You’ve written your self-published book.

It’s taken you so long to even get to this point. Endless days and nights of writing, editing, tweaking, rewriting and feeling as if it’s never going to end.

And here you are about to press Send and publish it to the world.

And then…nothing.

Not a sausage.

You check your sales charts every few hours.

Still nothing.

Why isn’t anyone buying your self-published book?

The truth is, that’s not how it works. When a car arrives in a showroom all gleaming new, a lot of planning and thought has gone in why that car should be there in the first place.

You need to start the marketing process way before you even start your book.

And marketing isn’t about promoting your book on social media and paying for adverts once you’ve written your book. It starts a long time before that.

Here’s a quick guide to marketing your book

1. Find a niche for your self-published book before you write it

Finding a niche is the key that underpins a successful self-published book. Because we don’t have access to the millions spent on advertising, you’re going to need to be a big fish in a small pond. And the smaller your pond, the bigger you’ll be. Authors of romantic books often have a hard time selling their books because the competition is so high.

So find yourself a niche, preferably one you have an interest in. And one that doesn’t have too much competition. Make a search on Amazon and see what results come up. Anything less thatn 1,000 results may be a niche worth looking into.

2. Build your audience while you write your self-published book

As you know, writing a book doesn’t happen overnight so while you’re doing that, get yourself a website and start building an email list. I’ve written a post about how to use your blog on how to build an audience and you can read that here.

Building an audience as you write fulfills several purposes:

  • Allows you to build important relationships with potential customers
  • Allows you to gain important feedback from readers as you are constructing your book
  • Gives you a ready-made audience (and one that’s been invested in your project) when it does come to publish

3. Build anticipation

Now that you’re building your audience, you can start building anticipation for your book launch. Your fans will be rooting for you and you can ramp up the excitement via social media posts and emails (on that all-important email list).

When it comes to launch day, your audience are going to be so excited that they’ll most likely all buy your book at once, boosting your sales and propelling your book into the Amazon rankings.

4. Launch your self-published book

It’s up to you how much of a song and dance you make of your launch. I prefer a soft launches mainly because I’m pretty shy but if you’re able to do a launch in person with members of your audience, there’s nothing wrong with that.

One thing to bear in mind though is that a glut of sales around your launch is not an indicator of how well the book will sell long-term.

This is just the start.

5. The Long Slog

This is the bit that most people try out without having put the other elements into place first. In many cases, people are looking to sell books that don’t hit that specific niche, or are lost in an ocean of similar types of books.

And one thing to bear in mind is that selling your book is a long-term strategy. It’s very unlikely that it’ll become an overnight best-seller (although this is possible as I can testify myself with my book, How My Blog Got 1 Million Visits).

self-published book

In reality though, with most books, it’ll be a case of months, even years of marketing. And you won’t find one single silver-bullet method that will make you rich either.

You see the secret to making a living out of your self-published books is that it’s a long-term game – and there will be a number of things that come together to create a compound effect.

kdp sales
As you can see, my sales are made up from a number of different books, not just the one ‘silver bullet’ – and all made up from various marketing strategies

Here are the ways I find effective in selling books:

  • Building and using my audience to raise awareness of my books
  • Blogging. Including details of my books within blog posts and sharing them on social media
  • Posting details of my books (with links to Amazon) directly to social media
  • Sending details of my books to my audience on my email lists
  • Adding details of my books to the foot of other posts that I send to my audience by email
  • Amazon Sponsored adverts. This is something I have recently started using and I’ll be posting about this in a few months once I’ve assessed the results
  • Add your book to our online store here and take advantage of year-round promotion.