services to choose from and come in a wide range of services offered along with prices to suit most budgets, here are some of the more popular ones.
Scribendi is an online editing service that has been around since 1997 and is one of the larger of the companies offering this service, they offer hundreds of editors and cover pretty much every topic/genre you can think of, they can also proof read your book (which is a must).
Edit 911 is another editing company who started back in the late 90’s, again, this is a service which offers many editors and also covers the wide majority of genres and topics.
Prowriting Aid is an online editing software which you can try for free (even the premium package is still very cheap and can be downloaded), it analyzes your writing and reports back with in depth details on areas which should be revised to improve readability, it checks your grammar, overused words, clichés and redundancies, repeats, sentence length and lots of other details too, for those who want lots of reports but are sticking within a budget this is a good option to consider.
Servicescape has been editing for over sixteen years and offers a host of freelance editors for authors to use and in many other languages (other than English) too.
TWO - Proofreading
You should consider getting others to read your manuscript prior to launching (especially if you do not get it professional edited), the temptation is of course to get friends and family to be your test readers, but this will normally lead to them being polite and telling you (to some degree) what you want to hear, your Mom won’t tell you that your book lacks direction or its plot development is lacking, you need people you trust to be honest.
So, if you are a member of a writer’s group, ask them instead, in return you should always offer to do the same of course, failing this there are some services who will offer to do it for you.
Scribendi (as listed above) do offer this and have the experience and proofreaders to offer you a very comprehensive service too.
Writers Services Not only offer proofreading (along with many other helpful services for authors) but they have a great website which gives plenty of advice for any author.
Papertrue is a professional editing and proofreading company that is fast and affordable, they offer experts in each area of publication to ensure quality.
THREE - Formatting
Now that your book is ready to be published you will need to have the manuscript itself formatted for the actual type of publication, this will differ from the obvious (eBook & paperback) to the different options you’ll need to consider in each format (ie: Epub and/or Mobi files for your eBook).
As with most elements in publishing there are plenty of services available to the indie author to ensure your manuscript is formatted correctly.
The Fast Fingers are a team of formatters aimed at indie authors, they create formats for all of the major print on demand publishers and offer competitive rates too.
Polgarus Studio are formatters who offer great rates and convert your existing manuscript into formats ready for print and as both Epub and Mobi files, their turn-around times are very quick and have lots of experience too.
Press Books is easy to use writing software which enables you to create your book in all formats you want to publish in (both eBook and print for POD), it starts off as a Free service but will place watermarks upon the files, however, you can upgrade to their ‘Pro’ service which will give you more features and ensure you don’t have watermarks.
In our next post we’ll cover what you’ll need to be thinking of with book cover design and your advertising.
What should you be thinking when looking to get a book cover design created for your new book? The likelihood is that you have just finished your manuscript and this is now going through the editing process (something which can take several weeks or even months), so while you wait for this to be completed you should be planning the cover along with the copy for the back page.
While working with many authors from around the globe we have developed a great way of getting as much information from them as is needed to create a design, but there are things that an author should be thinking of prior to contacting a designer too, here is our top list if what they are.
We hope this helps when you’re in the process of getting a book cover designed or simply searching for a designer, going into the project with an idea as to what you’ll need will make it a great deal easier.