8 Powerful and Efficient Strategies for Marketing Your Self-Published Book

Today’s guest post is by Nicole Boyer.

As a writer, I have always been fascinated by the topic of self-publishing. The idea that anybody with something to say can reach hundreds, even thousands, of readers through e-publishing—and thanks to the existence of book-selling websites such as Amazon—is absolutely fascinating to me.

Of course, self-publishing a book is only the first step. As with any other product, books must be marketed and promoted. I spoke with a few friends of mine who have managed to generate a thousand dollars or more in monthly sales for their books to get their take on marketing strategies.

1.Create a Specific Target Readership and Gear All Marketing Efforts Toward It

Books are, by design, a niche market. There are very few books in general that appeal to a wide audience. There are even fewer in the world of self-publishing. If you gear your marketing efforts toward a general audience, you might be wasting time and money. You’re also missing potential readers.

Instead, create a target reader persona. This is the person who is most likely to pay for your book, read it, and be affected enough to recommend it to others. As you develop this persona, think beyond people who are interested in your topic. You have to consider age, gender, level of education, interests, and a variety of other traits. Most importantly, you have to figure out where they are (where are the hang out on the Internet). Once this persona is complete, you know whom to target. 

2. Use Your Writing Talent to Compose Great Promotional Copy

It’s simply amazing how many writers will spend months, even years, writing the perfect book, but will fail to put together decent promotional copy. You don’t need to spend months crafting product descriptions, or selecting the perfect endorsement quotes, but you should definitely spend a decent amount of time and effort on this task. After all, the promotional copy is one of the first things potential buyers will read about your book. If you write compelling descriptions, you can entice readers to make a purchase. Just don’t reveal too much. 

3. Write a Great Book to Begin with and Be Ready with an Upcoming Teaser

Some of the authors I spoke with claim that you shouldn’t spend an exorbitant amount of time marketing your first book. They say you are better off writing a couple of books first, or at least having enough of a second book to add a teaser to your marketing content. It also adds a bit of credibility if you are able to indicate in your promotional efforts that you are the author of multiple books. 

4. Pick the Amazon Category That Will Enhance Your Book’s Discoverability

When you post a book for sale on Amazon, you can select two categories in which your book can be found. It may be tempting to put your book in categories where the big sales are made, such as young adult or romance. Unfortunately, if you do that, your book will probably be lost in a sea of other books. Try drilling down into the subcategories and finding a couple of spots where your book is likely to be found, and likely to end up on a best-seller list. As you decide how to categorize your book, keep your target customer profile in mind. Ask: Where they would look for new books? 

5. When You Receive Compliments, Ask Readers to Share Their Thoughts on Amazon

Reviews, like promotional copy, are extremely important. When you receive positive feedback from your readers, thank them. Then, ask them if they would mind leaving a positive review on Amazon, iTunes, or Barnes and Noble. These reviews have a strong influence when it comes to selling books. You may want to consider gifting your book to a few select people if they will review your books.

Keep this in mind: positive reviews are best, but they should also be detailed and informative. If you receive positive feedback from an influential person, ask them if they would consider providing you with an awesome book blurb. 

6. Develop a Relationship with Your Readers and Keep Them Engaged

Remember that bookseller websites aren’t your only option when it comes to marketing your book. You should also create a blog or website dedicated to your book, and create a presence on social media for yourself as an author. This will increase your chances of reaching your readers and engaging with them. 

7. Think Hard about Your Pricing Strategy

Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean more sales. It also doesn’t mean more profit, when you consider Amazon’s royalty structure. While you do not want to overprice your book, pricing it too low could cause credibility issues. Some people equate 99 cents or $1.99 with inferior content. 

8. Just Because You Are Self-Published Doesn’t Mean You Are Unprofessional

Production values are important. First and foremost, make sure your writing is top notch. If you need a professional editor, make that investment. Pass out a few free copies before you publish to get some feedback. Finally, have your cover designed by a professional. You would be amazed at how much of a difference that makes.

I hope these 8 strategies help put self-publishing in perspective. What are your toughest challenges with self-publishing?
Nicole Boyer head shotNicole Boyer is young graphic and web designer who is also extremely passionate about writing. She’s a regular contributor at Business2Community and WebDesignerDepot. Connect with Nicole via Twitter or Google+.

Feature Photo Credit: Astrid Kopp via Compfight cc


Want to know the secrets of how to target Amazon for best success?

Part of targeting genre successfully for best discoverability is in understanding exactly how Amazon’s search engines work. It’s not hard to learn, but there are tricks to getting on Amazon’s best-seller lists.

To help authors get a handle on just how to do this, I’ve put together a killer online course called Targeting Genre for Big Sales. Not only does it show how to target genre so search engine results will shoot your book to the top of the results lists, it teaches you practical technique in searching for that perfect subgenre to write in that will sell well but won’t have excessive competition.

flaming arrows and target 1000 wideI’m excited to offer this course to you, and if you enroll before February 20th, you’ll get $100 off the full price. The course launches March 1, so be sure to sign up and get ready to launch your novel into the stratosphere.

This isn’t just theory. By following these steps I outline in this course, I went from a few sales of my novels a month to sometimes thousands—often with hardly any promotion and using a pen name that was unknown.

Read my story on the course sales page here, and sign up soon to get the discounted price!

Make this the year you see big sales!



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  1. Your blogs are always so rich in information. I’m trying to learn as much as I can from you. Thank you for making it easier because your writing is so direct.

  2. It’s definitely important to market to the right audience. Not all book readers are going to be drawn to your work. You have to find the niche audience that is looking for something new and exciting in your specific genre and market to them specifically.

  3. Hi there:

    I am just jumping in to help my computer illiterate father better market a self-published book. the book is currently on amazon. it does not show up on search for books in it’s category, which would be things like “mixed income housing” or “public housing histories” etc. It obviously shows up in a search on amazon, but that’s it. How do I get it to show up in searches?

    I also am trying to figure out the best way to digitalize the book. Who does that? Who does that well?

    Finally I think the book needs a stand alone website. It is currently being used at Boston College and UMASS Boston but my father’s goal is to let more urban colleges know about the book.

    Are there Amazon consultants out there? Great website designers specializing in book sites SEO upkeep? Would appreciate any and all leads!! Thanks!

    1. Hi Suzanne, there are tons of resources online. You can Google for all this. But as far as selling and getting noticed, there are proven strategies to ranking high in the search results on Amazon. That’s why I put my extensive course together. While Targeting Genre for Big Sales (at cslakin.teachable.com) is for fiction writers, the strategies and tools work for nonfiction. Also it would be helpful for you/your father to take my FREE Amazon email course to learn some of the simple and basic strategies to be discovered. The link to the free course is on my blog home page on the right nav bar.

      I’m not sure what you mean about “digitalizing” a book. Do you mean creating an ebook? I just use Word, though others create PDFS and other files. Again, there are tons of blog posts that give instruction how to do this.

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