Where to Begin With Book Promotion

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Wondering where to begin with book promotion?

Spreading the word about your book is an essential part of publishing. And frankly, no one way of promoting your book stands out as the best. But in the following article, I will show you a combination of methods for promoting your book that work extremely well when done together.

Write Articles / Blog Posts

Writing articles and/or blog posts is a valuable way to promote your book. The more of these you write, the better. You really can’t do too many.

One of the tricks with writing is to mix up where you post your work. If you have an author blog or book website, those are great places to post your work. But be sure to write for article directories too.

And probably one of the best (and hardest) methods for promoting your book is to get your article / post published on another popular blog in your niche or genre.

Be sure that the articles / posts you write have a link back to another of your works – whether that be another article, your book sales page, or your video trailer.

Video Trailer

More and more people consume information online through videos. Like it or not, it is a reality. So why not put your book in front of this huge audience?

Imagine the last commercial you saw for a new movie – it is a quick two to three minute “commercial”. Your book trailer should be the same. No more than three minutes long.

And you can leave out the special effects! A simple PowerPoint slide show that is recorded as a video will work fine as a book trailer. The main thing is to get your message across to the viewer. The video trailer should communicate the ‘hook’ that makes your book worth reading.

Make sure to mention the title of your book and a website or article where people can go to learn more about your book!

When the video trailer is ready, post it on YouTube and be sure to create a full channel description complete with a link back to your book sales page or your author website. YouTube will also give you a link so you can embed the video on your website or in a press release!

Press Release

Sending out a press release about your book is probably the most effective method of book promotion in this list. But it is made more effective when you have a great article or video trailer to link to or include with your press release.

A quick search for “submit a press release” will turn up hundreds of websites where you can submit your release. The price varies by site and distribution network. A press release on PRWeb will cost around $300 while Webwire will cost about $30. The difference is in who the release gets sent to. You can release your news free to your local newspaper too and I recommend doing that.

If you are tight on money, go with a press release through Webwire – the main thing here is to get your release about your book out through Google News.

Be sure to include your video trailer in the press release – some will let you directly embed the video with the press release. Others will not let you embed the video – but you can simply link to it.

Summary

None of these methods of book promotion are necessarily more important than the other. But if you do all of these things, they provide a solid overall promotion for your book. And keep in mind that linking these works together will make your book promotion even stronger.

Photo: Madzia Bryll on Flickr

3 Places To Promote Your Book For Free

Have you ever gotten stuck wondering how to promote your book?

Are you worried about how much it might cost?

Let me give you three great ways to promote your book online for free. These won’t cost you a penny except in the effort it takes to create content.

Keep in mind, these are just a few of the hundreds of ways possible. But before you get caught up in all the possibilities there are, let me point out the most important piece in this article: Content. The more you create, the more promotional material you have. The more material you have to share with the world, the more eyeballs you will get on your book sales page (or any offer page for that matter).

Anyway, these are some effective places to put your content.

Guest post (or post on your own blog)

When you’re starting out, you can post 20 articles a day on your new blog and never get a single reader/viewer to find that content. It takes search engines a while to find you and classify your pages. And let’s face it, some content just never seems to get ranked well enough to be seen.

The cure for that is to put some of your best content on a blog or website that does have a lot of readers/ viewers.

Is it easy to get your article included as a guest post? Not always. But it is not impossible either. And since it does take a little relationship building and persistence, 99.9% of writers online don’t do it. That is an opportunity for you.

How do you find guest post opportunities? Just search some related blogs / websites for guest post opportunities or guidelines. And if you don’t see any, just contact the site owner and ask.

Like I said, it does take some relationship building in most cases. There are several ways to build the relationship including commenting on their blog posts. Give to them without expecting to get.

Auctions / gift baskets

One of the fun ways to get the word out about you and your work is to give your book away! Schools, businesses, foundations, non-profits and others hold silent auctions to raise money. By giving your book away (along with some coaching/consulting?), you can help them raise money! And at the same time, you get your book and a little blurb about you as the author out in front of lots of people!

The way to find these opportunities is to look in your newspaper. Check with schools as well. Also, bulletin boards in local coffee shops / libraries are also good places to look. When you find opportunities, simply call the RSVP number and ask if you can speak to the person in charge of acquiring gifts for the event.

*Note* I put this one in because I like it – it works but technically it is not free. I usually have a few printed books laying around so I kind of forget that I did have to pay for them. But it is very low cost and technically you can write off the value of the book at the end of they year on taxes in the U.S. in some situations.

Squidoo lens

I like Squidoo as a place to post articles. Squidoo is a tribe of its own. Some people use it as a place to post articles and monetize them. In your case, it is more important to simply spread the word about your work.

Remember that your book – you as an author – you both have a purpose as it relates to readers. Fiction writers entertain. They tell stories that teach us lessons or let us unwind or be a part of another world. Non fiction writers help. They teach. They educate. As a writer you have purpose. Your book has purpose.

So when you write an article or post – especially for a site like Squidoo – keep your purpose in mind.

I’m telling you all this about purpose because Squidoo will not allow you to write an advertisement. They let you make money from ads on your post, but they don’t want you to basically come out and start preaching about how good you are and how good your book is. They will reject it.

