So you’ve written your book. You’ve edited it, formatted it perfectly, and you’ve finally managed to get it published. What happens when the sales don’t come rolling in?
How do you entice prospective readers to buy your book? Where do you find those elusive readers willing to spend their time lost in your fictional worlds?
You might have written a brilliant award-winning masterpiece. Yet if no one knows your book exists, it won’t matter. People just won’t buy it until your marketing efforts bring it to their attention.
Some authors can rely a little on their publisher displaying the book cover on their site. However, if you’ve decided to self-publish through Amazon Kindle you’re competing for attention with a lot of different titles.
Regardless of where or how your book is published, you still need to look for ways to increase awareness for it and attract those readers.
So here are some book marketing tips for promoting your book and boosting your sales:
Create a Marketing Plan
Before you implement any of your marketing strategies, it’s important to create a plan. Remember, your marketing efforts should be designed to help you build a solid author platform. Work out where your book’s readers are likely to learn about new books to buy (this is especially important if you write in a specific sub-genre). Make a list of likely sites that will let you promote your book. Include promotional components that maximize your efforts and complement your other tactics at the same time. Then stick to your plan.
Create an Author Website or Blog
If you don’t have one already, create a specific author website or blog. Your site is the place people will visit to learn more about you. If they really liked your book, they may even visit to see what else you’ve written, which can be a great source of additional sales - especially if you already have a backlist of titles waiting for them.
Love them or hate them, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter really are a strong source of new sales. It’s up to you whether you want to create a personal account in your author name or whether you prefer to set up a Facebook business page for your readers. Post updates about your book to keep people informed and create a buzz about an impending book launch, but remember to post about other topics too. Run contests. Ask questions. Get the interaction going. The idea is to keep people engaged and increase awareness of your author name at the same time. Keep in mind that a Facebook personal account will be limited to 5000 friends, while a business page can have an unlimited number of followers who ‘Like’ your author page. If you intend to have more than 5000 followers throughout your publishing career, you might want to set up a separate page instead of using your own personal account.
Don’t Wait for Reviews
People really do read book reviews to give them some idea of whether a book is worth reading or not. They tend to trust peer reviews to help them make a buying decision. Of course, your book won’t have any reviews at all when it’s first published, which can make it harder to get people buying.
If your book is about to go live or just about to be launched, ask people in your writing groups or book clubs or reading groups if they’re willing to buy a copy and write a review for you. If the book is available through Kindle, offer some free review copies to people in exchange for their review.
Join Amazon Author Central
Amazon provides an author site dedicated to helping you promote your book. After all, if your sales increase Amazon makes more money too! Amazon Author Central (https://authorcentral.amazon.com/ or https://authorcentral.amazon.co.uk) lets you create a bio and include links to your website or blog, your Facebook page or your Twitter account. You can also track your weekly sales from your Author Central dashboard page.
Be sure to sign up for the international version of Author Central too, as there may be readers in other countries wanting to check out your profile.
If you or someone you know can write in fluent German, French or Japanese, get your author bio translated and create Author Central accounts in those languages too. Remember, your book will stay in English. You just want your bio showing on other international sites to improve your international exposure. The links for those pages are:
- Germany - https://authorcentral.amazon.de
- France - https://authorcentral.amazon.fr
- Japan - https://authorcentral.amazon.co.jp
Join Author Marketing Club
Author Marketing Club (www.authormarketingclub.com) is a free service that lets you submit your book to various review sites. There’s an active author forum to participate in and a helpful blog, filled with book promotion tips. They also include a range of free online training for your book marketing, as well as lots of free resources to help you maximize your sales. The free option is great, but you can upgrade to the premium service if you want even more book promotion options, such as locating Amazon reviewers for your book.
The Author Marketing Club also offers a free ebook, detailing how you can boost your Amazon sales by improving your book’s description. You can download the free ebook by clicking here
Goodreads (www.goodreads.com) is an excellent free site that lets you list your book in specific categories or genres. Readers use the reviews and suggestions from other readers on Goodreads to check out which books are recommended in various genres and sub-genres. By getting your book listed on this site, you can increase your exposure and reach out to potential new audiences.
Expand to an International Audience
When your book is uploaded to Amazon it automatically appears in all the international Amazon stores too. However, if your book was uploaded originally to the .com site from the U.S. you might only see the reviews and sales ranks for your book showing on that particular site. Of course, you may not have any reviews showing on the international sites, so chances are your book’s rank and sales numbers may be very different overseas. You could also be missing out on sales from readers in Canada or England or Australia or Europe - or any of the other countries where Amazon has a separate bookstore.
If you’re keen to see your book become an international success, remember that reviews on the .com Amazon site won’t show on the British .co.uk site or the Canadian .ca site. If you want to see sales increasing on the international Amazon sites as well as at home, consider submitting your book to international review sites too.
Take Advantage of Amazon’s KDP Select Program
When you enrol your book in the Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select program, you agree that it won’t be made available for sale anywhere else through any other outlet. Your agreement term is set at 90 days, but it will automatically renew if you don’t log in and remove it from the program after this time.
By enrolling your book in the KDP program you can take advantage of some promotional tools that might help boost your sales. If you really want to make your book available to other outlets (e.g. Smashwords), be sure to log into your Amazon account after the 90 day agreement ends and remove it manually. Once you’ve done this, you’re free to list your books for sale on other outlets too.
We’ve gone into lots more detail about how to take advantage of Smashwords in this post (http://fictionfactor.com/book-promotion/book-promotion-ebook-sales-on-smashwords/).
Give Away Free eBooks
You can choose to offer your book as a free download for up to 5 days in any 90 day period as part of the KDP program.
Before you cringe at the idea of giving your books away, remember that Amazon counts each download as a new sale – even though you don’t earn any royalties on those free downloads. Instead, your book’s rankings increase thanks to those additional downloads and you get to introduce your work to new readers you otherwise may not have found.
You also have the opportunity to use those free download days to get more reviews for your book. Use your Facebook page, Twitter feed and your blog to let people know when it’s available for free. There are also huge numbers of websites and Facebook pages that allow you to list your book during the free download days. Encourage readers to download it and leave a review.
When the free promotional offer ends, the result should be a book with a higher sales ranking overall and hopefully more reviews too.
Besides, Amazon also has a nifty little feature below your book’s author description. It’s titled “Customers Who Bought This Book Also Bought”. Thanks to those extra downloads, your book will start showing up on other book’s pages as a book that other people also bought, which gives you more free marketing exposure.
Hopefully these Amazon book promotion tips give you a solid launching point for your marketing strategies. I look forward to seeing your book on the Amazon Kindle best-seller lists