Should You Market Your Books?

Many authors are reluctant to actively be seen to market their books. Some go so far as to never market their books, but work very hard nevertheless on their blogs and other social networks. I haven’t tried very hard to sell my books, but I usually do mention them and occasionally run promotions, which always results in sales, and keeps them ticking over in a small but comforting way. I haven’t done anything at all for the past two months, and for the first time in years my sales page on Amazon for this month is a totally flat line. Which just goes to show. If you don’t market your books at all, they are unlikely to be bought at all.

There are different kinds of selling in the business of sales. When you are selling a product for a company, and meeting up with potential clients who are in the market for your product face to face, you have a good chance of closing the deal if you’re good at what you do. It’s a bit harder to attract passing trade with books though, so internet face to face is a real thing these days. Just like any other job, you have good and bad sales people. One thing seems to be universal though, and that’s that not many people are going to buy anything from a seemingly desperate bully unless they’re terrified or goaded into it – if that’s the way a sale is got, don’t expect returning custom. As writers, that’s the only one other thing that we need to know apart from the fact that, yes, we do indeed need to market our books. Selling isn’t a dirty word if you’re not jumping out at people from doorways and holding them down with your book in their face. It’s a part of the way we as a society operates, and the main way that buyers find things to purchase that they want or need. We just need to go about it in a polite, professional, and nice way.

People follow you on your various social networks for various reasons – hopefully because they like what you have to share. They’re all online at different times, so unless they make a point of checking, they’re unlikely to see your one weekly tweet about your book. If you tweet about the same book thirty times every day, they’re very likely indeed to see several of those. It’s true that familiarity can sometimes breed contempt, and having your feed so assaulted on a daily basis is going to have you clicking that Unfollow button smartly.  Try and hit a happy medium, but don’t be afraid to share your book with your followers every day. Not necessarily every network every day, but definitely at least one, and try to make them different each day.

Use small excerpts of your book, and images that relate to the story. Run promotions. If you have a book that you can offer for free while discounting another at the same time, definitely do that – this works wonders for simultaneous sales of your other published books. If you only have one published so far, run a Goodreads giveaway, or a blog or Facebook party where you can offer other swag and fun stuff. Make use of advertising. Not all advertisers cost as much as Bookbub. Some will promote your book for as little as ten dollars.

Plan your book’s journey in advance. Write out your plan of action for the next three months. How often will you tweet and share on your Facebook and G+ pages? Collect your excerpts and pictures by spending a couple of hours getting them together, so you don’t have to do them every day. Once you have them together in a folder on your computer you can rotate them on a monthly basis.

Make it fun, and know that you’re not being spammy or conning people out of their cash when they buy your book. You wrote the best book that you can, and there are people out there who would be very glad to buy it and read it, and very possibly love it. They can’t if they don’t know it exists though, so be proud, if not overly loud, and sell those books that you put all your love and years into creating. Market away.


Advertising Your Book

Most of the reading public are not part of writers social networks in any big way. They probably all have a personal Facebook or a Google+ presence, and quite a few people these days have Twitter accounts to see what the Kardashians world is up to. A lot of them are on the mailing lists of book recommendation sites though, and that’s why an important part of marketing should be popping your books up on them now and then in addition to your normal tweeting and sharing on your regular sites.

If you can afford trying for a listing on Bookbub then that’s a good option, but not only is it going to get more difficult to get accepted there now that traditional publishers are using it, it’s also quite expensive. That doesn’t mean you have to do all advertising yourself though. There are a couple of much cheaper options to go for, which while they might not pack the punch of Bookbub, they’re still going to get you more eyeballs on your books, and hopefully a couple of sales from new readers.

I have to say that I haven’t done any serious marketing for my books, so I wouldn’t even try and call myself an expert on selling books. I’ve always worked in marketing though, so I have a bit of an idea. From what I’ve seen so far, I think that the marketing of eBooks is actually the toughest job in the sales world – especially as an Indie scribbler trying to get noticed. It’s always been my plan to write three to five books before I got too involved in the selling of them, and over the past year or so I have been poking around and about for ideas for when I do. As a test, I’ve run one of my books a couple of times on the smaller sites expecting nothing at all to happen, and was really surprised when it actually got sales.

So when you’re ready to promote your books, I suggest that you prepare your strategy, choose your promo days, give yourself a budget for advertising, and put it on a few of the cheaper sites. Most of them require a specific amount of reviews in the upper star range, but not as many as you need for the bigger sites. I got the most sales when I ran African Me & Satellite TV on Choosy Bookworm, but also a couple from The Daily Bookworm, and a few from People Reads, who will also advertise your new release before it has any reviews.

When you’re finally ready to start selling your books, you really should be paying for advertising if you can afford it, and the three sites above have prices starting at eight bucks, so even if you don’t sell too many books to begin with you won’t be lining up for loans either. While our conventional marketing ourselves on Twitter and so on is vital, our aim should also be finding a portion of those millions of ravenous readers out there who don’t have a social network presence, but do subscribe to book mailing lists.


%d bloggers like this: