In Part 1, we talked about publishing your manuscript. That was Act 1. Now we move to Act 2—where you sell it. Publishing a book and selling a book are not the same thing.
Act 2 Regardless of whether you launch in paper or electronically, there’s a lot that’s up to you to make your book a success. Much of book promotion requires lead time, so this part should start while you’re still doing your rewriting.
Many bestselling authors started by selling their books from the trunks of their cars. But even that timeworn strategy pales in comparison to the buzz you can generate online. (Amanda Hocking is a very young millionaire because she’s very good at this.)
How you promote your book online will be as unique as the book itself, so don’t buy into any scheme that says “buy our service and we will make your book a success.” You can spend a huge amount of money buying “help” like this. The shortcuts those kinds of programs afford are to the poorhouse not the bestseller list. (Trust me on this!)
Blogs, articles, and e-books abound on how to promote your book online. Read enough to appreciate the diversity of approaches. While you’re still rewriting, get involved in the online community where your book will resonate and stay involved.. Find bloggers covering the same topic or niche and start to follow them. Write thoughtful comments to their posts. This gives you visibility and starts establishing your credibility. (Popping up just to say “buy my book” later doesn’t.)
Decide if you want to write your own blog. (Blogging is time-consuming, so know what you’re getting into before you start.) When the book comes out, have a website specifically for it. There’s also much to gain by setting up Twitter and Facebook accounts specifically for the book–provided you want to keep them going.
Ask friends to write reviews for you on Amazon and Barnes & Noble online. These reviews get picked up by other online booksellers, so you want great ones up right away. Never pay for a review but do send a free copy to any credible reviewer who’s interested.
All this stuff is called “building a platform” and you need to do it to sell books. Even if you go with a traditional publisher, you are going to have to do it, so get used to the idea. (Sorry.)
Once the book is out, ramp up your visibility efforts even more, focusing specifically on “your new book.” Consider a blog tour (reviews, Q& A’s, or giveaways of your book that appear on different blogs in quick succession). Jump on any opportunity to talk about your book—why you wrote it, what it’s about, etc. (But do avoid saying “Buy it!”)
If you leave all this to chance once the book is out, it’s probably not going to happen. Learn what you need to and get things going.
Act 3 For self-published authors, word-of-mouth is critical. So keep working on making more people aware of the book no matter how long it’s been out. If you have the chance to speak, do it. If you’re asked to do a radio interview, do that. The more you do to keep the book in front of people, the more satisfied readers exist who’ll tell their friends.
In traditional publishing, the shelf life of a book is about three months. Self-published books can remain available for much longer. Try whatever seems worth doing to promote your work but have fun with what you do.. The best part of doing it this way is that you have the final say on all of it, including how long your want to keep promoting that darling book.
Mary Lloyd is author of Supercharged Retirement: Ditch the Rocking Chair, Trash the Remote, and Do What You Love and the e-book 39 Bites of Wisdom: Little Lessons on Getting Life Right (Kindle). She is owner of Mining Silver LLC and its subsidiary Hankfritz Press. For more, see her website www.mining-silver.com
Note: Mary is the author of “Widow Boy” which is a western story archived on http://10daybookclub.com
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