Posted on May 29, 2012 - by MG
You really have to take your hat off to some of the work done by successfully self-published authors, who’ve managed to sell bazillions (well, tens of thousands or more) of ebooks. For a comprehensive list of what’s possible, take a look at Jenny Blake’s spreadsheet for the self-published.
It’s important to remember here that you aren’t a traditional publisher, so you shouldn’t waste energy trying to behave like one. Trade (traditional) publishers mainly operate via business-to-business (B2B) marketing. That is, they both sell/market to the trade.
They also engage in a small amount of business-to-consumer (B2C) marketing.
The trade (i.e. bookshops) relies on the fact that the publisher will be doing some or all of the work to shift a book; in fact this is an important factor in how heavily a book will be purchased and how prominently a book will be displayed by a bookstore. Big advertising campaign? Hello, truckload of books to display front of house, face out and discount promotion! No consumer marketing at all? We’ll take one copy, please. Spine-out only.
Hence all the fuss you see about new books in The Bookseller, Publishers Weekly and their ilk, is aimed at the trade.
As a self-published author, you don’t need to worry about any of that. You need to go directly to the consumer – your reader.
Indeed, in the digital world it is being suggested that traditional publishers too need to shift to a mainly B2C model.
Instead of telling you what you can do (I refer, again, to the excellent spreadsheet of book marketing), I’m just going to tell you what I’m doing.
- Publicity – I’ll be emailing my list of Joshua Files readers with information about the new book – a techno-thriller aimed at older readers and set in the fictional world of THE JOSHUA FILES. (click on the logo above if you’d like to sign up!)
- Press release – apparently Monday morning 7.30-8am is the best time to do a press release. That’s when journos are looking for material. Be sure that your book is listed as IN STOCK on Amazon, etc. Worst times are Thursday afternoon and Friday. Here’s the press release we wrote: Best-selling author self-publishes new technothriller with competition to win a Kindle Touch
Optimize for SEO and submit to free press release services such as PRLog, 1888PressRelease and freepressrelease.com. Also to your own press contacts if you have them.
- Advertising – there’s a tiny budget to try this out, either on Goodreads or a popular book blog via Blogads.
- Giveaways – I’ll probably try this via Goodreads.
- Starshipsofa.com – this lovely sci-fi podcast like to feature 10min excerpts of authors reading from the opening of their novel. So naturally I volunteered to read from THE DESCENDANT!
- Review copies – I’ve lined up a small group of readers in the book trade and media to read the book. Hopefully some of them will like it and post a happy review!
- This series of blog posts about my self-publishing experiment. Well, for now, self-publishing is still a novelty for authors who’ve been successfully published by the trade. It’s vaguely newsworthy. (Enough to get GP Taylor an article in the Daily Mail when he announced his first self-published book.)
- Price promotion – ebook. The RRP of the ebook will be £1.99. (That’s right – bargain!). During all promotions though, it will be 99p. (Bigger bargain!)
An important factor in marketing is to track the effect of any action. It’s not always easy. One way is to separate the actions and measure sales during each activity. I’ll probably do the advertising at a different time to the ARG. Everything else is scheduled to happen during the first month of the book’s launch.
I’ll report back in about a month!
Meanwhile, next: Things you didn’t ought to do or Easy mistakes in self-publishing – a snagging list.