Okay, so you wrote a great book, it has a fantastic cover, a wonderful eye catching name, and you’re ready to be the next bestseller on the New York Times Best Seller List. Now what? This post is called writing and marketing for a reason, and that reason is that marketing begins before you publish, and continues after you publish your book.
Before you publish
Your book must include marketing inside of it in order to compete against the hundreds of thousands of books being self-published. Your book may have the catchiest title of any book written in the century, but, these days, it’s ebook sales that count, and, in order to have your book noticed, your title has to be written, not as a book publisher, but as an SEO expert. Don’t be afraid to put your key words in your title; you are not John Grisham and this is a must for the self-published author. Select the easiest category for your book to compete in (this may take some trial and error.) After you have done that, then pick the seven best key words, by experimenting with the Amazon search feature. Select key words that are the most popular as generated by the “auto-fill” feature in the search box, and select key words that consist of more than one or two words, if possible. For example, your key word will be picked up better by Amazon’s search engine if it is “legal thrillers kindle ebooks” instead of just “legal thrillers.” Don’t be afraid to play with the key words until your book shows up on the first page of search results.
So, you have an SEO worthy title, good key words, a catchy cover that shows up well as a thumbnail, your book has been professionally edited, and you are ready to go, right? Wrong. You need to build in marketing into the ebook itself. Ask your readers to leave a review. Put links and descriptions to your other works in the end of the book. Put in a link to your mailing list and ask your readers to subscribe.
Okay, you’ve done all that. Now you’re ready to publish, right? No, not even close. Nobody is going to look at your book unless you have reviews. That brings to mind the old chicken and egg question. How is anyone going to review your book unless it has been published? You can give advance copies to your friends, so that, when your book is published, you can have reviews published on it right away. You need a minimum of ten. Go to professional sources and ask for reviews. No, not Publisher’s Weekly and the like. Sure, you can, but they reject most unknown authors. Go to Midwest Book Review http://www.midwestbookreview.com/get_rev.htm and San Francisco Book Review http://sanfranciscobookreview.com/submission-guidelines/ and submit an advance copy of your work at least 60 days before your publication date. These reviews charge a small reader fee and are not like Kirkus, who charges a fortune for their reviews. You can also approach Foreward Reviews, but outfits like InD’Tale Magazine http://www.indtale.com/submit-book-review are more likely to publish your review, and will not charge you (except $10 to have your cover featured in the review.)
Ready to go? No, you are still not ready to go. You still need to inform the public that your book is out. A press release is a great idea, and Piece of Cake PR is probably the best. You can reach them at: http://www.pieceofcakepr.com/ . But probably nobody is going to read your press release. Clout Media has great publicity packages on Fiverr.com that will get your book reviewed, and articles put out on the Examiner and IPublishing News. You should also be working with blogs and book tours to put out the word. Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be effective and it is a case of trial and error. Some of the better ones are pointed out in the next section. I have done all the trial and error for you.
You have launched your book, alerted the media, and have your party hats and champagne ready. Sadly, your job has only just begun. Now you must implement a long-term marketing strategy that will keep you busy every day if you want sales. You must start with a professional looking web site. For example, look at http://kennetheade.com . This was made using 1and1.com’s website building tool, or http://apatriotsact.com , which was made using Wix.com. Make sure you have a mailing list signup, in order to build a base of readers whom you can inform of your next release, discounts on your books, free offers, and ongoing content. You should have a blog as well, and I have found that it helps to build a brand by putting out articles. For example, my fiction books surround real issues, such as bank fraud, genetically engineered foods, or environmental hazards. I write articles about these subjects and post the articles in local newspapers or Opednews.com. You also need an author Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a Youtube account. You can experiment with inexpensive book trailers by using Fiverr.com gigs to help you. After all, self-published authors don’t often have a video budget. I will touch on social media marketing in the next guest post. It is not all what it is cracked up to be, but, unfortunately, you have to have a presence in social media.
You must use your KDP features every enrollment period. Start out with a free giveaway, and don’t use all the days at once. After two days, the freebies usually taper off, so I would plan to use two and then three or three and then two. The next promotion should be a 99 cent promotion using KDP countdown. But you can’t just schedule it and wait for the fireworks. That requires its own promotion, which I will cover in the next guest post. You should be prepared to invest at least $100-$300 in your 99 cent promotion.
Please feel free to email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, or just want to share more ideas. And good luck! It’s a jungle out there, but if you follow these tried and true tips, you will do fine!