Congratulations – you’ve followed through with something most people only dream of…you’re an author (or about to be)! But once the initial excitement wears off and your inner circle has read and marveled at your book, you’re probably asking yourself, now what?
As you may be realizing, most books aren’t just discovered at random. Successful self-published authors recognize that selling a book takes just as much effort as writing it, and in that process, they’ve mastered the art of promotion. We know you’re equally as motivated, and with that energy and a map pointing you in the right direction, you too can successfully promote your self-published book and build an awesome fan base. While there are dozens of ways to promote your new book, these helpful tips are a great place to start.
Know Thy Audience
The first step to promoting your self-published book is to understand who your audience really is. Xpress Tip: it’s not everyone. Even the most widely read authors in the world have a specific audience based on factors like gender, socioeconomics, education level, interests, motivations, and values. After all, why waste your time and valuable resources on people who aren’t all that likely to buy your book? If you truly want to promote your self-published book in the most advantageous way, it’s worth taking the time to consider what your reader really looks like. If you’re stuck, ask yourself these questions: Why did you write the book in the first place? What were you hoping to convey?
Have a Website
Before you begin building your fan base, you should have an inviting place where you can welcome your fans, stay in contact with them, and point them to all the places where they can buy that wonderful book of yours. Make sure you connect your main website to any social media sites you have, such as a Facebook page for your book. Even if you don’t currently have a lot of followers on that page, your website visitors may very well become your social media fans. You might even consider adding a pop-up window or space on your website that asks for visitors’ email addresses and permission to send updates from time to time. Xpress Tip: Newsletters can be a HUGE marketing tool for you down the road.
Be Seen at All of the “Hot Spots”
Once you’ve spent some time assembling an idea of who your real readers are, the next step is to explore where they like to hang. The best source to connecting with thousands of people at once is a popular blog or website. After all, unless you have tens of thousands of followers on your own blog or social media site, it’s important to make connections with people who do. What blogs or people are your readers following? Now that you’re armed with a more targeted audience, that won’t be so daunting of a task to research.
After compiling your list of online hangouts, begin following these sites and get in on the conversation. You’re a writer, so we know you have a lot of great things to say. Craft those thoughts into insightful comments, using these same remarks as talking points for your book. Don’t be afraid to make contact with the blog or website’s owner. While it can take years to establish a solid connection with them, with the right pitch that demonstrates how much your book can benefit their followers, they’ll likely be open to giving your book a shout-out, whether through an interview or a guest blog they ask you to write. They might even read your book, fall in love with it, and sing its praises directly to their many followers. The key is, you need readers, and they have a huge following of people who will likely love your book.
The Power of Reviews (and How to Get Them)
Reviews are everything. Consistent 4 and 5 star reviews glowing brightly underneath your book are one of the best ways to promote your self-published book. But how do you get them? That’s where the freebie can come in handy. Don’t panic – offering your book or even the first chapter for free, especially in the initial stages of your book release, can be a useful tactic for generating reviews that will continue to help promote your book indefinitely. Some online self-publishing sites like Amazon will help you set this up (and those who download your book will automatically show up as verified purchasers), or you can even promote free downloads on your own, using digital ads or a paid social media reach. For example, if you have a Facebook page, you can create a clickable post or ad that leads to your free download page. Focus on creating an attention-grabbing headline, or you likely won’t get clicks. And now that you know who your targeted audience is, you can use these demographics to your advantage as you set up your ad.
After your ad or boosted post, you’ll get a summary of your organic vs. paid reach, plus the number of clicks your ad or boost received. This will help you gauge how effective your promotion really was, and you’ll know whether you want to continue to use it as a tool or increase your budget. Xpress Tip: Research the user demographics of the social media platform(s) you’re considering. Do they match your targeted readers?
Focus on the Local
We know you’re thinking big, but don’t underestimate the power of what’s right in front of you. Your own community can be an incredible resource for you. What organization or town doesn’t want to brag that an author is among them? Being a published author is really no different than owning a business. In order to get your “product” off the ground, you’ve got to get people talking, and one of these best ways to do that could be right in your own town. You may be surprised how helpful it can be to get in contact with your local library, university, or even coffee shop. They may be great hosts for your official launch, as well.