Marketing your book is hard. There’s so much noise out there to break through. Everyone has a book and everyone thinks their book is the best. Digital and self-publishing are great steps forward in the internet age, but it also makes standing out in the book publishing landscape really tough.
While we all may be vying for different types of readers, we’re still pulling from a shared pool of humans. So how do you stand out?
- Cover Design – Taking the time to find a great designer (or to design a great cover yourself if you have the skills) is absolutely worthwhile. Your cover art is the first impression your readers get of your story. It has to stand out. With my first two books, I’ve been lucky to work with very talented and creative designers. We partnered well and I received great designs that really stand out on shelves. I might be biased, but I really love the covers I ended up with. I think they absolutely stand out on a shelf!
- Back Cover Copy – Coupled with a great cover is hook-worthy back cover copy. The synopsis of a story is one of the HARDEST things to write! But getting it just right is so important. It’s the teaser and the intro to your work as a whole. If someone is going to invest in your story for the long-haul, you have to lure them in bit by bit. The first part of that sequence is the cover design. The second is the back cover copy. The third is a jaw-dropping first chapter.
- Blog/Website – I’m lucky in that I’ve been blogging for six years and in that time have had a couple of posts featured on “Freshly Pressed” which really helped increase my number of followers. I’m about to hit 3,000 which is a huge milestone! Having a sleek website and refreshing your content is always a great way to attract readers. I try to produce relevant content that all of you will hopefully find engaging. The other trick? Link back to your works often. It’ll get people to click on it and maybe after a few times, they’ll buy it!
- Marketing Plan – This time around, I have a small marketing plan in the works in order to get the word out about Withered World even better than my first go around. I already have a lot of “brand ambassadors” in my family in friends who will share my posts about publication with their friends. But, I want to try to reach some new people as well. This time, I’m planning to do an introductory price. For the entire month leading up to publication, I’m going to drop the price of my first novel (e-book) to $0.99. If Amazon allows it, I’m also going to create a discount so that people will get a combined discount if they purchase both Withered World and The Green Lady at the same time. The price will amount to maybe a dollar less than if you bought each of them independently. I also want to try doing some Facebook ads to see if I get any sales off of them. You know, maybe $10-$15 here and there.
- Publicity – If you can wheedle your way onto someone else’s blog, either by way of an interview or book review, that’s great! I’m going to be feature sometime in the near future on Dear English Major talking mostly about my professional writer life, but getting a little bit in there about my fiction writing too if I can. I’ll keep you posted on that development! I’ve also been featured on a blog belonging to one of my great writing friends as well! Speaking engagements are also a great way to market yourself. This past Memorial Day weekend, I was a panelist at ConQuesT, a local science fiction and fantasy convention. I got put on a panel with the toastmaster, New York Times best-selling author, Jonathan Mayberry. I got to talk shop with a zombie expert and have a great conversation with the crowd. A few years ago I gave a Nerd Nite lecture and last fall, I gave a lecture on world-building for the Blue Monday Review, a small local literary magazine.
- Utilize your Tribe – Whether its friends, family, a combo and/or your writer tribe, use them! They don’t have to buy every book you write, but their support is so helpful. Word of mouth, shares on social media and reviews on Amazon or Goodreads. They all are tiny actions that help make a huge difference in the long-run for us self-published writers.
When you start to think about publishing your book, don’t forget to take into account how you’re going to market it so people know about it. There are so many tactics at your fingertips that can make a world of difference with even just minimal investment. I’ll report back and let you know how my marketing tactics work when I publish my next novel, Withered World. Happy writing!