Marketing Ideas for Independent Authors

You can do it, authors! You can transition from writer-author to book marketer/promoter by taking the love you have for writing and turning it into a love for your finished book and your readers. Here are some steps you can take now to publicize your books and yourself as an author. I have not included the typical suggestions of having Google+ or a Facebook page and a Twitter account, because those are usually all an author hears about. The following suggestions invite you to think a little deeper about connecting with your readers:

1. Get set up on Amazon’s Author Central and utilize it to the fullest extent.

2. Set up an account on GoodReads and utilize it.

3. Create a website/blog that is exclusively for your books. Create an atmosphere so that readers feel drawn in to your unique community of people who love your writing style. Your website should have the feeling of a virtual gathering place for readers who love your books.

Maximize in-person events with book cover image book cards embedded with QR codes that link to where your book can be purchased online, preferably as an ebook so customers will see no cost or time barrier to purchasing it. Because Kindles are the most frequently purchased ereaders, size your book card so that it will fit into the inside flap of the Kindle cover so that customers/readers can keep the card and feel as though they own your virtual book. Encourage them to share those cards just as they would pass along a paperback to a friend, and then someone else will also be able to purchase your book by taking a photo of the book cover image with a smartphone or searching for it online.

4. Contact every local bookstore and library in your area about the possibility of doing book readings and signing events. Contact local coffee shops, pubs, bars and other gathering places that host open-mic nights for readings. If you want to make it possible for customers to come to the event and purchase an ebook, bring book cards that you’ve created and printed using good quality card stock or photo quality paper. Lugging books around gets old and expensive (do you really want to buy a quantity of books and tote them around?), and everyone has a laptop, a PC, or a smartphone (or all three).

5. If you want to make it possible for customers to come to an event at a local bookstore, but you want to encourage them to purchase your ebook, and you want to support the local bookstore since they are making their floor space available to you, encourage your local bookstore to join the Google Books Partner Program. Encourage them to advertise their membership on their website with the Google Books logo, which acts as a link. I publish all my authors’ books to Google eBooks, so this is a natural choice to make.

Show your bookstore owner this link if they are interested in joining the Google Books Partner Program.

6. Think of all the places where your readers gather, whether in person or online. Market your book to those people. For instance, if you have written a nonfiction book on a particular topic, contact organizations that are affiliated with that topic to see if you can do in person speaking events, or if you can advertise your book on their website for a low cost. Don’t just fall into the easy trap of marketing to fellow authors by spending all your time on authors/writers forums and blogs. Go to where your readers are!

Remember, the genre you write determines the kind of readers you will accumulate, so make sure your writing is true to who you are. Write what you love, and you will have a better chance at drawing like-minded readers to your books and to you, for is exactly what you want to do for when you write more books.

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