What do you do when all you have is a manuscript? No finances (I mean none.) No knowledge of marketing. And no idea of what to do after you finished your manuscript.
Well, don’t feel too overwhelmed by how big everything might seem if you are in that shoe. I was there and still is in one of the above, but I have learned a lot since then and am growing, so I can share some of what I have learned and help steer you in the right direction.
The first mistake I made was publishing my book on Amazon and enrolling it in KDP and then just sat back thinking that Amazon would take care of the rest. For a whole year, I sat and watched, hoping things would change on its own, but it never did. That was back in 2015. 2016 came, and I was introduced to social media, which I hated, thinking it was all for people who love to idle chat and share ideas about what they wore the day before. I soon learned that it could be used to promote books and build your image as an author.
#1 Create Your Website
Try to start a blog and write about what you are passionate about. In doing so, you will get the opportunity to reach people who share an interest in things you like. Those who like your post will sometimes respond giving you the chance to interact and get to know them. Also, visit their blogs and comment on some of their posts so they will take an interest in you. This will help you gain some followers who can become future readers of the book you are getting ready to have published.
You can use your blog to promote your books and set up a bio, about yourself, or create a website from one of the many free sources out there such as Wix.com or WordPress.com. This will be your main platform for your readers find you. I prefer Wix as its user-friendly. If you have no funds to hire a professional designer search the internet for best selling-authors and visit their websites, look how they create theirs and build yours using theirs as your guide.
#2 Use FaceBook
Open a Facebook account and create an author page dedicated to your books, although you are just starting out with one and probably still working on your editing. You can type in a few author’s names that you may know, in the search bar on Facebook to view what their Author/book pages look like to have an idea of how to create yours. You can also search google for best-selling authors; they usually have professional looking pages. Then try to create something like theirs but with your own style- you don’t want to look like a copycat. It’s just for inspiration and a way to make your page look professional.
You can now share all your blogs post to your Facebook page to expand your reach to new readers. Also, join a few groups on facebook where you can also share your posts to grow your audience. When you begin to have people who show interest in what you write you can ask a few to Beta-Read your manuscript before you do your final edit. I have found that while your story might be good, incorporating beta-reader’s suggestions always enhances the story.
#3 Use Other Social Media Platforms
While you have readers beta-reading your manuscript; work on creating accounts on other social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Do the same process as you did with Facebook, by finding best-selling author’s pages and letting them serve as your guide. Remember this is only to help you create a professional looking platform for yourself
#4 Getting Creative
This is where you will have to start being creative to engage more readers – using TEASER GRAPHICS. Youtube is the best place to learn to use anything. You can find good commercial-free pictures to use on sites such as Pexels and Unsplash. Use these images and bits of your story to create teaser images that promote your book before you release it on Amazon or other platforms.
#5 Promoting Your Book
By now your book should be properly edited and ready to publish and promote your book. If you are strapped for cash come promotion time there are many sites on google that list places where you can promote your books.
Ask your beta readers to write a review for your book and post on Amazon or other platforms. This will help you when you go to promotional sites to get your book featured.
Nothing happens overnight, so stay consistent with learning new ways to promote yourself as an author. Finally, just be patient and don’t quit.
Marshalee Patterson has been a Christian contemporary romance author for the past two years with two published books and three in the works at present.
Her main focus of writing is Contemporary Christian Romance/family books which will uplift, encourage and teach readers how to walk right and also how to pray, through the lives of everyday characters. Marshalee loves dancing salsa and the tranquillity of nature. She is also a proud Jamaican. For more info about her and her upcoming books, visit her website or her blog