Whether you are published traditionally or self published, authors must do the lion’s share of promoting their own books.
• Start promotion at least three months prior to publication and continue for six to eight months after your title is released.
• Create a website, YouTube account, and social media pages. Use a video, photos, a book sample, and reviews.
• Solicit reviews to give your book a broader context with which to reach a wide audience, they sell books and help establish an author as an authority.
• Participate in events for readings, seminars, conferences, public speaking, etc.
• Work with a publicist if you can afford it, though the return on investment may be low. The key is to have well defined goals and good management skills.
• Purchase low-cost advertising with sites like Twitter and Facebook.
• Sponsored posts can be purchased with blog sites that are dedicated to books.
• Submit articles to high exposure sites that are interested in your subject.
• Develop a mailing list with using a program like mailchimp.com,constantcontact.com, or ymlp.com.
• Start and account with usps.com to send books inexpensively through the post by priority mail. Typically $5.05 per trade paperback.
The publication date of your book is all-important. Be prepared to begin implementing your marketing plan a year in advance of the publication date, using your prerelease cover image and author photo to establish your website and build social media platforms. You will need a domain name, a web host, a cover image and preview pages of your book, and content in the form of images and text.
• Consider branding, length, and keywords when choosing a domain name. A typical yearly fee for a domain name is $11.95.
• A Web host is a service that owns the computers where the pages and files that make up your site are located on the Internet and are made available to Web browsers. A typical yearly fee is $105.00 for Web hosting.
• Social Media Platforms are accounts, pages, and groups on LinkedIn, Facebook,
Twitter, Amazon Author Central, Goodreads, GooglePlus (all authors), and Pinterest (if pictures feature in your work) and others particular to your subject.
• YouTube and Vimeo are popular sites for sharing video.
Print and Distribute
Traditional publishers print and warehouse their books to distribute in-house or through a distributor. Self-publishers can also print in volume or print one book at a time as needed.
• A traditional printing, or print run, means using an off-set book printing company to produce a specified number of books in a single order, typically 1,000 to 5,000. See www.datarepro.com, www.unitedbookpress.com for traditional print runs.
• Print-on-demand (POD) technology means printing one, or several books, as they are needed. POD eliminates the need for warehousing, and POD printers also provide distribution. Each of the following has its strong points and limitations, www.lulu.com, www.ingramspark.com, www.createspace.com, and www.lightningsource.com. There are many more vendors online. Jan Camp can help you choose the one that is right for your project.
Unlike a printed book, in which pages adhere to size and format, an e-book is a collection of files delivered to a reading device, much like a website. Text and images are served up as needed and appear in the space provided by the browser or reader. Your book can also be published on your own website as a PDF file. File formats for readers vary, and self-publishers have several publishing options.
• Format your own book using text or EPUB software, and upload individually to Amazon for Kindle, Barnes and Noble for Nook, iTunes for iBook on phones and iPads, and Kobo for Kobo reader.
• Use an aggregate service to crunch an EPUB or text file into the various formats for distribution to many publishing partners, including the ones mentioned above. Cost and royalties vary at www.smashwords.com, www.bookbaby.com, and www.ingramspark.com.
• Big publishers traditionally want to see high sales immediately in order to continue promotion.
• Small and micro publishers tend to have less budget for promotion at book launch but more attention span over the years.
• Self published-books often have a slow and long life, distribution happening largely by word of mouth as the author builds his or her network. If the topic is hot and a book is reviewed with wide exposure, distribution may spike initially and then fall off. The cycle of sales reflects the persistence, life-style, and values in which the promotion of a self-published book is carried out.