Self-Marketing for the Self-Publisher

By John Focht

The challenge for most first-time self-publishers is trying to sell their book once they complete writing it.  A number of first-time authors either don’t have a marketing plan, or face a fear of feeling like a sleazy salesperson trying to sell their book.

As a self-publisher, creating a marketing plan for your book is critical.  Unlike the traditional publishing route, as a self-publisher it is all on you to make people know who you are and know that you wrote a book.  As a great as your first book may be, as a no-name author, your book is not going to sell itself.

Start with your own network of family and friends.  As a first-time author, the chances are pretty good that most of your family and friends will buy a copy of your book in support of your accomplishment.

Don’t be shy about going old-school in today’s fast-paced, technological world, as word-of-mouth marketing is still a great way to sell, and more important, it’s free.  By spreading the word to your family and friends, they are almost sure to also tell friends and family on their other-halves side about your work.

The word-of-mouth campaign will be sure to gain you a couple leads you otherwise would not have had without your network of family and friends, so talk to them as they will wind up being your biggest marketing channel.

Today’s world, with the ease of creating your own website, and the use of social media outlets, allows you a channel of marketing that did not exist even a decade ago.  In preparation for your book, create a website that publicizes you as the author.  Start creating a buzz around your name.  On the homepage of your website, create a bio of yourself.  Be sure to provide some information about your book and provide an estimated published date.  Even if you don’t know what this date is yet, put it on your website.  You can always go back and edit it.

If you are not hooked onto social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, or professional network sites like Linked-In, do so now.

Facebook and Twitter are social media sites that can quickly provide you traction in getting your book publicity.  It’s very similar to the word-of-mouth campaign that you have also launched, except this word-of-mouth is over the internet.

Facebook will allow you to create a page for your book, or you can even use your own personal Facebook page to market your book.  All your connections will know of your book in an instant and can further assist you by “Liking” your book.  Use Twitter to market your book to your followers.

Linked-In is a professional networking site where you can connect with former co-workers and colleagues.  Update your profile as an author and link to your website.

Once your book is published, create a press release and publish it on your website, Linked-In page, and Facebook page.  Send your press release to local newspapers.  As part of your marketing your plan, be sure you are distributing your PR to as many media outlets as possible.  Most local media outlets, particularly home town newspapers, will list a press release for local authors on their website or in their newspaper.

If your book is being sold through Amazon, provide a link to it from your website, Linked-In profile, Facebook page, and Twitter feed.  Generate a buzz on your website and your social media outlets that your book is now published and for sale.

Also, contact local bookstores and request to sign copies of your book at their store.  Most bookstores will accommodate requests from local authors.  Book signings, no matter the author, stirs up added business for bookstores too, so they are usually willing to oblige.

Communicate through your web and social media channels when and where you are doing books signings.  Book signing are great way to draw interest from friends and family who may not have seen you in a while.  Former co-workers from years past, or old college friends may see your press release or read of your book signing and stop in for a copy.

Finally, create some business cards with either your website or the name of your book.  Hand it out to anyone and everyone you come in contact with. Make sure people know you are an author and your first-book is now published.

Breaking the barriers of marketing a book for first-time authors is tough.  Getting in the mindset of making your name a brand name is critical in getting your book out there.  Create a stir about you.  Get people talking about you.