Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book to Spark Sales

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Founded in 1997, Smith Publicity has evolved from a one-person operation run in a bedroom office to one of the leading book publicity agencies in the world. Founder Dan Smith’s goal for the company was to offer unparalleled customer service and work to exceed, not simply meet client expe

Authors who self-publish their books do so for many reasons; for some, it's about maintaining creative control, while others prefer to bypass literary agents and traditional publishers. When you publish independently and hope to sell copies of your book, the responsibility for marketing falls on your shoulders. While it's an added responsibility to take on, there are things you can do that can help spark sales and attract the attention of potentially interested readers. Discoverability is a crucial concept in book promotion and one you need to keep in mind. It means helping target readers find out about your book.

Once your work is published, you need to get people reading it to talk about it, especially online (think blogs and social media), to get word-of-mouth endorsements happening. If you plan to write and publish more books in the future, you can return to your inner circle of readers again for help. It also helps to ask for the support of people who know to read and buy your book. They can be friends and family, past readers, clients, coworkers, former classmates, professional contacts, and of course, your social media followers. It's wise to be active on social media long before you plan to publish a book.

For prospective readers who have no personal contact with you, books reviews can be crucial to making an impression. Be proactive about soliciting reviews in places where you know your target readers are in the audience. You'll want people who've read the book to leave reviews on online booksellers' websites. Bloggers who cover books are also excellent people to ask for reviews and find blogs in a niche related to your book topic. There are also paid review services, and they have pros and cons. Given the intense competition today, the respected sites are becoming more accepted.

Now that in-person appearances have become possible again after the coronavirus pandemic, and you can look for opportunities to give presentations and make appearances. Some may be purely about promoting your book, while others may be general speaking platforms where you can tactfully sell books as people enter and leave. Pay-per-click advertising on bookselling websites is another thing to consider. It works for some authors but not everyone. If you decide to try it, be careful about setting a reasonable daily campaign budget until you see if it works. If yes, you can spend more as sales take off.