You’ve finally done it! You look at your completed manuscript that’s gone through what feels like a million rewrites and you’re ready to go to print. This is an incredible moment in any author’s career, so take a deep breath and reward yourself. However, you won’t have long to rest. As an indie author, you’re going to need to promote your book, and with approximately a million books published per year, this can be a very daunting task. There are people who specialize in book publicity that can help you along the way, but here are a few tips to help you start planning.
Goodreads is a platform for book lovers to interact with each other, post book reviews, recommend books, track their yearly reading goals, and other bookish things. Unlike other social media platforms, everyone on Goodreads loves and reads books, and as an author, getting good reviews on Goodreads helps generate more readers. This platform is often new to authors when they’re releasing their first book, so the question authors often ask is, “What can I do to stand out on Goodreads?”
In a previous post, I explained the importance of authors creating video content, but before you rush off to create that content, there are some guidelines or best practices you’ll want to follow in order to achieve success. Each social media platform has their idiosyncrasies when it comes to video content. You’ll want to understand these before you upload.
This an article on why you, the author, need to think about creating video content. Regardless of how introverted you are, regardless of how many crappy book trailers you’ve seen (don't do those), video is here to stay, and the sooner you embrace it, the better.
Four in ten people suffer some form of visual stress when they try to read print. They may hold the book at arm’s length, squint and look away from the page frequently; they may develop a headache; suffer nausea; or even have a migraine. And chances are that one of those four people will be dyslexic. Visual stress and dyslexia are ever-present issues for a lot of people, and are not usually addressed in book production, but as an indie author, I realized they can be.
Once you have written your book, you naturally want to get it into as many hands as possible. However, learning how to do that is an undertaking in itself. As an author, you must be familiar with what parts of a book are most valuable to readers. Of course, your content is valuable, but there are other, smaller features your book must have to carry weight. Two of these features are your book’s ISBN and your overall book metadata.
An incredible percentage of books sold in the United States are sold by Amazon. This online retailer accounts for 74 percent of all ebook purchases in the country. In 2016, Amazon sold 42 percent of all print books in the US. Since Amazon holds the lion’s share of the book market in the United States, not only should your book be available for sale on Amazon, you should also be taking advantage of Amazon’s book marketing tools to leverage your book sales. One of the book marketing tools Amazon offers for authors is Amazon Author Central.
Recently, the publishing world has been in a tizzy about the “fixing of the lists” by a now notorious first-time author, Lani Sarem. There is a wonderful summary of all that transpired by Vox writer Constance Grady if you’d like to read the storied background of how this scandal erupted (and you should). This self-published author temporarily tricked The New York Times into bestowing the much-coveted best-seller appellation upon her book (but they later removed Handbook for Mortals from the rankings).
I was prepared for the effort of taking my manuscript and creating a book from it, but despite all the help I had getting books produced and the ease of which they magically appear on my doorstep, it still fell to me, as a first time indie author, to get the shops to carry them. It wasn't easy, but here are some of the things that worked for me.
More and more, Amazon and Amazon companies are encouraging or requiring authors and publishers to use them exclusively. CreateSpace offers free ISBNs and design services for authors, Kindle offers KDP Select that allows for extra marketing options, ACX will allow budget-restricted publishers/authors a chance to get an audiobook created and produced for free in exchange for 50% of the profits. All of these options give authors opportunities that they would otherwise have to work harder for, but in exchange, they require that the publisher/author agree to work with them exclusively.