Self-publishing is the greatest opportunity that has come along in forever for book lovers and writers. The only caveat is that autonomy comes at a price. You need a rock-solid foundation beneath that book to give it every possible chance to be found and championed.
If possible, we recommend hiring a marketing strategist to dive deep to find where your audience lives and then develop the plan to target them.
There are, however, efforts you can do on your own. Beware you’ll be spending some sweat equity, but if it’s for a book you believe in, then it’s time well spent.
Get Ahead of the Self-Publishing Curve
1. Blogs and Social Platforms
Gain positive notoriety by frequently uploading blog posts that speak to your expertise. Using the appropriate keywords and keyword density for your word count, you should be generating fresh content consistently. Google loves fresh content and rewards it with rankings.
Cross-pollinate the blogs with your social media sites so you may be found both organically and be read by your followers. Your social platforms can then be used to create early buzz about your book. Try contests and book giveaways. These will help you build that mailing list of people and get potential readers ready to pre-order. (You can also set up an author page on Facebook!)
2. Hire a Graphic Designer
Unless you ARE one, you need one. Creating a cover in Canva is not going to fly. You CAN tell a book by its cover. Your book cover is the face of your book. If you’re not a known name, it’s what helps distinguish you from the self-publishing pack. You want someone with book cover design experience as they need to be able to accurately design and calculate the spine based on the final page count.
You may want to use this same professional to brand all your social platforms as well as your website and even to create some high-quality business cards. Branding yourself will be one of your most powerful tools in the self-publishing industry.
3. Get Book Reviews
Goodreads. If you’re unfamiliar with Goodreads it’s a wonderful resource for you as a writer AND a reader. You can create your profile to receive information about new books in your favorite genres. It even allows reviews for pre-released books. If you are self-publishing, we also recommend the Goodreads Author Program to create your profile page to take advantage of several promotional opportunities.
Amazon. You can draft and send a professional request to everyone you know to buy and review your book on Amazon. (They do not allow pre-release reviews.) Fans will have to purchase the book first as only the certified reviews carry any weight. You can look up Amazon’s top reviewers in your genre and make your review request of them and have follow-up emails ready in case you don’t hear back.
You may also tap influential bloggers in your genre. However! Do not skimp and go generic with these emails/messages. First follow these people of influence, show respect/interest so to speak. They are likely getting inundated with requests. Conduct yourself in a professional manner and send a custom crafted request.
Take advantage of Amazon’s Author Central. It is a rather nice profile page where you may upload all your information as well as videos. You can easily set up an RSS feed so every one of your newly published blog posts gets added to your profile. Book buyers can purchase your book from here and you can take the URL of the profile and share it on social.
4. Immerse Yourself in the Space
Become part of a self-publishing or writers’ community. Whether it’s a group on LinkedIn or any kind of social group in your field (virtual or IRL) get yourself connected. You will learn SO much from your peers while giving them a chance to see you as a viable resource and an expert in your own right.
For inspiration, check out their work and their social platforms to see how they operate. Also look at their titles and their cover art. Observe the nuances that make them sell. Read the reviews about their work. Consider the most impressive ones as additions to your list to request a review. If you put in the time and consistently show you have a vested interest in the community, they will likely reciprocate.
5. Employ Professionals.
Besides leveraging the expertise of professional editors and digital formatters to make your book shine its brightest, there are also self-publishing opportunities to be found on Bookbub, Book Gorilla, KDP Select, and a plethora of other programs. It is easy to get lost along the way. We recommend working with an indie publisher (like us!) who will help you navigate everything from book size to editing to marketing to distribution.
Self-publishing is a misnomer. There’s a lot to it including properly filing all the legal stuff. You would be best served to obtain some pro support. Your book is worth it!
Conscious Shift Publishing consults, edits, formats, designs, publishes, and markets books. Whether writers wish to self- or indie-publish we inspire them through every step to promote their unique perspectives. CSP clients retain 100% of their royalties as well as 100% ownership of every digital file and image. Find out more at ConsciousShiftPublishing.com or contact publisher, Tracey Kern, at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a complimentary consultation. Write on!