In June 2014, my first book, ITGIRL4LIFE, was published. I had the paralyzing realization in that moment, that nobody is the Universe knows about this book. Seriously, no one on the planet knows this book exists, I thought. I had read articles and blogs that said you should be marketing your book 6 months before it comes out, at least. Well, I didn’t do that. Everything was new for me on this publishing journey. I was winging it. I did some of what was recommended and did my own thing in other areas, and made a few mistakes that I learned from. I would have started earlier looking back but I also know now that there are no hard and fast rules, no black and white as a self publisher. You do what works best for your individual project, schedule and budget. Here are 5 promotional/marketing tips for the self-help genre that have really helped my book sales and increase overall awareness of my brand.
Get Social. You are IT. In other words, people, your fans, your target market want to hear from YOU. Your book – your platform! Share your writing journey, your personality, your truth, why you wrote your book. Talk about the messages you want to convey, the societal impact, who you want to inspire and why. Create a real ‘in person’ presence, beyond your book. Authenticity is your greatest marketing tool. Blogging, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube are my go-to channels for promotion. Social media can have a tremendous impact, if used thoughtfully and with purpose.
Give Your Book Away For Free…Strategically. I wrote a self-empowerment guide for girls. My team of two reached out to hundreds of girls organizations, foundations, and philanthropists who are committed to the enrichment of girls. We also sent books to teen celebs, and young women in the entertainment industry. Countless pdf’s of my book went out to help spread awareness of how this book can be used as a tool to help build high self-esteem. Hard copies went out as well. It worked. We got a lot of support, reviews, shout-outs outside of customer reviews on Amazon. Think outside the box. Find people and organizations who will likely resonate with your mission and connect with them. It’s networking time. Don’t be shy!
Submit for Awards. Do some research – select the top awards for your genre and submit your book for a handful of them. Any award recognition is helpful, may bump up sales, add credibility and create a little extra interest.
Check out Expo’s and Book Fairs. Good Expo’s can draw a huge crowd and can be a great opportunity for YOU, the author to be seen, sell books and build your brand. I participated in The Ultimate Women’s Expo in Los Angeles, which exposed me and my book to hundreds of organizations interested in supporting girls. I gave it a whirl and it was a huge success – not cheap though. Book fairs are all about books. Traveling to Book Fairs can be very costly. There are companies that for a small fee will represent your book at fairs in the States and abroad. My book was represented in the Frankfurt Book Fair and Beijing International Book Fair and a few agents expressed interest while I stayed in the comfort of my home. That little move may turn into an international book deal. I do want ITGIRL4LIFE translated in several languages. We’ll see.
Set Aside Marketing Budget. You can do a few things with no money but you can do more with some cash. Put aside some money for your promotional budget! You will need it. You may have to hire an assistant, a marketing expert, pay a fee to submit your book for awards, get an intern, do a virtual book tour, or a traveling book tour, you will likely have to order your books in bulk to support your own events, etc. Make an early promise to yourself that you are going to give your book a fighting chance in the marketplace. Do whatever it takes to get it out there.
Let’s face it, there are a million ways to market your book and honestly, it can feel like a long uphill climb, at times. Bottomline, you have to promote from different angles. Some things will work and some won’t. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. Keep building. Remember the joy and passion you had when you decided to write something and share it with the world. You need YOU, in all your glory to be strong and committed to your success. Never give up. Your book just needs the right combination of buzz worthy activity to reach new heights.