I self-published my first self-help book How To Find Your Vital Vocation: A Practical Guide To Discovering Your Career Purpose And Getting A Job You Love last month. I’ve been promoting it online and so far with some good success – in the first week after its publication, it climbed into the Amazon UK Kindle careers bestsellers list.
Here’s what I’ve done and what I’ve learned from the process:
1. Build Your Author Platform Early
Don’t wait until your book’s out there before starting to build a presence online. If you do this first, you’ll have a readymade audience to market your book to. Definitely establish an author’s blog and/or website, and start building an audience through that. It’s also useful to have a mailing list which you can invite prospective readers to sign up to (usually in exchange for something free such as a book extract). Readers can get a free sample of How To Find Your Vital Vocation by signing up to my list, for example.
2. Choose Your Distribution Channels Carefully
Marketing a book is one thing, but readers have to be able to buy it quickly and easily. Your job is to make sure it’s widely available. Amazon currently claims the lion’s share of online book sales, so it makes sense to make sure your book is available there. For eBooks, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is an essential channel, and Smashwords will make your book available for Nook, Kobo and Apple’s readers. For paperbacks, Amazon’s Createspace is a useful print-on-demand option because it will ensure your book is always “in stock” at Amazon.
3. Don’t Spam - Be Sociable!
Another essential part of building your online author platform is via social media. There are so many options today, it can get confusing and overwhelming, so I suggest choosing a couple you feel comfortable with. I use Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest currently. But don’t use them as a way to spam your followers. Instead of constantly begging them to buy your book, engage them in genuinely useful conversations. Share information and be helpful. Then when you do (occasionally) mention your book, people will be more likely to listen!
4. Think Long-Term
The really great thing about marketing a book online (and using online distribution channels) is that your launch doesn’t have to be a flash-bang short-term thing. Some authors do try to coordinate their promotions so that they generate a big spike in sales as soon as the book is released so that it helps with its rankings in online sales charts – but that tends to work best for authors with an established audience. If you’re new to this (like me!) then it’s best to focus on the long-term. Be prepared to build up interest in your book gradually. It’s not as though it’s going to suddenly disappear from the bookstore’s shelves! It’s out there now, and you can take time to promote it.
As well as the options outlined above, you could consider setting up a ‘virtual book tour’ by guest posting on other blogs (which is what I’m doing with this article) and there are also advertising options that might be worth exploring (such as Facebook).
The best of luck to you!
Brian Cormack Carr is a writer, certified career coach and chief executive of BVSC The Centre for Voluntary Action, one of the UK's leading local charities. He trained in personnel management with Marks & Spencer plc and gained an MA (Hons) in English Literature and Language from the University of Aberdeen. Brian has nearly 20 years of experience in the fields of personal development and leadership, and has helped hundreds of clients, readers and workshop participants to find fulfilling work and a renewed sense of purpose.
HOW TO FIND YOUR VITAL VOCATION:
Genre - NonFiction / Careers
Rating – G