Marketing your book. It’s a task all authors seem to approach with dread. It’s a big, scary topic, there is no denying that. This is where we help you with that.
It doesn’t matter where you publish your book, authors need to have an online presence (a website), use social media (you can focus on one), and promote the heck out of their own book. If you don’t believe in it enough to do that, how can you expect anyone else to? We’ll walk you through the steps on making a marketing plan for your book so it isn’t overwhelming. (We get it – really.)
Your Online Presence (Avatar)
When some people comment on blogs, etc. they have a photo of themselves or a business logo instead of a generic image. You want to be one of those people. The easy (and it really is easy) way to do it is to go through a website called “Gravatar.” The information below is copied directly from their website because I can’t explain it any better than they do.
An “avatar” is an image that represents you online—a little picture that appears next to your name when you interact with websites.
A Gravatar is a Globally Recognized Avatar. You upload it and create your profile just once, and then when you participate in any Gravatar-enabled site, your Gravatar image will automatically follow you there.
Gravatar is a free service for site owners, developers, and users. It is automatically included in every WordPress account and is run and supported by Automattic.com.
Having an avatar makes you seem more “real” and you want people to connect with you. It’s a short, simple action. Just take the step and do it. (Right now – it will open in another window, so go ahead and take care of it.)
The very first step is to choose the name for your website. Check here to see if it is available. If not, try some variations. POVPress.com wasn’t available, which is why this site is POV-Press.com. A good choice is your name or a variation on it. If your name isn’t available, try simply adding the work “author” at the end of it. Using your name will allow you to include all your books on one site, even if you have multiple series’ or genres.
Since you will be building a website, quite probably in WordPress, decide if you want to pay to host it or go with a free WP site. (Building it with WP is free either way.) Honestly, it’s not that expensive to have it hosted and you will probably end up with at least one or two free email accounts to go with that account. This means you can be firstname@YourWebsiteHere.com. Which seems more legit and professional, that personalized email or a gmail account?
Assuming you are going to pay to host your domain, go ahead and choose your service provider. You can probably register your domain name through them. Now register it. The first step is finished!
Next, build the website. You’ll probably want to use WordPress. If you don’t pay for hosting, then you’ll want to have that url forwarded to the free WP address. Start building your website even if your book isn’t finished. This will let you start to get fans excited about your books and start building an email list.
An Email List
You need one. It’s a lot of work to build, there’s no denying that, but it’s the best way to keep in touch with your most loyal readers. As your list grows, you will need to (eventually) pay for more advanced services, like broadcast emails that new subscribers automatically receive and follow up emails that are sent at intervals you set. (Three to four weeks is a good interval.) Mail Chimp and AWeber are solid, reputable companies for this.
Goodreads, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google+…. There are a lot of options, but you don’t have to go after all of them. In fact, you shouldn’t. The only ones who are successful with accounts across all social media are giant corporations with large staffs. Individual people have too many things going to manage that.
- What media to you already use?
- Does your book lend itself well to that, or is another one better? If you love Instagram or Pinterest but your writing has very few images, it probably isn’t a match.
- Are you in any groups that line up with what you are writing that would allow you to promote? For example, if you are writing zombie stories and are in several fan groups for The Walking Dead, it might be a great place to promote your book! In fact, go join more related groups.
Just make sure you are respectful and contribute the to the group in ways that have nothing to do with your book. Don’t be obnoxious and over-promote it or no one will read your posts.
- Take a little time to find out where your potential fans hang out. If you are writing a book on photography, you may find that Flickr and Instagram have a lot more potential fans for you than Google+ and Goodreads.
- Now that you have narrowed it down, set up a page or group for yourself. Start adding your friends and putting content on there.
- Remember to share content from other, more popular sites. Maybe they will link back to you!
All of your pre-sales will ship (or download) on your release date. This means that a large number of pre-sales will give you a healthy bump in your sales number, and your sales rank. In short, pre-sales help make your book look as popular as possible on launch day.
Ignoring the issue of KDP-Select or not, free promotions are a popular way to get a large number of readers to download your book and possibly (hopefully!) leave a review.
Another way to do free promotions is to have one book that is permanently free. It isn’t possible to do this directly through Amazon. It requires having the book free other places and having Amazon price-match. This is particularly effective for series’ writers and those with books that are very closely related. Writers who do a lot of genre-hopping need to expend a lot more energy on marketing.