Marketing a self-published book

So the book is written, formatted and the POD distibutors are lined up. But will it sell.

The answer I am told or indeed shouted at by a myriad of bloggers is that it will not…at least not without some marketing noise. As a boring ex-accountant marketing and self-publicising is not in my DNA. In fact I have until now eschewed social media as well. A few months ago I didn’t go near Facebook, Twitter or Google + …I preferred the privacy!


Then I had a book to publicise and no knowledge of social media which apparently is a must so I asked Nicky at Nicky Stephen Marketing to give me some advice and set up my social media platform. So here I am. As I move inexorably towards publication date one hopes that the LIKES and the HITS will increase.

What else is possible.

Reviews. These are necessary as quotes from reviews will help in other marketing material and if posted on Amazon or Goodreads will provide noise. The key is to find reviewers in the genre several months in advance of publication. In my case I was a bit slow off the mark but have reviews lined up with genealogy magazines and bloggers reporting on family history.

Giveaways. Before publication you can join Goodreads and have your own author profile and list your book. This enables you to provide books as giveaways. Other members sign up for a draw to win a copy of the book. I have held two competitions so far for a total of five books. I had over 580 entries for the first and over 680 for the second and out of those over 400 have marked my book as “to read”. Hopefully a percentage of these will convert into sales.

Early distibutor listing. Once signed up with Createspace for Amazon and Ingram Spark and Smashwords for Barnes & Noble and other outlets your book can appear in advance of the publication date enabling customers to pre-order. In my case this is both for the paperback and the ebook. The theory behind this is to get a head of steam on sales at publication date, which might push the book up the Amazon rankings, which in turn will generate more sales.

Discount vouchers. If you list your ebook on Smashwords you are able to generate discount vouchers for any percentage, including 100%. People who buy the ebook from the Smashwords store can apply the voucher at checkout and get a discount. These can be used for promotions or to family friends and collaborators as thank yous. Even if you provide a 100% discount it will still count as a sale for ranking purposes.

Newspapers and Radio. Local newspapers are usually willing to write about local people and this can be harnessed in advance of a book launch or a book signing. If you can think of other hooks to get their interest all the better. Local radio is the same and you will often find that there is a preferred time of day when they wish to talk about events or new books. Just ask.

Book launches and signings. A launch party can mean many things and can also cost money. The benefits are potential early sales of books and publicity to use on website or in local newspaper. However you need to be sure people will turn up! Book signings are better value for money. Local bookshops are often willing to support local authors and there is no cost involved other than the margin to the bookstore. Advance publicity in local newspapers and an effective shop window presentation will help to pull in potential customers.

Business cards. A gloss card with the image of the book cover on one side and details of the book on the other is an ideal reminder for potential customers. Try MOO.

Mail shots. Make use of your personal contact list and your business contact list on LinkedIn to kick off your marketing to people who at least know you in one cpacity or another and may be surprised and delighted that you have written a book.  Try MailChimp for professional looking mailshots.





This entry was posted in Seeking John Campbell, preparing for publication and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Marketing a self-published book

  1. lynettedavis says:

    Thank you so much John, for sharing this! This is invaluable information for first-time self-publishing authors, written in an easy to understand format.


  2. lynettedavis says:

    Reblogged this on Memoir Notes.


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