Writing a successful book is something that most of us dream about. No matter if it’s a fiction book, a technical book, or even a simple autobiography, we all wish that once we publish it, people will start buying and reading it immediately. All things considered, that is easier said than done – unless you use the right marketing hacks for it.

Think about your book shopping habits. When you go inside a book shop, the chances are that you will purchase a book that you’ve heard about than one you know nothing about. Granted, some curious people will decide to pick up a random book and read it, but that is rarely the case. If you’re going to spend money on a book, you might want to know that it’s at least one you’ve already heard about.

This is why, for your self-published book to be popular, you’ll want the people to know about you – and the only way to do that is to conduct proper marketing. Here are a few marketing strategies for you to ensure that your book sells like gold.

In This Article

1. Create an Attractive Book Cover

While we like to say that we do not judge a book by its cover, most of us actually do. Let’s say that you are going past two different books: one that has a plain cover that tells you nothing, and one that has an attractive cover that makes you curious. It’s obvious that you will pick the one with the more impressive cover .

When publishing your book, you might want to collaborate with an art designer that has at least some experience in creating book covers – ideally, with your book genre. This way, the book will look professional – and they will also create it in a way to ensure there aren’t any copyright issues.

If you can’t afford to pay a designer, you might go with an online book cover designer such as Placeit. Even if you do not have any skill in creating a cover from scratch, there are quite a lot of premade examples that can help you come up with a fairly attractive cover.

2. Use Metadata to Sell Your Books

To put it simply, metadata is the type of information that will differentiate your published books from any other book on the market – something that you might definitely want to add to your marketing strategy for your book. Upon uploading your book onto a publishing platform, you will see that the platform will be asking for several details in regard to the title of the book, as well as the author, description, genre, and so on.

That information is essentially your metadata – and metadata can go quite a long way. First things first, you might want to make sure that you gave your book a unique title – one that won’t be mistaken with any other book. The last thing you want is for someone to buy the other person’s book simply because they confused it with yours.

When filling your metadata, think about the information that will make your book show up on search engines, Goodreads, Amazon, and so on. Put yourself in your reader’s shoes and try thinking about what they would type when looking for a book like yours.

You might want to pay close attention to the description of your book. Make it seem like a movie trailer – one that sparks their interest enough to buy the book but doesn’t give away the ending. Give them only enough to make them curious and willing to pull out their credit card.

3. Collaborate with Book Reviewers

Think about the first thing that you do when a book sparks our interest: you look up reviews, don’t you? You try to determine whether that book is worthy of your attention or not – so, you are looking up what other people are saying about it (while avoiding the spoilers). Is it a good book? Is it a bad book? Is it worth spending my dollars on it? The right reviews will either confirm to us that we want it – or determine us to steer clear.

In this regard, you might want to collaborate with the right reviewer. It doesn’t have to be a very popular one – and don’t even think of going for the highly critical ones, particularly if this is your first book. However, you should go for someone who is familiar with your genre, and that is also accessible to you.

A book reviewer will be a great way for you to promote the sales of your book. Start by crafting a concise and short pitch email in which you tell them why you want them to review your book and why it would mean so much to you. Once you get those reviews, you might repurpose them as posts, testimonials, or tweets.

4. Price It Accordingly

A good book can be priced anything from $1.99 to $9.99. Still, it can be rather tricky to set the price for your book. For example, if you set the price of the book higher than your competition, then it will suggest that your book will have a higher quality than theirs – which will further on drive your sales. On the other hand, if the price is too high, readers will be discouraged from buying it – simply because they have to pay too much for it.

At this point, you are the only one who knows the true worth of your book – because you’re the one who added all that information. When setting the price of your new book, think about how the other writers from the genre are setting the price for their books, along with the length of your book. You are obviously entitled to ask for a higher price when your book is longer.

In order for your book to sell, you also need to cook up the right strategies. This way, you’ll make sure that is sells based on the technique that you have used.

·      Down and Up: With this strategy, you reduce or increase your book price by $1 every day until you get to 0.99$ – and then increase it back up to $4.99. If you see that you get an increased number of sales at a certain price point, then you should repeat the exercise once more and see if there’s a pattern. If there aren’t enough sales for you to come to a conclusion, you should try the strategy with longer frequencies – maybe about 5 days.

