Marketing Your Self-Published Book: What’s Holding You Back?

Nov 10


What is it about promotion that's distasteful to you, that holds you back from moving forward? To help push past inertia, let's look at ten sample marketing initiatives, then see if you can say Yes to three of them.

But first, no matter who is publishing the book — a traditional press, a print-on-demand operation (POD), or your own new small company – remember that you have to do the lion's share of the marketing. There is no way around this. However, the good news is that you are the best spokesperson for your book. You have lived with, and know, the material deeply. You are your book's champion. After months of writing and rewriting, you long to get this book out into the world. So, carpe diem! Grab the chance to share your book!

1. Open up. I've said this before and I’ll say it again. Start with one change you simply must make if you plan to be successful in marketing your book: Get over being shy.

2. Join a local Toastmasters group. Set a goal to become more comfortable with public speaking. Toastmasters programs (or an equivalent) can be incredibly supportive for anyone who fears public speaking.

3. Ramp up your web presence. How well is your website serving you? What initiatives are you taking to draw your niche community of potential book buyers to you? What are you blogging about? Which online groups are you active with?

4. Use article marketing. Using complete or partial standalone chapters from your book, saturate your potential market with repackaged, repurposed, ready-made content. And don’t forget to use Google Alerts — a free service — to track where your articles are showing up.

5. Create a downloadable media kit on your website. The contents should mirror an actual press kit. This will cost you one tenth as much as a formal printed set of press materials would, yet your kit will be instantly available to the media 24/7.

6. Post comments on others' blogs. Don't want to take precious time to blog? Post relevant comments on blogs conversing on your book's niche category, and respectfully work in your web address and bio items about yourself and your book.

7. Influence where your ideal reader will find you. Make a list of 15 to 20 venues where interest in your topic would attract customers to your speaker presentations.

8. Explore the programs of national wholesalers and distributors. How do you get in, and what is their discount policy? How broad a distribution of your books are you looking for? First study each distributor's website, then set up a live chat or phone call with the customer service rep.

9. Lay out a realistic marketing budget, and consider options. What sources will the money be coming from? What initiatives will you take over, and what can you delegate to a trustworthy part-timer? Is hiring a publicist desirable in your case to get the word out? Identify and set aside a sum of money for six months of promotion initiatives.

10. Prepare galleys for review and media pitches. Do you want to plan your pub date in advance so you have a shot at the important prepublication review media? Explore where getting reviews will significantly impact sales and where they will not.

There are many more marketing actions you can include in a marketing plan. There's no single correct set of choices to make. My best recommendation is to select what's most comfortable (and therefore most doable) first, just to get your feet wet. You will be inspired by your accomplishments and more self-starting initiatives will follow. What three in this list appeal to you to get started?

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One comment

  1. I enjoyed your article. I was able to answer positively on more than three elements. The article expanded my interest in more than three areas. And, there were about three articles I need to employ further. I will take those thirty minutes you offered. Look forward to hearing from me soon. My book launch of "The Story GrandPa Told of American and World African Legends and Culture" was successful through a national webcast conference that was livestreamed on the Internet.

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