Writers are often terrified of the word “marketing.” The writing part takes work, sure, but marketing is a whole different, unfamiliar story. Unless readers actually know that your book is out there, you won't get very many sales. Marketing is often the toughest (and most expensive) part of self-publishing, but there's so many ways to get the word out that you're bound to find one, if not several, tactics that works for you.
Here are a few inexpensive ways to get started on marketing.
Stay Active Online
If you don't already have at least one active social media account for yourself as a professional (i.e., not the same account you share personal details on), you should get one right away. Start building your online presence as soon as possible—long before your book is finished, if possible. I've found both Facebook and Twitter to be helpful, but find what suits you (and your readers). Don't forget blogging, either, which is an excellent way to bring in new readers. Start building an online presence as soon as you decide to publish. It's never too early.
Go On Tour—Virtually
Tours and traveling to promote a book gets pricey real quick. While a few public appearances are certainly excellent marketing tools, you can also head out on tour from the comfort of your own home. A blog tour is where your book is featured on several different websites, and can include guest posts, book reviews, giveaways, interviews and more. Organizing one can be a challenge, but well worth it in the long run. Find sites that your audience frequents and book review blogs. Invite websites to participate, and be sure to let them know that there's options with minimal time commitment, like sharing a guest post. You can also pay a book blog group to organize a tour for you. You'll get more responses that way, but make sure anyone reviewing the book is interested in your topic or genre to avoid unfairly negative reviews. A book tour takes time, so make sure to plan at least two months in advance, if not more.
Spread the Word with a Press Release
Make sure news outlets know that there's a new book out there. Writing a press release is an excellent way to do just that. The key to writing a good press release is to highlight the right information, which sometimes means writing more than one press release. The newspaper in the town you grew up in, for example, might publish an article about a local author—make sure your hometown is listed near the top of that press release. If you've written a non-fiction book, make sure organizations interested in your subject know there's a new book out there by pitching to magazines and trade publications.
Offer a Deal
Discounts are good ways to get people interested in your work. If you enrolled in Kindle Select when publishing, you can use a countdown deal to mark the price down temporarily, which often results in more sales. You can even offer the eBook version for free, but this usually works best on the first book in a series to increase the actual paid sales for the next book. Use sites like BookBub to promote your deal, if you can.
Seek Out Book Reviewers
Customers are more likely to purchase a book that has a positive review. Look for book reviewers by joining online groups (there's a few on Facebook) and sending requests to the fans of that social media page you should now have. There are many sites that will review your book for free, so paying for a review isn't necessary. Just be aware they take some time and you won't get a response from everyone you pitch.
Join Supportive Groups
Writing independently is tough—but there's plenty of indie authors who choose to support other indie authors. There are support groups on Facebook (Clean Indie Reads is excellent), as well as websites that list independent titles online for free, like www.sbproundup.com.
Marketing a book is tough, especially if you don't have any experience in that area. But marketing efforts are well worth it, and a must to earn a profit from self-publishing. Always keep your audience in mind and choose a venue that is the most likely to reach out to them.