Self-publishing a book can be rewarding, but publishing is just a small part of getting your work out there. Selling copies of a book is an uphill battle that requires planning and strategy, but there are several effective ways to market your self-published book to increase its sales. This article outlines tips for marketing your self-published book, including creating promotional materials, content strategy and more. It also answers common questions about self-publishing and so you can craft an effective marketing plan to boost your sales.
Tips for Self-Published Book Marketing
Marketing a self-published book takes time and dedication, but with the right strategies, you can reach your target audience. To stand out in a competitive market, it is important to identify who your target readers are and create a marketing strategy that resonates with them. It is essential to have an online presence, so creating a dedicated website for your book that contains all the necessary information about it in one place can be beneficial.
1. Know Your Target Audience
It’s important to identify who your target reader is. Knowing who the ideal reader for your book is will help you craft a marketing strategy that targets those individuals. You should also consider creating promotional materials such as flyers or postcards that can be used online or in person at events. Actively seek out bloggers or other online reviewers who may be interested in promoting and reviewing your book — this can go a long way toward increasing sales.
2. Create a Dedicated Website
One of the most important things that you can do as a self-published author is to create your own website where you can showcase your book and provide your readers with valuable information about the subject matter. You can include detailed information about how to purchase the book, customer reviews and excerpts of the book itself so that potential readers can get an idea of how interesting it will be to read. Having a website that matches the tone of your work is an important part of creating a professional image that will appeal to your target audience.
3. Develop Your Online Presence
Having a social media presence online outside of your website is essential to engage with potential readers who don’t already follow your work or know who you are. Depending on the content of your book and your creativity, you can hone a persona that appeals to your target readers and a broader audience. Your personal brand and the content you create should be in line with the tone of your work. More readers may be perceived as better, but having the right audience view your work will more likely lead to conversions. While any social media network can attract readers, but the places that already have captured your audience will lighten your workload.
Here are a few ways you can develop your online presence:
- Be an expert: Answering questions that fall under your expertise in places like Quora, Stack Overflow and Reddit can position you as an expert or thought leader in subjects that are already relevant to your target audience. Sites like those can attract potential readers by linking back to your site or directly to an online point of sale. If you go this route, make sure your information is accurate.
- Make custom video content: Though YouTube’s algorithm has been the bane of creators for a while, there is still a lot of opportunity to create long-form video content that can be recut for other platforms. This two-for-one method can make one video have multiple lives by highlighting interesting moments on apps like TikTok, Instagram Reels, Facebook Reels, YouTube Shorts and Snapchat.
- Make shareable content: Making shareable content is a cornerstone to building your brand and reaching your target demographic. Bite-sized visual content is more likely to be reshared or remixed on sites like Instagram and TikTok. Making eye-catching images or short videos using quotes from your book can be a great way to expand the reach of your content and cultivate a strong community of readers.
4. Initiate an E-Mail Campaign
Though building an email campaign can seem like a lot of work at first, email marketing is an easy way to promote your content. The easiest way to get build an email list is to offer value to your target audience in exchange of their email addresses. To avoid getting fake emails, consider hosting an opt-in offer on your website where people enter their email and are sent a link for access to exclusive content such as a free chapter or outline of your book.
5. Create Targeted Ad Campaigns
Using targeted ad campaigns allows you to pinpoint your audience based on demographics, their interests. By using what you already know about your readers and engaged followers through analytics and surveys, platforms like Facebook Ads, Google Ads and Amazon Ads can drive sales directly to your work and refine the audience that sees your ads. Make sure you understand what you’re doing or work with a professional so you don’t burn money on advertising that isn’t converting new readers.
6. Rack up Reviews
If you’ve purchased something haven’t seen in person, your trust lies in the reviews of strangers. The same is true for your self-published book. Once your book is out there, ask friends, family and people who have received snippets of your work through your mail campaign to provide feedback via Amazon’s review system or other websites like Goodreads or BookBub.
7. Use Amazon SEO
Optimize keywords using Amazon’s SEO tools so potential readers find your work.
- Amazon only indexes parts of the title, description and bullet list so make sure your title includes relevant keywords that will help your listing rank higher. Avoid words like “the” in your title because they are not indexed in the Amazon Standard Identification Number search.
- Use keywords that are relevant to your topic as well as common search terms that people may use to find books similar to yours on Amazon.
- Include main keywords in the subtitle field.
- Don’t oversaturate the title with keywords.
Networking with authors working in your genre or who write in a similar tone can provide a bridge to new readers and a symbiotic relationship over time. Outside of networking with other authors, meeting with book reviewers and podcasters who focus on self-publishing or the subject matter of your book is a great way to organically broaden your fan base and sell more books.
9. Explore Local Opportunities
Sites like Eventbrite and Meetup.com list gatherings for writers. They are excellent resources for writers of all levels to network and grow their audience and many include local chapters of the Writers Guild of America and local writer’s groups. Some meetings offer readings, and others are book swaps that encourage recipients to leave positive reviews on sites like Amazon and Goodreads.
Make Your Book a Success
To maximize the success of your self-published book, having an effective marketing strategy is a must. Start by determining who your target reader is and creating content tailored to them. Use social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and Facebook in addition to direct mail campaigns and influencer marketing. Discounts or bonuses are also effective tools for promotion.
As long as you remain creative and persistent in developing a suitable plan, success should follow.
Self-published authors either use printing services, such as Print Bind Ship, that help them with printing, fulfillment, wholesale, shipping, e-commerce logistics, and more.
The average self-published author makes 70% royalties on their book, there is no set dollar amount because it depends on how their book is marketed.
With Barnes & Noble Press, authors can sell physical or digital copies of their books.