The self-publishing author told me: “I hate book marketing. At least if I get a publisher, I can forget about that. I just want to write…”
Experience is always the best teacher, so I swallowed hard and suppressed my giggles, then responded calmly: “Yes… most authors prefer writing to marketing.”
Why do authors (whether self-publishing or not) hate marketing? My pet theory is that authors hate it because they’re exhausted: they start their marketing push too late.
Once I’ve finished a book and published it, I’m done. Every last inspiration and happy insight I had on the topic, or about the novel, has gone into the book.
The solution’s simple: why not market while you’re writing? Amazon gives you a powerful facility. New authors can use it to begin to build a relationship with potential readers. Established authors can grow their readership, while reminding current readers of their backlist.
Self-publishing: the benefits of marketing your book while you’re writing it
The BIG benefit of marketing while you’re writing is that you’re enthused about your book. Now’s the time to post two-sentence snippets to your blog, and use the “amwriting” hashtag on Twitter. (Love Pinterest? You can use the same hashtags on Pinterest as you do on Twitter and Instagram.)
Here’s a good list of hashtags for book marketing to get you started using them on social media.
Now let’s look at the easy and FREE book marketing solution Amazon gives you.
Amazon KDP will help promote your book (for free) with its pre-orders’ facility
With a pre-order, you can start promoting your eBook (we don’t currently offer pre-orders for paperbacks) before it’s released. You can promote your eBook’s pre-order page… even before your eBook’s released. This can help more readers discover your book.
I love pre-orders. They’re the easiest, no-cost, and most efficient way to market your book while you’re writing it; you know that you’ll have sales on publication day.
(Tip: read the Amazon page above carefully. I’ve heard many author complaints about their experiences with pre-orders—most could have been avoided by reading Amazon’s page.)
Use your pre-orders to promote your other books
I’ve pre-ordered the Kindle version of Hilary Mantel’s The Mirror & The Light (3rd Wolf Hall book); it will be delivered to my phone and tablet on March 5.
Currently the book’s at number 22 on Amazon’s Best Sellers in Historical Fiction. The first book in the Cromwell trilogy, Wolf Hall, is currently selling at USD $2.90 for the Kindle edition; the second, Bring Up The Bodies, is reduced too.
A lesson for you: use your pre-orders to promote your other titles. Your pre-orders are free advertising in many different ways. Do take advantage of this.
Plan your pre-orders and launches carefully
When should you offer your book for pre-orders?
That’s up to you. Choose your release date carefully.
My suggestion, since we’re dealing with technology, is to upload the book as soon as you’re reasonably happy with it… just in case things go wrong. Leave yourself plenty of time between establishing the pre-order and the submission deadline.
Under List your eBook for pre-order/ Set up your eBook Amazon tells you:
- Under Manuscript, upload the manuscript file that contains the version of the book you want delivered to customers.
You’ll be able to update the file later; remember to upload the final version before the submission deadline.
So there you have it. If you’re a self-publishing author, and aren’t using pre-orders, you’re missing out.
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Copywriter and marketing pro Angela Booth maintains a busy copywriting and ghostwriting practice. Fascinated by online marketing, she wrote one of the first business books for internet marketing, published by Allen & Unwin. She’s been an enthusiastic blogger since the late 1990s.