Now that you’ve digested Parts 1 and 2, let’s talk about marketing any kind of book, paper or electronic. I think the above covers the whole subject of book cover design very well. Make sure it’s an eye-catcher, whether you hire a pro or do it yourself! (And that it looks good as a tiny thumbnail.) I chose this example, by the way, because it totally relates to something I say later on. Honest!
Then we’ll discuss ways to turn your paper book (or your Word files) into an ebook. And it’s time to get a little metaphysical with Tip #10.
Lastly, I’ve got a bonus treat for you: a series of fun-but-wise videos from my author friend Kathleen Pickering and her friend Traci Hall: step by step video advice for aspiring novelists.
6. As I already mentioned, you must always rely on yourself for marketing your book—even if you’ve been published by a “traditional” publisher!
This is a fact to digest and remember as soon as possible. Spend some time determining who your readership will be, and figure out how you’ll reach them. Where can they be found? What methods are available for getting your message to them? This is not easy, but essential. Make plans!
If I’d been more accurate at defining Cosmic Dancer‘s readership in advance, I would have saved a lot of starts and restarts, and the cost and effort of a new cover design shortly after its release.
Unwisely, I’d worked my assumed readership parameters into the original subtitle (“A Reincarnation Fantasy for Young Adults and Older Souls”). I was probably too enamored of my “Older Souls” designation to realize I’d just limited my audience. I also assumed my readers would be female. Wrong!
It turned out that a lot of people who loved the book were guys, and fans were old, young, and those of middling age. Some were declared atheists, some Christians, and some were, well, everything else! I was apparently right about “older souls” liking the book, but I should have remembered that they come in all guises. So we’ve come up with a more neutral subtitle, “An Interdimensional Fantasy,” and lifted all the limitations I’d inadvertently tacked on.
If you can define your audience early in the writing and publishing process, you’ll have a jump start on marketing, whether you’re selling the book directly to readers via self-publishing, or trying to hook the interest of an agent or publishing house.
Once published, definitely take advantage of every new Amazon gimmick for promoting your book. I’m still catching up, months later, plus they’re always adding new features. I haven’t uploaded videos yet, but I do have this blog is linked to my Author Page. Check it out.
Online, you’ll find dozens upon dozens of blogs and websites full of advice and tools for marketing your books. Keep exploring, keep connecting. Facebook, of course. But also look into sites such as www.goodreads.com and www.librarything.com. Consider doing blog tours, and find as many blogs and traditional reviewers as you can to review your book.
Don’t worry; you won’t run out of ways to promote your book(s). I’ve barely touched on the subject because so much is written about it elsewhere. Just let your imagination go to work. And remember that it will always be YOUR job, no matter who publishes you.
And now I need to go take my own advice! 🙂
But first, Ebooks:
8. When you get ready to hire an ebook conversion specialist for your beautifully designed POD book, contact me and I’ll give you a referral.
Think you can do this yourself? Well, a lot of people do. So go for it! I was going to do my own, but I realized my time was too valuable to learn all the programming ins and outs. Best decision I ever made!
Smashwords.com is a good place to start looking for ebook advice and distribution options. They’re very impressive for do-it-yourselfers. If I hadn’t gone the full-fledged publisher route, or if I wanted to publish ebooks only, I’d be looking at their site too.
But I’m so extremely grateful to my conversion specialist who has transformed my painstakingly typeset InDesign files into Kindle and .epub formats. Worth every penny! Thank you, Amit!
I’ve heard it advised to put your manuscript through their rigorous style adjustments before attempting any sort of conversion into ebook formats, then start with the .epub format, and work toward the Kindle format.
As you may have seen from reading ebooks yourself, a lot of glitchy things happen when words are put into the formats necessary to create an ebook. This is why I hired a programmer to produce my ebooks. I’ve read some books in which random paragraphs appeared in different colors or fonts. All sorts of things can mush together, or fly around the pages. I still find ebooks a little bit scary!
But as I said, I don’t have direct experience with Smashwords, so please let me know if I’m wrong about them.
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I do hope these tips help you! And it’s true, I am no longer in the book editing business and I do not have time to read anyone’s manuscript or coach them about publishing on a one-to-one basis. Don’t be offended if I’ve sent you to read this blog post. It pains my inner cheerleader to turn anyone away, but I’ve even turned down family members!
10. Do NOT venture into this sort of project if you are not willing to spend years nurturing it.
They are energy creations that carry a part of you with them always—a living, changing, vibrating part. As you resonate, so do they, and people are either attracted to your book or repelled from it by what you carry within your consciousness on any given day—forever. I personally believe this stays true even after you’ve left your body behind and graduated to another dimension!
Oh, and books are very demanding creatures! More than you ever imagined they could be … in ways you never dreamed.
So be careful what you write, and how you treat it. It’s going to be a part of you for a long, long time. But if this is your passion, then you really have no choice. Roll up your sleeves and get to work! You can hire helpers along the way, but no one else can ever take your place as Creator of your book, with all the responsibilities that entails, infinitely and eternally.
(You think I’m kidding? Watch this:)
Tch, those Romance Writers do know how to have fun. Best writing convention I ever attended! Oh wait, it was the only one … and Fabio was there. Ahhh, yes … I remember being on the tiny hotel elevator with a writer friend when all the Fabio look-alike contestants piled on in their, ahem, “costumes” …
Happy publishing, friends!
The savvy reader heeding this blog will save a ton of time. Sure wish I had these tips when I began self-pubbing. BTW–Cosmic Dancer is a fabulous book. I wish you every success!