Marketing for self-published authors

Posted by Fritter & Fry | 14 September 2015

So you've written a cracking manuscript and you're ready to publish. But how do you tell people about your book and, ultimately, get them to buy it?

For most of us, marketing is like a foreign language, and there is little wonder that publishers have whole departments dedicated to the art of marketing. What self-published authors can't forget, however, is that writing is a business. And any successful business person will tell you that a business plan is a must.*

A business plan can help you determine what you want to achieve, when you want to achieve it by, and how you are going to achieve it. And remember, there is no right or wrong way to write a business plan. What is important is that your business plan works for you.

The first thing you're probably going to want to do is set your goals. It is really important that your goals are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timed. One of your goals might be to sell 50 copies of your book at your book launch. Another goal might be to sell 1000 copies of your book within six months of its launch.

So how do you achieve your goals? A lot of self-published authors get so caught up in the writing process that they fail to realise that people can't buy your book if they don't know about it. The reality is that your book is just one of the thousands of newly-published books flooding Amazon, Smashwords and the like every day. This is where marketing comes in and the good news is that it doesn't have to cost a fortune. Yes, it probably will cost you something and yes, you probably will have to create a marketing budget, but there are some simple and practical ways to promote your book that will, with any luck, translate into real sales.

Over the next couple of weeks, we'll be discussing some of the marketing techniques used by publishers and how you can use these techniques to promote your self-published book. These techniques will cover what we call traditional marketing techniques, e.g. blurbs and book reviews, as well as modern marketing techniques, e.g. social media and metadata.

* I'm sure that there are business people who have achieved success without a business plan, but I'm also fairly sure that those people are few and far between.