Publishing your own eBook has never been easier than it is today, with the use of Amazon’s KDP you can upload your manuscript and have it on sale within 24 to 48hrs, however, uploading your book is just the start of the process, marketing it is another ball game all together.
But before we get too far, there are some basics that the serious author should consider even prior to the launch of their book, these set the ground work or foundations of your presence as an author and build expectation. By generating interest before the release of your book you gain future readers and (hopefully) reviews to go upon the pages of the online book stores.
The first step in your marketing plan will be setting up and maintaining a social media footprint, the mainstream sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Google + are great places to start and are all free to join. But please make the distinction between your social media pages as an individual and that of an author, it is best to keep them separate, by doing so you can tailor your author’s pages to reflect your book, genre and professionalism as a writer.
Ensure that your banners upon the top of each site (and your profile image) complement each other, a reader will expect to see consistency across them all. To a certain degree it pays to look upon your ‘branding’ here as though you are running a small business (after all, you want to make sales right?), by adopting a business-like approach you are able to step back and look at the bigger picture of selling your book within a highly crowded market place.
Your social media pages will have the underlying goal of helping you to sell your book, but you do need to understand that you can’t post non-stop adverts either, people get quickly turned off by the hard sell and will stop following you very quickly if that’s all they see. The best media pages inform and enlighten (and if they make you smile at the same time then even better), they should have some detail about what’s happening with regards to your book but they should also be fun enough for the viewer to keep reading, just imagine you’re chatting to a friend (you wouldn’t overload them with sales would you?).
From your social media you should start slowly informing your followers of the up and coming launch of your new book, you can even give away the first chapter to hook them (this has worked for so many authors), again, don’t go overboard with the adverts either.
Along with your social media you should look at starting your own blog, this is a great way to generate interest in you as an author, it also gives you a chance to show off just how much you know about the genre and subject you’ve written in. Getting a blog up and running is easy and normally free, but you will need to keep on top of it, adding well written posts will keep your reader engaged and build trust in your ability to communicate (they’re more likely to buy your book when they see how engaging you are as a writer).
Next is a website, these can be free from many of the online website building services, it is worth taking note that the free options usually have the name of the provider in your website name (ie: www.yourbookname.weebly.com), you might want to use a paid service and then you’ll have the option of just having a web address without the weebly.com added to the end of it.
Once you have a website up and running it is important that it reflects the style of your books, you should have a home page, about page, news, contact and blog too, these give you a great opportunity to promote and connect with your readers. Using an email building list is also a great way to help with future sales, however, you’ll need to offer something in order for a visitor to give you their email address, it could be for the first chapter of your book, once you then launch with your book you can email them to promote it and gain that sale.
Now that you have a great online presence it’s time to launch your book and get some crucial reviews, they say that when you publish you should aim to get at least 20 reviews from the get go, this helps in the ranking of your book but not only that it helps your buyer to have confidence in choosing your book (over countless others). Getting reviews can seem a little difficult but it can be easier than you think, firstly you should draw upon your friends and family to submit reviews, if you promote your eBook for the first few days for free you can ensure that everyone you know gets a copy and in return leaves a glowing review for you.
The free promotion for eBooks on Amazon can be a great way to get readers and reviews, use it wisely and you can elevate your book to another level altogether.
Looking at other areas online to promote your eBook is very useful, there are a whole host of online sites which specialize in promoting free eBooks and chargeable ones too, these will normally promote your book for a day or so, but be aware, lots of others use these sites too, your moment in the spot light will be very short using these services.
There are of course companies who offer book promotion and advertising services, they will actively promote your book to specific audiences in order to gain sales, these companies will charge a great deal for this service and so you must do your research before you chose to promote via these channels. They can work brilliantly but they can also be costly and without the impact you were hoping for, again, do your research before you part with any money.
A launch party or going to book fairs may not seem like the obvious thing to do when promoting an eBook but it can be done, you will need flyers, postcards, business cards and a banner to give yourself ‘presence’ whilst standing in the hall, conference center or book store. In order to either give away or sell copies of your book you can download copies onto promotional thumb-drives, it’s even possible to get them printed with elements from your eBook’s cover too.
The use of online forums to help promote your book and website has long been an established route for many authors, there are hundreds of forums online and plenty of topics for you to contribute towards, this shouldn’t be looked upon as blatant advertising or spamming but a way to connect with readers, help answer their questions and as a result help promote your book (don’t get it the other way around).
Promoting your eBook can be hard work and will require effort, but if you stick at it you will get results.
Book cover designers.