The most crucial time of book selling is immediately following its release date. I spent two months drafting my novel, two months editing my novel, three months finding a publisher, six months of professional editing and other various details prior to publishing, and over a year promoting my book. That’s right, the most time spent on my book was on PROMOTING. Thankfully, all of my promoting paid off when Patch Lane reached the #1 Best Seller spot on Amazon in Supernatural Mysteries, having passed Stephen King’s It to get there. So, if you’re drafting your first novel, looking for a publisher or agent, or are about to release your book, these four tips will be sure to help your sales.
Promote, Promote, Promote!
From the day you start drafting your book, start promoting. That means creating Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook pages at a minimum. One of my most popular pages was my Reddit page from writing short horror stories on the subreddit r/NoSleep. Several other writers use Wattpad to start promoting their work. I highly recommend creating and maintaining an updated website as well.
How do I promote?USE THOSE HASHTAGS! Across all social media platforms, hashtags are your friends.
Twitter. It’s incredible how quickly a few retweets can completely blow up your twitter page. Make sure you have a unique twitter photo so that you’re more recognizable and work on gaining followers. Tweet about your genre, what you’re currently working on, and make lots of connections with fellow authors. I had so many FREE editors help with my query letter when I was seeking a publisher, and I made sure to return the favor to other new authors. I even found my publisher right on Twitter! It’s a great way to make connections and in only a few months I reached over 4,000 followers.
Instagram. Post those pictures! The more people see your book’s title and cover, the more likely they are to purchase it. A great tip for building your Insta is if you have any pets, USE THEM! People absolutely love pictures of animals, so snuggle your pup next to your book and snap a few pictures.
Facebook. Make a professional Facebook business page and start out by having your family and friends “like” the page. Once you have a good foundation of 50-100 likes, you can start linking your Facebook page to your blog posts or short stories (remember Reddit and Wattpad? Great use here). You can link your Twitter and Instagram to your Facebook and do some giveaways to help grow your followers.
2. Have a captivating description, title, and great book cover!
You need to have a back of the book description that leaves the reader wanting more. Use fellow authors or trusted readers to help you draft it, and use professional editors to help you tweak it to perfection. Likewise, make sure you have a unique book title that gives the reader some idea of what your book is about. For example, you may not want to name your book “The Lake House” considering how many books and movies already exist with the same or similar title. So, make sure it’s unique for searching purposes.
Don’t cut corners on the book cover. This is going to be the first thing that grabs customers’ attention and you want it to accurately depict what your book is about. I highly recommend searching Amazon Best Sellers for your genre and look at those book covers. Be unique, but you don’t want to deter too far from what a reader would expect to see for your genre.
3. Make Pre-Orders Available
Pre-orders are a fantastic way to ensure that you sell several copies on your release date. A great way to promote pre-orders are to offer your book at a discounted price for the pre-order period. You may not see your Amazon rank climb much during pre-order, but you should see your rank rise after your release date since that’s when the pre-orders are charged.
4. Think Outside the Box
Everyone is different and we all have unique connections, so use what you got. Did you go to a big high school? Post your book on your alumni page. Did you write about your hometown? See if they would do an article about your book in the local newspaper.
I gained most of readers by posting a short story series on Reddit r/NoSleep which won story of the month in August 2018. This resulted in several Youtube narrators asking to narrate various horror stories of mine, which as a new author I said yes to allowing them to read many of my stories at no charge. However, once my book was about to be released, I asked all of those narrators to help promote my book and I posted various times on Reddit. One Youtube narrator alone had over 600,000 subscribers, so it only took a minute of my time to send him a message and resulted in all of his subscribers hearing about my new book.
Try to think about what connections, especially on social media, that you may have. You’ll be surprised at how many people are happy to help promote your book, especially if you offer to help promote something for them in return.
In total, I spent less than $50 promoting my book and ended up selling over 1,000 ebook copies in the first two days that Patch Lane was released, resulting in reaching a #1 Best Seller spot the second day it was available. The majority of the money spent went towards buying my website domain name, which is something that pays off in the long run. Don’t let people tell you that you need to spend hundreds on paid advertisements. Use my tips and tricks and don’t be shy! You worked hard on your book and people will want to read it, they just need to know it exists!