I was recently speaking to a friend about what else she could do beyond the basics of getting her marketing plan ready, and what it was to actually have one. There were things I knew, information I’d learned over the years that I’d kept to myself.
Another Twitter user asked for some pointers, completely separate, and I thought about sharing my secretes with them too, before I asked myself why the hell was I keeping this to myself? If your book is good, and you do all the right things, starting with this helpful beginners list to self-publishing, then you will find your audience. It takes time, but this is a great way to start. You should also look at reviews, and your idea of what success should be.
There is a secondary stage to that list, that I wanted to talk about today here.
Marketing companies are very expensive because marketing takes a lot of work. More so sometimes than editing or even writing the damn book to begin with. So today I’m going to cover tools to make it easier, and what I use to help.
Ultimately, you should be using these tools and the ones within the above links in tandem to create a detailed and set out marketing plan that follows the correct trends. Whether or not you use all of these or only some, is up to you, and what you are comfortable with, but my recommendation is to spread yourself across all of them for the best impact.
- Social Media Tools
Making posters and social media content is intimidating, and I’ll be honest, you are going to stuff it up. Imagine asking someone who creatively writes to create an attention grabbing poster. Not everyone can attune themselves to that sort of imagery and this is where there are some tools that are helpful to use in your social media platforms. Some of these have small fees, and its worth paying them to get some better images and access.
Canva: IS GREAT! Free to use, browser based, you can pay for a higher membership which gets access to better and more importantly commercially free pictures. Don’t just go to any photo/image site and copy or download images. If you are using them for marketing always check what the rights are, and buy them if you don’t have them and it’s the perfect image.
Canva comes with a host of premade social media images that allows you to just change the text and images until you get comfortable with how you are marketing yourself. Don’t forget to check out what other people are doing, and get feedback on how they look.
Book Brush: This is an excellent if somewhat more advanced tool, the same as Canva, browser based and has a fee for higher level of use. What the real appeal here is that they are specific to books, and have a range of templates as well as 3D images you can put the cover of your book on. There is even one for a cover reveal as well, which is great tool to use to help drum up interest in the book.
You are ready! The book is edited! You have a great cover! You’ve done everything you need to! Its all a go!
So when should you really publish?
Timing is everything, they say don’t release a book in the last quarter of the year, unless you’re a horror/thriller (for Halloween), and of course Christmas themed books. There can also be a slew of health and non-fiction diet books to get rolling in time for the new year.
The timing for all genre’s is different, but some are obvious; romance on Valentines.
Others aren’t so much, and its a good idea to find when certain books throughout the year are released for your genre.
January to June tends to have much of the heavier reading of the year, preparing for the summer season. Then there is the summer reading itself, good for lighter books/holiday reading.
Pick your time, observe the trend, and spend your time working towards that goal.
- Book Tours/Blog Tours
You can find many services willing to offer book and blog tours to help promote your book.
I can’t list a single service here because not only are there hundreds of them, if not thousands, you have to pick what’s right for you.
Google them, find the ones that fit your genre, make sure they are on Alli’s safe list (or at least not a scam) and check their prices out.
You can also contact a slew of authors on twitter who do this gratis for other indie authors, such as myself.
Its good to remember too, not only should smaller platforms like mine not be overlooked, but spending more money doesn’t equate to more exposure. Don’t sink all your funds into one avenue, use multiple ones, and record how well they do for next time.
The above goes for e-newsletters as well. You an spend hundreds of dollars advertising your science fiction drama… to a very small audience who are actually only interested in epic fantasy.
Make sure you look at the content of these services, because when you google them there are hundreds of them all promising sales and it can be overwhelming. Don’t fall for every one, look at what they are advertising, and if it isn’t a good fit for your book, discard it.
The trick to note here as well, is that many of them are booked out for months because books are released very far ahead of schedule. It takes a lot of planning. Which is why you need to plan the books release well in advance in order to make sure you can actually get your book listed with these services at roughly the same time.
Take the time to use both book/blog tours, and e-newsletters, to time their release together to get as much exposure as possible. The more your book trends, and is bought, the higher up the ladders it will climb, gaining it more attention.
- Pod/Youtube Casts
There are heaps of these around the indie market by indie authors for indie authors. You can ask around, many will do interviews, but also see which ones are just to talk writing rather than just interviews. You are there to promote your book, but not everyone wants to hear just about that.
Its still a good way to gear up attention for your book, especially if the listeners/watchers like what you have to say, which will then give you the opportunity to pitch it, normally referred to a “plug” at the end of the cast, where you can talk about your book and when it’s out.
The advantage of these is that not only are you self promoting, and getting your work out there, you’re also networking, a useful tool that gives you a lot of visibility.
- Advertising on Amazon & Goodreads
My impression of this is that its better to do these things again close to your release date but they can be very expensive. If you have your plan down pat and can afford to do it, it can be quite lucrative, but not always.
I’m hesitant to advocate it, given it doesn’t work for everyone and I’ve had reports of both abysmal and successful runs with these advertising platforms.
The same can be said of many of the book promo sites out there. You can pour as much (or little) money as you like into those sorts of avenues, but without all the groundwork, and a good book, you aren’t going to get anywhere.
These can all seem super intimidating, and they are, but its important if you are an indie author that you do you and your book a favour, and make a marketing plan.
This does however take time.
You need to plan for months in advance and if you are impatient, and don’t think some of these through, you’re liable to have your book reach a quick peak, and then fall rather flat.
Incorporating all of these methods into your book, will help get it the attention and love that you want, and find it some forever homes in the hearts of readers.