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!!
Book cover designers.