Congratulations on Publishing Your Book!
How very exciting to see a project through from start to finish. Many people say they’re going to write a book, but never actually succeed so congrats, you’ve climbed a huge mountain.
Give yourself a pat on the back and bask in your success.
If you’re concerned about sales, reviews, or hitting the top of the heap, then you may need to review your marketing strategy (or lack thereof).
And who knows, maybe you did. The key to marketing is to get it moving as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. If you neglected the whole marketing scheme in favour of the creative work, well, you’re probably now asking yourself what you can do.
Why You Need to Think About Marketing.
Publishing your own book is now easier than ever.
But, you must remember that publishing and selling are not the same thing.
Don’t expect to self- publish your book and find it on the New York Times bestseller list the following week … or ever.
You can always dream though. Self-published books do become best sellers.
Independent Publishing, also know as “Indie” or “self-publishing”, allows anyone and everyone, the opportunity to write and publish their own book.
When you self-publish, it’s pretty cool that you don’t need an editor, an agent, or even a publisher to get your book out there. You can take on all those tasks and do it yourself.
The key word to consider is “self”.
Everything is up to you, the author. From writing, formatting, editing, rewriting, re-edits, to launching, marketing, selling… It’s all your baby.
According to an article written by Orna Ross, the Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors, entitled The History of Self-Publishing, “traditional” publishing was the method until 1979, then the desktop computer revolutionized everything.
Everything changed with the introduction of Desk Top Publishing (DTP) which according to Wikidepdia, began in the 1970s and grew quickly in popularity.
DTP allows authors to by-pass the industry and print books themselves. It has evolved over the years into what we now see as the online market.
Just so you know, there was self-publishing (or nontraditional), prior to DTP. This was seen in vanity presses and authors starting their own printing press shop, because they wanted their books/messages out there for the public to peruse.
For the most part, these were the exceptions and not the norm.
With “indie” or “self” publishing now, we recognize the author as having done it themselves.
You Made the Decision to Self-Pub…
For some, this isn’t an easy decision to make, but it comes to a point where they feel they have no choice, or have exhausted all other avenues.
Traditional publishing involves having to sell yourself, your talent, and your work to an agent who then represents you to the traditional publishers.
Is one better than the other? It depends on who you ask. There is a lot of very talented writers out there who simply never connect with the few available agents or publishers. It’s great to know there is the choice of self-publishing.
If you published without considering marketing, let’s look at a few things that may help.
The First Thing You Need to Do…
Know that writing a book is huge.
I will give every author kudos right now for seeing a project through to the end.
Many will enter into a project totally prepared to self-publish and ready to take on the business of the industry. The challenge is accepted and embraced.
For others, they’ll learn as they go or simply take a leap of faith into the self-publishing world and hope for the best.
Depending on where you’re coming from and how much industry experience or confidence you have, the first thing you must do, is temper your expectations.
Check them at the door and be realistic.
If no one knows you’ve written a book, let alone actually self-published it, then don’t expect the world to stop and take notice either.
You need to be honest with yourself about sales, fame, fortune, and recognition. Don’t get down on yourself when sales don’t go as you expected. You’re not alone.
The Book is Self-Published With No Marketing Plan…
You can go check your ranking on Amazon every few hours, but after those initial sales to your friends and family, chances are the stats are in the toilet.
All that work and no one even knows it’s there.
So take back the control and get going on introducing people to who you are and what your work represents.
What is a Marketing Plan?
What are you going to do about the fact that no one knows about your book or you?
Ask yourself: what prompts you to purchase a book–whether an e-book or bound paper book–why would you open your wallet? Is it because you’re familiar with the author? the subject? You saw it on a website? The theme? The answer to that question is your Marketing Plan Target!
First and foremost, you need to know who your audience is. Is it:
- 10-12 year old girls? boys? (think about who purchases the book)
- 50 year old Christian men? women?
- Single young females?
- Dog Lovers?
- Cat People?
- City Dwellers?
- Rural Farming Community?
- Single Parents?
- Stay at home moms?
- People who own a home?
Really take the time to think about this and consider the different angles.
Remember, though your target reader may be in one group, and the buyer may be in another. Narrow down who your audience/buyer is, and they, become the target of your marketing.
For clarification. If you’ve written a children’s book, then the target audience is the adult buyer… perhaps a grandparent, an auntie, or friend. Your work needs to appeal to the buyer. Whether it be the messaging, the language, or the sentiment. It must please both the buyer and the receiver.
Are You An Expert?
If you’ve written a non-fiction self-help type of book, ask yourself why anyone should listen to you.
- Are you an expert?
- Have you worked in the field?
- What are your qualifications?
- Is your central topic too niche? ie: so specialized that the target audience is small?
