How to Market a Self Published Book on a Budget

It wasn’t all that long ago that the dream of the aspiring author was to score an amazing contract with a top publisher that would print, distribute, and promote their work to the masses, turning the book they worked so hard on into a bestseller that would have everyone talking. But let’s face it, times have changed, and so too has the book publishing industry. Independent authors are popping up in every category, and they are not waiting for the acceptance letter from the large publishing houses before printing their books.

Welcome to the age of self-publishing!

As an up-and-coming author, self-publishing is how you’ll need to get your work out to the masses. Unless you’re someone like Stephen King or  J.K. Rowling, you’re going to have to do all of the work involved in promoting and selling your work to readers.

Of course, most self-published writers don’t have a ton of money to pour into marketing their books. Self-publishing may be on your mind so that a large publisher discovers your work; or perhaps you are fulfilling a life-long dream, but you’d like to do a little more than break even. The good news is there are several highly effective, low-cost marketing tactics you can use to spread the word about your book.

7 Affordable Ideas for Promoting and Marketing Your Self-Published Book

  1. Build a website—One of the cheapest ways to market your work is by building a solid author website. Your website should look professional and be easy to navigate, and it should include plenty of information about you and your books. You should also include a blog on your website and keep it updated on a regular basis so you can generate fresh content that engages readers and helps you improve your search engine rankings. Fortunately, there are plenty of free and inexpensive tools that make it easy for authors to build their own websites and blogs.
  2. Get active on social media—Just about everyone is on social media these days, but most importantly, your target audience is probably here. Invest time to network with other authors, people from the topic or genre that you are publishing on, and create relationships that may help grow your audience.  Start with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and expand into sites like tumblr and quora when you feel ready. You should also get active on Goodreads – a social network exclusively for people who love reading.
  3. Create a book trailer—Getting people to notice your self-published work often requires a creative, unexpected approach. One such tactic is creating a video trailer for your book. Millions of people watch videos online every day, so creating a captivating trailer adds a unique visual element to your book that paints a strong image in the reader’s mind and gets them interested in buying your book. Check out these tips for creating a book trailer.
  4. Ask people to review your book—The truth is that it’s a big commitment to start reading a new book, and a lot of readers are very picky about what they’ll delve into next. Many times, readers make these decisions based on recommendations from other readers they trust. That’s why it’s so important that you have plenty of people reviewing and talking about your books. The more positive reviews you have out there, the likelier it is that others will want to check out your book. As your fans to review your books on Facebook, Amazon, Goodreads, their blogs, etc. You should also reach out to book review bloggers and offer them copies of your book.
  5. Build your email list—Email marketing is still one of the most cost-effective marketing tools out there. Create an email newsletter series with outstanding content, and work on building a targeted subscriber base through your website, social media, and other means. Your email list can be an invaluable tool for generating buzz for your book.
  6. Be a media darling—Build relationships with the media, such as local book reviewers, bloggers, podcasters, radio hosts, and so on. Send them interesting pitches that will entice them to give you coverage, whether it be an interview, book review, publishing one of your guest articles, or something else.
  7. Start guest blogging—Guest blogging is a great way to gain visibility for yourself and your work. Find blogs your target audience follows and pitch guest post ideas to the blog owner. By being a regular guest blogger on various sites, you’ll gain name recognition and improve your reach into your targeted audience who are most likely to buy your book.

 

When it comes to promoting your self-published book, you don’t have to spend a lot of money. You just have to be creative and committed to putting in a little work to build your following.
Jeremy Hess

Getting Started with an ISBN & Library of Congress Control Number

Pretty much everybody has a story to tell, but successfully navigating the Byzantine complexity of the publishing industry can be daunting to even the greatest wordsmith.

However, the internet revolution has truly brought the power of the press to the masses. If you’re going to invest your time in writing a book, you should make sure to do it correctly. Many first time publishers simply want to see their work in a professional format, and aren’t necessarily thinking of sales. However, you can never gauge the popularity of your work, and setting yourself up correctly to receive the most profit possible is a smart business move.

