Marketing can seem like a huge task. However, it’s also a very necessary part of self-publishing. One of the first things a self-published author should do (aside from writing the book), is to build a website. This helps to establish a fan base, which is vital because in order to be successful, writers need readers. Platforms are also a way to be sure you stand out among all the other noise online, according to Michael Hyatt. And, you can use them to build an email list, and then easily contact interested readers once you publish a new book.
The good news is that anyone can create a platform online now, for relatively cheap. The bad news is it takes a lot of time and effort to grow the platform. DuoLit gives some good tips for indie authors: first, be proud of your work and don’t be afraid to spread the word, second, give and share a lot before asking for readers to help you out, third, work together with other authors to cross-promote, and last, keep your readers happy.
An example of a strong book website is This Book is About Travel. It’s clean, the domain name is the same as the book, and it links to the author’s personal website, which showcases more of his work.
Of course, social media is an integral part of building a platform (although some nay-sayers think social media doesn’t help much). Most people by now know how to use Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Google Plus. But there are also book specific sites, such as GoodReads, Shelfari, Anobii, and LibraryThing. Both GoodReads and LibraryThing allow authors to do giveaways (though GoodReads only lets you give away physical, print books). This can help bring attention to your book, and people who like what they read may even rate and review it.
Even something as simple as adding a signature line in your email with a link to your book can be helpful. It’s a non-intrusive way of promoting your work. Chris Martin offers some other ideas in his post “Selling Books Like Stephen King,” which include getting all your friends and family to write reviews on your Amazon page, sending out review copies, going to conferences, and reading chapters out loud to different groups of people.
Stephanie Chandler wrote on Book Coaching that authors should also reach out to radio shows. There are many Internet radio shows out there that would be willing to host authors as guests. You can even pay someone $5 on Fiverr to promote your book. Authority Publishing offers other ideas, such as creating a YouTube channel.
BookTango has an interesting service where you can give out free review copies of your ebook via a code you pass out on business cards. (If you’d like to save some money, you can always design the card yourself and buy through VistaPrint instead).
Ideally, marketing and publicity should start well before the book is published (if possible–I know things can get hectic). JustTV recently posted the benefits of posting excerpts on blogs and sending links to chapters to book reviewers and reporters well before the publication date:
Such online publishing upends the normal timeframe of academic/journalistic influence, as the press can now read & reference academic work before it’s locked down to the slow timeframe and closed access of academic publishing. It highlights how the concept of “publicity” is built on the root of being “public,” a facet of scholarship underserved by conventional publishing.
Then, once a book is published, PRWeb argues that authors should keep publishing on a regular schedule that readers can get used to. Digital publishing has made it possible to release books more frequently.
This may all seem overwhelming, which is why it’s important to relax, and know that good marketing takes time. WiseInk Blog offers helpful tips for successful marketing. I think the most important is remembering that you are only one person. So know your limits and have fun!