People can’t read a book if they don’t know it exists. All authors need to do marketing, regardless of how they published.
~Jo Linsdell, author
You’ve written your first book, and you’re self-publishing: Congratulations! Hopefully, you started your book marketing and PR campaign during the writing process: finding an audience for your book through marketing should begin about 6 – 12 months before your book is actually published. If you’re in the process of writing your self-published book, or its already released and you’re just starting your marketing efforts, there are some basic book marketing and PR activities that you can use to spread the word about your book to interested audiences.
PR and marketing your book are not the same thing: but they do go hand-in-hand to increase awareness of your book and to encourage book sales:
- Book Marketing: direct efforts to sell you book via bookstores, websites and specific sales campaigns (includes your price, your book cover, where the book is sold)
- Book PR: publicity and awareness of your book that boosts visibility and may lead to sales (includes press releases, media tours, and book reviews)
Basic tools for your self-published book PR and marketing campaign
Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media have developed communities devoted to promoting, finding and sharing books on all genres. To be found, you must have an active social media presence for your book. You do not need to be on every social media platform; in fact its better if you are only on 2 or 3 so you’re not spread too thin and your marketing efforts are manageable. Social media is a cost-effective strategy to increase visibility for your book, and find readers for your book.
Blogger Book Tour
Technology has made it easier for an author to meet with book clubs and readers. Instead of traveling to visit book clubs and bookstores, you can offer to meet with a book club to discuss your book via Skype. Offer to write guest posts on blog sites. Organize a Google Hangout to discuss your new book with readers.
All media coverage is not in the newspaper. In fact, there is a growing and enthusiastic online book community, including book reviewers. Book communities, podcasts, digital talk radio book shows and other social media and online communities are active in supporting authors, promoting self-published and indie books, and reviewing new books.
Do your homework: don’t just mail your press release announcing your new book to a publication (digital or traditional). Find out what person does the book reviews, and send directly to them. Google previous book reviews, track down reviews on social media, or call and ask who handles book reviews. Hard copy press releases are welcomed by many print papers and magazines, but digital press releases with links and images can connect directly to the right person. Social media has a strong presence of journalists: your book press release can be sent directly to their social media account.
Book Reviews and Recommendations
Ask people who buy your book to recommend it on Amazon or on Goodreads. As them to share about and recommend your book on their social media with a link to buy your book. Word of mouth is the best way to increase book sales: don’t be shy about asking your readers to support your book!
Writing and publishing your book is only a small part of the self-published author’s responsibilities. Authors who do not have the time or skills to market their book can recruit the services of a PR or marketing firm to promote their book, or use services from their publisher. Indie authors who want to do it all need to put together a solid book PR and marketing plan, and start well before their book is published.
For More Information on Self-Published Book PR and Marketing
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch