My Journey with Self-Publishing A Best-Seller Part 3: Marketing Your Book for Success — Late joining this series? Catch up from the beginning with Part 1 or from last week’s Part 2!
If you’re serious about being successful, your self-published book must look as slick as a traditionally published copy.
The stigma around self-publishing relates to books that are poorly done. Let’s face it. Anyone can self-publish their own writing. You’ll still find self-published books with typos, grammatical errors, or redundancies. But yours doesn’t have to be that way!
Lesson #1: Be Ready to Invest Time and Money.
To get your book accepted into stores, libraries, and gift shops, you’ll need to spend time and money. Here are critical steps:
Consulting and Editing –
Hire a professional editor to check spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Ideally, your editor can serve as a consultant to guide you forward.
When hiring an illustrator, review their past work and consider asking for references. Even without illustrations, you’ll need an appealing cover design. Compare costs. Write an agreement and check it out with a literary attorney.
Layout and Design –
Illustrators don’t always know how to do the layout. That’s why you’ll need a graphic designer. Graphic designers can also suggest font size and styles. They know how to place the words properly near the illustration. Make sure your title is also placed on the spine of the book.
ISBN Number –
If you plan to sell your book, you need to purchase an ISBN number. You’ll need different numbers for the hardcover and paperback versions. The ISBN corresponds to a price that you determine for each book. You can buy an ISBN through a reputable publishing company. (See: isbn-us.com)
Publishing Support –
Be careful in choosing a self-publishing company. Some are reputable, and others are not. Do your homework online. Check their reviews.
Marketing and Publicity –
If no one knows about your book, how will it sell? Marketing is an ongoing process. You must have a consistent online presence to get discovered.
Lesson #2: Consider Crowdfunding.
What’s crowdfunding? And how does it work?
According to Wikipedia, “Crowdfunding is the practice of funding a project or venture by raising many small amounts of money from a large number of people, typically via the Internet.”
If you need money, consider raising money through crowdfunding. I used crowdfunding to pay for my illustrator and related publishing fees. Every crowdfunding site offers distinct features. They also take from 4-9% of the funds raised, depending on whether you reach your goal or not. Study the sites to see which one best meets your needs.
For example, Kickstarter is an “all or nothing” site. If you don’t reach your goal, you receive nothing. On the other hand, Indiegogo, the site I used, takes between 4-9% of what you’ve raised, depending on whether you meet your goal. I just discovered hatchfund.org, which supports artistic projects. Tell everyone you know about your crowdfunding project.
Here are more tips:
- Decide on your fundraising goal. Calculate how much you’ll need to publish your book. Write down why your project is worthy of funding.
- Invite family, friends, and colleagues to spread the word.
- If possible, hire a social media expert for support.
- Create a video that features you talking about your book. Here’s my video: http://bit.ly/GeorgeTex
- Provide incentive gift ideas for donors that relate to your story. My incentive gifts about the friendship between a man and rare crane included origami cranes, crane note cards, future copies of my book, and a Hilton hotel stay in Baraboo, Wisconsin.
- Create a website about your book.
- Give yourself a limited time frame like three months (start to finish) to raise money.
- Thank your donors as soon as possible.
- Research companies who could be a potential donor or sponsor for your work. One cold call with an environmental company resulted in a $250 donation.
After three months of crowdfunding, I raised about $2,700. After Indiegogo’s service fee, I was still able to pay my illustrator, and have money left over for layout and design, and publishing.
Lesson #3: Keep promoting!
Don’t let too much time slip by or people will forget your book. Share your news. Connect with people who appreciate your topic. Contact bloggers. Write a press release, include testimonials and articles, and put together a media kit. Publicize your story with the local press.
To be most effective, here are more tips:
Stay Active on Social Media:
Get help in promoting your book on social media sites. I’ve collaborated with experts and can pass along their names. Connect and engage with people who share your interests on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube. Pinterest and Instagram are also popular.
People prefer watching videos over reading. To get the most impact, create videos. We can help you do video trailers. Video testimonials. Online video interviews. Here’s an interview I did with children’s author, Burt Kempner, as we both shared our stories. (See: http://bit.ly/DM-Kempner)
Keep your connections informed about your news.
Ask people who you respect to read your book and offer a testimonial. Include those testimonials in your book. You can also create a testimonial page as part of your media kit.
Talk to local bookstores, libraries, and gift shops. You never know who can bring your book greater exposure. Through a bank contact, my book was referred to the Board President of The Illinois Conservation Foundation. As a result of my book’s favorable impression, I was awarded the honor of “2017 Conservation Author of the Year.” What an exciting experience!
Speak about your topic whenever you can, and make sure you’ll be able to sell copies from that location. I’ve spoken at a bookstore and an outdoor block party, and am now booked to speak at several libraries and schools.
I hope I’ve inspired you to bring your own stories to life! Remember: it’s never too late.
I believe in you!