1. EmmaWrite
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    EmmaWrite Member

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    Promoting Self-Published Work?

    Discussion in 'Self-Publishing' started by EmmaWrite, Sep 23, 2013.

    I imagine this question has been asked in some variation a million times, but what are your suggestions for promoting a self-published ebook?

    I already have a blog, a Figment, a Tumblr, and a Twitter. What other grounds should I be covering?
     
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  2. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Facebook and Goodreads. You could also try and find reviewers, esp recognised reviewers, to review your book. Give your book away to strategic bloggers (dunno how you can find them though).

    If you're talking marketing, making your blog as interactive as possible is also good, as it draws traffic, which increases the chances of someone seeing your book. Boost your SEO if you're serious about having a website for your own books.

    An author on my FB also gives away promotional items like free signed copies, free e-version of her book, pencils and guitar picks. You'd have to create the merchandise yourself though.
     
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  3. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    The marketing suggestions are all good ones, and I think putting some time into marketing makes sense, but it seems that the best thing you can do to increase sales for your books is to write more books and publish them as well. If you're spending so much time marketing one book that it takes you away from writing your next book, it's probably counter-productive.
     
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  4. alex ramirez
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    alex ramirez New Member

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    All good advice. The best advice I could offer is to keep at it. Don't get discouraged by lack of immediate success. It's a war of attrition. Blog and keep blogging and you really have to try and touch as many people as you can. Not all of them will buy your book but if you have 5000 followers there is good chance that at least a few 100 of them will buy your book. It's all about playing the percentages. Good luck :)
     
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  5. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    On sites such as Amazon you will need good reviews. I notice a lot of people give their eBooks free for a limited time in the hope of receiving such. Others seem to just get their friends to say how great is but that's cheating.
     
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  6. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I'll try to give you some ideas based on my experience with web development and internet marketing.

    You'll need the basics like a personal website, blog, and social media accounts. But more important than that is you need to develop a fanbase. What you really want is for your work to spread via word of mouth.

    Network. Not just on social media, but try to get your book or book review featured on writing/book-related blogs and websites. Get exposure. Build relationships with people in the industry. Get your book mentioned and reviewed and linked to on as many web pages as possible.

    If you have a promotional budge that can work wonders. Try to think outside the box as far as promotions go. For example, what if you promoted an affiliate program for your book, where people earned a commission for every sale/download? If your books good enough and if you can get people to act as affiliates for you, this is a great way. If you really had a budget or connections, you could even manipulate your way up popular/top selling lists (probably not on amazon/itunes, but maybe on smaller self-published tracking sites). If you could swing that, you'd get instant purchases based on that exposure alone.

    I also agree with Steerpike is you should keep writing. Maybe focus on promoting your book for a short period, but then get right back into it. Build up a following. This will take time, but ultimately it's what you need to succeed in self-publishing, imo, unless your book goes viral.
     
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  7. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    I think both of these are actually good strategies. Giving away your book for free, at least initially, is a great way to get more people to read it. More readers = more reviews = more recommendations = more sales.

    As for friends reviewing it, a biased review from a friend probably won't help much, but I don't see a real issue with it. Ya, it's cheating I guess, but ultimately it's a business (selling books), and, in a difficult industry like self-publishing, you need to get ahead however you can.
     
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  8. Amyfire
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    Amyfire Banned

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    Blog tours and guest posting on blogs are great. Put together a blog tour that will get your story and your book in front of the right audience.
    Have you tried wattpad? It's a great community of readers looking for stories. You post your story, or a few chapters and build a community.

    Join an online community. Depending on your genre, there are online groups that support each other with the promoting of their books.

    Youtube videos for book trailers. People have limited success.

    advertising. Advertise on different blogs.

    hope this helps.
    Amy
     
  9. singphantom7
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    singphantom7 Banned

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    I'm in the midst of the same thing. How does one do it all? How does one focus on marketing and promotions, and also make time for the writing? I suppose that's what self-publishing is, basically. Doing everything in the world yourself. It's grueling, time-consuming work plugging away on the internet, trying to get the work out. I'm not all that sure I'm a fan of it..
     
  10. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    I struggle with this, it's like a puzzle that cannot be solved easily.

    With the big publishers and agents behind you it's a cinch, when you're the one-man/woman writing against the world it's an ordeal...
     
  11. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    One thing I do is use Youtube and create videos with excerpts and music, video and pictures!

