However, if you want to make a viable income from self-publishing, or if you want to be one of the many self-publishers who make enough money to supplement their existing income by sharing their industry knowledge and connecting with the right people, you need a marketing plan.
This guide takes you through the process of creating a marketing plan that is easy to implement and doesn’t cost a lot of money – it’s even possible to sell your e-book without spending any money at all. If you put the work in, perhaps you could even be the next Christ the King Sixth Form College alumnus to hit the bestseller list.
The process of marketing your e-book should start long before you’re ready to publish. Your marketing plan will act as a calendar counting down to the launch of your e-book, and should consist of several of the following marketing activities.
Create a website with a powerful landing page
- Your author biography
- Links to your books
- Your blog
- Reviews of your books
- Links to your social media profiles
- An call-to-action to sign up to your email newsletter
You should then create a landing page for your book within your author website. Landing pages are essential for grabbing your readers’ attention and boosting your e-book sales. Powerful e-book landing pages should have some or all of the following elements:
- An enticing book cover
- An attention-grabbing headline and blurb
- A captivating excerpt from your book
- Your launch date
- An immediate call to action, such as signing up to your email newsletter or a ‘pre-order now’ button.
- Endorsements or reviews
Set up your social media pages
You can use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to promote yourself as an author and galvanise interest in your e-book.
Here are a few suggestions for content you can share. All of your posts should include a link back to your landing page.
- Publish the introductory few paragraphs of your book as an article on LinkedIn to draw readers in
- Share a video of yourself talking about a topic from your book
- Post snippets from your book on Twitter
- Join online discussions related to your subject or industry and establish yourself as a source of knowledge
- Host a competition on Facebook, with free copies of your book as prizes
- Create a discussion group on LinkedIn for your readers
- Post updates about your launch date
- Share reader reviews
- Use Facebook Ads to promote your e-book
Promote your e-book with Facebook Advertisements
Using Facebook Ads means you can promote your e-book to specific audiences who are likely to be most interested in your subject matter. It’s easy to create eye-catching adverts, videos and images and select the audience you want to target, based on their demographic or online behaviour and direct them to your landing page.
Blogging to market your e-book
Writing a blog is an extremely useful tool when it comes to building a loyal readership and asserting yourself as an expert in your subject. If you already have a blog you should be using every opportunity to promote your e-book to your existing followers. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Create a pop-up window with an advert for your e-book, which will open a soon as a visitor arrives at your blog page
- Publish an extract of your book on your blog to attract attention to your e-book
- Before you even start your e-book, ask your blog followers to answer a survey on what kind of e-book they would like you to write
If you don’t already have a blog, it’s probably important to start one as soon as possible. The niche subject and target audience for your blog should be the same as that of your e-book, so read our guide to defining these here. Now all you have to do is post regular, original, unique and interesting content in order to attract your readers. You can read a more detailed guide to writing a blog, here.
How to get Amazon to promote your e-book
It’s possible to get Amazon to do some of the hard work for you. If you make your e-book exclusive to the Kindle Store, and enrol your e-book in the KDP Select program via the Amazon website, it will become available in Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library, which increases your likelihood of hitting the book charts and getting read. You will get access to extra promotional tools such as countdown deals, or the Free Book Promotion, which promotes free copies of your book worldwide for a limited time.
Use email marketing
One tactic you could use is to collect email addresses via your landing page, blog or Facebook Ads by creating a call-to-action. This can be as simple as asking people to ‘sign-up to receive updates about my upcoming book’ or ‘sign-up to receive a free chapter,’ or ‘sign-up to listen to a podcast of me discussing my book.’ Once you have a list of email addresses, you can use them to send emails directly promoting your upcoming book launch.
How to apply for book awards
Another way to get attention for your e-book is to enter it in as many competitions and awards as you can, such as the Global eBook Awards or the Kindle Book Awards. You can find a list of awards here.
How to get reviews before your launch date
Finally, an effective way of creating a buzz around your e-book is to get people to review your book online before and after your launch date. You can send free copies of your e-book to prominent book bloggers, or people who have already reviewed similar books to yours on Amazon in the hope that they will agree to write you a good review. You can also ask your emailing list, social media followers and blog followers, perhaps offering them an incentive.
The important thing to note is that it’s not enough to just write your e-book – sometimes the best-written books don’t do as well because they haven’t been promoted effectively. If you put time into your marketing strategy, you’re more likely to make a profit or even reach that bestseller list.
Read the other articles in this series: