Promoting your self-published novel
This is probably the hardest part of being a writer. Putting on your business hat and finding out how to not only believe in yourself and your work but asking an already saturated market to believe in your story as well. I’ll break down the basics first.
Before you do anything and this can be the most expensive part, EDIT your book professionally. Trust me on this, I’ve learned the hard way. If you haven’t managed to bag yourself a traditional deal and you think your manuscript is ready to go, believe me, it isn’t. There are tons of self-published editing services out there, but I would recommend using one called Bubblecow. This is how your manuscript will come back like, which is loads of fun, not.
After you’ve torn your hair out making all the changes to your document, next is the part that I actually loved having input into. The cover. For this process, I use 99 Designs.
It’s really worth putting some money into getting a professionally eye-catching cover design. So many self-published books can be easily spotted by their poorly presented covers and, like it or not, readers online will pick and assume quality on the first impression you make with your cover design. You start by giving a description of your narrative and then designers will begin submitting ideas for covers. You have complete control over what you want based on their ideas.
So assuming you’ve got the whole package, properly formatted, edited and polished and uploaded onto the Amazon KDP marketplace, the next step is figuring out how to get it out to readers. For this, I use a series of promotional tactics, which have worked well for me.
Step 1: Get your own author website. A WordPress Blog works best.
Step 2. *This is crucial. Set up an Author Facebook, Instagram and Twitter account to start.
Step 3. Plan a Free Book giveaway with Amazon’s KDP book promotional tool
Amazon KDP allows you to take two main actions during your enrolment period, usually three months apart. You can do a Kindle Countdown Deal or free book promotion. Initially when I self-publish my main goal is never to make money on the first week of release. The real goal is to take a long-term approach and get as many reviews as possible, then repeat this cycle. Monetised book sales always come down the road once readers are confident that your work is worth the $0.99 or $2.99 – $3.99 price points you put your novel at (these are generally taken as the sweet spots for increased sales revenue)
After spending a few years trying to work out the best combinations of promoting my books I have found that there are better ways to get more downloads than spending money on ad campaigns. The absolute best site I’ve discovered is a site called Freebooksy operated by Written Word Media
You can promote free, or discounted titles on this site on specific days based on your genre. It works particularly well when you’re on the hunt for reviews.
On May 11th of this year, I utilised Freebooksy on my first ever book The Agathon, which I published in 2015.
Using this service I had 2960 free downloads on that day which for an older title was really good. My strategy has always been to try and build a solid readership and following for future titles. Freebooksy has an impressive email lists system and while it’s not free in of itself, a promotion for a day for me was $80, it was well worth the download reached and subsequent purchases of the other titles in the series that came off the back of it.
So let’s take that May 11th day when I chose to run this promotion.
On Amazon’s KDP I set the free book promotion to run for the entire week. On Instagram, I put up a picture of my book cover with all the links to purchase or download in my biography. I then linked my Instagram page with my Facebook page and used an App called ‘FOCALMARK” https://focalmark.com/
This APP generates Hashtags that you copy and paste under your post to attract the attention of Book readers on Instagram. You can also if you chose to, pay to promote your post on both Instagram and Facebook simultaneously using their excellent demographically targeted tools to make your promotion more precise in what audience you are looking to find.
Forward we go 🙂
Colin Weldon lives in Dublin and writes science fiction novels. He has self-published four to date, three in a space opera trilogy called The Agathon and a stand-alone science fiction thriller called Hunting Nora Stone. The Agathon series has received a BRAG medallion for outstanding self-published. Colin has a BA in Journalism and an MA in Screenwriting which he completed in 2017. As an avid lover of all things sci-fi including movies, books and artwork this blog is dedicated to all the speculative fiction that gets his imagination going. He is currently working on a new series of space opera novels so can be found in the dark corners of Dublin's coffee shops in the early hours of the morning. Come say hi :) Website: www.colinweldon.com Goodreads Profile : https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14769995.Colin_Weldon Facebook : @colinweldonwriter Twitter: @Colinweldon Instagram : Colinweldon