Selling your self-published book can be a challenge, especially if you’re publishing for the first time and you’re not quite sure how to promote your book. Learning how to market a self-published book and about the tools available to you is a great place to start.

10 Tips for How To Market a Self-Published Book

The most important thing to have when thinking about how to market a self-published book is a well-designed book cover, a great title, and a well-written manuscript. The book itself needs to be the best quality it can possibly be, so make sure you invest in a professional cover and take the time to make sure your manuscript is polished.

If you are successful in those two areas, then learning how to promote your book becomes so much easier. The next step is to know who you’re selling your book to. Here are 10 tips for marketing a self-published book you should know.

Tip #1: Narrow down your target audience.

It is a lot easier to know how to market a book if you know who to market to. Odds are, you already know who your audience is, but perhaps you need to narrow it down into smaller categories that are easier to target.

The first step to selling your self-published book is to find out what groups of people will be most interested in your book. Keep in mind that your audience is not always the readers you want but instead the readers who want or need your book.

To figure out your audience, you need to look at what genre your book is, what the most important subjects are, and what your book offers the reader. Once you’ve carefully considered those three things, the answers to these questions will add up to your audience.

Once you’ve figured out who your audience is, then you can implement the following strategies as you learn how to market a book to those most interested in buying it.

Tip #2: Establish an online presence and start interacting with your target audience.

When it comes to trying to sell your self-published book, establishing an online presence can be one of the most important strategies you use. Create social media accounts and an author website or blog, and then begin connecting with your audience.

Follow people you think might be interested in your book on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and start interacting with them and their content. Be sure to follow authors and creators who write in your genre as well. Consider this as networking: the more people you reach, the better your sales will be.

Try to build genuine connections with your followers. The people you market to can become friends and career-long connections who can support you and your book if you’re genuine in interacting with them.

Promoting your book by posting occasional teasers or updates about your writing and publishing process on social media platforms is a great way to market your book without annoying your audience. This can be a good way to create a buzz about your book before your launch.

Make sure you’ve created a Goodreads page for your book, so readers can add your book to their reading lists before it’s published, and their friends and followers will see your book in their updates too. Using Goodreads is a great way to reach new potential readers.

Tip #3: Create a mailing list and send out newsletters to stay connected with your readers.

Once you’ve established an online presence, you might consider using an email marketing service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact to maintain a direct line of communication with your audience. Newsletters are great because they allow you to consistently update your audience directly in their inbox to keep them thinking about you and your book.

A newsletter can be a great tool to help sell your self-published book, but you have to use it strategically to avoid spamming your audience and losing subscribers. With email marketing services, you can share links or pages on your website, blog, or social media profiles to encourage potential readers to subscribe to your email list.

Once you have subscribers on your email list, you can start sending out regular newsletters with updates about your books, such as sharing a launch date, compiling new reviews, and letting them know about sales or discounts.

To add more value to your newsletter and encourage your readers to stay subscribed, you can offer additional content, such as sneak peeks of your content, early cover reveals, or excerpts of your book. If your book is about a specific topic, you can share relevant articles and news about your topic or field as well. Don’t forget to keep a purchase link and blurb about your book at the bottom of each newsletter.

Tip #4: Consider a digital tour to promote the launch of your book.

Another great way to sell your self-published book is to get people talking about it. Book tour services make this especially easy, but they can cost a good chunk of money. Fortunately, you can usually find a service that fits your needs without breaking your budget.

If you don’t know what a book tour is, it usually consists of online influencers sharing reviews, interviews, excerpts, book trailers, cover reveals, giveaways, and/or other promotional materials on their platforms (usually a blog or website).

You’ll want to shop around a bit before selecting a book tour company to make sure the one you pick has worked with your genre and is able to reach the influencers who will be most interested in your book. Make sure you know what is offered and what you’ll have to do yourself with each package or company you consider.

Tip #5: Send out review galleys to spark word-of-mouth advertising and ask relevant influencers for reviews.

If you can’t afford to pay for a book tour service, you can contact bloggers, social media influencers, and others who might be interested in reading and promoting your book and offer them a copy of your book in exchange for an honest review.

Don’t just spam influencers with requests to promote your book. Be genuine, do your research, and only ask influencers who show an interest in your genre or topic.

This may not be as effective as a coordinated and well-organized book tour, and it can be a lot more work on your own, but don’t let that discourage you. It can be equally rewarding to put in the hard work because you can connect personally with the influencers you reach out to. This can result in a more authentic relationship and marketing strategy.

Finally, another option, if you have a large enough budget, is to get your book listed on websites for galleys and advance reader copies, like Netgalley. You can pay for your book to be listed and available to download for interested professional readers, such as librarians, booksellers, and influencers.

Tip #6: Create Facebook ads to promote your website or blog, which will point readers to your book.

If you haven’t yet created your designated author Facebook page, time’s a wastin’! This is a must-do step when learning how to promote your self-published book: Facebook targeted ads.

Once you have an author page, there are several ways to maximize its use for marketing your book. First, you should build an audience, which you can do by inviting your Facebook friends to like the author page. The idea is to continually grow the author page, as this is where you will be using Facebook ads to market your book. You can boost your author page followers by using the blue “Promote” tab. It is an inexpensive way to significantly increase your followers.

