Identify your audience. Who is reading and buying your book? It’s very likely that you can break your audience into sub-groups (for example: young adult readers ages 8-16, teachers .. if your book is about ballet, then you would add performing arts audience to your list, etc.).
Track down your audience (gently stalk them). Locate blogs, forums, or groups that they belong to and figure out how you can productively participate. Perhaps you can write a guest post for one of the blogs? Or schedule an interview?
Identify your budget. Whether it’s $5 or $500. Start somewhere and figure out how much you can set aside specifically for the marketing of your book.
Start writing blog posts. You can’t have too many lined up, not only for your own personal author blog/website, but also for guest visits. *Are you all familiar with guest blogging? You want to write things that are relevant and interesting to your audience. Hence, the purpose of identifying your audience in step one (how can you inspire them, help them with a problem, relate to them ..).
Create a list of everyone you know who reads. Family, friends, co-workers. Offer to give them a free copy of your book in exchange for a brief review. This step is easy to do through social media and email, but don’t forget the people who you only see in person, like postal workers, bank tellers, coffee baristas, grocery clerks, etc. These are people that we see on a regular basis and have struck little friendships up with.
Follow up with the people you gave copies of your book to, as well. Giving them your book is only half the battle. You can check in with them in a non-annoying way. See who would be willing to share a brief review on their blog, or sites like Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews help generate sales, and we need them. Some people are intimidated by the thought of writing a review, so I explain that anything is helpful, even just a few sentences. Or if reviews aren’t their cup of tea, how about a one-liner quote that you can use in promos or your media kit?
Start an email list. If you already have one, pat yourself on the back and stay active. If not, start collecting those emails. Most website builders have a built in email list feature, or you can use a site like Mail Chimp to collect emails and send out newsletters.
Book Trailers. These are a fun and interactive way to promote your book. A quality book trailer can cost a few hundred dollars, but they are worth it and can be used in various ways for promotion over a long period of time.
Interviews. Where can you be featured? Online, in your local paper, podcasts, radio shows, etc. Reach out and send them your press kit.
Attend conferences. Check in with your local library to see what events they plan for authors. If they don’t, ask the librarian how you can start an event. This could be a panel of indie authors doing a Q&A, a book reading, etc. What writing associations are happening in your area? Where I live, we have the PNWA conference (pnwa.org). Google is your friend. Or join a writer’s group (online or in-person) and simply ask - network!
Set your book price. Make sure your price is comparable to what is on the market. Far too often I see ebooks being priced too high. As authors, we would love to make a profit, yes? But, in the beginning, the most important thing is getting your book out into the world, and if that means slicing a few dollars from your retail price, then that’s something you need to do, and you’ll benefit from it down the road.
How are you going to sell your book? Amazon, your website, in person? Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Keep your book available through various platforms so that you are offering it to as many people as possible. Some people don’t support Amazon, so you would be losing those clients if you solely sell on that platform. You can easily add a PayPal shopping cart button onto your website. This is also the time to consider getting a payment reader for your phone or ipad. This is a must have if you table in-person events. I use the PayPal reader because it connects to my PayPal account, but there is also the Square reader which I have heard awesome things about, too- squareup.com. We live in a time where we have to be easily accessible to our audience, because we live in a time of convenience. When I table events, I am astonished by how many people don’t bring cash and rely on their debit or credit cards for purchases.
Create a realistic timeframe of your goals. Make sure you coincide your prepress goals with your marketing goals. Your prepress goals should be editing, book formatting, and book design. Having these goals outlined will allow you to stay on track financially.
Ideally your press release should be one page, with no larger than a 12 point font.
Contact Info: Email address, mailing info. Direct the reader on where to purchase a copy of your book for distribution, or how to get a review copy.
Product Info: Book cover image with your title, author name, publisher (if you are self-publishing, then you can create your own publishing name that you plan to publish your book under, or just leave this info out), date of publication, retail price, ISBN, page count, book blurb, list the formats your book is available in (epub, mobi, print, hardcover), author bio, and author photo. If you have any testimonials or quotes, this would be the place to add them.
Promotion Info: This is optional, but recommended, especially if the media kit is being included with review copies of your book. You want to write something along the lines of: Whenever promoting the book, please link to: *insert website url*
When you post a review or promotion, please let us know so that we can share it on our social media!