Creativity is a funny thing. It’s an amazing skill to be able to turn nothing into something great, but creative people don’t always know how to promote their work, that’s why I do what I do.
A friend of mine independently published a book on Amazon recently, so we met up for a coffee to talk about how he could get his name out there and generate more book sales. Marketing anything is difficult, particularly when you don’t have a massive budget (or any budget at all), so I put together some simple suggestions I knew he could implement himself without spending a penny.
Start a gradual buzz
Sudden content drops might work for Beyoncé, but if you’re relatively unknown the buzz doesn’t generate itself.
I advised my friend to use Facebook Live to video himself reading a chapter or extract of his book each day. Depending on the kind of book you’ve written (self-help, memoir, fiction), reading standout sections might work better than chronological chapters.
Be brave and send it to reviewers
Actively inviting comment and criticism might seem daunting, particularly if this is your first self-published book, but it could put you in front of a multiplying audience.
Start by making a list of book bloggers – be sure to prioritize the very popular, but don’t neglect the newcomers either. The biggest blogs will receive a lot of books, but it’s worth putting yours in the pile in case the subject matter catches their eye. Newcomers and smaller blogs are more likely to read and review, but obviously, have a smaller audience.
Scoring a single sale from one review is a huge win though – it’s one more reader than you had before.
It’s competition time!
People love free stuff, and you only have to give away one copy to make this work.
Create a competition on Facebook offering the chance for people to win a signed copy of your book, in exchange for liking and sharing the post. This gets your post in front of more people and incentivizes people to keep sharing it.
Use this sparingly so you don’t devalue it. Make sure the content in the post is a video or image that shines a great light on the book you’ve written. If you wanted people to know one thing about your book, what would it be?
Pitch excerpts to relevant sites or publications
This requires a slightly different tact to approaching reviewers. The first step is to think about your book and the niches it might fall into. For example, if your book focuses on a particular period of history, a relevant society or club’s website is the way to go. They’ll have a blog and a whole network of people automatically interested in what you’ve written about.
When you’re pitching, be brief and polite in your email, explain why you think their readers would like to hear about it, and include the extract so they can make their mind up there and then.
Promoting your book might not be quite as long a process as writing it, but it’s still an uphill climb. When my friend and I had finished our coffees, he felt energized to get going and start contacting people who could help him spread the word. With natural enthusiasm like that, he’ll be climbing up that Amazon chart in no time.