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It’s a new language for writers – the language of promotion; but for the novice author, and indeed, even the seasoned one, promotion can be a nightmare. Where do you start? Do you even try to tackle the growing maze of ways to promote your book?
Sadly, the answer is, you have to. No longer can you sit in your ivory tower and simply write. As an indie author or even a hybrid (part traditionally, part self-published), promotion is a must, or your audience – your readers, or listeners – will be nil.
So where to start?
I’ve tried all sorts, and I record the methods and results for a lot of them in Write, Publish, Promote – the book I wrote to accompany the writing and self-publishing workshops I teach in the UK.
You can find a list of my courses for 2017 here, if you or other writing peers are interested:
This is a very brief rundown of some of what I’ve tried in 2016:
Are you on Facebook?
You should be. Set up an author or book page – distinct from your personal profile – and use it to record thoughts, achievements, awards – a BRAG Medallion is perfect for this! Here’s mine:
Also let your followers (start by inviting your friends to like and share it) know when you have offers on and when your next book is out. Being on Facebook provides another bonus too; Facebook advertising. Facebook will kindly help you both create an ad and target the right people for it to reach to spread the news about your books, for a small price – the minimum is $5 per day, but beware that as you pay per click, this can quickly add up. However, if you can get the targeting and the content right, the possibility of adding a steady stream of subscribers to your mailing list is superb. Use the Power Editor for the best flexibility and Lead Gen ads as the best way to target potential subscribers.
Facebook also hosts numerous book promotion and marketing groups you can join – you’ll find a list of the most useful ones in the Write, Publish, Promote downloadable information here (the link is repeated again below).
A mailing list – did you say you don’t have one? Then get thee to the internet right now and start one!
Amazon, iBooks, etc and our other various online sales outlets are a wonderful thing, but what would happen if Amazon suddenly shut you down – or out? It has happened to some on the whiff of some misdemeanour the Amazon giant thought they had been guilty of – correctly or otherwise. Of course you can still market books on other sales platforms, but none is as big as Amazon. And although Amazon sells for you, you have no sales data, no contacts, no way to reach the people who have been buying your books – unless you have been steadily accumulating your own data as you have been selling your books.
That’s all very well, you say, but how do I build a mailing list when I haven’t got one to start with?
- Giveaways through platforms such as Rafflecopter and Kingsumo who will collect entrant’s email addresses for you.
- Offering a ‘reader magnet’ – a free book, hosted on your website or another platform, such as InstaFreebie .
- Backlinks and offers in your books.
Anywhere you can offer an incentive to join your list in return for something your readers would like is where you’ll add your sign up link. I use Mailchimp, but Aweber, Infusionsoft and Mad Mimi are also popular.
Here’s my newsletter link if anyone would like a free copy of my first BRAG Medallion winner, Patchwork Man.
Having a mailing list also opens up possibilities of cross-promoting to other author’s newsletters writing in the same genre. Great places to find authors interested in cross-promoting in their mailing list are:
News Letter Swap
I also belong to several other Facebook author cross-promotion lists which I’ve joined via courses I’ve followed with Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson, all of which are very good if you still need to learn the ropes.
Of course there are ready-made mailing lists to pay for promotion of your book to.
The big Daddy of them all is – as everyone reading this no doubt already knows – Bookbub, but there are some other excellent sites it is far easier to get selected for. Personally I’ve had most success with ENT and Booksends, but you can find a list of the top 100 here in the additional information sources usually only accessible from the links within Write, Publish, Promote. There’s a host of other useful information in there too – such as
All the terminology you’ll need to tackle publishing-world-speak.
Advice from the pros.
Publishers accepting direct submissions.
Book cover design and free image sources.
The software the professionals use: software for writing, publishing and promoting books.
Bloggers and reviewers list.
Blog tours – the list.
Facebook groups to join for support, marketing and reviewers.
Reviewer request template.
Book awards list.
Other social media platforms can also provide useful coverage and visibility, but there are so many of them it is easy to get bogged down and not actually do anything particularly productive on any of them. Twitter, Pinterest, Reddit, Google, LinkedIn (business books), Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram, and others that are a cross between social media and social reading, such as Goodreads and Wattpad are all potentially good ways to spread the word about your books. My best advice is to pick the one or two you are most comfortable with – probably Facebook and one or so other – and work them, baby! That doesn’t mean tons of posts saying ‘buy my book’. It means posts giving useful information, commenting in an interesting way on current affairs, personal events or achievements, in your voice. I am a very lazy social media user and my 2017 New Year’s resolution is to do much better on it. That means making full use of automated posting options such as Social Oomph, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and so on to schedule planned posts in advance, leaving you free to add the more spontaneous, every day posts, as things happen in your world. Check back next summer to see if I’ve actually managed this myself #doasisaynotasido …
Bloggers are also a helpful source of extra visibility – thank you Stephanie for featuring this post here! https://debrahmartinwrites.wordpress.com/ – on which again I have been far too lax. Watch out for a post on audiobooks there that I will be releasing shortly though.
Blogging yourself takes time and dedication. If you’re going to do it, do it consistently and enjoy doing it, but give yourself a break if life takes over and you miss a while. Last year I was busy getting three audiobooks out (the whole of the Patchwork series – see below), writing two more standalones and Write, Publish, Promote as well as teaching and increasing my mailing list, which has shot up from a baby 1000 or so, to approaching ten times that. Guest blog, invite others to guest blog on your own blog, and pace yourself so you can write posts without interfering with the real business you’re interested in; writing books.
To conclude, I’m going to go full circle to where many of the sales first begin: Amazon. AMS ads are an upcoming fad – the Sponsored Product ones, not Product pages, which are expensive to run. Get the targeting right and you can appear on the same page as many of your peers, and those in the bestseller category too. Talk about product placement! You may or may not hit pay dirt with lots of sales, but remember, a rule of advertising is that usually something has to be seen at least 9 times before it registers with a potential buyer, so the more often your book is seen, the more likely it will eventually be bought – or, of course, downloaded and read via KU.
I have used the words ‘targeted’ and ‘audience’ several times and they are the nuts and bolts of any successful promotion. Your book will only appeal to an audience that is interested in your type of book. That holds good whether on paid advertising platforms or through cross promotion or via social media in general. To find that audience, you need to target it properly though the right keywords, similar books and authors, appropriate genres and general interest groups. If you get it right, as the title to the blog says; your audience awaits…
If you enjoyed this post, do come and read some of my other ones on my own blog, sign up for my free book, ask me to cross promote in my newsletter if you write in similar genres to me, or simply say hello!
My website (and where you can see the type of books I write).
A free copy of Patchwork Man can be downloaded via this sign up link
My blog is here
Find me on Facebook
And on Twitter
UK based writing and self-publishing courses can be found here: Courses and Resources
The Patchwork trilogy in audiobook form can be found here:
And don’t miss the opportunity to get them free by signing up to Audible’s free trial!)
Or simply say hello here: firstname.lastname@example.org