    I'd post some on here but I'm not sure it's allowed.

    Ok I'll post one as it is a valid reference to the OP (unless the mods pull it LOL)

    [video link removed]

    You need to build up a LOT of subscribers as even a few thousand isn't enough
     
  12. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I love it, except the excerpts. Not that I know jack about this ;), I suggest shortening the vid to the first very dramatic half and referring the viewer to a promo website with the excerpts. For me, reading book excerpts in the video is too distracting. I'd rather see them on a normal page. But the buildup, the drama, the storyline, all that came across well in that video.

    I think book trailers are definitely a trend we untested writers need to watch.
     
  13. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Interesting take, thanks for the suggestion.

    The excerpts part was hard to make, had to find the right pacing and reading speed of a viewer before the next paragraphs came flowing in.
    It came across ok I thought. Maybe it's a touch too long?

    I've some earlier work on Amazon though I could play with for video promotion maybe just keeping the quick-pace of this one??
     
  14. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Everyone reads at different speeds, another reason not to put the excerpts on the vid. You could switch it up, replacing the preview text to raving reviews. :p

    The pace in the first half is good. Is there a reason you need it to be as long as it is? You could just end it near that midpoint.
     
  15. Tyler Danann
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    Tyler Danann Active Member

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    Well the first half was to present the world backstory, then the last half was the story itself! :)
     
  16. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say skip the backstory and go right to the core. I think it would be better if you cut down the video to max 2 minutes and the excerpts would benefit from being shorter. Maybe just 3-5 sentences (spead out over the entire video) that give the essence of it. It's difficult, narrowing down an entire novel to a few sentences, but it's one of those things a writer must learn to do.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  17. Daniel
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    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors. Founder Staff Contributor

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    There are some really interesting ideas here! Book trailers are something I've never heard of, but I think it's a pretty good idea. It's novel and uses relatively new and free media mediums. A lot of it will depend on the production quality of the "book trailer," but I think there might be something there as a new, alternative promotional stream. If you could create a trailer good enough that people will naturally share it, that might do most of the work for you.

    Advertising is good, but it should be through the right mediums. Consider who will see the ad - are they your target customers (readers are customers, make no mistake)? When advertising online, relevant blog posts/features and features in email lists are probably a good method because it'll be read by the readers of the blog or email list, but advertising on a website (a blog in this case) through traditional banner ads may or may not work nearly as well. It'll certainly have a lower click-through rate, and your customer acquisition cost (CAC), the cost per new reader, might be much higher through some advertising mediums like banner ads than through others.

    It can certainly be done. While I haven't successfully self-published a book, I have done basically what you're describing through running and developing WritingForums.org, so hopefully I can provide a unique and useful perspective.

    You have two options: wear all the hats, or outsource some of them. In my case, with WF, I write articles, link-build, manage the hosting, manage the mailing list, find advertisers, answer emails, answer support, and so on. Some things though, I don't have the time or skillset to do, so I might outsource - logo design, for example. As a writer, you have to do the same - you have to write your novel, you probably have to edit it yourself, get feedback on your story, come up with a book design, you need to get listed in distribution channels, and you have to market and promote it.

    If you want to be a successful self-publisher, you will have to wear all the hats. You can outsource certain elements if you an afford to in order to save time, or to hire someone more skills.

    All this to say that self-publishers are really entrepreneurs. You're a business owner, and your novel is your product. Your product has to be good enough for the market to buy, distributed and promoted enough that potential customers know it exists, and you have to take care of all the elements that go into successfully writing and distributing it. There are, of course, a few exceptions to this - some self-published works (usually electronically published) blow up and are overnight successes - usually due to luck or connections - but this is rarely the case.

    Self-publishers are entrepreneurs with a product they're trying to sell. I believe that most writers don't view it this way - but you should. Treat it like a business. I think you need to really view it this well unless your going the traditional publishing route. To be successful, you must view it from the point-of-view that you're running a novel-selling business, which will require you to learn more about related industries and to develop new skill sets and to make new connections that you can apply towards making your product successful.

    So how do you do all these things? Treat it like a business. Constantly learn about what it takes to edit, promote, distribute, hype your novel. Outsource if you can. Prioritize what needs to be done. Manage your time wisely. Create and follow key metrics. Build a team if you're able. Develop a launch strategy.

    Just my 2c. I hope this helps someone, somewhere, develop a new perspective on self-publishing.
     

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