The self publishing industry has revolutionized writing. What was once a good-ol-boy’s club where you had to be published to get published, where you needed an agent to get an agent, and you needed to have sales… to generate sales, changed overnight. Now anyone with an idea can share it with the world, with little more than a few hundred dollars and a dream.
While it is true that anyone can now publish a book and put it up for sale on a number of accessible platforms, it does not mean they will sell books. Even if their book is good, or dare I say it… great, chances are they will wallow in the far lonely corners of the sales ranking pool where the knowledge of these fledgling books fades from memory once the fervor of their release fades, and then quietly, meekly, they die. Like trying to climb a greased slide barefoot, the Amazon market-space can be a difficult place to get a foothold.
“Social media will save me,” many think. “I have hundreds of friends / followers, and they’ll all buy my book.” Well… you are half, no 30%, actually about 11% right.
Social media is an excellent tool to market your book in a grassroots, crowdfund-y, organic-word-of-mouth kind of a way. In theory. In practical application, results may vary.
In reality you cannot rely solely on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to sell your book. Post away to your heart’s content, the harsh truth is… people don’t care as much as you’d like them to. To you, it’s your baby. Your heart and soul. To them, it’s a guy they went to high school with twenty years ago asking for their hard-earned money. Mehhh… (disinterested shoulder shrug).
Ouch. I know. Even your Mom. She doesn’t care. No more report card on the fridge for you.
Lets say that you have 1000 friends on Facebook. Man you’re popular. Go you! And let’s say you post about your new book with the link, send direct email messages, create an author page, and post from there, independently. Lets say you saturate your feed with advertisements and then send text messages to everyone in your phone letting them know you’d like their support. Let’s. Just. Say.
Of your 1000 Facebook “friends” the average self-publisher can count on an 11% ROI (return on investment). That’s 110 books purchased by your loyal friends (and God bless the one’s who bought one). Guess what, some of your own family members won’t take the time to click over and hit the ol’ “Buy” button at Amazon. Your own family. Aunt Mary… how could you? Cold-blooded.
The truth is there are a number of reasons people don’t follow through. Some people don’t like to read. I know, crazy right? Others don’t have the time. Some are lazy and tell themselves they’ll do it tomorrow, then life gets in the way and they forget. Some people don’t really like you (eww, right in the feels). Some don’t believe you can write that well, and some just don’t want to fork over the $10. Whatever the reason, that’s the truth.
To truly market your baby, you need to hustle. You need to post. You need to create a buzz. You need to connect with people. You need to explore different avenues. You need to get lucky, and you need to spend money. Nothing is free. NO-THING.
I know this all may sound like my own personal therapy session where I’m working out my past issues, but I promise, I have learned from my mistakes. So, here’s my free advice. (Just kidding you need to go to Amazon and buy “Hidden Steps” Now, Nothing is free. NOTHING!)
- Post about your book. Post, post, post. But if you simply spam your feed in a desperate plea for sales people will un-friend, un-follow, and un-like you. As a person. You turn into annoying white noise and are pushed aside. You need to connect with your followers. You need to be engaging and interesting. You need to give them a reason to want to read your words. Start a blog. Post a daily update or fun-fact. Anything to add substance to your reader’s day. Make them want more of you. Set them up with the jab, then when they aren’t expecting it, throw a right cross and smack them right in the face with your link and sales pitch. BAM!
- SPEND MONEY. HUSTLE. You cant be cheap, and or lazy and hope to generate sales. You don’t have a multi-million dollar publishing company behind you hocking your book to an established network of brokers, stores, and dealers. Send out free copies to people in the industry you respect. Ask for a review. Buy marketing plans. Try non-traditional methods. Online market places like Fiverr.com offer a global network of marketers (traditional and social media) to open new avenues for you. The best part is you won’t break the bank. Sell copies at book fairs. Make business cards at VISTA-PRINT with your book on them and hand them out to strangers. Write blog posts about how to market your self-published book… wait, what? Who said that?
- Don’t give up. If you truly believe in your book don’t quit. You will get rejected. You will hear no. You will have doors slammed in your face. You will cry yourself to sleep in a puddle of salty tears whilst holding a worn copy of your book in your arms like a baby and softly ask your empty room, “why?”. What? Oh, just me. Okay then. Moving on.
My point is. Selling your book and generating a name for yourself is tough. Ultra, mega, bikini-brief made out of sandpaper tough. But it isn’t impossible. Be okay putting yourself out there. Be blunt. Ask people point blank to buy your book. Whats the worst they can say? No? I can handle that. Sure I die a little inside every time I hear it, but they don’t know that. Smile and move on.
So to all of my self publishing brethren out there: keep the faith, keep writing, keep hustling, and… go buy my latest book “Hidden Steps: Behind the Veil.” On Amazon for only $10.95!!! Come on. You’ll like it. I promise. Angels, Demons, Destiny, Action, Battle, and Heart. What’s not to love? Please go pick one up today!
See that wasn’t that hard.
Now go buy one. Seriously. Now. Here’s the link…