·      Increase the Prices: It might sound a bit weird, but this can prove to be a good strategy. On one hand, it might cause people to be wary to buy it due to the price – but at the same time, the higher price will give the buyer a potential sense of quality. In the end, your ranking should increase much faster. It’s all a matter of psychology.

·      Make One Book Cheap: If you published a book that is part of a series, you might want to sacrifice its price and make the first books cheaper. Say, the first book should be at around $0.99 and increase the prices until you reach about $3.99. You may say that $0.99 is too cheap but think about it: if they read your first book and liked it, they’ll want to read the next books as well.

There are no actual good or bad ways when it comes to setting the price for your book. That being said, you still need to keep an eye on your competition – see what books they come up with and how they price them. You know precisely what you wrote in that book – so, if you believe that its quality is lacking in comparison to your competition, then you might want to refrain from pricing it higher than them. It will just backfire on you.

5. Get Press Coverage for the Book

Indeed, if this is your first book, then it might not be very easy for you to get the coverage that you want. That being said, the more you write, the more access you will have to the people of the press as your book starts taking wind. When you can prove you have a track record, you should get them to pay attention to you – making media coverage quite an efficient way of marketing your book.

Founder and CEO of FischTank Marketing & Public Relations Eric Fischgrund also adhered to the importance of taking advantage of media coverage:

“Despite what some may say about the current state of media, there is still a significant trust that comes with media exposure. Being quoted or featured in Forbes, Wall Street Journal, NPR, influential trade publications, and others still provides tremendous value. Whether you’re a pre-revenue company seeking investors or a 100-person organization that relies on its sales team, media exposure gives you one crucial asset: touchpoints.”  [1]

The more mentions you get in the media – no matter if it’s in a blog or a podcast – the higher your sales should go. That being said, if you are still beginning your writing career, go for small press first. Try local newspapers and magazines, interesting blogs on your niche, etc. If you try to aim for the big guns from the very beginning, you’ll only be wasting time waiting for approval.

6. Personal Branding Management

When the users know exactly who you are, it will be much easier for you to sell your book. No matter if you are trying to build a brand for a daily-use product or a book, you need to let your users know exactly what you stand for. A product without branding is lost in the background, without actually remaining in the minds and hearts of the consumer. Scott Goodson, writer of UpRising: How to Build Your Brand and Change the World by Sparking Cultural Movements and CEO of StrawberryFrog also stresses the importance of building your brand.

“No branding, no differentiation. No differentiation, no long-term profitability. People don’t have relationships with products, they are loyal to brands. In a movement strategy, brands have a purpose that people can get behind. Brands can inspire millions of people to join a community. Brands can rally people for or against something. Products are one dimensional in a social media enabled world, brands are Russian dolls, with many layers, tenets, and beliefs that can create great followings of people who find them relevant. Brands can activate a passionate group of people to do something like changing the world. Products can’t really do that.”[3]

Brands show your values, your passion, your interests, and your purpose. Readers all love true authenticity, which is why your self-published marketing plan should focus on how you may connect with the users. Be consistent in whatever content you are posting, as you will create a better image of your book – therefore, inspiring the people to invest in your book. If the book has no branding, then it will be quite difficult to get the readers behind you.

7. Find Co-Promoters

People have always lived with the impression that writers are “lone wolves” that do not interact with people much – that only stay in a dark room until they finish their book and simply publish it. However, that is not true – a concept that Louie Ortiz of Monbi.com touches upon.

“Writers are businesspeople on their own – only instead of selling regular products such as, say, vacuum cleaners or bottled cider, they are selling words on a page. They are selling knowledge. And they know that in order to sell, they will also need people to do outsourcing with and collaborate. They know that if they want their book to sell, they will need other people from their field to back them up – give them some coverage. Word of mouth is a very powerful thing, and they know that if they partner with someone else, they would get double the coverage that they would on their own terms.”

You may want to talk with your co-promoter – see exactly what you can do in order to maximize the results. Talk about the frequency, the message, the location, and so on. Think about the most appropriate methods to do the advertising. When promoting your book, do so together with other writers in the same genres – with them doing the same.

This type of “jamming” will make it much easier for you to get your book out there so that potential readers might discover you. When it comes to book marketing for self-published authors, this strategy has proven to be quite successful, as long as you are collaborating with the right authors.

