Marketing is usually the hardest part of being an author. Most rather write a dozen books versus having to sell them. Some authors aren’t even comfortable promoting themselves! Yet, it is essential. The ease of publishing a book these days to say nothing of the longevity made possible by electronic media means there are literally millions of books out there.
Calling attention to yours is not easy. Personal contact, and reaching out in your community is often one of your best recourse if you live in an area where that’s possible. Placing your print books in non-bookstores is another option for books with a specific theme, such as animals stories (pet stores are a prime target) or regional tales related to the culture, history, or folklore (tourist-related businesses). Here are a few other tips.
Know your genres and sub-genres so you can categorize your book properly. This helps you get them into the hands of your target readers.
Don’t expect reads to find your book as soon as it’s released. There are literally millions of books out there and you need to take action if you want anyone to find it.
Networking with other authors is a must, especially those who write in the same or similar genre. See them as allies, not competition. How many readers stick to books from only one author? However, they do tend toward certain genres.
Author groups can provide a variety of benefits including classes, tweet groups, review opportunities, online writing conferences, blog tours, interviews, and vetted author service providers. Two I can recommend are ASMSG (Author Social Media Support Group) and RRBC (Rave Reviews Book Club).
Social media presence is important for readers and fans to connect. However, you need to post engaging content to draw them in as opposed to only promoting your books. Selling yourself as an interesting person is one way to draw them in.
Other than a chosen few authors, the people making the most money are those that provide promotion services and author classes. Choose them wisely to make sure you get your money’s worth.
It’s not easy to get your books into libraries, but your fans can help by putting in a request. To facilitate such support, be sure to post library request forms on your website. They need to include the ISBN and your book’s distribution channels, which need to be among those from which libraries can order.
When going to conferences or book signings, don’t overdo it with swag. You want to draw attention to your books, not distract from them! If it’s clever and useful, it will have a longer effect than something that’s simply “cute.”
Do you have a “elevator pitch” for your books, i.e. a catchy description you can give someone in the matter of seconds, such as someone you meet on an elevator? These are often harder to devise than your book since you have to condense its entire content into a few sentences, but they’re essential.
Your “book blurb” is what goes on the back cover or is the description on a sales site. It needs to capture the essence of your story in such a way that it grabs potential readers’ attention and they want to buy your book. These are not easy to write. Most authors have less trouble writing the entire book.
Do you know which genre your book fits best? This is not always as simple as it sounds. There are sub-genres as well, which help identify your book’s content. Yours may be a combination of two or more. Most readers have a favorite genre, so your mission is to find them.