Promoting your new book is an aspect to self-publishing that many indie authors don’t necessarily relish, but nonetheless, it’s still vital to the success and ongoing success of your work, so it pays to start off your campaign in the right direction. The key thing to remember is that there are lots of other authors promoting their books at the same time you’re trying to promote your own, in fact, latest data from Bowker shows that there were over 600,000 self-published titles for the entire year of 2015, and it’s set to rise. It breaks down to 1643 books published every day in the USA alone, and that’s not including the mainstream publishers, it of course gets even higher if you were to take into account the books published in other English speaking countries too.
So, it’s safe to say that when you publish your book you will be up against a massive amount of competition!
Now you have to look at the way in which we buy our books, the overwhelming majority of which come from online sales (more specifically Amazon), we have all looked at the endless array of covers upon the sales page and very quickly scanned our way through the countless thumbnails being presented to us. It’s also a similar story in a book store, unless you are looking for a specific title the choice becomes a little overwhelming, and like shopping on line, your eyes scan over the choices very quickly.
This basically reduces us to dismissing books very quickly based upon their appearance (this is especially the case online if there are no reviews next to them either), the old saying about judging books by their covers has never been more true, but we all still do it.
For most indie authors their books will be sold predominantly online, this reduces your shelf space down to the size of a postage stamp, so your book cover needs to be eye-catching (and for the right reasons). However, most of your own advertising will be done away from the sales page itself and be conducted via your social media pages, website, email lists, book launches, book fairs and writer’s festivals/expos. Here you will have more of an opportunity to shout about your work and let it shine to the world, but having a professional and consistent representation is vital if you want to stand out and ultimately sell more books.
If you look at the big-name authors and see the way in which they present themselves (and their ‘brand’) across every touch point, you’ll see a consistent message. Their Facebook and Twitter feeds identify with them clearly, their posts are eye-catching and professional, the same goes with their websites too. Every representation they have both online and in the real world clearly shows them as a professional author who should be taken seriously.
But that’s all well and good for an author who has the backing of a large publishing house (you may well think to yourself), as an indie author your budget for promotion and advertising may not stretch into the tens or even hundreds of thousands. But this still doesn’t mean you can’t have professional branding for both you and your book.
Start off with a professional book cover design, it will cost a lot less than you may realize and as the ‘face’ of your book will set out your stall as a professional author (remember, you have a lot of competition out there).
Next, set up separate social media channels, the likes of Facebook and Twitter are both free, use a banner and profile picture which is based around you as an AUTHOR and your BOOK, selfies taken on the back of a cell phone on a night out will detract from the impression you want to give, keep it professional. When you’re posting make sure you use plenty of images, we all scan through social media very quickly and only tend to stop when an image (or better still a GIF/Video) catches our eye.
Get some social media digital posters/ads made up, either make them yourself (depending upon your skills) or get a designer to do it for you, again, they make a great impression and help to attract readers to you.
If you are holding a book launch make sure you have banners, flyers, book marks, business cards and of course copies of your book ready for the big day, companies such as Staples and Vista Print offer great deals on printing posters, business cards and other materials, again, you don’t have to spend a fortune but it will make a huge difference the level of presentation you give.
Being an indie author is very rewarding but to become successful it is completely down to YOU, by showing the same level of passion you needed to write your book you can stand out in this very large crowd and go on to be a success. Good Luck!