By Chandler Bolt
Did you know that there are almost 50 million books available on Amazon?
While that’s great news for readers, it represents a challenge for authors. With so many books vying for attention, how can you make sure yours stands the best chance of success?
Marketing is the difference-maker for self-published authors. When carried out the right way, it boosts your odds of success not only for your current project but also for your future books. However, when carried out the wrong way, marketing can be a serious drain on your time, money, and general enthusiasm.
The good news about marketing fiction books is there are plenty of free, effective methods available. Here are four of the best.
Use a tried and tested launch system
It’s exciting when the time finally comes to get your book out into the world.
You’ve waited for this moment for months, years, or even decades. It’s finally here. Your book goes from being a private project to something that other people will be able to enjoy.
As enjoyable as launch time can be, it’s also a make or break situation for your book.
Launching a book is a little like launching a rocket into space. You need to give it enough momentum to break free and soar towards its destination. Insufficient momentum leads to a brutal crashing back down to Earth.
Thankfully, book launches aren’t rocket science! You just need to follow a proven process.
The number one mistake to avoid is either approaching your launch haphazardly or attempting to reinvent the wheel and do something entirely different from the fundamentals of what works.
Instead, trust in the launch process as it has worked for countless authors. After you have a few launches under your belt, you can make some tweaks and adjustments based on your personal experience.
Lean on your author network
When it comes to marketing your next fiction book, there are few resources as valuable as your author network.
Hopefully, you have spent time cultivating meaningful and supportive connections with other indie authors. If you have, you stand a great chance of being able to benefit from the generosity of your fellow authors for activities such as assembling a launch team for your book.
If you don’t yet have a network of fellow writers, why not start building one?
You can look for groups dedicated to similar types of writing as your own on platforms such as Facebook. If you’re lucky, you can also connect with writers offline and form meaningful face to face connections that are often deeper than the ones we make online.
The key to building a successful author network is to try and give more value than you receive. Be a supportive and positive presence consistently. Don’t go into a community thinking only about how it can benefit you.
Once you have a mutually supportive author network in place it will be a fantastic way for you to get advice, reviews, social shares, and plenty of other things that help your book succeed.
Boost your book’s natural discoverability
A lot of authors think of marketing as something that involves a lot of external promotion. Getting the word out on social media or being featured on other author’s mailing lists, for example.
While that type of marketing is effective, there’s often a lot within our direct control as authors that we can do to boost our book’s discoverability.
For example, a lot of indie writers overlook activities like optimizing their book’s keywords and categories or writing its description in a way that helps to attract attention and drive sales.
Overlooking the things we can directly control to boost our book’s potential is a grave mistake. Not only are they a free and effective way to sell more copies of your book in the short term, but they are also likely to produce results for you far into the future.
With marketing activities like advertising, you have to sustain your effort to keep experiencing results. However, with keywords and categories, you don’t have to keep pouring more time and energy into them once they are taken care of.
If you’re looking for ways to drive more sales of your fiction book, make everything within your direct control your number one priority. Only after that should you turn your attention to external marketing methods.
Be generous and play the long game
Book marketing is a perfect example of the concept of giving before you expect to receive.
We’ve already touched on how being generous with your author network is wise. But the concept doesn’t stop there. It might be counterintuitive, but giving away some of your work is often the best way to later boost your sales.
How does this principle look in practice?
Let’s say you have the goal of releasing a successful series of fiction books. Consider giving away a free chapter, or even a full first installment, to attract readers to your mailing list and getting them excited for future installments. By doing this, you stand a great chance of being able to sell full books to them in the future.
Generosity within the arena of book publishing isn’t limited to your book alone. You can be generous with your time, such as by interacting with your fans and followers in a positive and giving way, and generous with your content, for example by offering interesting and entertaining blog and social media content related to your work.
There are many ways you can offer enjoyment and value to your dream readers for free. By building this delight and sense of community early on, you lay the foundations for later commercial success for your fiction.
Are you ready to take action?
If the ideas you’ve just read resonate with you, don’t let your momentum slip.
What better time to take action than now, while fiction marketing is fresh on your mind?
To help you get started, here are four quick action points:
- What would your dream book launch look like? Get excited and brainstorm as many ideas and activities as you can think of.
- How strong is your current author network? Either think of a few ways to add value to yours if it already exists, or consider ways to build one if you haven’t yet taken this step.
- What are the most relevant keywords and categories for your book? How could you make its description especially enticing? Look for some top-class book descriptions for titles similar to your own if you need some inspiration.
- How could you give away part of your book to build a foundation for future success? Are there any exciting fiction giveaways you have seen work well for authors you admire?
Have fun getting excited about the vast potential of fiction book marketing to help your book succeed. Everyone at Self Publishing School is rooting for you!
Chandler is an author and the founder of Self Publishing School. His most recent book is titled: Published. Through his 6 books, podcast, TEDx talk, and online courses, he’s helped thousands of people on their journey to writing their first book.