Congratulations! You’ve just received your first shipment of 500 books that you self-published. You’ve neatly stacked them in your basement (or drawing room!), and are now ready to start marketing them. You’re excited. You just can’t wait for that first sale to go through. So what’s the right way to market your self-published book?
Oops…but you’ve already done something wrong! Read on to find out more.
INDIE BOOK MARKETING 101
Most Indie writers are artists and creators at heart. While they are great at producing works of literary genius, they suck at marketing them. Here are a few things about marketing self published works that every Indie writer should know:
1) Market it before you make it! Even before you write that first sentence, paragraph or chapter, you should already have done lots of research about the potential market for your book. Most Indie writers don’t do that. Instead, they wait until the book is published before thinking whom, how and where to sell it! Sometimes that strategy works. But most often, it ends in extreme financial distress!
2) Get pre-orders! Here’s a novel idea (no pun intended!): Get your readers to pre-order your book. I hear you saying: What? Sell my book before it’s even officially released? Well, it’s a common practice in many other industries, and Indie writing isn’t all that different. As a matter of fact, online Indie book distributor Smashwords offers pre-ordering through Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo. So why wait for the official launch date? Instead, get a head start on your marketing efforts by allowing readers to pre-order. Maybe offer a slight discount in price to make pre-ordering attractive.
3) Go online! Social media marketing (SMM) is a big phenomenon these days, and Indie writers will do well to leverage it to market their creations. But don’t just make the book, novel or publication an extension of your own existing social media profile. Create and promote an independent social media presence for the book. That way, you can cross-sell each other using these separate social media platforms.
4) Consider Meta matters! In case you’ve not heard of it, metadata is what drives all online marketing activities. When you list your book on Amazon, Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) or other publisher/distributor sites, you are asked to provide a wealth of data about your book. That’s what metadata is and those sites then use that data to strategically market your publication. Although it may sound meaningless at first, Indie authors should give serious consideration to what they include in their metadata.
5) Mix it up! Successful marketing is all about using various marketing channels, different media and multiple approaches to promote a particular title. And all of them must be done simultaneously for best results. Launch your online campaign, and notify your readers of a book signing. At the book signing event, tell readers about the special price a local store is offering for your book. Request the local store to distribute handouts about your book signing event. All of these multiple streams will feed off each other and result into a cohesive marketing strategy.
TO PARTNER OR NOT TO PARTNER?
That is the big question: Should you partner with a professional marketing company, or is “going it alone” a good idea? Marketing professionals can provide tremendous value-add to indie writers, especially if this is your first major publication. But good marketers don’t often come cheap. So here’s a thought:
If you feel comfortable “doing it yourself”, perhaps you can engage a professional book marketer to create a comprehensive marketing strategy for you. Then, use your own initiative to start executing that strategy yourself. That way, if you ever need some assistance mid-stream, you can always re-hire the marketer to support you.
THE REWARDS OF INDIE MARKETING
While syndicated authors or those working with large publishing houses enjoy the advantage of big marketing budgets, Indie book marketing isn’t without its own merits. Indie authors:
a) can use the marketing channels of their choosing, not what someone else imposes on them
b) have the freedom to control the message they want to push out about their books, without having to answer to a PR department that’s far removed from the book and its audience
c) are able to make marketing decisions that are in line with their own conscience, personality and taste, without worrying about “company protocol, image or policy”
And all of this makes Indie book marketing more rewarding, and more satisfying than one might think!