Make no bones about it, if you want to make a good living by selling your books, one of the most important aspects of your plan of action is nailing the right promotional strategies.
Self-publishing successfully is very rewarding, but it does come with its own unique set of challenges.
In order to get visibility for your book and drum up the interest that will eventually lead to consistent sales you have to learn how to wear many more hats than you’re likely used to.
No, you don’t need to have a degree in marketing, but you do need to be savvy enough to not only figure out the best methods to use for promoting your latest offering, but also the ones you should avoid at all costs.
A very wise person once said that “success leaves clues”, and that statement is also true when it’s applied to the idea of following techniques already used by successful self-published authors. The truth is that the things you do and don’t do can make or break your ultimate results.
With that said, here are a few of the major book promotion do’s and don’ts to be aware of if you want to be the author of your very own self-publishing success story.
- Do make sure you create an exceptional manuscript before anything else.
Always remember that your book itself is your number one promotional tool.
Ignoring this fact is something that can literally kill your book promotion efforts before they even begin. If your book isn’t highly interesting or desirable to members of your target audience, it doesn’t matter what kind of marketing and promotion you do, your results will be lackluster.
On the other hand, creating an entertaining, exciting and memorable book ensures that it will get talked about, positively reviewed and recommended by the people who end up reading it. And word of mouth is by far the best form of marketing and promotion there is.
- Do start promotional activities long before you actually publish your book.
Successful book promotors know that for the best results it’s important to start drumming up interest and building an eager audience long before you ever have your book ready and available for purchase.
Getting an early jump on marketing your manuscript means having a better chance of getting sales rolling in as soon as your book is released.
Another benefit is ensuring that your book is heading in the right direction based on feedback from future purchasers. Early promotional activities also typically lead to prospects who have less buying resistance when eventually you do ask for the sale.
So, which tools work well for early promotional activities?
Blogging on your own author blog, guest blogging for others and posting regularly to social media platforms where your target audience gathers like Facebook and niche forums are good places to start.
Building a list that you can send regular and ongoing marketing messages and updates to is also a powerful tool for promoting your books in the near and distant future.
- Do create promotional content based on the topic of your book.
One of the best ways to promote your book is to give a potential reader a little preview of what’s inside. Think of it as providing a sample of your manuscript to interested parties just as you would receive a sample of food, software or music.
The secret is to give your prospect just enough information to where they want to find out more, but not so much that they aren’t interested in knowing what’s inside your book.
It’s important to remember to never be selfish with your content and that sneak peeks are important to getting sales, which is why freebies and giveaways work so well.
- Do delegate unimportant or unfamiliar tasks to qualified outsourcer
If you’re interested in self-publishing your own books it’s only natural to want to jump in and do everything yourself.
For the most part that’s exactly what you have to do to self-publish successfully. However, there are certain times when trying to go it alone with marketing and promoting your books can actually do more harm than good.
For example, getting your cover design right is one of the most important parts of having a successful book promotion.
But what do you do if you’re not an expert in art or graphic design?
You could spend hours, days or even weeks struggling to create a cover that doesn’t inspire your target audience to want to know what’s inside your book.
On the other hand, you could just follow the lead of smart self-published authors and outsource the task to someone who is more experienced and qualified in the area of book cover design.
Successful book promotion requires you to know which kinds of tasks to take on and which are better left to be done by someone else.
- Don’t use the help of a book publishing company and expect a miracle.
There are lots of companies popping up online that present themselves as one-stop shops for authors who are interested in self-publishing their own titles.
While this sound good in theory, the problem with most of these services is that they don’t really care about whether or not your book sells, and they don’t offer truly customized services that help to improve your chances of success.
More often than not, all you get is a cookie-cutter book promotion strategy. At best, it lumps your book in with all the other books from authors who use the service before sending them on to poorly targeted marketing channels, and at worse, produces little to no results at all because of their catch-all marketing tactics.
The truth is that successfully promoting your book requires putting in a lot of time, focused effort and hard work that you won’t get in a low-priced push-button package.
You could compare it to signing up for the gym and expecting to magically drop weight or get stronger without breaking a sweat. In either case, to get the results you want you need to be willing to put in the work and do some heavy lifting.
- Don’t be overwhelmed by the thought of promoting your book.
If you’re new to book marketing and promotion, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, like you’re doing everything all wrong or worse yet, not doing enough to get your book out there and into the hands of your ideal readers. However, there’s no need to feel inadequate.
Effective book promotion is relatively simple.
Start with a great product (your manuscript), connect with as many of your ideal customers as you possibly can (through blogging and social media), and build relationships with that group by sharing as much as you can about your book and letting them know why you think they would like it.
That’s all there is to it!
There’s no need to hard sell or pressure anyone into purchasing your book. Just pique their interest and then let them take the lead from there. If someone who is on your radar wants to buy your book, nothing will stop them.
So is book promotion a walk in the park? Heck no!
But it’s simple and doable if you follow tried and true techniques used by others who have been there and done that successfully.
Keep these important dos and don’ts in mind and you too will be well on your way to building and executing a successful book promotion campaign.