Once upon a time, self-publishing was neither a well-accepted idea nor a popular market. For decades, authors have sought out traditional publishers to market their books, and the idea of self-publishing was more of a death sentence, a tangent people who could not find an editor or agent used. Today, however, self-publishing is very like running a small business. More and more self-publishers are putting this path on the publishing map, and figuring out how to best market their books.
A great place to start is through selecting one of the most popular publishing platforms, a few of which include Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, CreateSpace and Lulu are at the top of the list. Not only are all these sites free to use and easy to step up, they allow a resource to publish the author’s book online right away. It only takes a series of steps. With Amazon’s publishing platform, specifically, authors sell digital copies of their book and receive 35-70 percent in royalties on the sale price. This is the most popular choice among self-publishing authors because of the freedom and independence they have over their books.
Then the real marketing phase commences. Generating interest and networking are the most crucial components of the entire process. Without that, self-published books, while published and available for the world to see and enjoy, do not go anywhere. Each individual author must commit to spreading the word about his or her book to have a successful marketing campaign. Popular methods of accomplishing this are with social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. Amazon and Goodreads are two more recommended outlets. Professional pages and posted profiles have proven to be a great tactic for self-publishing authors to successfully market their books.
Publishing in multiple formats is another good way of marketing. Self-publishers who use the various types of publishing found with LuLu are known to “sell about four times as many copies as those who publish only in one format.” Not only does it increase the number of readers, but it also presents a greater signal that their book is professional and from a real author.
Books with catchy titles often have more success in the marketplace. In fact, the title can be the deciding factor as to whether the book sells only a few copies or thousands of copies. James Altucher found huge success with his self-published self-help book Choose Yourself! which sold over 200,000 copies.
Finally, self-publishers have discovered that attending book signings and similar events provide excellent platforms to market books. This can be done at large or small events and at local bookstores. It is not uncommon during the year to see posters announcing the author coming to visit to read part of the book aloud, and offer autographs afterwards. Chances to give away free copies through a raffle or contest are also used as ways to attract more people, and having well known or more familiar authors present at the event can help self-publisher’s sales and exposure.
Through the years, self-publishers have had to figure out how to market their books. They have found that anything which establishes them more in their community and creates opportunities of awareness for them and their books have taken them far.
By Rachel Roddy