Writing for Squidoo is a good exercise because it helps you get focused on book promotion in a way that is not salesy. You didn’t want to be salesy anyway, right? But it’s how you and I and most other writers can come off sometimes when talking about our books.

All you have to do with Squidoo is set up an account and then go ahead and write your article and post it. They will approve it. Read through their instructions before you post anything.

Summary

You have several options when it comes to promoting your book online – and the ones outlined here are free.  Guest posting and Squidoo require that you do some writing in order to promote your book. But the payoff can be huge in either of those places.

Giving your book away in local auctions is another great way to promote your book for next to nothing in cost.

No matter which of these you use, you’ll get some results. And the main reason you will get results is because you will have produced some content that promotes your book!

Is Createspace Really Free?

Is Createspace really free?

I can tell you – but let me give you a few caveats first.

First, I like technology stuff and I am pretty good with Microsoft Word and websites and internet stuff.

Second, I am a bit of a do-it-yourselfer. I don’t mind giving tasks away, but I do like to know how to do it myself first so that I have some background on exactly what I should expect from people who do work for me.

Lastly, I absolutely want to produce a top quality book (or product, or whatever), but one of my great teachers in business taught me that you have to “ship”. Meaning, you have to put a date out there and then work as hard as you can to get whatever you are working on as good as it can be before that date. Then get it out there. Plan on doing a revision, or plan on looking back at your work and wishing you had done things differently.

But don’t let your quest  for perfection get in the way of getting done.

Okay, so those are the caveats and I hope they will help set the stage for my cost analysis of self publishing with Createspace.

Let me just start by giving you a number (in USD) and then I will work backwards to show you how I arrive at the number.

Total cost: $400 – 700

That isn’t so bad, is it? Oh yes, I am assuming you are writing your own book. The price of having someone ghostwrite your book for you is not factored in to this cost.

Now let me start by saying that you won’t have to pay all of that up front at one time.

And Createspace is not going to charge you a penny to publish – let me repeat that: Createspace does not charge a thing to publish your book.

Cost breakdown:

Editorial services: plan on spending anywhere from $100 to $500 on an editor. I paid $300 to Createspace to use one of their staff editors with my first book. It was totally worth it. She was professional and gave great advice.

As an example, on a later book, I paid $150 for an edit of a less complicated, smaller book I was publishing on Kindle. On a per page basis, I paid more for edits of the second book than what I paid through Createspace. And you know what? The experience was worse.  My editor ripped out a lot of what I felt was my “voice” and replaced it with hers. Plus, there were still blatant grammar problems.

Whatever.

If you don’t have a good recommendation for an editor, then use one through Createspace. For the money, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Overall, plan to spend around $300 on an editor.

Book cover: The book cover is monumentally important. Or is it? I completely believe it is monumental. But, like with an editor, you don’t necessarily get what you pay for. I’m not meaning to offend designers. But I think most designers would agree that the capability of the designer is the most important factor in getting a good cover. Not the price.

With that said, I like 99designs.com as an option for getting several covers to choose from. Recommendations are a great option too. Quite frankly, I have used Fiverr.com on several occasions too. On Fiverr.com, you pay $5 for a service. Guess what, there are some people who are really good book cover designers there. And there are duds too.

 Overall, the average cost for a cover is about $100. You could get one done for $5, or you could spend $300 on 99designs.com. Or anywhere between.

Formatting: Your book has to be specially formatted for print. That means choosing a book size (6×9″, 5×8″, etc) and then getting the innner, outter, and gutter margins done right.

You have to make sure your chapters and other important pages are on “right-facing” pages. You have to make sure page numbers appear in the right place. And on and on.

This work is all stuff you can do yourself. (I even put together a whole course on it).

So my cost was time when I did my first book. Even subsequent books cost time. Formatting is time consuming work. It is not a bad idea to outsource it – especially if you are not already savvy with the inner-workings of Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages.

Overall, plan to spend about $50 on getting the formatting done.

Book marketing: With editing, a cover, and formatting, you can spend less than $500. Way less if you are a bootstrapping do-it-yourselfer.

But the one cost you absolutely cannot avoid is book marketing.

Wait, you do want your book to sell, right?

So you will need to do a press release. You should promote your book via a website and Facebook and Twitter. That means you will need a website and hosting and some nice graphics to use on all these services.

I am not great with social media. So I actually hired someone to help me with posting to Facebook and Twitter. It was money well spent. I am already balding – I don’t need to lose any additional hair through stressing out about what to say on my next tweet.

Overall, the cost up front will be around $50 with web hosting, a domain name, and social media management totaling about $100 / month. A press release will cost you a minimum of $25. If you can handle the social media stuff, then that will save you $50 / month.

Now, if you don’t have this kind of money, what do I recommend you cut?

Frankly, I would say get your cover done as cheaply as possible. And figure out how to do the formatting yourself.

Covers can be replaced down the road. But the book marketing and editing? Don’t skimp on those. An editor is going to help you get your book good. Readable. Sellable.

And book marketing is what drives people to find your book and eventually buy it.

I hope that helps!