8. Collaborate with Influencers

Nowadays, influencers have become quite an important part when it comes to every kind of marketing. With a good influencer backing you up, you are opening up roads that you would not have had under normal circumstances – as marketing strategist Melissa Todisco points out:

“Influencers have built their following by getting exposure talking about what they love. Ask them if they would be willing to do a 30-minute interview for a blog post or to come to your offices to do a Facebook Live Chat. This approach works best when you have already built up a following on your social channels to make sure it is worth their time. In an ideal world, they will share the blog post or promote the Facebook Live on their channels and help attract new potential customers for you.”[3]

Think about whom you would prefer to have talking about your latest book. These people should have quite a lot of influence over your potential buyers and should also be from within your domain. For example, if you are writing a book on nutrition or staying fit, working with an influencer that promotes healthy living should be the ideal circumstance.

Reviews are great as well, but they are not mandatory. In most cases, it’s enough that they post it on Instagram or make a tweet that they are reading your book. All of their fans will be greatly influenced by their interests and will be interested enough to purchase it as well.

You may go for paid influencer marketing or earned influencer marketing. If you find someone that you believe is worth paying, then by all means, you should go for it. Talk to the influencer and negotiate about the frequency that he or she is going to post or tweet at. Ask them whether or not they can use hashtags (they should) and creative visuals to enrich your posts.

9. Go on Reddit

As a writer and a person of the age of the Internet era, you probably heard of Reddit. The beauty of Reddit is that it has quite a few subreddits, containing controversial conversations, expertise demonstration and, simply put, very interesting stuff. Reddit is a domain that gets quite a lot of traffic every day – so, it would be quite a shame not to take advantage of it. It is one of the main platforms for you to do marketing for Generation Z.

First things first, you need to keep in mind that Reddit is a big place – so, you need to find your spot within the community. There are some general subreddits focusing on book talks, genre subreddits, ebook subreddits, writer subreddits, and so on. The possibilities are endless – you, just need to determine where your place it.

Most importantly, you need to learn how to Reddit. To become a master of the Reddit game, you will first have to reap good karma – or in other words, contribute to the community of Reddit. The more karma you accumulate, the more coverage you will get for your book as you will be able to advertise it. 

10. Advertise it on Facebook

If you are looking on how to promote a book for free, then you may certainly want to give Facebook a try. Facebook is a great place in general for you to interact with other self-publishers and exchange tricks and trips. Louie Ortiz also mentions the benefits of Facebook.

“Nowadays, everyone has a Facebook profile. People use it to keep in touch with their friends and family, to stay updated in regard to events or releases, and also to promote a product that they are trying to sell. As a result, there is a high chance that most of your target audience is already there – in Facebook groups. The advantage of Facebook is that unlike other marketing platforms, it allows you to communicate with potential customers in a more personal way. And as an author, you connect with the reader and make them curious about the book you have written.”

Facebook is a great way for you to get your book out there before it’s even out, so to speak. Let’s say that you begin writing a book, and you occasionally post a “teaser” for your followers: the occasional coffee mug next to the manuscript, or the cover with an unreleased quote attached to it. These are the things that you can use to intrigue the reader. And aside from having your Facebook page where people can interact with you, you also have Facebook groups where you can market your book even more.

Facebook Groups are not only perfect for advertising an already-released book – but also to get some tips and tricks for before the release. Say that you aren’t exactly convinced what book cover you want to use – but you have an entire group of people that can help you out in that regard. All you have to do is make a poll of two book covers and ask them to pick one.

There are quite a few Facebook groups that would be more than happy to welcome you. Like with Reddit, you have groups based on genres, eBooks, for support or for self-publishing, horror books, Christian books – anything that might help get your eBook up the ranks. There are also groups that focus on general book talk, so you just need to join the ones that are most convenient for you. You may also find relevant groups if you are looking at how to market a self-published children’s book.

Bear in mind that you aren’t just supposed to be asking questions here; you need to actively involve with the group.

11. Time Your Release

Do not just release the book at a random time – nor should you make the announcement when anything is barely happening. It might seem like the opposite of what you want to do, but people are more likely to remember events if they link them with others. This is why you should time it with a relevant news event, a trade show, or a blockbuster movie.

12. Enter the Goodreads Author Program

Every author that wants to make it big knows that the best way to do so is to get their book featured on Goodreads. It is, after all, the number one website for book recommendations that readers go to. Not only can they find information on the book that has caught their eye, but they can also find your book through recommendations after a similar book that they like.

Plus, with the Goodreads author program, you can have your own blog, your own followers, share the books that you love with your fans, and connect with them. It just makes a lot of sense for you to promote your book on Goodreads.

