Marketing Essentials for Self-Published Books
Marketing for self-published books continues to grow as the number of titles launched each year increases. For example, 2017 was a record year for self-publishing:
According to Bowker, the total number of titles published grew from 786,935 to 1,009,188, surpassing the million mark for the first time. Therefore, many authors are wondering more than ever about the best ways to market a self-published book. The self-publishing revolution, which began more than ten years ago, is still in full force, and all indications are growth will continue.
With so many books being launched, the competition for media attention is higher than ever. While the stigma about self-published books is mostly a thing of the past, it’s as essential as ever for self-published authors to implement smart, efficient book marketing campaigns. SPBM (self-published book marketing) is generally similar to techniques used for traditionally published titles, but there are some specific tips to help the independent author.
How to Market Your Self-Published Book
Many traditionally published titles benefit from bookstore shelf presence and have direct pipelines to major print media outlets for book reviews. Self-published authors must compensate by focusing even more on Amazon and Internet discoverability for their book marketing. Ensure your Amazon listing is robust and complete with searchable keywords and phrases. Also, categorize your book in all relevant categories. Your Amazon listing can be a powerful book discoverability tool. Use your Author Central page as a virtual Amazon-hosted website.
Your website should use appropriate SEO terms relevant to your book. Blog at least two to three times a week, and again remember to use searchable SEO keywords and include both internal and external hyperlinks. Google examines websites and blogs and rates them on keyword relevancy and both internal and external links, among many other ways. Authors must harness the power of the Internet to market self-published books.
2.) Social Media
First, a general rule of thumb for author social media: If you are going to have platforms, keep them current. Barren or out-of-date accounts make a weak impression. Announce every interview or article about you or your book to the online world via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. When you do a radio interview, Tweet about it and put links to it on all your social pages.
Also, remember what goes on the Internet, stays on the Internet. The more you post online about your book, the more search engines will find it. As your search engine (Google, Bing, Yahoo) positions move higher, your website ranking will go up, and buzz about your book will begin.
3.) Using Articles and Interviews to Get More Exposure
Media outlets often become interested in self-published books and authors when a producer or editor hears or reads about it from another media outlet. If your local newspaper, for example, writes a story about you, tell a national or much larger regional paper about it. Send them a clipping of the story and demonstrate why you’re entertaining. If you’re interviewed on a small radio talk show, send a significant media producer a link to your interview.
Most producers of mid-to-large TV programs want to see a potential guest on-air before booking an interview. Secure local TV interviews to demonstrate that you can handle yourself on-the-air and be an excellent guest. Remember: Every newspaper and magazine (and its connected website) has column inches to fill, and every radio or TV news/feature show has airtime to fill. They are hungry for content, and in most cases, they won’t care if you have been interviewed somewhere else previously.
4.) Make Your Book Appealing to Agents and Publishers
Authors are increasingly self-publishing and marketing books as a springboard to traditional publishing. Agents and publishers are taking notice of good books and offering contracts to self-published authors who’ve proven their merits. Good sales numbers will undoubtedly open eyes, and media coverage will help also. A query letter to an agent or publisher can be transformed into a magnet for attention if augmented with press clippings and highlights of media coverage.
At Smith Publicity, we promote many self-published books with well-planned marketing and publicity campaigns. Our authors who have written excellent books encounter success to matter how their work was published. It’s essential to have compelling content that readers want to read and make sure your work is promoted to target audiences who have an interest in your topic. Independent and self-publishing are here to stay, and each year claim a more substantial chunk of book sales and marketing budgets.