There’s no doubt the publishing industry has been undergoing significant change in the last couple of decades. Much of this has been the result of the rise of the digital landscape and an increased use of technology. Tools have emerged that have altered the way people produce, purchase, and read books. This isn’t just relevant to big publishing houses. The internet has also made self-publishing more accessible for a wider range of indie authors.
The self-publishing industry is no longer considered the domain of vanity projects. It is a viable option for writers to more directly engage with their readers. Importantly, it can help you forge a sustainable income without having to give a sizable cut to other businesses. It isn’t necessarily easy, though. Marketing your books as an independent author can be particularly challenging. Nevertheless, our online world offers some powerful tools in this area if you know how to use them.
We’re going to run down a handful of areas you should focus on when promoting your self-published books in the digital landscape.
Commit to Upskilling
Marketing is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people. Not all writers are great at self-promotion even when they’re among their close friends and family. It’s important to remember that some methods will take some additional work and focus before you can utilize them effectively. Take some time to upskill in the best techniques to get your books seen over the bustle of the internet.
It can be wise to take a formal route here. You don’t have to go to university and take a Master’s program, though. Rather, there is a growing number of online courses that will guide you through the practical aspects of digital marketing. This gives you some expertise on the most effective tools and strategies, from utilizing analytics to the fundamentals of graphic design. Many of these programs are led by professionals in the field with knowledge of the most current methods and can guide you in creating effective campaigns for your books.
However, it’s also important to gain insights from your peers in this regard. There is a growing community of self-published authors who are keen to engage with one another and share their experiences. It’s worth building your network using social media platforms and joining professional groups on LinkedIn. Approach this with a genuine commitment to exchanging skills and building relationships in mutually positive ways. Your efforts can open you up to ideas and abilities you hadn’t previously considered.
Embrace Video Content
There are various approaches to successfully promoting your books. Blog posts and email lists can certainly be effective here. However, one of the most powerful marketing tools at your disposal at the moment is video content. It is among the most engaging online media and is especially shareable.
Some approaches you can take here include:
Some of the most popular and interesting content gives audiences a peek behind the creative curtain. You can create videos to give a candid look at the challenges of writing and self-publishing books. Alternatively, you could offer tutorials or tips based on your own experiences. Creating your own YouTube channel gives you access to wider audiences and also acts as a hub for your behind-the-scenes video content. Not to mention you can utilize it to build a strong self-publishing brand.
● Author Readings
There is still a certain demand for in-person author readings. However, not all readers may be able to make an event and you might not have the budget for a large tour. As such, virtual events can be a good solution to this issue. These don’t necessarily have to be long, either. You can read a portion of a chapter accompanied by some creative visuals. Post these to your social media channels and encourage readers to share them.
● Live Streams
Live streaming is one of the most popular forms of video marketing at the moment. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s only appropriate for gamers. There’s a growing number of creative people who are using streaming to find new audiences and showcase their talents. Indeed, Twitch has an entire directory dedicated to writers sharing their advice and processes. But you could also hold question-and-answer sessions utilizing TikTok or Instagram Live. An added benefit to these platforms is you can gain access to insights on the demographics engaging with your streams. This gives you data to fine-tune your promotion campaigns accordingly.
● Book Trailers
Trailers aren’t only useful for movies. Over the last several years, authors have begun using these to promote their new books. In most cases, this isn’t a live-action adaptation of scenes from your novel. Rather, they usually take the form of simple animations, often stylized to match your book covers. The aim is to give a sense of the atmosphere of your book, accompanied by a voiceover with a small section of the text.
Leverage Mobile Use
The digital landscape offers you valuable tools as a self-publishing author. But it’s difficult to make an impact if your methods don’t match how readers are using them. Over the last decade, smartphones have fundamentally changed how people live. To keep up with the preferences of readers, it’s important you leverage mobile use in your promotion campaigns.
This begins by making sure your marketing materials are suitable for mobile consumption. This is one of the areas too many independent entrepreneurs overlook. You might have a great website on a desktop or laptop, but if it’s difficult to navigate on a mobile, it’s not fit for purpose. Many content management systems (CMS) have plugins to automatically adjust to mobile format. However, it’s important to test this with every new piece of content you add to your website.
Similarly, it’s vital to make certain your digital downloads can be easily read on a tablet or smartphone. It may be the case that you want to direct your readers to your print books. However, their first experiences of your material will likely be blurbs or chapter samples in digital form. Make it easy for your potential audience to read your samples no matter what device they’re using. If you’re hosting these on your website rather than offering downloads, make sure the text can be easily adjusted on portable devices.
Becoming a self-published author can be an empowering experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s always easy. The digital landscape can help you to effectively reach a wider audience, but you need to be intentional in your approach. Upskill in marketing to make certain you have the most relevant knowledge to build campaigns. Prioritize diverse forms of video content to engage audiences. Remember to create materials suitable for the mobile devices your readers are likely to be using. It’s an open marketplace for indie authors, so it’s worth taking the time to promote your writing to the best of your ability.
Miles is an independent writer with a background in business and passion for writing, psychology, news, and simply helping people live happy and fulfilled lives. He has lived and traveled all over the United States and continues to expand his awareness and experiences. When he is not writing, he is most likely mountain biking or kicking back with a cup of tea.