One of the major problems indie authors encounter is knowing how to promote their work. Unfortunately, book promotion is often prohibitively expensive, especially without the help of a big publishing house with deep pockets and the right connections. Nonetheless, it can be done. In fact, there are some clever ways to promote your book for free. One caveat though: these methods may not cost anything in monetary terms, but they do cost a lot in terms of time and effort. However, if you want to see your book out there on people’s shelves (or in their e-readers) all the hard work is definitely worth it.
Many indie authors make the mistake of spamming anyone and everyone they can reach. That’s a terrible strategy. In fact, it’s not even a strategy. It’s a waste of time. It will probably hinder rather than aid your efforts because spam really irritates people, and they’re likely to ignore it or even actively avoid your work. Instead, dodge that mistake and follow the process below. You’ll be able to promote your work without spamming anyone.
Get the Word Out
The first thing you need to do to promote your book effectively is to make sure all the right people know about it. The right people definitely include mainstream media. Start by finding out which radio stations, magazines and newspapers might have an interest in your book’s topic or genre. Then spend some time crafting a well-written press release and send it to them. Remember, a well-written press release must be professional and does not include the phrase “Buy my book!”
Once you’ve sent your press release to the mainstream media, you need to reach out to all your friends and family. Tell them about your book, and encourage them to tell their friends, family and colleagues about it. People are social creatures who love to share information, so use this to your advantage. Also, the average American knows as many as 600 people, so use the power of human networks too. You’ll be amazed at how many people you can reach this way.
Build Your Author Platform
The term author platform is difficult to explain, as there are so many different definitions. That being said, it basically comes down to creating a channel between an author and his or her readers. Especially since the advent of social media, people want to be able to contact their favorite authors directly. Your author platform can help them do that.
The easiest and cheapest way to create your platform is by starting your own blog. There are many websites that host blogs for free, so you won’t have to pay for it. Once you’ve spent some time promoting your book, it’s a good idea to register the title of your book and your own name as domain names for future websites.
When you write your blog, remember that your readers want to know about you and your book. Don’t only write posts about your book. Let your readers get to know you as a person. If they start to feel as if they know you, they’re more likely to buy your book. Don’t keep posting the same information on your blog. People love novelty, and it creates excitement. Try to use new details in each of your posts.
It’s also important to play an active role in the comments section of your blog. Readers find it incredibly frustrating to leave a comment for a blogger and get no response. This will also help you get to know your audience and gain a better understanding of the type of content they’d like to see on your blog or in future books.
Nurture Your Network
After you’ve created your author platform, you can start growing your network of contacts. As we mentioned earlier, people are social creatures who love sharing information. Most people use at least one social network platform, be it Twitter, Facebook or Google+. Use this to your advantage by joining as many social networking sites as you can.
Create your own pages or groups on these websites, and update them regularly. Again, don’t be tempted to release the same information repeatedly. Add new details whenever you update a page or post. In addition to creating your own pages, you should join others that are related to the topic or genre of your book. Get involved by commenting and joining conversations. However, do not use the comments sections as free advertising space. Rather include your book’s title and a link to your blog in all your bios and profiles.
Some websites, such as Goodreads, also allow for free book promotion, so join them too. You can also look for websites that are linked to the topic or genre of your book. It might be possible for you to promote your work there. When you use so many different websites, and social networking in particular, it’s essential to protect your private information. Make use of a reputable virtual private network (VPN) such as Buffered VPN to ensure the safety of your information.
If you follow these guidelines, you’ll be able to promote your book for free in a professional manner. Even though these methods involve a lot of time and effort, they do work. There are even some publishers who claim these methods are more effective than traditional ones.
Are you an indie author who’s successfully promoted your work free of charge? Please tell us how you did it in the comments.
About the author:
Caroline is a blogger who specializes in entertainment.
She is passionate about writing and is a self-confessed bibliophile who probably owns way too many books and is currently working on writing her own.