Why do you need to know how to promote a self-published book? It’s common knowledge among seasoned authors that once you write, edit, and publish your book the “real” work begins. Those who are new to this process might react with something like, “What?! I’ve poured hours upon hours into my book, sometimes sacrificing time with family and friends and you’re telling me the real work is just beginning now?”
The short answer? Yes.
Assuming your goal is to sell you work to readers outside of your inner circle, you will have to make a concerted effort to find these people (both online and in real life), engage with them, develop ongoing relationships, and (eventually) convert them into buyers. Whether on twitter or in person, the emphasis is on engagement, not broadcasting. Be prepared to do this over the long haul even while you’re working on sequels, prequels, or other works of fiction or nonfiction. It takes time. It may even take decades before you achieve your desired results. Along the way, you’ll be tweaking, changing, and even overhauling your methods of reaching out to potential readers.
The key is to remain persistent and enthusiastic.
When I published my book in 2008, I was surprised to find many people were just as interested in me the author as they were in my novel. This was true whether I was speaking to a crowd gathered at a local library (libraries, by the way, are always looking for speakers and the “local author” is always a great angle) or as a guest on a Blog Talk Radio show.
On the flip side, as an internet radio host I once had the experience of dealing with a guest who simply could not elaborate on her answers. This woman was a highly accomplished romance novelist who’d won several awards and was enjoying the kind of success most of us dream about. Yet she could barely utter more than one or two short sentences in response to the relevant questions I posed on the air. Believe me, as a host it’s incredibly exhausting to conduct an interview that way; listeners want information from a source they admire and respect. In this case, one hour on the radio felt like an eternity as I struggled to keep the conversation going.
No one knows your book(s) the way you do. Absolutely no one. So be sure to develop a clear understanding of the themes and ideas you most want your readers to take away. Write them down. Then practice articulating them in a conversational style that will draw an audience in, pique their interest, and compel them to buy what you’re selling.
In terms of marketing efforts, it’s definitely a delicate balance between budget, time, and expectations but if you’re going to make an impression and sell books as an independent author, you must utilize social media in addition to the time-tested “traditional” methods, like being the featured speaker at a book club meeting.
Does the thought of speaking in public (or even over the radio) make you want to break out into hives?
Consider joining Toastmasters. You can find a nearby chapter of this international organization by visiting the Toastmasters website. For a very low cost, becoming a member is an excellent way to develop better listening and speaking skills, make new friends and contacts, gain confidence, and engage in ongoing professional development. As a member myself, I cannot recommend Toastmasters highly enough.
Since we at Writestream Publishing manage social media for individuals and businesses, we understand it’s a challenge to help our clients understand its value when all they can see is the bottom line. In many cases, clients have limited resources to devote to their book and they want to see a return on their investment ASAP. I wish we lived in a world where there was a direct, measurable correlation between effort and results. For example, you spend an hour on a Blog Talk Radio show as someone’s guest and the second you go off of the air, you log into Amazon account, where much to your delight you’ve sold 100 books!
Sadly, it just doesn’t work that way.
Then again, with traditional print advertising, there’s never been a guarantee that an ad costing X amount of dollars will directly yield X amount of sales. Either way, it’s a time commitment. Whether you hire a social media consultant to manage your blog and/or platforms, or take that responsibility upon yourself, you must be willing to persist over an unspecified amount of time. There simply are no guarantees. Yet one thing is certain: as an independent author, you must have a social media presence if you want to sell books.
Anyway, I happened across an archived Blog Talk Radio episode I hosted back when I was in a different business partnership. Since the same rules still apply, I believe it’s helpful for all independent authors seeking their own unique definition of success. Click below to discover how to promote a self-published book.
And let me close out this post by adding I am incredibly grateful and blessed to be in business with Lisa Tarves now! Check out our Publishing Packages and Contact Us when you’re ready to get started. To listen to other authors discuss their work, visit our Writestream Radio site, or visit our Blog Talk Radio show page.