There is countless information on how to self-publish a book and become an independent author, but there’s not a lot on how to follow up. The work doesn’t stop after the book is out in the world—you need to market the book and let people know that it exists. As an indie author, there is no better person to actually sell the book than the author because they know the book best and know what direction to take it. Having a direction and a plan for how you’re going to market a book doesn’t have to be expensive either. There are plenty of great and successful ways for promotion—you just have to use them consistently.
A typical marketing budget can be anywhere from zero to one thousand dollars, depending on where you want people to see your book and how you want them to see it. Paying for advertisements increases the number of eyes that see your book, but there are other ways like hashtags and reaching out to people directly. I have always heard that the best marketing is always by word of mouth, and the goal is to increase the chances of that word getting started.
Rob Dircks sold twenty thousand copies of his first science fiction book, Where the Hell Is Tesla, using his own marketing and promotion; he sold ten thousand of those copies in the first year. He didn’t spend thousands on an extensive marketing plan, but he did a ton of research and contacted more and more people every day in any way that he could. He believed that book reviews and exposure were something you could never have enough of, and he’s right: the more people you contact, the more people they share with.
While some people aren’t too fond of social media or aren’t very savvy with it, it is the easiest way to connect with potential readers. It is a free tool that helps people share content and create a name for themselves. You can find potential readers through similar authors and connect with them or even offer to send them a copy in exchange for a review. Something that is often talked about in marketing and social media is the importance of authenticity; as simple as it sounds, it can be difficult for some people to be open and raw online. There is what’s called the 80/20 Rule—80 percent content, 20 percent about your work—which is a fancy way of saying that your posts should not be overly promotional. It is easy to do, especially since you are your books’ biggest fan.
Despite mixed reviews, Amazon is a great place to sell your book because they are the largest bookseller. As recommended by Smith Publicity, promoting on Amazon is something all authors should be doing, and all you need to do is create an author page and have a strong book listing. Goodreads is another great place to give some extra attention when promoting your book: it is the largest site for readers to find book recommendations.
A book’s audience is not intended to be everyone, but there is a group of people out there that it is perfect for. It would be great if the entire world liked and read your book, but that idea is unrealistic. Be excited about your book, and don’t be afraid to contact just about everyone you know and everyone they know.