For the last couple of years I’ve been helping authors market books. But I haven’t really offered book marketing services.
That’s because the best marketing is done by you.
There are some things you can outsource, and you could pay for advertising or promotions, but real, long-term, successful, author platform building strategies – that sell tons of books easily – take time, effort and/or money to build.
Let me repeat that:
Successful book marketing takes time, effort and/or money.
I try to help authors learn what to do.
I’ve written several books about it.
I even give those books away for free.
I’ve built platforms to help authors design better covers.
Now I’m starting to talk about designing author websites that actually work.
And I notice a whole lot of other people talking about book marketing too.
And we’re all saying the same thing.
Because there are no simple, easy, free short cuts to book marketing success.
But nobody wants to work hard, or spend money.
And this is the problem facing the self-publishing community.
All you need for a successful book is a beautiful/well written story in a popular genre and a professional book cover design.
But apparently, that’s too much.
85% of indie authors can’t be bothered to get a professional book cover design because it costs too much.
85% of indie authors are probably also writing books without identifying a target readership (so they don’t know who will want to read their book, how many of them there are, or how to get their book in front of them).
Of the remaining 15%, only about 1% of them are writing great books in popular genres and putting amazing book covers on them.
Competition? What competition?
A lot of people say the market is saturated, and it’s so hard to get noticed and sell books, because so many other people are publishing too.
But I don’t see any competition. Because the majority of indie authors don’t want to spend any time, any effort, or any money publishing and marketing their books. They aren’t competition. They aren’t even trying.
They are waiting to be discovered. They are looking for help and free advice. They are hoping 5 minutes of someone else’s time or energy will be enough to make them a bestseller. It’s not going to happen.
Meanwhile, I can look at almost any genre or category, and notice how easy it would be dominate.
That’s because the mainstream, traditionally published books, even by big authors, are getting worse. They look nice but are often disappointing. There’s rarely anything exceptional. Which is why a lot of self-published stuff ends up in the top 20 bestsellers of nearly any category. But of those, a lot of them are either A) not great books or B) have a mediocre cover.
I’m one of the lucky authors who was willing to spend the time to build a platform. It took about 2 years, which is about as long as it takes, though you could do it much faster. And I’m also lucky because I’m very willing to spend the time and money and effort to publish quality books and market them hard. In fact, publishing and marketing for me is so easy, all I really need is more books – which is why I’m not only spending more time writing, but actively partnering with writers to write books in bestselling genres that have a high chance of making money (and not crap books; I’m hiring literary geniuses and we’re going to write amazing books).
What I see is a gold rush, with millions and millions of readers flush with money just waiting for more good books to read – and a bunch of authors who are standing by the river saying, “Oh, I didn’t bring a bucket, I don’t have a shovel, I don’t want to get my shoes wet, this area has probably already been panned dry…” So they sit and draw pictures in the sand, dreaming of success that will never come, because all the gold is down in the river.
There’s no cheap or easy way: it either takes some money or some work.
You have to give up something if you want results. You don’t get nothing for nothing.
If you’re still looking for FREE solutions, do this:
1. Find a 5 bestselling books in your genre.
2. Google the title name + “review” and find all the blogs and websites that have reviewed them.
3. Ignore the mega huge blogs and bloggers, focus on the medium sized ones. Find out who runs them.
4. Follow them on social media. Share their content and make sure they see it.
5. Write a blog post called, “My favorite 10 blogs in the whole world and why,” and link to them and say nice things about them.
6. After a month or two, send them an email and an ebook version of your manuscript asking if they’re review it (remind them they reviewed that other book in your genre.)
7. Search Twitter for keywords related to your book’s topic or genre. Follow everybody you can.
8. Find other authors in you genre. Follow them. Review their books. Promote their books.
9. Join Facebook groups related to your topic or genre. If there isn’t one, start one of your own.
10. Write a whole bunch of articles on your blog that appeal to your target audience. Write one a day (around 500 words, it takes 30 minutes).
11. Ask if you can post articles on other blogs with bigger followings or more traffic. They need good content. Give it to them.
12. Do a book launch with a free giveaway or .99 discount, and notify all the “free kindle/cheap kindle book sites.” There are a lot of them.
ALL that stuff is free, and it’s not very hard.
If all that sounds like too much work, then you’re going to have to pay someone to do it for you.
Or you’re going to have to give up, and just hope you get lucky and somebody else loves your book SO MUCH that they do all your marketing for you. It happens, like, never. But who knows. You might be the exception.
If you’re ready for PAID solutions, do this:’
1. Get a better cover. A better cover will make everything else easy.
2. Pay someone else to promote your free book/cheap book for you, like BookBub.
3. Advertise on Facebook – target your book to readers who liked other books in the same genre.
If you don’t have any money, do it this way:
1. Do a free campaign and notify as many sites as you can, for free.
2. Switch into the .99 pricing and hopefully sales will continue. If they don’t, your cover isn’t good enough. You may be forced to spend $20 to get a better one on Fiverr.
3. If people downloaded your book and liked it and left reviews, great! Now do another free/cheap campaign and spend $25 on the smaller promotion sites, and $25 on Facebook ads. Those should work and earn you money. Now you can afford BookBub.
If $20 is too much money for you to spend on your publishing dream, I have no sympathy for you.
If you finished writing a book, it means you’ve got hundreds of hours of time and your disposal, that you didn’t need to be working. Now you’re done. So go get a job. You need money to promote your books? Earn it!
I’m a philosophy dropout with a PhD in Literature. I covet a cabin full of cats, where I can write fantasy novels to pay for my cake addiction. Sometimes I live in castles.