The ultimate guide to book marketing for *shy* authors.
When you’re a self-published author, your work doesn’t stop at publishing your book.
In fact, calling yourself an “author” doesn’t do justice to the multiple hats you wear. You’re also:
- Developmental editor
- Cover designer
- Book marketer
- Your biggest cheerleader.
I know the last one might sound like a bit of a stretch, but it’s also the most important part of your journey as an author.
In today’s world, simply publishing a book isn’t enough. You need to let the world know about the fruit of your labor. You’ve to be shameless in promoting your work so more people know you’ve got a book out.
As a first time author, navigating the world of book marketing can be daunting. That’s why, I’ve put this article together for all authors (first-time or otherwise) struggling to promote their books.
Before we start, here’s a little bit about me. I’ve self-published four books so far. My first book was recommended by Priyanka Chopra as one of the “must-read books by women authors” on International Women’s Day 2021. My second book sold 10,000+ copies and was picked up by a Canada-based publishing house for a paperback deal. I recently published my fourth book, Taming Infinity, and this post is about the book marketing lessons from the first month after publication.
Read on for some valuable lessons, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
The first reviews are the most important
I’ve often been asked by first-time authors, “Anangsha, how do I get the first reviews of my book?”
The people who ask this realize the important of the first few reviews.
- They signal to potential buyers the worth of your book.
- They let the algorithm know what category of people might enjoy your book.
- A book with 10+ reviews would instantly look more appealing to potential buyers compared to a book that has none.
For me, the first few reviews often come from my friends and family. There isn’t any secret formula here. Offer them a free copy of your book and ask them to write a review. On Goodreads, anyone can create an account and review your book. On Amazon, they need to be a verified buyer. The trick I use to get “Verified purchase” reviews on Amazon is simple:
- I set me book as “free” for 3 days.
- I announce on all my social media promotions that I’m running a free promotion for my book.
- After a few days, I set up another post on all my socials asking all the people who downloaded the book to write a review.
So, how to set up a free promotion on Amazon KDP? Here’s a detailed guide.
Step 1: On your KDP Dashboard, select the title you’d like to promote and click on “Promote and advertise.”
Step 2: This will take you to a screen where you can select the promotion options. Select “Free Book Promotion” and click on “Create a new Free Book Promotion.”
Step 3: Select the dates from which you’d like to run your free book promotion on Amazon, and then click on “Save changes.”
Once this is done, your book will be available for free for the number of days you selected. Currently, Amazon KDP only allows for 5 days of free book promotion in a 30-day window. Make sure to share as much about it as you can, and then ask your friends and family to leave you a review.
Reshare all reviews and pictures
Once I get the first few reviews, I share them all on my social media. On Instagram, I’ve created two highlights for my new book:
- Taming Infinity: Where I repost every review I’ve received of my book. These include reviews from Goodreads and Amazon, and also screenshots from WhatsApp/Instagram messages by people telling me how much they enjoyed my work.
- Signed Copies: Where I reshare all the pictures of readers who ordered signed copies of my book.
Both these highlights serve the same purpose: generate interest around my work and inspire people to purchase an ebook or a signed copy for themselves.
When you’re talking about your book on your socials, remember this: Your energy will be visible through your words.
If you’re exhausted or feel like it’s pointless to keep talking about your book over and over again, the readers will sense your hopelessness. Your low spirits will rub off on them, and your promotion efforts will fall flat.
But if you truly believe in your work and know that every time you post about your book, someone out there might buy a copy, this will translate to more excitement among your followers. This simple mindset shift will lead to more sales and better reception in general.
Document your journey
A great way to market your book is to document your author journey through long-form content. This can be through blog posts or YouTube videos, both of which are indexed by Google and live a much longer life on the internet compared to social media posts.
Personally, here are a few types of posts I’ve resorted to that serve both as book marketing tactics and documenting my author journey:
- Posts about how I published my book: How I DIY-ed The Publication of My 4th Book
- Author vlogs presenting the new book I just published: Presenting my new poetry book “Taming Infinity: A Journey of love in poetry and prose”
- Posts sharing the struggles and mental blocks I had to overcome while putting together my book: Mastering My Inner Self-Talk to Publish My Fourth Book in 5 Years
These are only a few examples, but you can get creative as you brainstorm ideas. Be as raw and vulnerable as possible, as this will help your readers connect better with you.
At the end of the day, a reader won’t choose to buy your book because they think the book has potential. They’ll buy from you because they believe in your journey,and want to be a part of it. To bring about this feeling and a sense of community among your readers, connect with them outside of just social media posts.
Authenticity in documenting your journey helps you achieve this.
Side note about author vlogs: When you post unboxing videos of your author copies, you can also announce signed copies are up for sale.
Publishing your first book isn’t easy, but your job as an author only starts after you hit the “Publish” button. The hardest, and arguably the most important part of your author journey is the book promotion.
If you’re a shy person like me, the constant shameless self-promotion can sound daunting. To help you overcome this mental block, I’ve shared the step-by-step process I used to promote my book in the first 30 days of its launch.
- Run a free ebook promotion on Amazon for 3 days and ask your friends and followers for a review.
- Post a vlog of me unboxing author copies and announce signed copies are up for grabs.
- Reshare every review and signed copy picture you receive on social media.
- Document your journey as an author through long-form content like YouTube videos, vlogs, and blog posts.
Which of these steps resonated the most with you? Are you going to try any of them for your next book launch? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
Hope you enjoyed this article. If you’re interested in the publishing and marketing aspects, I have covered some of my experience here —