Just a few thoughts from my own experience of self pub and things I have learnt from the authors involved in Daisy White’s Booktique…
So many authors seem to be getting ripped off, and the amount of options available to promote and sell your book make choosing the right path for your personal promotion tricky. The initial stages of marketing your book depend on how you are published, and in my experience of running Daisy White’s Booktique few independent publishers or self pubs have money to burn.
Social media is a must, if only to announce your online presence and tick the box. If this isn’t your thing then just select a few sites and keep them up to date. Facebook is excellent for exchanging views/advice/media promotion but less helpful for selling books. Twitter is another on my list, closely followed by LinkedIn. Only post when you have something interesting to say, and do interact with other writers, readers, and join communities/groups. Don’t annoy everyone by constantly promoting your book! Run competitions, and chat about items relating to your book by all means (location/character/animals/family…) but avoid just posting the link to your book all the time.
Be organised – one of the most successful authors I know runs four blogs, two websites, and numerous social media profiles. She also has a family and a job! If time is a problem just choose one of each and update them on a regular basis.
Have a budget and stick to it. Ignore all the little pop up ads promising to promote your book for $39, or $100, or even $250! You need an online ad, you don’t need them all. Goodreads are excellent, as are Book Goodies, who run numerous competitions for book covers, and offer occasional discounts. I assume your book is available on Amazon/Lulu or similar so use the free author tools to create your profile pages – you can link these to your website or blog if you have one.
You should also have a print presence – local papers/mags, and even some Nationals look for interesting stories so make yourself just that! Tailor your press releases as you would do a an agent letter as this is free publicity. For example you may have written a horror novel, but it involves trains, or is set in the 1800’s, or the female lead is based on your grandmother, whose letters you found in the attic… Make yourself and your book more interesting by working the angles. Get some great photos. Think outside the book!
Radio/TV – your publisher may be able to help in these areas, if not it is perfectly okay to approach local stations yourself for free. Again, it is all about the story.
Lastly, you should have some print copies on the High Street. These may be in Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, or smaller independent bookshops, or even in Daisy White’s Booktique (lol). In addition to this you should be booking in readings at the above, signings at festivals and talks at book clubs, schools, WI etc.
Don’t expect everything to happen over night – it can take years to build your book/author profile so stick with it. Equally you do have to make some effort yourself, so if you have managed to achieve everything above and your book isn’t raking in millions don’t give up. It is hard for some authors to get out there and promote themselves but being apathetic about it won’t boost your profile!
Lastly, if you are going to spend some of your budget on PR, as opposed to marketing, please choose a professional and don’t be fooled by the ‘added extras’ many self publishers tack on to their prices. Check the agency or person – who have they represented and what can they offer. Pro PR is expensive. If it isn’t expensive it probably isn’t pro PR!