Everyone and their brother has X number of ideas on how to get a book self-published. They will help you in more ways than you can think of and that is definitely a good thing. But, the truth is, what to do when you self-publish and nothing happens?
The following are some tips and steps to take to make that self-publishing just a little more exciting with sales potential.
1. Social Media.
You've put yourself out there on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, etc etc. You advertise your butt off and yet nothing happens. There is more to social media than just making friends with everyone and anyone. You need to engage these new friends. You need to communicate and actually try to be a real friend. Yes, they may reside on another continent, or even just 'down the road' but, in truth, you must reach out to them and interact. I have people on Twitter with whom I share my details and they share back. We interact. Unfortunately, I have more 'friends' on Twitter who only send out a constant barrage of 'buy my book' and otherwise, ignore me. Sending me an ad is NOT interaction - and I really don't see it as connecting.
2. Be A Beta/ARC Reader.
Yes, you're a writer but a good writer is also a reader. If you don't have your finger on the current pulse of the genre, how can you expect to write in that genre? By offering yourself as a beta/ARC (Advanced Read Copy) reader, you see what is coming available now. Also, it allows you to interact and give you an "ace in the hole" to having someone for your book when you release it. A beta reader can give you 'word of mouth' advertising for your book before its release and also give you a review upon its release.
You've written the book and now you want as many people as possible to read it. DONATE a copy of the book to your local library. This seems to be contrary to your goal of selling copies but, in truth, it helps. Some readers may actually buy a copy later for their own personal library, but chances are they will be more willing to discuss the book and give you a lot of word of mouth advertising which in return will amount of others purchasing the book when they are browsing the local bookstores.
4. Book Clubs.
This is an often overlooked area and is an easy sell of several copies. Book reading clubs are popular and many times are associated with libraries. You've donated a copy of your book to the library, the library might 'suggest' your book to the club. Of course, you can always take the bull by the horns and approach the club, suggesting the book to read with you possibly offering your signature and attendance to discuss the book when they meet to discuss.
Search the internet for contests where indy or self-published books can be entered. Your chance of losing the contest is no greater than your chance of winning and if you win, you have bragging rights. If you lose, you still have a secondary win — your book has been noticed by a group of judges. Again, word of mouth works to your advantage.
6. Blog Interviews.
Everyone blogs today. If you don't have a blog, start one immediately. If you have one, blog about your book. Also, blog about other authors' books and in return, those authors will be more than willing to blog about your book or interview you, the author. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you tooting your own horn on YOUR blog about your book release or even doing a 'mock' interview of yourself. The object is to get yourself noticed and your name and book in the public eye.
7. Local Paper.
Stop at the local newspaper and offer an interview to a reporter. You can even give the reporter a free copy of the book to read. If done properly, with a great marketing packet consisting of a bio, photo of you and a separate photo of the book's cover, and a full synopsis of the book, you can get a two-fer — an interview about you, the author; and secondly, a review of the book when the reporter is done reading it.
8. Speaking Engagements.
Surprisingly, there are many organizations available where you have an opportunity to discuss your book and/or youself. Depending on the topic and/or genre of your book, you can design a short speaking engagement to discuss the book. With my novel 2012: Timeline Apocalypse I was able to discuss the Mayan prophesy and how it tied back to my book. What organizations? Eagles. Elks. Moose. Schools. Libraries. Churches. Coffee Shops. Ruritans. Check your local phone book for other possibilities. Sometimes you can use an event: conventions, seminars, social gatherings, etc. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Again, being in the public eye helps to sell books.
Above were eight ideas but there are even more ways to help you, the self-published author to sell your books. Think about it and then act. Use your imagination!
And now the most important tip — Number NINE in our list:
Never, ever apologize or feel a need to put a disclaimer that the book is self-published. A good read is a good book. The method of publication is immaterial.
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~ COMMENTS ~
I actually will unfollow people on twitter that only promote their books. And I get really irked if someone asks me to RT them but yet they've never engaged me, nor have the courtesy of even following me back.
Book Clubs - I have no idea how to get into one and I've been trying. My next endeavor is radio interviews. Good post!
Good post, Bob. I'll throw in my own suggestion. It's simple. "Write more; write better." Every time I release a new book, I get a sales boost across my other titles. This is especially true of the books in a series, but it carries over to the non-series titles as well.
I "hire" my retired friends to pound the pavement and persuade people to interview me, promote my books, or come to my book signings. :-) Seriously, though, the blog interviews have been something I focused on with the release of my latest book. I think it got my name out to a much larger audience than what I had before.