Create regular Facebook posts that will post simultaneously on your Instagram author account. You can post short excerpts from your book (create visually stunning posts on Canva), memes that pertain to your topic if you write in the non-fiction genre, and blog posts from your website.

For just a few dollars, Facebook targeted ads can garner hundreds of link clicks and likes, which translate to book sales. For example, you post a link to your blog on your Facebook feed, and the blog will feature a link to your book listing on Amazon or whichever platforms you want to send the reader to.

Facebook ads allow you to easily create a highly curated target audience, which also helps you build up your followers. When they “like” your post, you then invite them to follow your Facebook author page. The more followers you accrue, the more potential customers.

Tip #7: Promote your book on Bookbub using fine-tuned targeting options.

Bookbub is an outstanding marketing tool for promoting eBooks. After you create your Bookbub author profile and upload links to your books, you can start running Bookbub ads.

It takes a bit of trial and error at first to discover the perfect mix of authors and category targeting for your book promotions, so always test these ads first using small budgets. Your ad will land in the email inbox of readers who prefer certain genres or authors that are similar to your book.

If you have created a clean, well-designed promotional image for your ad, the email recipient is prompted to click on it and will hopefully follow through with a purchase. Bookbub ads are excellent tools for launching new eBooks releases.

Tip #8: Add More Amazon categories and curate your keywords to improve your book listing SEO.

Your Amazon meta-data is critical to your book being discovered by customers when they conduct a search on its enormous platform. The meta-data includes all the details you enter when you first set up your book listing.

Be sure to research the best keywords for your book, using a tool like Publisher Rocket to assist you in keyword selection. Be sure to use all seven keywords.

As for book categories, Amazon only allows you to select three categories for your book when entering the meta-data. However, there is an easy way to increase that to ten categories. Send an email to KDP support and request that they add an additional seven categories for you, for a total of ten.

While you are fine-tuning your Amazon listing details, be sure to take time to perfect the book description that accompanies your book listing. This short summary should be extremely well written, succinct, and persuasive. It should be considered an important marketing tool that can motivate the reader to hit the buy button.

Tip #9: Run a KDP Select promotion.

Amazon’s KDP Select program isn’t for everyone, but if you write in the genres of romance, fantasy, science fiction, or crime fiction you should consider this option. KDP Select is a 90-day exclusive arrangement with Amazon. During the 90-day period, you cannot publish your eBook on any other seller platform.

Why bother with KDP Select, you ask? There are definitely some enticements that would make it worthwhile for promoting your eBook. These include:

  • High visibility for your new book right out of the gate
  • Royalties paid through the Kindle Unlimited book borrow program for pages read
  • Kindle Countdown Deal promotions that allow the author to offer their book at a discount, which can drum up sales and improve your book ranking
  • Possibly gather more book reviews

KDP Select doesn’t make sense for every author, but in those particular genres it is definitely worth a 90-day experiment. And remember, you can still publish your print edition on as many platforms as you wish during that period.

Tip #10: Create an Amazon targeted ad campaign.

Amazon ad campaigns, like Bookbub ads, do require some experimentation. To optimize your investment, first build up your targeted keywords—a couple of hundred if possible. Again, the Publisher Rocket can be very useful in discovering relevant keywords, including similar author names and book titles, that will draw readers to your book listing. As you run your ads you can review which keywords perform best and begin culling the duds.

Amazon ads can get pricey, so start with a small budget of $2 or $3 per day for a week or two. This allows you to fine-tune the keywords, the timing of the ad, or to simply test the Amazon ad program out. If after you have invested say $30 and have not seen any sales, you will know this is not the best marketing tool for you. On the other hand, you may have reached many potential customers who otherwise would never have found your book, and made enough sales to justify the investment.

Now What? Learn How To Sell Your Self-Published Book!

Of all the marketing tools we’ve laid out so far, we haven’t covered the most important step to learning how to sell self-published books: figuring out how to make your book available to purchase at all the major book retailers.

Consider these steps before even thinking about how to promote a self-published book:

  • Book Cover. Be sure your book cover design is spectacular. The cover is one of your most important marketing tools. If your cover design is just meh, do your book a big favor and hire a professional to create a captivating cover for you.
  • Editing. Don’t attempt to DIY the editing process! An author’s eye is not trained to spot typos or grammar faux pas, and nothing will turn off a reader faster than a book full of errors. Enlist the expertise of an editor for line editing and proofreading services.
  • Distribution. Partner with a reliable book distributor. The last thing you want is for your book to languish because it was not properly uploaded and distributed. Find a distributor that is an industry leader with a stellar reputation of taking care of its authors.

Whether you are publishing an eBook or a physical book, you need to make sure your audience can easily find and purchase it. Gatekeeper Press partners with all the major book retailers, making it easy to sell your books anywhere your audience might shop.

Get the Word Out About Your Work!

Now that you know how to market a self-published book, get started by making sure you promote your book in its best form. If you’re trying to whip your book into its best shape, check out our professional cover design or editing and proofreading services at Gatekeeper Press.

If you’re ready to take the next step in self-publishing your book, get started with a free 30-minute consultation to learn more about our editing, illustration, formatting, cover design and publishing, and distribution services.

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