- Where does it fit in a book store? ie: is it children’s? self-help? parenting? teen issues?
- Do people trust you?
- Has a rapport been built within the community targeted?
- How are you an authority on the subject? Did you go to school? Are you somehow certified? Is there experience to back it up?
You Didn’t Know About This Marketing Stuff Before You Published
It’s okay. Don’t panic. What’s done is done.
The book is out there, but now you really want people to buy the book to read it, enjoy it, discuss the writing/plot/issues, the validity, or the importance of the project.
You, as an author, want to be validated and engaged. You are looking to build a loyal audience and that is a fair goal and aspiration.
So, Where to Start?
First you need to recognize that you did things a little backwards. While it’s not the end of the world, you now have some work to do.
Do You Have a Landing Page?
This is a page where you can promote the book and hopefully engage with other people about the topic of said book.
Depending on your level of comfort, you can set up a Facebook page or a website.
On Facebook, you can ask people to follow, and you can easily share things as it may be a platform you’re already familiar with.
The other option is a website specific to you, your values, your projects, and links to your product.
A website may also allow you the freedom to write a blog and truly connect with others.
The main thing is that you need to connect.
Connect With What? Who?
Go back to the beginning of this post and think about what makes you purchase a book. Often, it’s establishing a personal connection with either the subject, the author, or both.
The reader wants to know more. They want to understand where the information is coming from and that the author is authentic.
The connection is trust–Not selling.
There is nothing worse than someone coming to you out of the blue and saying… hi, buy my book. It’s gross and unprofessional. It’s your job as the author and marketer to engage with readers and not sell, sell, sell (which is such a turn off).
Readers want to see reality.
Whatever you use choose for a landing page you need to be consistent and professionally personal. (Please note the word professional–you want to present yourself as efficient, skilled, and competent.) Stay on brand, be yourself, but realize the need for professionalism.
Post photographs of yourself that are tasteful, fun, professional… Yes, you need to let people get to know you… or the part you want them to know.
You need to show up when you say you are going to, and you need to be consistent. Don’t do one post and then not go back for a month. You must make a schedule and stick to it. Let people know when to expect you.
Perhaps you’ll post a blog every Wednesday or every second Saturday… It doesn’t matter when, it’s about consistency and building trust.
Perhaps every other day you go live on Instagram and do a 15 second video. Again… consistency.
A Word About Brand
Do you know who you are? Do you match what you’re selling?
Do others recognize your name or pictures and associate you back to your work?
It’s important to establish a voice and distinctive look and feel to your product. It should reflect back on you, and your work, in a positive way.
Post pictures that are casual. Some that are fun and active. And still others that are work related.
Define your boundaries and stick to them. For example, I don’t include pix of family or my home. I do like to put pix of my dog in my posts though and readers seem to enjoy her.
There are things like establishing an email list and writing a newsletter that will assist with the marketing of your book, but those take time to establish. With some hard work and diligence, you’ll get yourself going on the track of being organized to sell and market your product.
Take the suggestions above and make them your own. There are other things you can do to promote yourself by getting out there in the community and knowing who your ideal reader and buyer is.
Here are a few other ways to get yourself out there…
- Write a blog. To get viewers, subscribers, and regular readers takes time. This is a really good one to start *before* you publish. Yes, it can also work afterwards too, but the slog is real.
- Start pumping up your social media. Connect. Connect. Connect. Like and comment on *other* people’s stuff. Remember you’re not there to sell.
- Begin using the live feeds to introduce yourself and connect. Yes, you must be willing to go on camera and talk. With time, it becomes the norm. Set a goal and do it daily for a month. People will get to the point where they’re looking for you and/or expecting to see your face. Keep it short. Again…connection is the target, not selling!
- Do longer live time blocks (or taped) on social media that directly relate to your book. For example, if you’re doing a self-care book then take *one* aspect and explore it and why it’s important. This can help you be viewed as someone who cares and knows what they’re talking about. You are not selling, but you’re referencing your book. Have it beside you. Perhaps read a line or two out of it and then talk about the importance of those lines. Engage. Engage. Engage.
- Plan readings at your local library. Invite other authors to participate.
- If you have book stores that will display local authors then ask them to put your book in their store.
- Go to farmer’s markets and engage with the guests. Have your book there to sell, but don’t be aggressive.
- And, what every author should do after completing and publishing their book, is go write another. Don’t wait. Get that second book underway. Hey, you’re in the process of building up an audience, get going.
I know you can do it. If you did all that work to write and publish the first book, then you’ve got the stamina and creativity to do the next.
Tell me right now in the comments, what is the first thing you’re going to do.
Thank you for reading my post. I hope you find it helpful and informative. Leave a comment. Like and share the post so more creatives have the information. Follow below.