We are going to give you some bulletproof ideas to get your book out there and spread the word (and hopefully get some readers) without becoming that guy you had to block on Facebook because he kept bombing you with messages and inviting you to like his page.
It is a thin line, but basic common sense is your greatest friend. (We already have a post concentrating solely on social media and an other with ten great ebook marketing tips.)
1. You are not only selling a product, but you are also selling yourself.
Regardless of whether you are an enthusiastic beginner self-publisher or an established member of the writers’ society publishing at one of the biggies, nobody is going to build your image for you. (Unless you hire a publicist, of course; but we are not talking about paid solutions today.)
Building the right author brand helps you to distinguish yourself from similar authors and to establish a connection with your readers even before your book is out. Remember that everything you post on social media can be used for or against you: your political opinion, your favourite books and the frequency of baby animal videos are all points based on which your potential readers are going to judge you.
Since people are going to judge you anyway, it is the best if you take matters into your hand. It’s to create a writer’s page as early as possible (and keep your personal profile private) so that you don’t alienate anyone based on whatever you post (unless you are as amazing as J.K. Rowling). And you don’t drive your friends nuts by constantly bragging about your new book. (Which you should do, btw., as having written a book is a great achievement.)
Don’t restrict yourself to only talk about your book on your book page: you are a complex person with several interests. It helps if you portray yourself as going on a journey while writing your book: you as an author have a starting point, have to overcome obstacles to reach your goals. When you are selling yourself, you are selling this story: it helps your readers to build a connection with you.
2. There is no such thing as “too early”.
Ebook marketing doesn’t start when your book is in the stores. It doesn’t even have to start after you’ve written a book. You can (and are recommended to) start promoting once you started writing (friendly reminder: just make sure you finish it. Otherwise you end up with hordes of disappointed potential readers!).
You can only write while listening to a particular playlist? Share it. You have drafts and doodles? Instagram them. There is nobody who wouldn’t like to see some “behind the scenes”. Generate anticipation and raise interest: it will all pay back later, once your book is out.
3. Create a website and decide on your branding
You can’t expect people to find and remember you if you use different nicknames and pictures everywhere. Set up a Facebook page, buy a unique domain name (you can get one for really cheap), create your logos and banners. It is important that you use the same images everywhere; you can ask your designer to come up with a package or design one for yourself. If you create any content (like pictures with your quotes on it), write your domain name on the bottom or as a watermark.
4. Launching a book: time to party!
Everyone likes a party, so do your readers. Your book launch is the time to reach out to the people you met on your way to writing and producing your book, all those lovely people who showed some interest in you and your book and invite them over.
This is the time to use your carefully built email list: just invite everyone you can. Make sure to have your merchandise ready, if you have any. You can also team up with other writers and use your book launch as an excuse for an open mic or a reading night. They in turn also bring their audience who get to know you. Win-win for everyone.
If you live on a remote island or a tiny Romanian village, you probably can’t get all your supporters there in person. Thankfully, Facebook party is a thing, and it comes with the great advantage of not having to clean up afterward. This article explains to you what an FB party is and how to organize one.
5. Know your audience
You are most likely not required to descend into underground tunnels and promote your book to the selected few. But you NEED to research the people who are the key audience of your book. It is impossible to address everyone, and while you are aiming for as many potential readers as possible, the best way to start is to imagine an ideal reader.
Are you writing a guide for lovers of 8-hours-long strategic board games? Is it a zero sugar cookbook? Or you are a YA writer, targeting fans of pre-Twilight vampire stories? Either case you have to address different people, talk to them differently and reach them at different places.
In the world of marketing, we are creating personas: this is the fancy name for ideal customers or readers. Think of them as characters in a novel: contemplate who they are, how can you easily reach them, what do they like. Every time you write something, every time you create a piece of marketing material, imagine you are talking to them. And when I say every time, I mean every time. I also have personas in my mind while writing this article.
You also have to keep in mind that different audiences prefer different communication channels and can be found at various areas of the web. Go out and find your audience. Have you written a cookbook? Check out recipe sites and recipe blogs. Is it general fiction? Go to Goodreads.com. Are you writing for teens? Twitter or Facebook may not be your best choice. Forget the law of large numbers and target your audience directly.
Remember: no hard sale on social media. Go out and interact, offer your help, answer and ask questions, keep it personal and simple. Make friends. You can include the title of your book or your website’s address on your profile or in your signature line.
6. Get reviews
Nobody can sell your book as successfully as a satisfied reader. If your book is great (good is not sufficient, you have to go for great, fantastic, terrific!) your book will eventually be selling itself. Find influential bloggers in your niche and ask them if they would be kind enough to review your book. It is helpful if you make a “review package” with a short description of your book, an author bio (with photo) and an invitation to the book launch. Don’t just send it to everyone, hoping that somebody might likes it!
If you started building your relationships in time, by the time your book is ready to be published, you would know who is likely to read it and write about it. If they say yes, you can send them a free copy of your book.
Give them some time to read it, before you start bombing them with follow-up emails. Don’t forget that most of the book bloggers have a day job and they are doing you a favour by writing a review. Finally, don’t forget to thank the reviews; it is a small gesture but goes a long way.