So you’ve self published a book. Now what? Sales don’t just happen overnight, you need to market and sell your book to your audience. Without a publisher it’s up to you to get your story in the hands of readers. These ways to self promote a self published book will help increase those early book sales so your hard work pays off.
10 ways to self promote a self published book
When you’re self publishing a book it’s good to have a marketing budget set aside. When you use a publisher it’s the publishing house that usually flips the bill for marketing, or at least helps you with your marketing plan. They also have connections to put those stories into the hands of reviewers and other press opportunities that basically serve as free marketing.
For unknown self published authors, though, it can be a little more difficult to use that marketing strategy. Without clout it’s not as easy to convince others, especially large publications, to read and review your book. To self promote a self published book you’ll have to get creative!
Ways to promote a physical self published book
If your self published book has a physical copy there’s a few unique ways you can market it. What’s great about an actual book is it’s sometimes cheaper and easier to market than online-only counterparts, because just being on the shelf is marketing. It also has higher upfront costs to publish, though. Make sure you can get enough copies of your book to sell!
Donate to your local library. Local libraries love to include books written by local authors in their collection. Usually they’ll also be happy to promote the book and put it on display, or even invite you to the branch to speak with patrons. Some might even let you sell copies!
Partner with local or independent bookstores. If you can’t get your book into big name chain bookstores, local or independent ones might be your best option. Like libraries, they’ll often promote local authors and might let you do a book talk or signing at their location. Some book stores even sell promotional packages to self published authors.
How to self promote a self published eBook
Promoting an eBook can be easier in some ways than a physical book because you don’t have to mail out review copies. There’s also no extra costs associated with giving away copies of your book for free and you have a lot more flexibility with the pricing to hold sales.
Ask for Amazon reviews. If your eBook is being sold on Amazon one of the easiest ways to promote is by asking anyone who’s read your book to leave an Amazon review. You provide friends and family members with a copy in exchange for review, or offer review copies from your website.
Do an online ‘book tour’. Bloggers aren’t always willing to review and write about books for free but they often are happy to accept guest posts on their sites. Before your book launches, connect with bloggers and influencers in your niche and ask if they can be included as a tour ‘stop’. Work with them to create content that they can use on their blog but also promotes your book.
Other ways to self promote a self published book
Hold a contest. Everyone loves a chance to win! Give away a few copies of your book to create buzz around it. You could even collaborate with influencers so they can host the giveaway on your behalf and promote your book at the same time.
Create a book trailer. These are actually pretty common in the publishing world. A book trailer is kind of like a movie trailer or video advertisement for your book. It should draw the reader in and encourage them to pick up a copy.
Have a promotional sale. This is a good way to encourage initial sales of a self published book or boost slow numbers. Mark your book down for a limited time or offer a coupon code – it creates urgency which motivates buyers. As a bonus the bump in sales might get you onto the Amazon bestseller list.
Traditional advertising. Advertising still exists because it works. There’s nothing wrong with running paid ads on Facebook or putting together a professional social media marketing campaign. You have to spend a little bit of money but if you target your efforts effectively it can definitely pay off.
Build your reputation. Books don’t just sell because they’re good, they sell because people who write them are reputable. This is especially important if your book is non-fiction. Build your own personal social media following and try to get your name out there by appearing on podcasts, writing guest posts, or having a blog.
Join Goodreads. You can sign up as an author and create your own author profile page. It can also be used to get reviews of your book and to host promotional giveaways. If you can get your self published book on a few influential lists it can really help get you noticed!
Common marketing mistakes for self publishers
If you don’t have a lot of marketing experience or this is your first self published book it’s important to ensure you have good public relations (PR) surrounding yourself and your book release. Try to avoid these common mistakes that might do more harm than good.
- Assuming all bloggers want to write about your book. Smaller bloggers and those inside your book’s niche might be interested in a free copy of your book in exchange for a review, but not everyone will want to work for free. Don’t assume any blogger will promote your book without some kind of compensation.
If you can’t pay, carefully word your email to explain what you’re offering without acting like it’s a favour to the blogger to send them a free copy of your book.
- Unprofessional social media. Your personal life is as much part of your brand as your book is. Clean up your social media accounts and don’t post anything too controversial or that might hurt your reputation.
- No or a low quality website. Again, this is all about branding. If you don’t look professional people aren’t going to think you’re the ‘real deal’. Everyone is expected to have a high quality website nowadays.
- Not narrowing down a niche. There’s a book for everyone, but every book isn’t for every person. When you’re marketing your self published book try and find your target audience and focus on them first and foremost.
- Cutting corners when creating the book. This can come in many forms: unprofessional cover design, not properly choosing or researching a title, poor editing, or low quality publishing. If you want your book to be treated professionally it has to look the part.
These are just some of the ways to promote a self published book. Thankfully, most of them are pretty inexpensive. Be patient; if you don’t have a strong following it might take some time to build an audience for your book, but it can be done!