First and foremost, you will want to get an ISBN (International Standard Book Number). The ISBN is unique to your book and conveys information such as the title, author’s name, publisher and subject of the work to libraries and booksellers. The ISBN tells retailers how to contact the publisher to order more copies, and it ensures your work is listed in catalogues and has a place in the global publishing supply chain. While ISBN is an international standard each country has a single officially recognized agent in charge of issuing ISBNs. In the United States, Bowker is that agent. Self-publishers can purchase ISBNs directly through Bowker. A single ISBN will cost $125, however the company also offers packages of 10, 100 and 1,000 ISBNs for $250, $575 and $1,000, respectively. A minimum of 10 ISBNs is recommended because each version of the book (i.e. hardback, soft-cover, audio book, e-book, etc.) you intend to publish requires its own unique ISBN. There are some other companies that are authorized agents of Bowker who can provide official ISBNs, but be aware that using another service rather than going through Bowker directly can have pitfalls or clauses that a self-publisher needs to be aware of. For instance, if you use a publishing on demand (POD) service to obtain an ISBN, that number may be registered to the POD service instead of to you, the author. Be sure to discuss this issue with the print on demand service provider, and learn what the pros and cons are before proceeding. Additionally, there are several companies in the marketplace claiming to be ISBN authorized agents that have no actual association with legitimate ISBNs at all. As a self-publisher, it’s easy to assume that the most important task is to finish your project and proceed with publishing. However, there are set up details that need attention as well, and obtaining the ISBN number correctly is an important one.

Another very important detail not to forget about is getting an LCCN (Library of Congress Control Number). Two mutually exclusive programs for obtaining LCCNs exist – CIP (Cataloguing in Publication) and PCN (Pre-assigned Control Number). Nearly all self-published and POD books wind up with PCN because most do not qualify for CIP, which is reserved more for established commercial publishing houses. You can complete a two-step process to obtain a PCN for your book through the Library of Congress website (http://www.loc.gov/publish/pcn/). There is no charge to obtain a PCN, however publishers are required to submit two copies of the work to the Library of Congress within three months of publication or face a potential fine. An experienced print on demand book printer or publishing company will have more information for you, and will guide you through this process.

Finally, you may want to seek a certificate of copyright for your work. Technically every written work is copyrighted upon completion, however if a question ever arises about the work and you don’t have a copyright certificate from the United States Copyright Office, you may find yourself in the position of trying to prove exactly when the book was created. Luckily the process of copyrighting a work has also been greatly affected by the web, and you can submit many kinds of creative work online directly to the Copyright Office (http://www.copyright.gov/).

Gasch Printing is available to answer all of your questions regarding the ISBN and Library of Congress number. We have helped writers for over 3 decades navigate the self-publishing landscape, and our customer service team is ready to help you take the next step.

Once I Print a Book, How Easy is it to Self-Publish an eBook?

Releasing a Printed Book in eBook Format: A Guide for Self-Publishers


An Interview with Jeremy Hess, Director of Sales & Marketing

Q: Once a self-published author prints a book, how easy is it to self-publish an eBook? What does that process look like with your book printing company?

A: When an author sends us a file for book printing, usually they send us a PDF of the cover and the text. We can easily take those same PDF files and convert them into whatever eBook format they are looking for.

Q: If an author is publishing both a printed book and an eBook at the same time; how many books should the author print?

A: The beauty of using a company who specializes in digital printing is that you can do short run printing in whatever quantity you need to fit your budget. There isn’t any pressure to print a mass quantity with a book printing company who specializes in short runs; it’s our specialty. Another benefit is the author’s ability to re-order; book printing companies keep all files, so it’s easy to place an additional order in the future.

Q: Is it easy to place a re-order with a book printing company? How easy is that process through Gasch Printing?

A: Anytime we print something for a customer, we always keep those files on hand. So if you come back to me in a week or if you come to me in a year or two years, those files are always kept on hand for easy access for reprinting. Most book printing companies should have a similar process in place, but it’s good to ask. At Gasch Printing, you’re welcome to make changes to those files if you want but if you are just looking for a straight re-print, all you have to do is notify us of the quantity that you are looking to do and it can be reprinted; the process is seamless.

Q: What if someone has printed a book with Gasch Printing, and then two years down the road they decide that they do want to release it in an eBook format. Is that pretty much the same process as a reorder? How does that process work?

A: Yes, Gasch Printing can use those same files for the conversion. Usually, takes about a week or two or so depending on the style of book and the layout of the book to convert it into the proper eBook format. All they need to do is notify and we can do all that work.

Additional information on eBook publishing:
Self-publishing authors in the eBook space often wonder; should they sell their book on Amazon or on Apple’s platform, the iBookstore? When you start to research which platform sells more eBooks, it appears that Amazon’s Kindle is #1. However, many of the blogs that cite this information are from 2010 & 2011; when the iBookstore was relatively new and the iPad was not as popular. In 2013, the Apple’s new operating system added the iBookstore to its desktop model, broadening the potential audience for readership. If you are seriously considering the iBookstore, keep in mind, there is a Kindle App for the iPad. If you are a self-publishing eBook author, you’ll want to educate yourself on both Kindle’s and Apple’s exclusivity clauses before committing to publishing with them. Choosing the right avenue to ensure a high volume of sales is important, but educating yourself on the exclusive vs. non-exclusive terms is the first critical step toward self-publishing your eBook.

