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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.