Tell me how many times you’ve heard this one: your friend calls you up, says he’s got 1,000 copies of his masterpiece just sitting in his garage that could make him a millionaire if only he could figure out how to sell them. If you don’t want to be that guy— and, believe me, you don’t want to be that guy— then you have to learn how to market a book as soon as possible.
Many self-published authors have no interest in sales, advertising, or business in general, as they tend to be altruistically artistic. But it would behoove them (and you!) to involve themselves in the process as it will directly affect their book’s success. While writing tends to be a solitary endeavor, marketing is the process of communicating with potential readers, which means putting your book out there for the world to see. If your future #1 fan never even hears that your book exists, there is no way for her to discover your work and share it with her friends.
Start Marketing Before You Write the Book
Many self-publishers (especially those who are writing non-fiction) give themselves the best chance of success by thinking about marketing before they’ve even begun to write their books. Why is this? The reason you are writing your book and what your readers have to gain from reading it are the essential questions that determine how you are going to market your book. Knowing:
- who your market is
- what they want
- what you want from your book
will give your writing and your marketing strategy direction.
Check out the list of articles I’ve compiled below to learn more about how to begin your book marketing campaign:
- How To Market Your Self-Published Book
- Why Self-Publishing is a Long-Tail Business
- The Most Important 15 Seconds in the Life of Your Book
- Your Biggest Book Marketing or Platform Building Roadblocks— And How to Overcome Them
- 10 Ways to Test Market Your Nonfiction Book Idea Before You Publish
- 9 Steps to Getting Your Self-Published Books into Libraries
- 14 Definitions You Need to Know When Creating an Author Media Kit
Book Reviews as Book Marketing
Often the first form of marketing turned to by self-publishing authors, book reviews are very persuasive to readers as the review is editorial, not promotional. Getting honest reviews of your book will help your book be seen by readers who are looking to read it.
Here are some resources for how to get your self-published book reviewed:
Online Marketing for Self-Publishers
The biggest challenge faced by new self-publishers is predicting what kind of marketing effort they need to get the word out about their book. Luckily for us all, the internet provides a relatively level playing field. Online, self-publishers are more easily able to compete with full-fledged publishing companies.
Although it takes a fair amount of work to gather the knowledge and skills necessary to create effective online marketing campaigns, it is a very useful tool to have in your arsenal. Online marketing is cheaper and, when done correctly, often more effective than traditional marketing strategies. Doing things like:
- building your author platform
- using social media to market yourself
- the ways in which you choose to distribute your book
will all come into play if you choose to market your book online.
Check out the links below to gain a better understanding of how to market your book online:
- How Nonfiction Self-Publishers Can Become Keyword Naturals
- 7 Email Marketing Secrets Every Fiction Writer Should Know
- Author Platform: What Are You Waiting For?
- 10 Ways Authors Can Find More Blog Readers
- Anatomy of the Bonus: Checklists, Cheatsheets, Worksheets, and More
- 6 Ways to Write a Quick Free Ebook to Build Your Mailing List
- Your Book Landing Page—Can’t-Miss Headline Writing Secrets (and Mistakes to Avoid)
- Self-Publishing Authors: Did You Fail? Awesome!
How to Get to the Top With Your Book
Ultimately, the question that every self-publisher wants to ask is “How do I make by book a success?” It can help to examine other self-publishers’ successes (and even failures), to guide your marketing choices.
Look through these interviews and guest posts from about their path to success:
- The New Marketing: Carol White at BAIPA
- Getting to the Top of the Charts on Amazon Kindle: Zoe Winters
- Self-Publisher With Drive: The Amazing Tania McCartney
- How I Sold 10,000 Copies of My Self-Published Book
- When Failure Isn’t an Option — How to Find Your Readers
- An Interview with Fauzia Burke, Author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors
The Bigger World of Book Marketing
Sometimes it helps to look at book marketing as what it really is— a business. Book publishing companies have been working for centuries to create effective book marketing campaigns. Marketing is essentially a communication between parties about what they stand to gain from making a deal. When you are deciding how you’re going to market your book think about:
- the reason you wrote it
- the people who will be helped by reading it
Knowing those two things will directly improve your marketing campaign because book marketing is intrinsically about communicating to your reader why they want to read your book.
As with everything in self-publishing, the successful self-publisher is always one that solves this problem differently, often with surprising ingenuity. Authors might derive their success from online traffic keyword strategies, others through their online social media following, while others still become experts in their niche fields such as, for instance, independent book publishing. And some find their readers by putting their books on library, bookstore, or even grocery store shelves, or by peddling their books in backrooms of workshops, conventions, or presentations.
The point is, there are a million or more paths to success. You will discover yours when you find a method of effectively communicating with your readers.
So, don’t end up like the guy with a thousand copies of his book gathering dust and no idea who to sell them to. Take this free piece of advice and think through about marketing as soon as you can. Identify your future readers so you can find the right way to reach them. That is the first, most essential step to marketing your book. After that just follow the plan, make adjustments when necessary, and listen to your readers!
Congratulations, now you’re a self-published author with your book floating around in the world. Explore your future through our page dedicated to the Indie Publishing Life, or find out more about book marketing in our book marketing tag.