It used to be a big achievement to publish a book. Don’t think me nostalgic for those days, I am not. But, the fact is, these days anyone can publish and get away with it.
As I am preparing to move to Vietnam (or Cambodia) I came by a book on Amazon. After reading it I felt like I was yelled at for two hours. The author of the book turned out to be just some guy who moved there on a whim and thought he could earn some money selling a book about it.
So, we moved the border of success. Everyone can make their dream of publishing a book come true, but to really achieve something it seems to require your book to become a bestseller.
And again we come to the same point – we live in a world where a skill isn’t sufficient if it isn’t accompanied by all the skills needed for success.
You have to at least be a writer, a blogger and an amateur marketer – given you hire an editor and a designer.
This might seem like a lot but don’t worry. Even though marketing is a massive theoretical science, it all comes down to whether you are online or not.
The moment you make a Facebook or Twitter account self-promotion has begun. So, today we look at free or cheap ways to promote your book.
- Ad Creation
- Amazon Prices
Promote Your Book – Media
To know your way around media is a must. If you are about to publish a book, you’ll have to understand the channels of promotion.
One medium is blogging, others are social networks. It’s simple as that. I separate these two because the way they work, even both are social platforms, is much different.
Social media became a must-have tool in marketing in the last decade. There is no easier, quicker and cheaper way to get noticed. We’ll look at few of the most important platforms. If you are not an enthusiastic user of social media, choose one platform to start with. After you master it, you can expand.
Facebook is a huge platform, having almost 2 billion active monthly users. You can use this knowledge to your advantage. Facebook’s strength is advertising. They offer cheap ads and a lot of control over them. You may target your audience based on their age, residence, interests, marital status and virtually anything you can think of. Honestly, I am not a great supporter of this way of advertising – it is on border of unethical, if not crossing it.
Twitter on the other hand is the platform that can make you successful without paying a dime. Once you have your audience’s profile, you only have to follow those who might like your work. To do this, follow the people who are successful in your genre. After that, follow their followers. Some will follow back, some will not. But, the main thing is, once you tweet, it will get noticed by the relevant audience.
Google+ might not seem like a popular network but I promise you, your activity there will pay off. If you run a blog and want it to be noticed by Google, the best way to do so is by having a strong Google+ posting activity. You absolutely have to share your posts there and interact with people.
Pinterest is an amazing platform that will help your blog or site get indexed. It proudly pushes quality content up and it can help you connect with the people with similar interests. You can use it to advertise your book and it will cost you nothing.
I’m sure you all have a Goodreads profile or at least you should have one by the end of the day. This is a network for readers and writers. You will get to communicate with people with similar interests as you. You’ll be able to meet your potential readers and when the time comes, advertise your book to them.
As an author, the safest way to build your audience is to start blogging. This way you are creating your online presence, your portfolio and your audience. If you have something interesting to say, people will keep coming back. Now, blogging takes a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of effort. To approach this you have to ready to dedicate much of the time you could spend writing your next novel on writing lengthy posts.
If you’re ready, you shouldn’t start blogging two weeks before the launch date – no one will notice. But, if you are just starting to write your next novel, it’s the right time to start blogging about it. Pick a topic, make a plan and start writing.
Free platforms like WordPress or Blogger (still exists) are a good start. But, to make it even more professional, I advise you spend a little bit of money on hosting and get yourself a website.
I’m using E-Hosts and I find it very user-friendly. I’ll be doing a review of their services soon.
This segment is a marketing related one and it is vital to your book marketing process. There is only one thing you need to do – find your audience.
Your job is to define your audience. You must collect their interests, their tastes, their age, their places of residence. Once you have a profile, you’ll figure out how to approach them.
To do this, find an influencer. Find a person with the audience you want to have. Or, better yet, find a person who is doing what you want to do. Now, go through the list of their followers and collect information.
You won’t have too much use of that information now but once you start buying ad space on Facebook it will be very useful. But, it will also help you understand your audience. Primarily, you want to know the gender of majority of your audience. After that, you need to know their age.
The easiest way to do it is by finding a prime example in your influencer’s followers list.
Ads are easy. But, finding the right audience takes time. You’ll easily find someone to create the actual ad or make one yourself if you have some basic design skills. Enough is a photo of your covers and interesting copy. If you want to do it yourself, I’ll write about it in my book.
An interesting tactic I picked up from a blogger who made best-seller lists. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find him now to share a link with you.
This works better with workbooks – because they are cheap. But, you can try it with fiction as well. Once you publish your e-book, set the price at $0,99 or $1,49 – I know it’s low for all the trouble you went through to write it, but bear with me. Amazon is taking 70% commission for books that are below $2,99 which seems even worse. But, keep it that way for two weeks. During that time share your book on social platforms we covered above.
Now, this is the time to get reviews so be sure to send a link to all the people you know. Don’t be shy, some of them will buy it, some won’t. It doesn’t matter because you need to collect good reviews before you start selling more.
Announce the ultimate discount on your social media (and if you have a site with a mailing list, send an e-mail announcing it) and give your book for free for one week.
You might think this is outrageous, but it works. Now, Amazon won’t count those downloads as sales and it won’t help you get to the bestseller list, but there’s a hack.
When your final days of giveaways arrives, Amazon will keep your book for free until midnight. You have to manually, in settings f your discount, move the time to noon, earlier that day. Your book will, for some reason, stay free but downloads will be counted as sales. This will move your book up on the sales list in your categories.
The more it goes up, the more sales you’ll get. Simple as that.
I hope this was helpful, try using social networks as much as you can but before anything else, write a good book. As always, keep writing!
Author: Mladen Reljanović
Mladen Reljanović is the founder and lead writer at Writer to Writers. He is the author of Oaktown stories, senior student of communication and a pianist.