EFFECTIVE TOOLS TO MARKET YOUR BOOK: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE
So, you received your novel back from your editor. Your heart beats fast because now you’re into the final stage before you click the publish-my-novel button. You can see the money pouring in and you’re thinking your dream vacation is within reach.
Well, not so fast.
The moment you think about selling your book online, the marketing side of your venture begins to haunt you. If you already built your author’s platform earlier, you’re ahead of all of us.
This guide is specifically written for indie writers who want to self publish their book, but have no clue on how to make their potential customers aware of their book’s existence.
All authors want to sell their books and make money (maybe some don’t, which is fine). But, let’s face it, not all of us are a marketing genius. For instance, I can write several novels, but when it comes to selling them, I’m cringing. I loath selling. I really do.
And my dear writers, that’s the real challenge you’ll face when you decide to self publish your book. This is the reality. Face it with confidence and at the same time brace yourself for the unexpected downfall, surprise surge of motivation and all the ups and downs in your journey.
Self publishing is hard work because you’re forced to wear two different hats: a writer’s hat and a marketer’s hat. You can just ignore the latter and hire a firm to promote your book. That’s the ideal way. But, not all writers can afford to do this.
This article is for writers who want to self market their book. Without delay, you should get your book on Amazon and other ebook retailers such as iBook, Google Play, Barnes and Noble’s Nook and Kobo. If selling to all retailers overwhelms you, focus on Amazon for now. And later, you can get into the other retailers.
But, before you hit that publish button, your book must have:
1. A cover that communicates the genre. For instance, if your book is a contemporary romance, your cover has a couple that represent “contemporary.” The popular book cover right now is a shirtless man with bulging pectorals and a six-pack abdomen. Your choice. If your romance novel is sweet and wholesome, using a smoldering man on the cover might attract the wrong readers. You don’t want this to happen. So, having the right cover for your book is most important.
2. A hooky blurb. The blurb is your book description. This is the one you wrote to hook readers to purchase your book. It should be short, to the point and make people want to know more about your story. I’m not good at writing a blurb, but I did try my earnest, and seek feedback from my fellow authors afterward.
3. Format it into ePub. If you’re not technical savvy, you could hire an ebook formatter. I know a little bit about html and CSS, so I could run Sigil and Calibre to format my novel. Alternatively, sign up with Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and have Amazon format it to MOBI and ePub for you.
Now, you have a cover, blurb and MOBI file, you can set your book on preorder or publish it immediately. For my debut novel, I set it on preorder a month in advance so I can get the ASIN number (Amazon’s ISBN for the ebook). Having the ASIN number I can promote my novel to my potential readers. And the preorder status gave me enough time to build my author’s platform to create awareness for my book.
Steps in marketing your book
Tool 1: InstaFreebie
Step 1: Sign up with InstaFreebie (IF) right away (sign up for the plus. It’s free for 30 days and after that you pay $ 20/month. You can downgrade it to free after the trial, but you won’t be able to capture email addresses from readers who downloaded your giveaway). IF helps you accelerate the growth of your mailing list. I came into this self-publishing industry with no mailing list. I only discovered IF recently and that’s why I’m way behind other authors. Don’t wait. I can invite you to sign up by just clicking the link below:
https://instafreebie.com/authors?invite_code=gW3Q1Czx7a (I’ll get a referral credit, only if you successfully sign up. Thank you in advance.)
Now let’s talk about giveaway. A giveaway encourages potential readers to sign up for your mailing list. You could give away your first three chapters as a preview. This is what I did. However, based on my observation, the response is rather slow as compared to when you give away the entire novel. It’s up to you how you prefer to reach your potential customers. Or, if you have a short story or a prequel, you could use that as a giveaway, too.
The benefits of having a large mailing list are undeniable. A mailing list saves time. You can reach the right customers for your ebook immediately. Before I discovered IF, I was busy building my author’s social media and website. I should had signed up with IF the moment I set my book on preorder. And then, work on my author’s platform. Don’t follow what other authors say about building your platform first. Sign up with IF right away and you’ll be surprised how many readers will want to read your novel.
Step 2: Join the IF promo group(s) of your novel’s genre. This helps double your IF giveaway exposure as compared to when you promote it by yourself. You could find groups in the IF forum (you’ll see it when you’re signed on). Here is the group I joined:
In the Mood for Love IF Group Promo. This promo begins May 15 – June 2.
If you read romance, click on the link above and choose any or all of us. You can learn how IF works by downloading your favorite novel(s).
Some generous authors organize IF promos permanently. Click to visit their sites as shown below:
Here are some groups active in IF group promotions on Facebook. Join them to learn more about others’ experiences using IF to increase their list.
In the next series of how to market your book, I’m going to talk about building your author’s social media platform. I’m still struggling to build mine due to the time constraint, but I’ll write about what I’ve done so far to create awareness about my contemporary romance novel.