Successful books are those that are well-marketed.
The most entertaining, informative, or engaging book can lose sales without the support of an effective marketing strategy.
This article will show you how to market a self-published book to boost your book sales and earn a profit for your work.
How to market a self-published book
What are the most important steps to successful book marketing? There are several methods of promoting your book, all of which work together to help you not only boost sales for this book but also establish your reputation as a writer in your niche.
Below we’ve listed nine of the most effective marketing tools writers use to succeed:
1. Make sure your book is well-designed
When you self-publish a book, you are in charge of all aspects of the book’s creation process, unlike authors who submit their manuscripts to traditional publishers. You can take control of each element of creation, giving you ultimate creative control, but this can be time-consuming.
Many self-publishing authors reach out to professional editors and designers to save time and ensure a high-quality result.
Consider that many people judge a book by its cover, so the design of your book is a crucial element of its success. It’s wise to hire a professional book cover designer to help you.
Regarding marketing success, books with eye-catching fonts, creative graphics, and appealing covers make the most sales. Consider also the importance of your title, tagline, author page, and blurb (the section of text on the back of the cover.)
2. Define your target audience
You can’t sell to everyone.
Even though you want a broad audience to discover and buy your book, it’s wiser to define a more narrow target audience and orient your marketing efforts toward them. You may not reach millions when you narrow your audience, but the hundreds or thousands you reach will be those to whom your book holds relevance or interest and those who are more likely to purchase your book.
So, do some research to discover your ideal target audience.
For example, if you write young adult fiction, you may want to reach teenagers and young adults. If your young adult novel features romance and supernatural themes, it may interest fans of the Twilight series.
Note that your target audience is not always the reader.
For example, if you create a picture book for young children, your audience is not those children but their parents or older family members.
3. Grow your online presence
Since self-published authors don’t have the support of a traditional publishing house to do the leg work regarding marketing, it’s crucial to establish and grow your online presence.
A traditional publisher already has an established reputation, making it easier to spread public awareness about a book. Self-publishing authors must develop an excellent reputation to make waves and convince readers to spend their money.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram are good places to start. On these sites, authors can share snippets of their work, behind-the-scenes and lifestyle content, and information about offers, book launch dates, and more.
A well-established social media presence is one of today’s essential marketing tools. Readers want to know the author on a more perusal level than ever before. Given that many other authors make themselves known through their social media accounts, it’s wise to keep up with the competition.
It’s also wise to create an author website and/or blog site to share information about your work and pieces of your work. Having both a social media presence and your site establishes credibility, inspires more trust in the reader, and helps you inform new readers of your other work.
When you present yourself online, boost your reputation and credibility by engaging with readers and other writers. Networking has always been an effective marketing tool and remains as such in today’s busy online world.
Post regularly, feature teasers for your work, and comment on relevant posts to create a buzz around your work even before its official launch date. Share reviews from advanced reader copies before and even after your book has been launched to foster even more public awareness of your work.
4. Email newsletters
Emailing newsletters is a long-standing and effective marketing tool.
With newsletters, you can consistently stay in touch with your audience and keep them updated about launch dates, tour dates, and updates to your site, such as a new blog, articles, or other important and relevant information about you and your work.
It’s wise to keep your newsletter consistent. Spamming your subscribers’ inboxes is sure to annoy them, so choose one time a week to reach out, and be consistent.
You don’t have to write an email to each subscriber or do everything manually.
Email newsletter marketing services such as Constant Contact, ConvertKit, or Mailchimp can help you automate the process and easily reach your subscribers. You can share links to your marketing services on your socials to encourage existing and potential readers to subscribe.
Remember that your readers may also subscribe to other writers and email newsletters, so offer something engaging or relevant in your newsletter, such as discounts, sneak peeks, or theme-related content.
Finally, include purchase links in your newsletters and call readers to action.
5. Publish on Amazon KDP
If you’ve self-published a book, you’ve probably made it available on Amazon. If not, you’re missing out on one of the most effective means of selling books.
With Amazon KDP, even first-time authors can upload a manuscript, enter relevant details about the book, upload a cover design, and make their book available to the public within 72 hours.
Amazon also allows you to publish with a print-on-demand (POD) option. Your book is ordinarily available in digital form, but if a customer wants a hard copy, you can request one.
POD saves much money that would otherwise be spent on printing hard copies that are not guaranteed to sell.
6. Add more Amazon categories
Most authors know that you can add two to three categories to your Amazon book listing, but few know that you can add up to ten by contacting KDP support and requesting more categories. Just be sure to choose relevant categories, as choosing popular, but irrelevant categories will damage your reputation.
Understand that your Amazon meta-data influences your book’s discovery. The meta-data is the information you have entered about your book, including its title and subtitle, description, tagline, price, and more. The most successful books are those that feature highly relevant keywords.
The better your SEO, the easier it is for your target audience to find your book. Spend time crafting a great book description for your metadata.
A good description inspires confidence in target readers that your book is for them and is a highly effective marketing tool.
7. Use KDP Select
If you use Kindle Direct Publishing to publish your book, you may be entitled to enroll in KDP Select. This program lets you promote your book through an exclusivity deal with Amazon.
For the 90 days of the promotion, your book is only available on Amazon and must not be made available on any other online sales platform.
With KDP Select, you can boost your visibility quickly, earn royalties per page read by Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and offer discounts for your book.
While discounts return a less immediate profit, they can work wonders for your visibility and reputation, thus promoting greater overall sales.
The awareness gained through Select also means you have more chances to receive book reviews, which can be added to your campaign for even greater awareness and reputation.
8. Gather and share reviews
Did you know that over 90% of online purchasers read a review of their product before they buy it?
Positive reviews instill confidence in a potential reader that your book is worth purchasing. The more reviews you can gather and share, the more likely you will succeed.
Ask friends and family to read your book and write an honest review. Reach out to your network of other writers and publishers and offer an advanced reader copy in exchange for a review.
Approach book clubs, book bloggers, and any other engaged readers you can think of and seek reviews, then share your reviews on your socials and your book’s Amazon page.
9. Online book tour
A virtual book tour is a highly effective way of establishing public awareness of your work without leaving your front door.
For a book blog tour, you reach out to established book bloggers to read and review your book, share an excerpt they enjoyed or want to discuss, or even share text or dialogue from an interview with you.
Book bloggers already have an established following, so any cover and exposure they give you can help expose your work to an audience of engaged readers.
If you choose to reach out to book bloggers, refine your contacts list.
Don’t spam bloggers you know are only focused on a niche other than yours. Get in touch with bloggers who enjoy your niche and already have a following who expect content around that niche.
Spamming and making irrelevant review requests is not only likely to fail but will also jeopardize your reputation.
Marketing self-published books take work, but success is gratifying. Unlike traditional publishing, self-publishing authors are involved in each aspect of the book’s creation and promotion.
Fortunately, book distribution and promotion platforms are abundant today, meaning self-published authors have more opportunities to succeed.
At the same time, greater access to publishing platforms means greater competition, so remember the most critical aspect of marketing – writing a good book.
In addition to quality content, ensure you have a catchy cover design, an online reputation, a dynamic network of readers and bloggers, and a digital copy of your book available on Amazon KDP or your chosen publishing platform.