When you plan to self-publish your book, your work doesn’t end with completing your final draft. In fact, the most challenging parts of your journey are just beginning. How do you let the world know your book is on the way? How do you hype up the reading community?
Promoting your book before it hits the shelves will boost your pre-orders. The pre-order quantity will be analyzed by retailers and consumers to gauge the future success of your book.
It might sound like a daunting task. You may not have any expertise in marketing. But that doesn’t matter. It’s all about communicating with your target audience. In this two-part series featuring ways to promote your book—focusing on pre-launch and post-launch strategies—we aim to provide authors with a comprehensive, yet simplistic, guide to marketing a self-published book.
01. Launch an Author Website
If this is your first book, it’s essential you establish yourself as a writer by launching an author website. When you start your pre-launch book marketing campaign, readers will want to know more about you. Having a website or a blog with quality content and links to your previous works can build your credibility and trust.
Your website will be the center of all your plans. Make sure all your content is up-to-date. Include links to your social media accounts, contact information (preferably your email address), news about upcoming events related to your book release, etc.
You can also create an email newsletter that your readers can subscribe to, and send regular emails updating them about your book’s progress.
02. Post on Social Media
Having a large following on social media is useless if you don’t interact with your followers. Whether it be on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, engage with your followers by replying to their comments on your posts, posting question stickers on your stories, tweeting relevant tweets that are retweet-worthy, etc. Link all of your social media profiles to your website, so your readers can find out more about you.
Create attractive posts about your upcoming book and post them on these social media platforms. But also vary your content—don’t make all of it about your book. Show the person behind the work. Readers always love to get glimpses into an author’s life. Also, don’t forget to introduce your pets! If you’re unfamiliar with these social media platforms—or if you don’t have a large following—you can always hire a professional to do the work for you. For instance, by sharing your book details with us at gutsybooks, we will created a Digital Marketing campaign using 4 Twitter accounts. We offer three different service packages, that will reach over 100,000 new readers.
03. Design a Stunning Book Cover
The cliche, “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” is used for nearly every situation—but is probably never taken seriously when we consider it in the literal sense. A beautiful book cover is definitely going to drive your readers crazy!
Give your fans a cover reveal date to hype them up. You can use your website and social media platforms for this, but partnering up with other authors and book bloggers cann also help you reach a wider audience.
If you are designing the cover of your book by yourself, here is a list of designing tools that you can use.
04. Send Out ARCs
Another important aspect of your pre-launch marketing is the reviews. Without reader reviews, people are unlikely to place pre-orders, which is why giving away ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) is essential. You can reach out to experienced book bloggers and Bookstagrammers with a free copy of your book in exchange for an honest review. You can even ask trusted friends and family members to read your book and leave (honest) reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.
05. Use Amazon’s Book Promotional Tools
Amazon owns two self-publishing service companies—Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) for ebooks and CreateSpace for print books.
Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) allows you to publish your book for free and also gives you the option to expand your book’s availability on a global scale, making it more accessible for readers around the world. You must give Amazon exclusive distribution rights to your ebook for a 90-day period, but you will be able to claim Amazon’s highest royalty rate of 70%.
If you’re using Amazon’s services, remember to set up an Author Central page, where you can build your Author Stores by adding photos, videos, your biography, details of your upcoming book events, etc., and even link to your own website.
By starting your pre-launch campaign about 6-12 months before publication, with a well-planned marketing strategy, you can guarantee that your book reaches readers across the world.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.