How do successful authors market their books?
“I spent far too long being completely unfocused, and it was only when I wrote a marketing plan with very specific aims and objectives that things started to happen. Suddenly people noticed my book—the tactics were working. And then it got to number 1 in the Kindle chart and stayed there for four weeks.”
That’s Rachel Abbott, the first UK indie author to top the Kindle charts. If you want to follow her lead and create an effective marketing plan for your book, we first need to find out which marketing channels you can use.
Build your mailing list
This comes first. There are tons of marketing channels you could use, but email marketing is absolutely essential if you want to make it as a self-published author. There are no two ways about it.
It’s hard to get readers to subscribe to your mailing list: from their perspective, it’s yet another newsletter in their inbox. You can use a simple technique that’s known to work wonders—something called a ‘lead magnet.” Offer readers an irresistible incentive (like a free ebook or a prize giveaway) in exchange for their email address, and bingo! You have a way of reaching them directly.
Advertise on social media
Facebook is arguably the best advertising platform for authors. You can target very specific audiences: fans of other authors, precise demographics (age, employer, work title), and even by location. Starting with a budget as low as $5, you can easily test and scale your ads.
Facebook also allows you to advertise directly on Instagram if you want to promote visual content. Mark Dawson’s course on Facebook advertising for authors is a great place to start if you want to find out more.
Depending on your audience, you might want to consider advertising on other social networks.Hashtags can be used to target Twitter users based on their interests, while LinkedIn is a great place to reach professional networks.
You can give away your book for free or for a discounted price to gain more readers. Bookbub, Freebooksy, Bargain Booksy, Book Gorilla, The Fussy Librarian, Pixel of Ink, and BookSends are all excellent places to advertise these promotions. This is also a great way to further the promotional advantages of KDP Select, should you decide to sell exclusively with Amazon.
Other advertising channels
Amazon advertising, search advertising (Google Adwords), Goodreads advertising, and banner ads on websites rarely deliver results for book marketing.
As general good practice, pay attention to your book’s metadata and SEO on online stores. That means making sure you use appropriate copy, categories, and keywords to maximize your visibility with your target audience.
There’s a ton of information in here, so we encourage you to start exploring. Tomorrow, we’ll look at a great way to generate some pre-release buzz for your book!
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