1. Mindset – Stop thinking and acting like an indie author. Think big. Then, act big. Emulate the author you aspire to be.
2. Presentation – Your book should be able to take the Pepsi Challenge with anything coming out of the Big 5. This means the writing, editing, layout and cover must all be of professional quality. Never forget that covers sell books. If yours is in an array with a dozen others, will it pop out at a prospective book buyer?
Also, if you self-publish, do it under your own imprint. Takes a bit more effort, but it makes your self-published book look much less DIY.
3. Timing – Your book should be ready to publish at least three – and ideally, four – months before its actual release date. This will give you enough time to generate substantial publicity, and explore marketing programs available through various booksellers. Certain review sites such as Publishers Weekly require at least three months‘ advance just to consider providing a review.
4. Publicity – Research and reach out to book bloggers, Booktubers, Bookstagrammers and other review sources, and send polite, well-written review requests to all who state a preference for the kind of books you write. Be prepared to provide edited advance review copies to any who are interested. Avoid soliciting reviews from friends and family. Some big, online magazines with huge readership numbers will accept third-party book reviews written in the form of articles. Find the magazines, check out their submission policies, and encourage someone other than yourself to submit appropriately-styled reviews. Find ways for people to see your book’s title and cover in as many places as possible.
5. Availability – Make each version of your book available everywhere. Don’t limit the availability of any version to any one store. Don’t be afraid to research contact names at online and bricks-and-mortar booksellers, call them, and ask how you can get your book better placed there. You’d be surprised how receptive people can be to a phone call, since no one does that anymore. And don’t offer your work at cut-rate prices. If you don’t value it, no one else will, either.
Joel Bresler is the author of Letters to be Read in a Heavily British Accent, Sunderwynde Revisited, Sunderwynde Revisited Again and The Moskowitz Code. His latest humorous novel Bottomless Cups is scheduled for release February 27, 2020.