So you've written a book, slaved over editing until it was perfect, wrangled your formatting until it looks perfect on any device, and finally, uploaded it to your vendors of choice. Now you get to sit back and watch the downloads roll in, right?
You didn't really think it would be that easy, did you? Oh, I'm sure there are people this works for. But if you're in the 98% of the author population for whom it doesn't, what do you do next? Writing a good book is only half the battle, once you have that done, you have to let people know it exists.
Most writers, when they hear the word ‘marketing' groan, and say “I want to write books, not be a salesman”. They've seen the sellers on twitter or Facebook who do nothing but tweet and post ‘buy my book', and very sensibly, since they don't like that, they don't want to do it!
But marketing your book doesn't have to be a hard sell, and it doesn't have to be unpleasant. You just need to talk about your book. See, that's not so hard. The big question is – where?
Here are some of my suggestions, in no particular order:
GoodReads – GoodReads is a platform for readers to rate and share books, what better place for you to get your book in front of readers. But beware, you want to entice them, not scare them off. Click on the link to read my advice on Being an author on GoodReads.
Blogging – A blog these days is not only a place to list your book, but also a way to draw in readers. Blog about what you feel you can consistently write about, but some topic suggestions are writing, topics related to your genre, or post excerpts or news about your book. Click on the links to see examples of how I use each of these topics.
Blogging though, does more than just draw in readers, it helps you create a community, and that can be invaluable. Read my thoughts on blogging here.
Social Media – I can hear you groaning from here. But the truth is, social media is big these days. Everyone is using it, so it makes sense to use it to get your books in front of readers. You don't have to make every second post one pushing people to read your book, just mention it in your bio, and chat to people and get to know them. Post interesting things relating to your genre.
I use my accounts for different purposes. My Twitter account I use to connect to other writers, and keep up with writing/self-publishing news, my Facebook Page is more geared to fans, my Pinterest account is a bit of a mix of both, and Google+ is mostly for SEO. And, of course, when I have something special happening, like a new release or a free promotion, I mention it on all of them. Don't forget to use your author name, a good profile picture, and brand you social media in a similar way so readers come to recognise you.
Make it Free – Some people are dead against this option, but it's worth at least considering. My free promotions for Reckless Rescue have pulled in some decent downloads, new readers for my series, not a bad post sales bump (though it's far less than it used to be, for a beginning author, it's not to be sneezed at), and some reviews. Free Promotions involve being part of the Amazon Select program.
Read some books – There are some great books on marketing for authors out there, and many are worth a read. My two favourites at the moment are “The Naked Truth about Self-Publishing” and “Let's Get Visible“.
Join some Forums – Forums are both a great way to network with other authors and learn what has worked for them, and a good way to get your books out there. Most will allow you to at least link to your website in your signature (but do check!), and some have a specific sub-forum for promoting your novels. My favourite is kboards (especially the Writer's Cafe), but BookGoodies new forum looks like it has some potential. GoodReads also has my groups dedicated to authors, and Facebook has many author groups.
Band together with other authors in the same genre – Search for existing groups, or create your own. I'm a member of the Sci-Fi Romance Brigade, and we help promote each other's books, discuss the genre, and have cool blog tours!
Book Bloggers – There is a whole group of people out there who's blogs focus on sharing reviews of books with their readers, and as a bonus, many will also post their reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. Just make sure you check that your book is a genre they accept, and that you follow their review policies (most will have these listed prominently on their blog.) Keep a record of who you submit to, so you don't send the same request to a book blogger more than once! You can read some of my book blogger reviews in the review links on the right.
Get some reviews – Whether you read them or not, reviews make your book look more popular. But one of the biggest problems new authors face, is getting those first few reviews. In my experience, the best way to find them is to give our copies of your book, both to Book Bloggers (as mentioned above), and to readers on GoodReads. Look for R2R (Read to Review) sections of groups, especially those in your genre, and offer some copies in return for a review. I've also heard that giveaways on LibraryThing have some success as well.
Do some Interviews – Many sites offer the opportunity for authors to do a free interview, or you can swap with friends in a similar genre. These can be really fun to do. Add in a giveaway to draw more readers. Mine are listed in the right sidebar.
Paid Promotions – No post on how to gain visibility for your book would be complete without a post on paid advertising. There are SO many places to do this, that it can be a bit confusing. I haven't done much paid promotion yet, other than using a free coupon on some Facebook Ads, so I can't really comment on what works and what doesn't, but make sure you do some research before you spend your hard earned cash. BookBub is supposed to be well worth the cost, though some people also say it's effectiveness is declining. BookBlast is similar to BookBub, but cheaper, so might be worth a try. The reports on GoodReads ads are mixed. Check them out, see what other authors are saying about them, and weight up whether it's worth it for you or not.
WRITE MORE BOOKS! – Of course, the number one way to get noticed, is simply to write more books. Each additional book you put out is a new chance for a reader to find you. Don't get so caught up in promoting your book that you forget that a writer's main occupation is to write!
Phew. That post was harder to write than I thought! Hope the links are useful. Do you have any good ways of getting word out about your book that aren't mentioned here? Readers, where did you find your latest book?