Marketing Your Self-Published Book – The Essential Basics

I know that the stereotype for writers has been the image of the hermit who does nothing but churn-out books in his quiet cabin or house by the lake, but the reality of the new world for any self-published author is a vast deviation from that norm.

When this topic was brought-up for discussion here something immediately popped into my head. We are neck-deep in the age of information, if you're having trouble finding out how to market your self-published book, you might have trouble doing it yourself period. When I started to research this topic I was bombarded with blog posts and data, most of it from reputable sources, almost to the point of being overwhelmed. I can ingest a tremendous amount of information without being overwhelmed, so for me, that's saying something.

I get that it might be a scary place to visit, and that there's a desire to have everything you need all nice and tidily wrapped-up in one article or blog post. Maybe on some level you can get that in the beginning, but the minute you dip your toe in the water you're going to need to be ready to go swimming in the deep end for awhile.

That being said, I realized fairly early-on in my research that this was not going to be a single article kind of topic. I already have 5 spinoffs planned and fully expect to have more as I dig deeper. This should be heartening to you though if you are planning to self-publish. The information and resources are there, en masse. All you have to do is create a plan, and stick with it.

I'll be getting very involved in this topic over the next few weeks, but for now, here are a few 'general' pointers to get you started.

Know your audience...
I know, you've heard it all before, but honestly the amount of times this comes up in articles leads me to believe that knowing this and believing it are two different things. You need to know this before you even start writing. Bonus points if you already have an author platform and readership.

Speaking of an author platform...
Here is where it seems many writers fail. In the old marketing system, you wrote an amazing book and got it published with a company who would do all of the marketing for you. Before social media, the Internet, blogs, etc. you didn't need to have more than a bio to recommend you. If you don't realize that things have changed dramatically, I hope you have friends in high places. You need to plaster yourself all over the Internet, wherever book readers go. Use the same photo so people will begin to recognize you, and make sure that your bio and anything you write about yourself speaks to the people in your genre. “Are you supporting your own genre with your platform?” is the question you need to ask and answer. And for heaven's sake, if someone shows an interest in you, your work, or connecting on social media, ANSWER THEM!!! Believe me, you don't know where your next fan might come from, or how far and wide a single person can spread both good and bad reviews about your work until you start to ignore the people who show an interest in you. That means accepting friendship wherever it is offered online folks, and making the extra effort to do some connecting of your own. Be thankful you don't have to shake hands with every single person you can potentially connect with online, and count the Internet and its networking capabilities among your blessings.

Have a marketing plan (even a basic one)...
The kinds of questions you should be answering for this include: How much time will I devote to marketing? Which network will bring me closest to my fan base? Keep social media aligned with your book genre and topics. Read every review and comment from readers as these are goldmines of information about what works, and what doesn't, about your book. Have and keep-up with your own blog or a website (frankly, you should have this in place years before you write the book), and you should be putting any reviews for your book on your site. Lastly, know the competition.

That's all for now. I think you can begin to get a feeling for how much information is readily available though. I'm planning to cover what you need to include on your author website or blog, and how to start identifying and connecting with your audience in the next article. If you have a suggestion for something you'd like to learn from this series, or some pointers from self-publishing experiences you've had yourself, please feel free to comment below.




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