In previous posts, I’ve been quite critical of self-published books. The reason for my reluctance to advocate that writers go that route is that quite often self-publishing is a complete dead end. Virtually no one ends up reading the average self-published book. Of course, there are many exceptions, but this is the case for the vast majority of books published with vanity presses.
Self-published books have a bad reputation because many could have benefited from a massive edit on content, and oftentimes even on basics like spelling and grammar; however, there are quite a number of incredible books that deserve to be read that have been self-published.
So, how do you keep your self-published book from getting lost in the sea of anonymity? Here are a few helpful suggestions:
1. Tell Your Friends and Family. By tell your friends and family, I don’t mean just your closest friends, your partner, and your mom and dad—tell EVERYONE in your network. Find appropriate, non-awkward ways to pitch your book to everyone you know. Explain that you would deeply appreciate it if they read your book and if they tell others about it afterwards. If you go the traditional route and just plaster social media, very few of your contacts will actually proceed with reading it, much less helping you publicize your book; however, if you treat your contacts respectfully by approaching them individually, you’ll get much better results.
2. Leverage Your Life. Whatever passions, work, and undertakings you are a part of, find an appropriate way to connect your book to them. Whatever base you have in your area of expertise, find a way to connect it with your book in a way that’s respectful of that world.
3. Become An Internet Player. The Internet is democratic. If people like your ideas and your presence, and most especially, if you’re helpful to others, people will respond. The best way is to start a blog, frequent message boards, become a beta reader, of find other ways to help writers via the Internet. The more writers you help, the more people will be open to reading your work and helping you promote it.
4. Make a YouTube Promo. YouTube is the second largest search engine after Google. Try making a captivating video to promote your book in a way that it might go viral. If it’s just a direct pitch to buy the book, few viewers will care, but if the video itself will stick in people’s minds, you’ll get many new readers.
5. Have a Website for the Book. If you’re good with technology, develop an aesthetically pleasing, content-rich search engine optimized website to promote your book. If not skilled in that regard, hire a web designer and SEO expert. Either way, you need a website for your book. If possible, try to make the website as interactive as possible. If you simply ask people to buy your book, yet you don’t really help others or interact with them, few people will take you up on your offer.
I hope these ideas are helpful if you choose to go the self-publishing route.