Congratulations! You’ve just spent months (or even years) sweating word bullets over your manuscript, and you’re ready for the exhilarating, victorious, and bold next step–self-publication. Visibility for your book is imperative at this stage. If you’re an authority in your niche, with an engaged audience, you’ve already got sales in the bag.
However, if you’re still at the beginning stages of gathering your tribe of readers, it will take a focused, intentional plan to determine how to market a self-published book.
Knowing your ideal audience intimately, where they hang out, and what they care about tailors your marketing efforts into a strategic, actionable plan. Audience building can take several months to a few years–without the help of divine virality. Patience and consistency are 100% necessary.
How to Market Your Self-Published Book
Author Website and Blog
A professional author’s website is the first step to creating visibility. It’s the house of your body of work and author identity. Readers can find you, connect with and learn about the writer behind the books. Include a blog within your website to increase visibility and create relevant SEO (Search Engine Optimization) blog content strictly for search engines, so your content populates and pulls in potential readers.
Write SEO content that is specific to themes within your book. Remember, not all your content has to be for search engines, just the posts within your strategy geared towards your marketing efforts. Learn about the difference here. Include a book-specific landing page with on-page SEO that describes your book in greater detail, what the reader will gain in reading it and where to purchase it. Similarly, include book-themed freebies (e.g., book giveaways to the next ten email subscribers) to entice readers to subscribe to your mailing list. Our affordable web design can get your site up and running!
Podcast or Vlog
Both of these methods are content machines.
According to PEW Research Center, 41% of Americans listened to podcasts every month in 2021 (that’s millions of people). Capture more of your audience by reaching them with audio-formatted content. Marketing a self-published book with a podcast is easy when you’ve already written blog content. Repurpose your blog and video content to increase volume without reinventing the wheel every time.
A vlog (video blog) is an exciting way to show behind-the-scenes (BTS) your writing process, or you can share creative writing tips. People are interested in how to research characters, conduct expert interviews, keep readers hooked, or other techniques relevant to your niche, book, or personality.
A social media presence increases credibility personalizes the reader experience by allowing them to get to know you and creates more authority as you publish this and future books. Author brands take time to build, but you must lay one brick at a time. Be sure to promote your book at the end of your videos with a quick pitch followed by a book mockup photo and location of purchase.
And remember, whether you’re creating blog, vlog, or podcast content, make these in batches, so you have a backlog. If you want to release content every Wednesday before you launch, create four to six content pieces at a time. Then you have content ready for six Wednesdays, and as those Wednesdays approach, you are already working on the following six. Another option is to create five pieces of short, punchy, yet valuable content in one day, two to three times a week, to create a backlog even faster–that’s ten or 15 content pieces per week. It’s unbelievable how much value you can pack into a two or three-minute video.
Whatever you do, maintain your schedule and clearly defined content goals. If you run out of ideas as you post content, use the comment section to provide even more of what your audience wants, and source the book reviews and comment sections of those in your niche too. There you will find what they feel is lacking–gaps you can fill in. Consistency is the tarmac of audience building.
Get a Professional Cover
The adage is true; readers are buying books by judging their covers, along with their reviews. The better your cover, especially when you’re a new author, the better your chance of being noticed even with little-to-no reviews. A good cover gets you in the door and the reader’s face. Invest in an unignorable cover with quality graphics and creative design. And remember, less is more. In self-publishing, what you put in is what you’ll get out. For a bit of inspiration, research best sellers’ book covers in your genre.
Start a Facebook Group
Readers are looking for community, as much as high-quality book content. Create a community for your readers to visit before and after reading your books. Private Facebook groups are still an exclusive way you create an active community and reach. The use of lives within those groups, real-time discussions, and the ability to create engagement makes deep connections and relationships possible. Likewise, your audience could be on Twitter, Instagram, Discord, or Telegram. Not only does the community connect with you and your book, but they also connect with each other. Building community is how to market a self-published book.
Likemindedness within communities increases bonds. And don’t worry, you don’t need thousands of followers to have a successful readership; you only need a couple hundred committed fans. The committed few are the ones who will support and purchase anything you write. Be sure to join relevant topical groups and provide authentic (non-self-promotional) help to group members. When the time is right, make mention of your book. Best of all, groups are a free marketing tool. Need more help? Ask us about our book marketing services.
Publish on Amazon
Amazon is its own search engine. Additionally, consumers purchase based on reviews so encourage readers to leave you reviews. You can include CTAs (calls to action) tastefully within your e-book and at its conclusion. E-books make it easy to hyperlink your readers directly to review pages to eliminate resistance. You can include a review ask in your paperbacks and social media campaigns.
Get Social Proof
Once you’ve published your book, ramp up your promotional efforts with customer photos. These photos are called social proof. Make direct requests for customers’ pictures on your social media. You can get the ball rolling by asking friends and family to take photos with your book. Start posting those–folks don’t want to be left out; this will encourage their participation. Include a catchy caption to rouse engagement, a personalized #hashtag, and express customer appreciation in every post. Your readers will know they aren’t just a sale but invaluable people in your community.
Put a Marketing Plan Together
Finally, put all these and other strategies into a timely, goal-focused marketing plan. Know precisely how long your different campaigns will run. Know the number of email subscribers you want to capture on your landing page and curate content that explicitly promotes your book before and after release. Ensure you know the number of book reviews you want to acquire to increase your book’s visibility in the marketplace while pre-planning posts, captions, and graphics. Consider a social media marketing kit that includes book mockups, graphics, live readings, and customer photos. How to market a self-published book begins with your goals in mind.
Ready to bring massive awareness to your next book–our book marketing services can help put you in front of your audience. Additionally, we offer affordable web design services to prepare your author site for email capture and community building. Book a free consultation today.