by LEONARD TILLERMAN: Author, Book Blogger, Book Reviewer and Shared by M.J. Rocissono
You have just completed writing a virtual masterpiece! The words flow beautifully and seamlessly throughout the story. The setting description is truly magnificent and your characters are developed so well that they actually feel as if they are part of the family! There is no doubt about it…you have a winner on your hands! Or do you? The cruel truth is that writing that wonderful story is only part of what an indie author must do. To be successful and self-sufficient in this industry, they need to be expert book marketers as well. Otherwise their masterpiece will remain buried in boxes only seeing the light of day when a sympathetic family member picks it up for a read.
So how does an indie author most effectively market their book? Marketing is not most writers’ strong suit, after all, for it is not writing! This is why it is especially hard for indie authors to market their own books seeing as they have to take advantage of their own book promotion and marketing skills as well as their social connections. However, in reality your book is as good as useless if you do not promote and market it accordingly. Marketing involves interacting with potential readers for an author and this means you will have to put your book out there first. Your biggest possible fan might never know about your book if you do not market it for him or her to discover and share with others. So how do you actually do this?
First, make sure you have covered the basics when it comes to your book writing.
Is Your Book Any Good?
This is definitely subjective but the question is in reference to the topic or story at hand. Is it worth reading? Is your book interesting? Did you make use of beta readers to offer feedback on whether concerning the question? If not, then there is no way to know whether your book is any good. As an indie author, you also need to have independent feedback about your book because you cannot be the judge of your own work. A good book should develop with time following the first draft and this process only works with criticism and external suggestions. Although it is usually a good idea, you do not always need to spend money on a professional editor. However, for your book to be any good, you do absolutely require external input to help you refine and polish your manuscript before publishing it. If your draft is riddled with mistakes and is still in rough then the chances are it will not sell and if it does then it will not something to write home about.
Can the Book Bring In Potential Readers?
If you made your own book cover or attempted to do so, it probably will not look as attractive as you expected unless you are skilled in Photoshop and Book cover design. If this is not the case then you are better off hiring a professional to do it. Your book cover is one of the main promotional instruments at your disposal so you should make sure it is one of your best features. Your book does not stand a chance without an awesome cover because an amateur, boring, dull, and flat cover will kill your sales.
How is Your Book Description? Can it Attract Buyers?
The book description is another critical element of your book marketing strategy following your book cover. It will help to drive sales by attracting potential readers. If it is written poorly then this will hurt your chances of gaining buyers. Dedicate sufficient time to writing a genuinely sensational book description. Research on the features of an efficient book description and get to work on creating a few versions. Get external feedback to determine the best one and go with that one.
After covering these three sections, then you can start thinking further about your marketing strategy.
Determining Your Target Readers and Where They Are
Each book has its own target reader, which is why marketing your book generically and widely is a waste of your much-needed money and time. Instead of doing this focus on narrowing down on your target audience by determining shared demographic profiles, interests, and values. Write up a profile describing your ideal reader. Determine where they spend most of their time, the groups they associate with, the websites they visit most, the movies they like, and the magazines or books they read. A list of these things will be useful to you later. Next, try to put yourself in the reader’s shoes at each point of your marketing strategy. Every marketing action or decision you take should be preceded by asking yourself how it will be taken by your target reader. Marketing decisions should never be considered elements of your artistic self-expression but the communication of values in an effective manner. You will need to channel your work into the interests and values of the target consumer.
Maintain Professionalism Throughout
Stay away from anything that appears amateurish in your production values, editing, and writing. Essentially, your book is going up against many other books from popular authors backed by major publishers to gain your target reader’s purchasing dollars, consideration, and attention. For this reason, you should make your readers feel like you are equally as professional as your adversaries are. This goes back to the 3 elements of book writing mentioned above. Make sure your writing is impeccable by working to keep learning and improving. Take the time to do things the right way instead of rushing to publish your work. Making Sure Your Blog/ Website Gains Traffic
One of the best ways to market your book is by obtaining traffic from Bing or Google searches. Readers who land on your site via search engine results have a higher likelihood of showing interest in your themes, genre, or book topic. After all, these will be the factors they are looking for and thus how they locate you. In order to get significant search traffic, your blog or website needs to have a .com address. Having a website is almost as important as making sure it is updated regularly, and well-designed in an effort to promote your book. If your blog posts are well-written, they will be indexed by Google and hopefully, this will bring most visitors to your site organically. This is very beneficial for book promotion because this way people will get to discover your books and you as an author. Social Media
You simply must use social media to promote your work for your own good. However, being the significant time consumer it is, you must take care to use it appropriately if you want to write books and sell them. Restrict social media exposure to a few popular sites like Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook. Most authors only need a Goodreads page, a Twitter account, and a Facebook page as the main social media platforms to promote their books. Google Plus, Medium, and Instagram are also popular. Spending most of your time posting links for people to buy your books will only end up repelling people. Instead, use your social media platforms to inform people, reply to comments or questions, and connect with your audience. If you do it right, you will attract followers in the process. Use it as a means of spreading your name and not advertising your books continually. Make your social media network bigger every day by expanding your reach, making friends, and following people. Building your social media presence on a couple of sites is better than doing so on every single one out there. Using image links frequently can also bring about an improved click-through rate on social media for your blog post and book promotion.
Get to Know How to Link Properly
As an Indie author, you should master how to create links and use them. This includes learning how to use Book promotion links, using Book Buy links in the best way, and embedding Links into images and text. Proper use of links to your blog articles and your books is imperative in effectively promoting your work and your content.
Use Amazon to Your Advantage
As a self-publishing author, a big chunk of the income from your sales will come initially from Kindle eBooks and Amazon. Amazon can be a very effective tool in helping to promote your book so you should take advantage of this by choosing and using the best keywords and categories to make sure your book can be discovered easily. To increase your chances of search exposure, you may want to publish in both Kindle eBook and paperback so that you can use various keywords and categories for both versions. Should you enroll in KDP select then ensure you make use of the extra promotional advantages allowed by Amazon. Use the free book days, put up countdown deals, and use Amazon Ads if your budget allows it. Pricing Your Book Strategically Several Indie authors have gained success by running sales on their eBooks on a temporary basis and even setting their book price at free for a certain period. This approach can help to create significant visibility for your work and develop your fan base quickly. If you apply this to one book in a continuing series of books, you can bring in more readers who will be prompted to buy the rest of the books. Think again like the target reader. If you price your book too low then the reader will probably assume it is cheap because the quality is low and if the pricing is too high and you are not a household name then you will lose out on sales. Consider that eBook pricing also influences your royalties based on which platform you are using to distribute it.
Spreading the Word
Look for services or sites that can help you promote your book. However, you may get free sites that do not offer worthwhile services that you would have gotten by spending just a bit elsewhere. The best way to approach it is by using both means, but ensuring you are selective in the book promotion services you opt to use. Just because an author spends a lot of money on their book promotion, it does not necessarily mean they will gain sales especially if their content is not any good as highlighted above.
Reach Out to Book Reviews and Book Bloggers
I have saved what I personally consider one of the best strategies for last. Obtaining good book reviews for your work is an imperative part of successful book marketing. Book reviews help to establish an author’s overall reputation. An author’s book will benefit significantly from book reviews in addition to their author status. A book review, and a positive one at that, is proof and reassurance for anyone looking to buy an author’s book that it is the best quality and worth buying. Most readers trust third-party reviews more than other sources because they usually have more credibility. This is something an author should place highly in their book sale process. Book reviews are a form of organic marketing for an author’s books. Word of mouth as a form of promotion is quite effective. A positive, or better yet a glowing book review, can make one reader recommend it to others. You can trust a typical reader to buy a book, particularly from an independent or first-time author, if they see that it has been bought and reviewed positively by other readers. If a book has more satisfied readers, there is a higher likelihood that it will be recommended to new readers. Book marketing at its best!
There can be little doubt that book marketing is no easy feat! It requires a lot of effort, time and perseverance. It also demands that a sound strategy be in place. It is critically important that this plan has started before your book is completed. You will need to spread the word and get potential customers excited about your upcoming work. Does the term “Coming Soon” ring a bell? Marketers and advertisers use this all the time when promoting products, films and books! Yes… book marketing can take a lot of time away from your actual writing. However, you are an indie author…you have chosen this path. Make sure that you are successfully marketing your book so others can see how great an author you really are!