If you wish to turn things up a notch, you may even decide to start advertising on Goodreads. Granted, it might cost the extra dollars, but it’s quite efficient if you are looking for some good book promotion strategies. This way, you will get access to your audience by targeting your ads (based on location, age, gender, etc.). A pay-per-click ad costs only $0.50 per click.

13. Create a Writer’s Landing Page

Once a reader or potential reader learns about your books or reads one of your volumes, they will want to learn more about you. You may have a Facebook page and a Goodreads profile, but this does not compare to having your own website. Neither of them can be personalized the way you may want them to.

Landing pages are the domains where you have the avenue necessary to connect with readers – providing them the information they need about you and your book. Most of the pages on that website will have a static nature – meaning that none of the information will change in most cases (unless you update your bio to ensure it’s current).

These pages should contain information about you that people want to know, along with the options from where they can buy your book. You should also use that website to link them with other places they can interact with you – such as your social media networks, contact page, or newsletter.

Whether you want to go for a blog section or not, that is entirely up to you. Still, a blog could be quite a convenient addition, as you may use it to keep in contact with your fans. If you do not have the time to handle the blog writing yourself, then you might want to reach out to a self-published book marketing service. This way, you will receive the help necessary to get you through this marketing stage.

The main perk of creating a website is that it works for branding purposes as well. In an ideal case, the name of the domain should be the name of the writer – in other words, your name. This way, people will be able to find you when they look you up online. That being said, an author’s website does not have to be complex in the slightest.

To get an idea, you might want to Google the names of your favorite authors; see what they did about their websites. Don’t copy what they did – instead, create a website that looks even better than theirs. If you have no experience or are completely clueless in regard to what you have to do, then you might want to get in contact with a web designer so that they might do it for you.

14. Use Amazon to Increase Sales

One more efficient way to get your product out there is to learn the most important factors for ranking highly on the Amazon platform. Amazon has a few sales algorithms and if you learn how to use them, they can bring you on the top charts. Bear in mind that this is not a long-term solution (particularly if you aren’t some big-shot writer). So, you might want to have other marketing strategies in check as well. However, it’s a good way to engage with your readers and build a community.

15. Go for Multiple Format Types

You may be thinking that you only want to sell one format – for example, an eBook that can be read on a Kindle. That being said, even if the eBook is your main format, you should still create and publish a few hard copies as well. This way, you will be able to please different types of clients – increasing your sales. Management consultant Brett Arends explains why that is a convenient strategy.

“Even if you are expecting to sell most of your copies in “ebook” format on the Kindle or Nook or Kobo, you should still publish a hard copy as well – and vice versa. Dillon says that by Lulu’s experience, authors who publish in multiple formats typically sell about four times as many copies as those who publish only in one format. It isn’t simply about increasing the number of people who are willing to buy: It also gives potential readers another signal that your book is professional and that you are a real author.”[4]

Plus, it makes sense that you would go down these roads, considering that we are still going through changing times with how we read books. For example, we have a lot of people that prefer the feeling of reading a hard copy – an actual paper and ink book. That being said, some people don’t like carrying around stashes of books and prefer to live minimalistic lives – which is why they go for eBooks.

By going for multiple styles, you will be certain that no one will go past your book simply because you did not offer them the format that they wanted. When it comes to book marketing strategies, this is a surefire way of making sure you cover more ground.

16. Get Early Pre-Release Reviews

If you are looking for how to promote your book before it’s published, then you might go back to reviewers again – only instead of asking them to review an already-existent book, you should give them the manuscript before the final version is released. This way, the public will be expecting your release more vehemently, as they already had a slight glimpse into it.

Final Thoughts

It’s not really that difficult to choose the marketing strategies for your self-published book – you just need to be creative enough. There are free ways, and there are paid ways – depending on what meets your preferences. Other than that, all you have to equip yourself with is patience, and you’ll be good to go.

[1] https://www.commpro.biz/what-is-the-value-of-media-coverage/

[2] https://www.forbes.com/sites/marketshare/2012/05/27/why-brand-building-is-important/#43bd28f83006

[3] https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2017/12/21/why-influencer-marketing-is-essential-for-any-business-looking-to-grow/#7967d737d487

[4] https://www.forbes.com/sites/brettarends/2014/07/15/seven-ways-market-your-new-book/#375040d95a0d