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Promoting a self published book

Once a book is completely finished with cover, formatting and all the uploading to all the various sites is done, the real hard work begins.

Most writers will agree, writing they can do. Selling themselves and making their name into a brand that people trust to write well is entirely another matter, especially in this shifting age of ebook self publishing and reduced numbers of paper sales. So far my approach has been these things.

  • Social networking
  • Pricing
  • Blog reviews
  • Giveaways
  • Blogging

I think Social networking has become a big part of promoting anything these days and to a large degree goes without saying. Also covered which ones of those I’m using in a recent blog here.

Pricing

A lot of traditional publishers have adopted a model of pricing where they price their ebooks above or the same as their paperbacks, in a few cases even as much as their hardbacks. ebook readers are savy though. They know that it doesn’t cost the publisher or author anything to sell them an ebook. There is no printing, storage or anything like that. There are a lot of readers that refuse to pay more than $3-4 for a ebook. There are even some readers who won’t pay more than $1

Pricing the book right is, therefore, imperative. Most authors are pricing full length novels of 5ok+ words at $2.99 with shorter novella’s and poetry being around $1.99 and short stories being $.99

Blog reviews

This has been one of the most time consuming for me but potentially the most rewarding (assuming you’ve written a good book). I’ve found there are several ways to go about getting these.

Trading with other authors by giving each other free copies of your book in return for theirs. This works well if you are happy to read anything you are given and can do a good review. Has the potential to mean people give good reviews when they don’t want to, however, out of fear of getting a bad one back. It can also lead to good opportunities of working with other authors though and is sometimes the most rewarding way of working and helping other authors.

Searching for book reviews of the same genre can also be effective but can be time consuming, as it’s usually best to take a good look at the blog and check if they accept self published ebooks and are right for your book etc. Blog reviews are one of the best types of reviews you can get these days, however, so the time investment is completely worth it. Their reviews will stay on the internet forever (most of the time) and will continue to drive traffic to your books long after you have moved on to other books.

Giveaways

While lots of giveaways can be expensive they are a great way to get people to take notice of your reviews from blogs as well as your own blog. Everyone likes something they can get free. If your blog is well designed and interesting those new viewers can sometimes turn into long term fans.

Blogging

This one kinda goes without saying too. The best direct way you can get your own brand and name out there is to write things for people to see. Blogs can be the quickest most cost effective way of doing just that.

You do have to make sure your writing is good though. It’s difficult to get people to come back if you are not helping or your posts are full of spelling mistakes and grammar errors.

While all of the above is useful to get sales, the best way to promote yourself is to write good books and to keep writing. If you write well and have patience and perseverance you maximise your chances of having other people talk about your work and spread the word.

The Plan: May 2011

Last month’s progress:

Last month my aim was to do some t-shirt designs, finish my front cover for the print edition of my book and work on the graphic novels. I mostly made good progress in all three areas but didn’t get any of them finished. What I did do, however:

  • Finished polishing and emailed to my uncle 8 complete t-shirt designs.
  • Gathered everything for my front cover bar the hemp rope and mahogany table.
  • Worked a small amount on the language for one graphic novel.
  • Spent approx 40 hours networking and promoting the book.
  • Wrote 5k words of the new book
  • Typed 20k words (including emails and blogs)
  • Started planning my third book
  • Worked approx 10 hours for Flight
  • Spent approx 20 hours reading

As a result of promoting the book, it’s now listed as a featured ebook on the digital catalogue site Digycat. These guys have all sorts up here so if you are interested in browsing for new books it’s a good site.

There are also going to be two opportunities to win free copies of my ebook during TheRomanceReviews summer competition as well as a lot of other fun stuff and prizes. Click the picture to head to their blog and keep tabs on them. I’ll link and blog again closer to the date as well. They do have smaller contests running in the meantime, however.

I’ve had a review from another author as well with a few more in the pipeline. With the book being considered for a Top Indie book list as well as being on the ‘to review’ list for three other blogs. I’ll link all those from the blog here as the appear. My best quote so far though – “The plot takes off from the first page and never lets go. Great fun!” – Lisa Deckert.

Finally, I’ve also been interviewed for the blog Freelance and Fiction and they also have lots of other author interview, book reviews and events. While new this blog shows a lot of promise so please go check them out and watch out for my interview.

This month the plan is to finish the first draft of the newer novel, as well as continue to make progress with both graphical novels. I’d also really like to have the final t-shirt designs done and ready for the launch of the website and company. I’d like to find time for some more of the work on the third novel as I’m hoping this will be the start of a series of novels. More on that when I’ve finished plotting.