How to Avoid Common Pitfalls When Promoting Your Book

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There’s a lot to juggle when you’re a self-published author. You handle the promotion yourself, striving to break through the noise in an intensely competitive market. Book promotion involves everything from exciting blurbs to sales events. You generally need a consistent social media presence to stay at the top of your readers’ minds and make sure they know about all your upcoming publications. 

If marketing isn’t your specialty, one option is to ask an expert to create a marketing package for you. There are numerous strategies for stellar promotion, but there are also many potential mistakes, so tread carefully, using ample research to back up your promotion plans. Read on to see what can affect your book’s success.

Optimizing book design

Adobe Photoshop and InDesign aren’t the only heavyweights anymore. Inexpensive programs like Canva make it so that readers notice when works look mediocre. Your book needs an appealing cover, a consistent layout, and eye-friendly print. Even though the visuals aren’t the core of your book, they are at the core of book marketing.

Reassess your layout

A weird layout is especially annoying in the eBook format. In the fickle eBook market, where hundreds of thousands of other titles are just a click away, readers won’t put up with designs that aren’t user-friendly. A clean layout helps your Kindle sample get read, followed by the rest of your book. However, creating layouts is time-consuming, so you might want to consider a skilled formatting specialist. Meanwhile, book covers are an art form and the first thing a reader sees, making it worthwhile to invest in a great cover design.

Rethink your cover

A pretty cover won’t save a terrible book, but a shoddy cover can ruin the chances of a good one. If the design looks cluttered, the picture resembles the work of a kid dabbling in MS Paint, or the tiny preview is unreadable, it’s a turnoff even for someone who would otherwise be interested in your book. A sloppy cover design signals laziness and a lack of concern for quality, prompting a prospective reader to assume these traits apply to the content of the book as well. 

A solution is to hire a cover designer or at least get extensive feedback from a professional. Most people aren’t good at design, so if you’re not a designer yourself, it’s highly recommended that you trust the expertise of a professional. When your cover is stylish, unique, and intriguing, you’ll have a promotional advantage. 

Use in-book promotion

With self-publishing, each book is an opportunity to promote your brand since you can insert URLs directly into the pages. In the back matter (the last pages of the book), you can provide your social media information, a link to your newsletter sign-up, and reminders of your other books. If readers reach the back matter, they are probably curious about your other works or your Twitter posts, so this is fertile ground for recruiting more loyal fans. Satisfying their curiosity with a call to action can build up your following. 

Pricing your work

Savvy book promotion includes setting a price. Be mindful of where you are promoting and selling, for example, whether it’s KDP or a curator like BookBub. Price can also affect royalties. KDP assigns a larger royalty rate to books priced at $2.99-$9.99. Some authors recommend $2.99, while those generating more sales through email lists might suggest $0.99. Ultimately, it depends on you, your book, your genre, and the platform, so do your research, ask around, and determine the best price for you.

Think long-term revenue

Ultimately, a safe bet for lasting success is loyal readers who can’t wait to buy your next book. Some self-published authors would say it’s worth pricing the first book in your series lower than the others. Think of it as an investment in your future career as an eBook author. Just don’t overprice: Anecdotal research shows that can truly hurt your success. 

Your prices can change

It’s also a mistake to set your price in stone. Part of learning how to promote your books is to experiment. It’s okay to change your prices, either for sales or because your book has been out for a while. In fact, offering occasional sales can be extremely effective as long as you advertise them accordingly. If your higher price isn’t drawing enough buyers, simply trim it. 

Promotional strategizing 

How you promote your current book can also boost sales of your other books and expand your fanbase. Marketing takes planning and knowing how to get the most out of your promotion work. 

Stack your deck

Depending on one sale or event is a mistake. View it as a springboard. When you do a big promotion for your book, the sales jump tapers off quickly. However, you can use the heightened attention to interact with followers or connect with blog promotion opportunities. You have to play the long game and continuously promote yourself and your book to keep your sales up. By publicizing on multiple platforms or tying it to additional deals, you maximize the promotion. This can direct attention to your other works. 

Capture the best audience

If your writing encompasses multiple genres, don’t assume all your readers are on board for each story. Not every romance fan likes a side of werewolves. That’s not to say you shouldn’t test the waters and advertise new books to fans of old books, but if your promotion of a new title gets a lukewarm reception, step back and consider focusing on different readers. You could instead target supernatural fans who like some romance. 

Remember your reviews

Have you ever seen a deal on Amazon but felt your spidey sense tingling because the book had no reviews? A large number of reviews indicates reader interest. FOMO (fear of missing out) is real. Also, if a book has no reviews, there’s no way to determine easily whether it’s a dud. You can get more reviews through social media activity, selling through multiple venues, and reviewer outreach. You can even quote positive reviews to add to your promotional repertoire—reviews can be powerful because they show a third-party opinion.

Promoting your own work will make you understand why publicity and marketing are feats in their own right. There are, however, well-tested strategies for effective self-promotion. For an additional professional touch, you can always consult with an industry expert to create a promotional package

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