We’ve come up with a nice little analogy about your book being on Amazon. Imagine your book as a product available in a shop on a shelf somewhere; it exists but it’s not out in the open for everyone to see. Sure, people might stumble across it by chance at some point but it will be noticed much more if people are being directed towards it, then the more noticed it becomes, the closer to the ‘shop window’ it gets.
To give your book the best possible chance of reaching the ‘shop window’ we recommend doing some or all of the following:
Word of mouth
The best place to start. Tell everyone you know about your book and always keep some copies on you in case you want to sell any to people you get talking to – there’s nothing better than very direct marketing. Don’t be shy!
Having an active presence on social media – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc – will greatly widen your reach. Even better, if you have your own website and blog, to post articles, teasers and giveaways. You can encourage readers to get involved in the creation of the book too, testing designs, edits etc.
Advertise your book on Facebook, set up a page specifically for your book rather than just for you. Advertise to friends and family but also join groups around the book’s content and the same type of authors as yourself. Encourage people to share your posts to get the word out. You can also take advantage of Facebook’s advertising where you set the budget per day and whichever post you promote will reach new readers and potential customers every day until your budget runs out. The more you pay, the more clicks, shares and likes you’ll get, and the more people will be exposed to it. It’s very easy to set up.
Encourage people who have the book, who know you or you know have read the book, to leave reviews on Amazon; this will help your book’s ranking. Do not, however, try to cheat the system by leaving multiple reviews from the same household. Unfortunately Amazon are wise to this and will block them all. They also have the power to take down reviews if they think anything seems suspicious.
There are a lot of book forums out there, so signing up to some of them and engaging with like-minded authors will help you become part of this community.
Set up a profile on Goodreads and include your book. Encourage people to read, review and recommend your book to others. This is a very reputable and wide-reaching site. You can also join in group discussions and give advice to other would-be writers.
Approach reviewers and book bloggers
You can search for these on Google or you can find them yourself on Facebook, maybe finding a reviewer specific to the age-range and genre of your book who would be willing to review the book for a sample copy. Some may charge a fee but they may also recommend your book to other reviewers and readers which increased the readership.
Approach book stores
Approach the likes of Waterstones, WHSmiths or Blackwells and arrange a meeting with the local branch manager to show them your book and see if they would be willing to stock it. Even ask if they’d be willing to set up a book signing for you (though usually they will want to see how book sales go first).
Although not an obvious choice, this can actually do very well for your book’s ranking. A short descriptive video about the book on YouTube will make a lot of difference to your book’s search ranking. A lot of the time, the major social networking sites will be the first things to appear when searching, essentially Facebook or YouTube, and these will shoot straight to the top of Google.
You can try business cards, flyers, leaflets, postcards, posters etc, all advertising your book and leave them wherever you like (with permission). Try local cafes and surgeries, and anywhere people might be waiting and have time to browse.
Traditional media advertising
If you have a generous marketing budget, there are many advertising opportunities in the traditional media – newspapers, magazines, public transport etc. This is generally a widespread reach, rather than targeted (except in the case of a niche magazine for a niche genre). For an ebook, services such as Book Bub (which promote your ebook to a wide audience for a fee) can also be effective, though an expensive outlay.
These only tend to be really affective when you, as an author, have a good story behind why you wrote the book. For instance, writing a book to raise awareness on a medical condition due to personal circumstances, is more likely to get press coverage than someone who has written a novel because writing is their hobby.
What local events are going on that you could attend, and talk about your book? For example, WI meetings or events at your local library.
Above all, think about your readership, and be creative in how you reach them. Remember, it is all about creating awareness and it will take time; it is a slow burn. We can help you with as little or as much of this as you like.