Monday, October 28, 2013

How to market and sell a self-published book

So you've finished your masterpiece.  You've poured countless hours into your work, drank so many cups of coffee that you're going to be shaking for weeks to come, ignored phone calls, banished yourself from facebook, all in your quest for writing excellence.

And now you're done!  You've self-published and celebrated your success!

But how do you get the book from your hands into the hands of readers?

The first thing you should be aware of, and I've mentioned it before, is that no one is going to care that you wrote a book.  I don't mean to burst your bubble, but it's a truth that you simply must accept in order to start selling your story.  Now-a-days, anyone can be an author, so you writing a book isn't as impressive as it once could have been.  Now how does this info help you?  You need to make yourself special, marketable.  You need to give readers a reason to read your book.

1.  Develop your platform.  A platform, while defined a few different ways, is basically your ability to sell books based on who you are, the personal or professional connects you have, and the social media outlets you use.  This takes time so don't worry if you're at the starting line.

2.  Develop a Unique Selling Proposition (USP).  If you're in business (which you are as an author), you'll recognize this term.  A USP is what sets you apart, what makes you different than the thousands of other romance, suspense, or fantasy authors.  For example, Susan May Warren was a Russian missionary and many of her books have some connection to Russia.  This is something unique to her brand of books.  Your USP may be something to do with your characters, or perhaps your themes, but it should be something that attracts readers and sets you apart from everyone else.  By having a USP, you'll be able to funnel your marketing strategy to those uniquely interested in what you have to say.

3.  Make appearances.  Remember how you used to want to be a writer because it's a solitary profession?  Remember daydreaming about sitting in a room, just you and your computer, writing the next great American novel?  Well, as you know, writing isn't what it used to be and if you're a self-published author, you need to get your name out there.  This means, YOU need to get out there.  This goes back to your developing your platform and USP.  For example, if you are a Christian writer, a member of a church and your USP deals with broken characters overcoming some sort of unique specific obstacle, start researching various religious organizations that welcome speakers.  Make yourself known.

4.  Don't sell your book.  Wait, what??  Ok, hear me out.  When it comes to self-publishing, a common mistake and one I've made is consistently trying to get people to buy your book.  "Hey, I wrote a book.  You should check it out!"  "Hey, Christmas is coming up and my book is 10% off!  *wink wink*  *nudge nudge*"  Nope, not going to work.  After all, when you walk into a car dealership and suddenly get swarmed by sales associates, does that really put you in the mood to buy a car?  Don't sell your book.  Sell your personality, your ideas, your unique characteristics and views.  Do #3, and don't mention your book until the end.  Just tell your story, how you became an author, what you can offer others trying to get started on their own path.  Then, people will be curious about you and check out your writing.

5.  Make a movie trailer.  This is becoming popular and while I still haven't gotten around to doing it, I would recommend giving it a try. 

6.  Get someone to review your book.  This is tough.  Really tough, but start on Goodreads and search for someone willing to read and review your work.  You can also google people who will read self-published books, but just make sure that you submit to someone who reads your genre.  Also, make sure you present yourself in a professional manner.  On a side note, the reviewer is probably going to want a free copy of your story *sigh*. 

This is your starting point to marketing and getting your self-published book sold.  Along the way, you'll come up with other strategies but the main idea is to get yourself out there and put in the work.  Good luck!

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