7 Simple Tips for Increasing Independently Published Book Sales
You spend weeks, months, or even years perfecting your book. After pounding out the rough draft with lightning speed and going over every sentence a million times to ensure it’s perfect, you’re ready to send your title out into the world.
At this point, you may feel slightly defeated to know the most demanding work is yet to come. Your book may be the best to hit the market this century, but it doesn’t matter if nobody reads it. So how do you get readers to take a chance on your first (or newest) title?
The word alone causes anxiety. How do you market your self-published book? Which of the countless options are worthwhile? Which are a waste of time and money?
While there are many worthwhile ways to market your book, starting simple is the best course of action. Not only does this get eyes on your book, but it also lets you dip your toes in the world of marketing. You can use the seven simple tips below as a jump-off point for more complicated or expensive marketing forms if you wish.
1. Connect With Others in the Independent Publishing Community
In many industries, those in your same profession are your competitors. That isn’t the case in publishing. Other authors are your friends, and they can help provide the cheapest, most accessible form of marketing.
Early on, begin connecting with others in the independent publishing community. Although authors who write in similar genres are your best choices, they’re far from the only ones. You can also network with editors, critics, cover designers, book bloggers, and book tour companies.
These connections are invaluable when appropriately leveraged. Use these connections to host multi-author events or get more eyes on your newest title on social media.
Remember, however, it’s a give and take situation. If another author shares your title with their fans and followers, you should be willing to do the same.
You can also use connections to bounce ideas off each other or ask for advice. Many experienced authors (myself included) are more than willing to share tips they learned the hard way — so you don’t have to.
2. Know Your Book Is Judged by Its Cover
“Don’t judge a book by its cover.” This adage is used so often it’s challenging to find someone who hasn’t heard it once (or a dozen) times.
The bad news? People DO judge your book by its cover, and that is never going to change.
The good news? This provides an easy marketing opportunity you only need to invest time into once.
While it’s true you can rebrand your cover and release it whenever you want, that’s not a winning strategy. A winning marketing strategy is to release your book with an eye-catching, unique cover that hints at the story within the first go around. Trust me on this one — I learned this the hard way.
There is no singular rule on what makes a cover eye-catching. You want it to both reflect the story within and pull the attention of your target audience. Doing this is a unique process.
However, while there is no hard and fast “must,” there are a few “must not’s” that will also apply. Those include:
- Don’t use difficult to read font
- Don’t have too much going on at once
- Don’t use models who don’t resemble your main characters
- Don’t skip the spell check
- Don’t use low-quality images
- Don’t use the same cover as someone else
These are a few prime examples of things to avoid. You’ll want to ensure that if your book is part of a series, all books are tied together somehow. This makes it easier for fans to find the next title.
3. Hype up Your Book’s Release in Advance
Marketing shouldn’t begin after you hit publish. You won’t have a great release week this way. Instead, try to start marketing between a week (at a minimum) and a few months in advance of your estimated released date.
A few ideas of pre-publishing marketing you can do include:
- Host a cover reveal about a month in advance
- Start a book blog tour a week ahead of release (with preorder an option)
- Send out branded postcards to your fans (physical or digital)
- Use teaser graphics on social media
- Offer the first few paragraphs (or even the entire first chapter) for free on your blog
Using your creativity, you can think of other ways to market your book before hitting publish. The more marketing you can do, the better your release week is likely to be. I found this to be true with my Think You Know Your States? Series when two of them hit the #1 new release spots on Amazon after a minimal amount of pre-publishing marketing.