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Of course we all hear about the ‘outliers’ that have got lucky such as Amanda Hocking and E L James, but these are rarities. However in saying that, they didn’t achieve success without a lot of hard work either.
Self published authors have no choice but to face up to the onerous task of promoting themselves. However, traditional publishers are now cutting back on their book marketing budgets, so more and more of their authors are having to use social media to ‘flog’ their wares. It’s becoming a level playing field.
So what can you do to give your book a chance? Here are a few ideas that might help.
- Write a great book. This may sound trite, but it’s the very first ingredient in getting a book to sell. Knowing what readers will like isn’t easy, so don’t expect that just because you’ve written a book, that it will sell well. In my own case, my favourite book of mine is my worst seller, so what would I know?
- Social media is a must. If no one knows about you or your book, how will readers find you? Social networking is a ‘one thing leads to another’ tool, so by continually expanding your contacts you help build your author brand.
- Have more than one Twitter account. Keep your personal account for interacting and adding a little marketing, but have one or two more that you can use for more direct marketing. You always hear that people hate ‘spam’ accounts on Twitter. Well, I have five accounts I use regularly for marketing only, with a combined following of over 100,000 so I don’t think the theory holds at all. The more people who see your name the better. The old adage that any publicity is good publicity is very true.
- Set up accounts on all social media sites related to books. Goodreads, AuthorDen, Shelfari or any other you find. Also use sites such as Stumbleupon, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook. All of these will add to your search engine listings and get your name ‘out there’. Set up a Google Alert for your own name so you can be notified whenever your name is listed on a new search engine entry.
- While a website is a useful central resource of information about an author and their books, a blog is much more dynamic and should be the conduit through which all book marketing is driven. Having new blog posts circulated through a number of social networks is a great way to expand reach and attract new readers.
- Free books should never be seen as giving away money. They should be viewed as an introduction of your writing and your name to new readers, and the more the better. Even if an author has only one title, a free book offer can help build a base of readers for the second and third books. I use Kindle’s KDP Select program, and when I offer any of my titles for free, I’m pleased if 500 readers download the book. I’m even happier when 5,000 do. And thrilled if 20,000 do. The more the better.
- Pay for some exposure, but within reason and your budget. There are many options available to buy advertising or promotion, and high traffic sites can really boost exposure for your name and title. I’ve used a few sites to promote my free ebooks on Kindle and have to say that the number of downloads increased dramatically.
- Always be positive and never enter into conflict on any platform. Arguing, criticising and being obnoxious are sure fire routes to failure. Never ‘flare’ on the Internet as comments made in a temper will last forever on the Internet and tarnish your reputation. Ignore bad reviews, nasty comments and trolls. Rise above their level always.
- Write another, and better book.
- Lastly, set yourself a time limit each day for marketing and don’t let it take over your life. Two hours maximum because you have a family and more books to write.
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Publishing New Writers,
January, 2013 (no. 1401)
Dr. Bruce L. Cook
7337 Grandview Ct.
Carpentersvville, IL 60110
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