Boost your sales potential before your book hits the digital shelves.
First off, warm congratulations to you for finishing your book! You’ve already accomplished the toughest part of the process. Now you’ve arrived at the final stretch: marketing your book to the world. And without the help of a publishing company to do this kind of campaign, you’ll need to make sure you’ve got a solid strategy in place before you begin your promotions. But don’t let this endeavor give you any anxiety; it’s actually a relatively straightforward and painless process.
Maintain an e-mail list
Do this well before your book hits the shelves because it is something that you will need to build over time. The emails you collect can be from readers who opt in after reading your blog, business contacts or clients (particularly helpful for career-oriented eBooks), or readers who enjoyed your previous book(s) and want updates on new ones.
Turn the cover into a masterpiece
Books with attractive covers and titles tend to have a bit of an edge over those that blend in. Have a look at other authors’ books to see what kinds of art, fonts, and titles are popular in your genre. That way, you’ll have an idea of what readers expect from the genre and from there you can go about breaking the mold (within reason). Bear in mind that if you go too over the top, readers may dismiss your book entirely.
Determine your pricing structure
Depending on your selling platform, you will have different opportunities when it comes to pricing and pitching. Services like Amazon favor lower-priced books, in the $0.99-$3.99 range (of which your commission is 35-70% dependant on territory and retail price). If you want to sell your book at a higher price point, consider selling it on your website. A side note: familiarize yourself with Amazon’s eBook policies, as you may find that their service is not the right fit for your book.
Publish a sneak peek
Consider The New Yorker’s approach to coming-soon fiction. The magazine publishes an excerpt (approximately one chapter) in their print and online editions shortly before the book hits the shelves. This tactic generates some buzz and allows readers time to circulate the sneak peek. Then when it hits shelves, readers are primed to favor it on a few levels. Try this out on your blog or even your email newsletter. Give readers a ‘trial’ to entice them to keep reading.
Offer purchase incentives
This strategy works best for authors who already have an established reputation in their field. Incentives can range from the popular BOGO (buy one, get one free) deals to a bundle that includes a set of books and perhaps tickets to an event on your book tour.
Assemble a media kit
Write your press releases early on and have a list of contacts to send them to. Your media kit should also include advertisements in various shapes and sizes, and for different media channels (web vs. print).
Hire an assistant
While the pre-launch strategy won’t be too difficult to navigate, it can take up more of your time than you’d like it to. Consider bringing an assistant in to help you have a successful pre-launch (and post-launch, for that matter!).
Once you’ve completed your successful eBook pre-launch, it’s time to start working on your next book! Take care to read the feedback from this one, and to engage with your audience when you can. This means responding to their inquiries and offering a Q&A session at events. Your readers will appreciate the personal element. And when readers feel like they contributed to your writing process, they may be even more inclined to buy future books from you. (Plus, you can use some of their rave reviews to enhance your book promotions!)
With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia’s leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and marketing.