Book Trailer: Marketing Options for Self-Publishers

Book Trailer for Self-Publishers

As a self-publisher, finding creative, engaging ways to promote your book is absolutely essential to making sales. Networking and other typical venues will not bring a flood of sales; you will have to get creative and promote your work in a variety of ways. If you can create something that makes your book irresistible to readers…something that makes your book seem special…something that sets your book apart from all the other ones out there, would you do it?

One of the hottest ways to promote your book today is with a video trailer. A video book trailer can be posted on YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook, and a host of other various websites and social media channels. Millions of people watch videos online every single day, so it really is the perfect way to spotlight your self-published book. It’s also a great way to tie your topic to a video. If you have written about a popular subject, and name your video accordingly, you will be able to draw interest from people who already want to know about your product.

book trailer

Here are a few other reasons you should consider using a video trailer to promote your book:

Trailers add a visual element to your book. Books are all about words, and while words can paint a great image in the reader’s mind, that’s not going to happen if they aren’t interested enough to read your book in the first place. A video trailer lets you use visual images and sounds to promote your story in a compelling way.

People love to share videos. Just think about how often you see videos in your Facebook feed or in emails. When people see a great video, they often want to share it with their friends. If your friends are proud to know an author, they could share it for you without even being asked!

You have lots of creative freedom. When it comes to creating a book trailer, the possibilities are endless. There are no rules. You have the freedom to create just about anything you can imagine, giving you a great chance to promote your book in a fun and surprising way that could garner lots of attention.

How to be Successful Using a Book Trailer for Promotion
Just throwing together a trailer and putting it up on YouTube isn’t any sort of guarantee you’ll be successful. Here are some tips to help you get the most from your trailer:

Be interesting. Show people something they haven’t seen before. Grab their attention and don’t let them look away until your trailer is done. Creativity is key! Practice, practice, and practice again until the content is perfect.

Give viewers the information they need. Your book trailer needs to be informative. It should give potential reader an idea of what the book is about, and it should let them know how to get their hands on your book.

Use an overlay on your video. Did you know that a video can have a website link placed on it, so that people who view the video can click through to your website and purchase a book? It’s called a “video overlay”, and it’s free from YouTube.
Marketing possibilities are endless for the self-publishing community. The key to a successful marketing strategy is to spend time on initiatives that will work, and bring in sales. The Book Trailer is a trending opportunity right now, do a little research, and get started!

A book trailer does not have to be expensive. Many people can make a video from text and photos alone. If you don’t have actual video, be sure to add some music to your video which reflects the theme of your book and grabs the listeners attention. Most people who have a Mac computer can make a professional looking video with iMovie. There are options, explore them! Make sure the final product is perfect, however, because this video is a prime indicator of what is under your book’s cover.

Publishing Conference: NYC Here We Come!

Book Printing & Self Publishers: Staying Current in a Challenging Marketplace

Self-publishing has become much easier for small publishing companies and the writing community in general, yet the knowledge base has grown exponentially. Anyone involved in the art of self-publishing has to stay up to date on money saving trends, marketing avenues, digital media strategies, and industry knowledge in general.

In order to stay on top of industry trends, Gasch Printing is excited to attend the Publishing Business Conference & Expo from September 23 – 25 in New York City.

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Gasch Printing has been helping the self-publishing community for over 30 years, and we’ve seen the industry evolve. Gasch strives to deliver the exceptional service to all customers, and having insider knowledge allows us to stay ahead of the curve. Our printing equipment, ability to transfer a book file into an eBook format, and the assistance we give our customers during the process has been perfected as a result of our desire to learn about industry trends. This 3 day conference is sure to benefit not only the Gasch Printing team, but also our customers.

We’ll be sure to update our blog and social accounts with resources and updates from the conference. If you’re attending the conference, stop by the Gasch table, and say Hello to Jeremy Hess, our Director of Sales & Marketing.

Print My Book: Writing & Self-Publishing in a Year

We recently sat down with Stephany Greene, Author of Stephany’s Style Secrets: 7 Steps to Live and Dress Your Best. Stephany has been active in the fashion industry for over 25 years. Her background includes positions with the National Football League, BET, and Essence Magazine to name a few.

With her help we were able to create this “How-To List” for writers looking to put their publication on overdrive. Stephany was able to get her book published and printed within a year! She shares “Print My Book” story with us here:

  1. When you give yourself a deadline, tell people.
  2. This way someone can hold you accountable. Stephany Greene had a special case, but it got the job done. She received a call one day to speak at a conference on blogging and they also wanted to give her the opportunity to discuss her upcoming book. The problem was she wasn’t finished her book. Greene explains more:
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Children’s Book Printing Spotlight: A Word from Children’s Author Deborah Burggraaf

What is the most important thing to consider when choosing a printer for children’s book printing?

