How are you doing at marketing your new book or books? Are you doing well and don’t need much help in getting the word out to the public? Or are you struggling, wondering how to make another sale or how to get the word out there to the wider world?
When I started writing my book, I had no idea where the journey would take me. I didn’t know if I would finish or quit. I didn’t know if I finished writing my book if I would figure out how to get all the way through to getting it published. I didn’t know a lot of things, but I figured out most of what I needed to get it launched on Amazon as an e-book and soft cover.
And now, I’m here. I have published my book…and I am proactively marketing it. But, what does that mean? Does it mean telling everyone I know about it, hoping they will buy a copy? Does it mean selling it on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million (BAM) and all the other retail outlets? Does it mean paying for advertising even though my book is not yet bringing in enough money to even cover startup costs much less anything else?
So, where do you or I go from here? Do we continue taking free webinars promising amazing ways to help? Do we invest in the end product these webinars offer that will provide even better results?
After taking many wonderful webinars, a few things stand out best to me. Maybe some of these will help you, too, as you continue to find your way.
- Be authentic. Whenever you are faced with choosing a technique to sell your book, be sure to choose what is true for you. You will be more successful if you choose to promote your book in a way that is authentic for you.
- Be assertive. Always be sure to share with every one you meet that you have written a book. Most people are impressed with the fact that you have written one. If they are a lover of books and like the genre of your book, they will check it out and order it.
- Have confidence. Be confident of your subject matter, your cover, and your why. There will be people who are not readers or who do not like the genre your book is in, but do not let that disrupt your mission to bring your book to others. Always remain confident that your book will touch the lives of others in the way you meant it to.
- Be inspiring. Inspire others to read your book by letting them see your own enthusiasm about it. When they see that you believe in what you wrote about, you will have a new owner of a copy of your book. If they love the subject, they will enjoy your book. If they love you, they will love your book. If a person doesn’t care for the topic, keep in mind that they may know others who do. Inspire them to share the name of your book or your name with their friends.
Those are ways we can, as a person, promote our book, or books, while remaining true to ourselves. Following are some practical ways that are currently helping me to promote my first book. Keep in mind, some take time and some take money. You will have to choose if you can do any of them. I use free versions as much as possible and support the local small business if I can.
- Website. I use WordPress. I used the free version for years, but shortly before I published my book I decided to go with the basic paid version. It has been one of the best decisions I have made.
- Business cards. My niece designed my cards, and I get them printed at a local print shop. I include my mailing address and email on the front; and on the back, I list all my social media accounts. I’m very happy with how they turned out. I ordered 100 to start as I know I will have updates along the way. Already, I want to add my title, “Writer & Independent Author” and my updated Instagram user name.
- Social Media. I have heard two different pieces of advice. The first is to pick only two social media apps and the second is to set up an account for every social media app. I think the answer is someplace in between. If you are a busy person and can really only market on Facebook and Instagram, then do that. If you have a lot of time on your hands and can handle posting on all the apps out there, then do that. In keeping life simple, please do not feel pressured to post on five or ten or more apps, if you really cannot do so. I am posting on about five or six apps and will probably increase once I have more time.
- Email/Newsletter. Even though there are people I know who do not use email, most people do. And not only that, but most people who have email actually check it every day. Since using email to promote my book, I get on average a 50% response rate. There are email programs, like Mail Chimp, that a person can use to gather emails from website visitors. I am in the process of doing that, and am excited to be staying in touch with my subscribers on a monthly basis.
- Flyers. I started out by developing a half page flyer, folded in half, to hand out to anyone interested in the fact that I have written a book. I keep track of who I give them to, only because I think it will help later to know if the time and cost invested is being effective.
- Newspaper ads. This is a tough one. It sounds like a great idea, but every self-published author has to decide if the cost of advertising is worth it. Taking a chance if anyone reads newspapers anymore is scary when the ad must be paid upfront. If you have money to invest in this, that is great. I say, go for it. If you don’t have money to invest in advertising, then you may want to look at a few of the other options like word of mouth or email. Then, once you’ve raised the funds, advertising won’t be so daunting. I am hoping to do this soon.
- Book signings. Wow, did you ever think we would be considering a book signing as an author? This is a great way to get your book out there and draw some buzz about who the new author in town is. During Covid, it can be a little challenging. To help, it can be suggested that everyone purchase their book before the signing. This will also keep your costs down by not having to order as many beforehand. I had a small private signing in which someone bought several books and wanted me to sign them before giving them as gifts. I have a friend who is setting up an outdoor signing at a local bakery. The options are endless when we start to think outside the box.
- Design application. Everyone should have a good way to design social media posts that will be eye-catching and make your reader want to read more. I like to use Publisher and Canva. Publisher is a part of the Microsoft Office 365 package. If you don’t have it, Canva is a great alternative and offers a free version.
I hope something of what I have shared with you here will be helpful as you continue to market your book. Please know that there are many of us first-timers out here on the same journey. We are all here to help one another succeed. So, if you have any questions about anything I shared or want to add to my blog post, please be sure to post in the comments.
And, as always, remember to check out my book, “HONOR ONE ANOTHER: The ABCs of Embracing Our Spirit Within.” You can find it on Amazon by typing in my full name, Virginia Alice Crawford. Thank you and have a blessed and safe day.