Marketing: Self Published Authors

10 June 2018

Hello Readers & Friends!

A few of you have been asking about how I've been marketing my book so I thought I'd write a blog post of a few options I've personally tried out in the lead-up to my book launch. (August 4th, the date is set!)

If you watched my video on self-publishing you'll know that one of the down-sides is that you have to have a budget for marketing, and this can definitely get really costly. I've found that the closer to the launch date and the more invested and excited about the project I am, the more I want to throw money toward pre-launch marketing and generate hype. (My bank probably hates me.)

Here are some of the things I've invested into so far, and which I recommend the most.

1. CHARACTER ILLUSTRATIONS
If you saw my blog post on the illustration process you will know this was a really fun side-project for me in making my characters come to life. Whilst the illustrator I found wasn't too expensive, I would not say this piece of marketing should be a priority. I wanted artwork to share on social channels and for my own personal use, but this is easily a step you can skip.

2. SOCIAL CHANNELS
Having a presence on social media is free, and I would highly recommend being on at least one platform. For my book, Twitter and Instagram is key but I also launched a Youtube channel to help get my name out there. Social media is simple in the sense that you get back as much as you put out - and it can be extremely time consuming. You need to set time aside to create as much content as possible, to interact with all your followers and reach out to new potential followers and also, if you're going down Instagram or Youtube, to edit. There is an entire community of book enthusiasts on social media called bookstagrammers which I've discovered. It's a super welcoming community to be a part of, but it does require a huge time investment. Building relationships online is very rewarding though, not just for getting word of your book out there but also on a personal level and I would absolutely recommend it.


3. FANTASY ILLUSTRATION
As you will know from my past blog post, I also paid a fantasy map illustrator to create a map of my world. She worked off a sketch which I provided her with and I would absolutely recommend this to anybody writing a fantasy where locations are an integral part of the plot. I paid additionally for all commercial rights to the map, which meant I have been able to print it onto mugs and posters cheaply which I can then use in social media giveaways, which is a cheap way to gain more followers and build hype for the book.

4. COVER ART
Everybody judges a book by the cover, regardless of the old saying. Investing in a strong cover design is key, and this is one of the most expensive parts of the marketing. Don't scrimp on this - you want someone who can convey the themes of the story beautifully, capturing people's eye as they walk past and encouraging people to snap the book cover and share it on social media.

5. GETTING OUT THERE 
One of the best things you can do is to just get out there! Speak to local bookshop owners, get some cards printed off (MOO.com do them super cheap!) and hand them out when you see people reading a book of your genre. Talking to people is hard, but the best way to get yourself a good reputation. I have bought tickets to the Young Adult Literature Convention in London which is conveniently a week before my book launch. Whilst authors pay nearly £400 for a table, I just bought the day ticket and am getting some cards and bookmarks printed off to let people know the release date and with my social media links. I'll hand them out to anybody I speak to - book conventions are filled with long queues and tons of book-lovers on their own and wanting to chat about literature, so it's a great opportunity to meet potential readers!

6. INFLUENCER MARKETING
I actually used to work in influencer marketing which has taught me a lot. My market which I chose to hit was the Bookstagram community, but specifically Young Adult Fantasy readers who take beautiful images, because for my book imagery is key. I got in touch with a bunch of girls asking if they were interested in hearing more about my book, and around 8 responded out of 20 with their addresses. Before my book launch I plan on creating a little pre-launch pack filled with Enmity-based goodies and an exclusive preview of the book cover, so they get to see it before anybody else. This should get them excited, but also gives them a reason to share a picture of the pack with their followers - they have the insider info first! If all of them posted, which they may not, it would reach well over 100,000 book-loving followers, who are all super engaged. (Typical influencer engagement rates are only 2%, these girls are all hitting around 8% which shows their followers really trust their opinion and love their content!) Creating and sending the packs out isn't going to cost too much, and will hopefully be paid off by any excitement generated. Of course it's key to remember posts are not guaranteed, even if you send them out merch. But it does help to build relationships with key bloggers in the industry.

7. ARC
Advanced Reader Copies are printed versions of the book sent out before the release date to specific influencers or reviewers in exchange for Amazon reviews and a build-up of hype. It's actually super expensive to get books printed out in small quantities though, so I've not yet decided if this something I'm going to do yet depending on my budget. But you can always email it to willing friends and family in exchange for honest reviews on Amazon or Goodreads - reviews are key for getting your book up in the Google SEO rankings and helping people make a decision on whether or not to purchase the book - particularly key for debut authors.

8. EDITOR
Despite the fear that your editor is going to rip your baby apart limb from limb... it's for the best. They're professionals and are able to take a step away from your story and characters and look at it with a critical eye and provide you with the non-emotional information for how to make your book a best-seller. It's seriously not advised that you do not use an editor, despite the fact that they are extremely expensive and will be the biggest spend on your project. They will also be the biggest investment with the best pay-off though. Find an editor who specializes in your genre and who you get on with, don't take anything personally and take their suggestions seriously. They're working with and for you after all, not against you. 

I hope this helped and gave some ideas for what you can do to help spread the word about your book. Self-publishing is an expensive but extremely fulfilling way to go about a project, and if you choose to self-publish it's absolutely key to market your book so everybody knows about it and can share in the excitement!

Love, C x


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