Overwhelmingly, the biggest obstacle authors face is visibility. There are millions of books published each year, which means making your specific book stand out is going to take some dedicated work.
Author Sean Platt says, “Many writers see publishing their book as a finish line, but really it’s a starting point.” He recommends writing a few books and entering the market with a small catalog of books, which will make it easier to stand out from the competition.
Platt isn’t alone in his thinking. Author Jessica Wilder recommends the same thing. “The best advice I can give is that when push comes to shove, the best marketing you can do is to publish the next book.”
Here are some things to consider when tackling the visibility issue:
• First steps to make your book stand out. Your book needs to be well-written, well-edited and have a fabulous cover if you truly want to compete. Once you’ve done this, you will need to sort through the ton of ways available to market your book to find the ones that are right for you.
• Identifying and building your audience. You should probably start to build your brand and audience in advance of publication. This can be done by networking with authors and readers on social media and in person.
• Create your own website. Fill the site with interesting information, articles, etc. to keep people coming back. You’re now in the entertainment business, and people expect you to engage them. This is also a great place to expand on information about your characters, write blogs related to your book (not just about how people should buy your book), and let readers know more about you and what you’re writing next.
• Get reviews. Getting reviews before publication is a great idea especially if they come from experts in a related field (for non-fiction), celebrities or other well-known people. Plus, if the comments are great you could even use them on your book cover. Getting reviews after publication is a great way to help influence potential readers to buy your book. Another reason to gather reviews is many promotion sites won’t work with books without a minimum number of reviews.
• Remember the power of free. Well-publicized book giveaways can bring lots of new readers to your book, help to increase your Amazon ranking to boost your level in searches, and potentially increase paid sales. The key here is the well-publicized part. If you have a giveaway but no one knows about it, your book won’t benefit.
• Utilize social media. Experts say a book cover needs to be seen seven times before a reader will recognize it. Use social media to build recognition (without blatantly screaming “buy my book!”). There are Facebook groups that allow members to post news, which could include completion of your book cover, as well as milestones in the publishing process — you could also build your own group page specifically dealing with things related to your book. You could also investigate utilizing Facebook ads where you only pay when people click through to your buying page.
• Communication with fans. Be sure to communicate with people who show an interest in you and your book. People want to know the person behind the book, but sure you’re available and friendly. It will be far easier to sell your book(s) to someone who already likes and/or trusts you.
• Put yourself out there. Whether it’s on social media or in person, get out there. You could contact local clubs to see if they’d like you as a speaker, look for internet radio shows dealing with topics similar to your book(s) and offer to be a guest, write guest blogs, let your local media know you’re an author and available for interviews, etc.
• Be consistent. Marketing is not a one and done thing, it’s ongoing and cumulative. Basically, a week after you stop marketing your book, people will have forgotten it exists. People have busy lives and you have to keep yourself and your book(s) in front of them all the time or they will find something else to occupy their interests. The best way to do this is to set aside a block of time every day that is devoted solely to marketing your book. It doesn’t have to be a huge block of time, but it does need to be done every day. There are also some tools like Kuku (it’s free) that will help you manage your social media presence.