Deborah: I would have to say personalized service combined with high quality of [color] book printing. Without any hesitation, I know that the Gasch team is there for us; my publisher, Steve White from Protective Hands Communications, as well as myself, every step of the way. Book making is a process, from the PDF proofs to the end result. Holding that wonderful story in your hands as a book itself, through that process team Gasch really makes that happen and that dream come true.

Personally with the team, Cindy is there for any questions regarding billing and shipping prices of the books. Jeremy is also available. He picks up the phone. He’s there for you during the printing process, detailing the exact date when the books will be shipped. Again, I would have to say it’s the commitment to the personalized service, without sacrificing any quality of the product, the end result, that sets the Gasch team apart from all the rest.
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Maryland Author Helps Writers Answer the Popular Question: “How Do I Print My Book”?

ronald-1Ronald Gray is the author of the fiction novel, “My Call.” The book was released on March 17th 2013 by Gray’s personal publishing company, My Provider Productions, LLC. When Ronald started researching book printers, he came across Gasch. We recently interviewed Ronald to learn more about his short run book printing experience and to learn what he has to say to aspiring authors who are thinking, “I’m ready to print my book.”

How long did you have the idea for your book, “My Call,” before you started writing it?

Actually, I wrote the movie first some years ago. Along the way, many people came to me and said,

“Look, you need to put the book out first.” I wasn’t feeling it, so I just delayed that for couple years. But it just hit me one day. It was like God kept sending people my way to tell me I need to put the book out first.

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Free Whitepaper: An Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing

The digital age has been wonderful to the writing community, countless resources are available whitepaperfrom a wide variety of providers. However, sometimes less is more. If you are an aspiring self-publisher, or if you’ve done it already and want to try again, download our whitepaper An Author’s Guide to Self-Publishing. It’s simplicity and focus will help you cut down on the clutter, and focus on what is important: Printing your book.

If you have been networking with other authors or doing research about the self-publishing process, you know that submitting your book for print can be an overwhelming process. Items such as designing the cover, getting your manuscript into the right format, hiring a proofreader/editor, all come into play. Questions about cost are common as well, and there is a broad spectrum of pricing within the book printing industry. Our whitepaper will give you insider tips that only experienced authors and publishers know about, as well as a sense of relief that the process does not have to be difficult.

**Your information will be kept confidential, Gasch Printing does not sell information to third parties. By obtaining this Whitepaper, you are also subscribing to the Gasch Printing monthly newsletter, with helpful self-publishing tips.

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5 Tips for Publishing Poetry

  1. Research and select a good printing company. Although you are self-publishing, you Untitledshouldn’t feel alone; a good printer will be there to guide you through the process. Many, including Gasch, will help provide customized service to the author community.  Be sure to gather information about the printer you select, including all of the following:
  • Do you have a customer service team in place to manage existing clients?
  • Can your company make recommendations based on prior printing experiences?
  • What type of support is available via phone?
  1. Accept that your book will be judged by its cover. The old adage is turned upside down when it comes to publishing your poetry book. You only have a few seconds to capture a potential reader’s attention, and the way to do this is to ensure your cover is not just appealing, but intriguing. Collect the opinions of friends and families on design options. Understand your target audience, what appeals to them, and how you will communicate this in your cover.
  2. Communicate with your printer. Be sure to practice this throughout the design process of your book so that all of your formatting is correct in terms of dpi, margins and sizes.  Compress your files before sending them to your printer. You’ll want to be confident at the start of your project that your printer has an excellent support team who is knowledgeable in formatting, and specializes in working with the self-publishing community.
  3. Get creative with your budget. If you don’t have a friend or family member savvy in English and grammar, consider hiring a student from a local college to edit your work. They’ll likely be thankful for the opportunity to add the assignment to their resume, and you’ll benefit from the low cost. Win-win. A poetry book is an ideal project for full color book printing, and Gasch Printing specializes in full color digital book printing.
  4. Think about marketing. Often so much time and energy is put into the work and book printing process, that there is little thought devoted to how you will reach an audience. As a self-publisher, you also must be a self-promoter. Put a plan together as to how you will promote your finished product, via live readings, video blogs/podcasts, social media, or other means.

Gasch Printing is known in the industry for helping clients discover various marketing avenues. Short run book printing (print on demand) services are the perfect solution for authors who are on a budget, but would still like to see their finished product in print.