Despite the ease and apparent advantages of self-publishing as opposed to traditional publishing, one question still causes hesitation when deciding whether to self-publish:
“How will I market my book by myself?”
After considerable time studying the methods of successful self published authors, Trafford Publishing have produced eight book-marketing tips to help you become a successful ‘indie’ author.
Trafford Publishing Tip 1: Write a superlative book, and then write another!
Writing an attractive book is paramount. No matter how creative your book-marketing efforts are, you will not achieve success if your book is insipid.
On top of penning an appealing book, one of the best approaches is to write more appealing books. Many readers tend to be loyal to their authors. Each new book will extend the recognition from your readers, not to mention creating more sales for your previous titles.
Let’s assume you have written an appealing book, the next step is to bring your book to light.
Trafford Publishing Tip 2: Identify your target audience. Find out what they do and think like them.
Characterize your audience. Demographics are a good start – age, gender, status, ethnicity etc… What are their interests? Generate a profile for your ‘perfect’ reader.
Find out what type of places they frequent, what magazines they read and which websites they are likely to surf. Once you have compiled a list, you can advertise yourself and your book at these places and media platforms.Marketing is simply the effective communication of values, if you know your audience’s values you will know the right pitch.
Trafford Publishing Tip 3: Strategic Pricing!
Getting the right prices for your book is essential to be competitive in the market.
A pricing strategy that can help ‘spread the word’ is to offer e-book editions for free on Amazon for a limited time. This strategy will build an audience base quickly and enhance the visibility of your book.
Once you have acquired an audience you will need to set a price for your e-books. On Amazon, you receive 35% royalties on e-books priced from 99c to $2.98, 70% on e-books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 and back down to 35% for $10 and higher. Obviously you will price between $2.99 and $9.99 to make the most profit from sales.
For print editions, it would be wise to set your price a little bit lower than traditionally published books in the same genre. Once you have acquired a significant audience base you can adjust your price accordingly.
Trafford Publishing Tip 4: Sharp and alluring promotional content online
Your product description (book blurb) is your final sales pitch. So don’t make it vacuous! Some blurbs are about as boring as dish water and authors are surprised at their pitiful book sales. Do yourself a favor and don’t be dry.
Product descriptions should ‘tease’ your prospective readers. You need to be able to build curiosity. This curiosity comes about not by what is said but by what is not said.
Trafford Publishing Tip 5: Categorize on Amazon
There are over 12 million books on Amazon – Frightening, isn’t it! With so many books on the market, it is crucial that your book is categorized correctly. Amazon provides countless categories and subcategories, genres and subgenres, each with its own bestseller list. Don’t get this wrong!
Trafford Publishing Tip 6: Establish beneficial relationships – don’t be a pest.
When interacting online, you don’t want to be the annoying door-to-door salesman. Many self-published authors are incompetent when it comes to building relationships through social media.
Your approach to others when using social media is paramount. Nothing in life is free. You get and you give. If you want something from someone you must give them something to begin with.
Become a valuable contributor on social media platforms, gain respect. Build relationships with like-minded people. Once you have built relationships, you will find that there will be plenty of opportunities to mention your book in an unassuming manner.
Trafford Publishing Tip 7: Encourage satisfied readers to leave reviews.
One of the best forms of advertising is word-of-mouth. An even better form of advertising is word-of-mouth online in the form of reviews!
When interacting online, you should encourage your readers leave reviews for you, whether on Amazon, Goodreads or other review sites. If a prospective customer is searching through books on Amazon, it will make a truckload of difference and provide reassurance if they see that other readers have been satisfied.
Trafford Publishing Tip 8: Create a brand or a distinctive ‘niche’
Most authors either think that a brand is unnecessary or they expect that their brand will come naturally from their work – i.e. that the books will create a brand for themselves. Both these assumptions are false.
Brands act to differentiate what you have to offer from your competitors. What ideas, concepts and sentiments do you want readers to associate with yourself and your book? These ideas need to be present on every medium concerned with your book. Sure enough, people will start associating your brand with your work.