What’s the Best Way for an Indie Author to Promote Their Book?

By Jennifer Hallmark

Maybe we should start with why authors want to sell their books.

Don’t give me that blank stare. I know it seems like a given but many writers go to all the trouble to put a book together then only do a little marketing. Either they are fearful of what people will think or they lack the skills to market, or maybe they wonder if they even should laud the praises of their own work.

Authors should not skimp on marketing.

If a person goes to the trouble of completing a book and then publishing it, whether traditional or Indie, it seems they should get it in front of readers. And at least that gives people a chance to decide whether they want to read it or not.  

Now that the why is settled, let’s look at what ways are best. Here are some positive steps to take in the promotion of your work:

  • Start by building a blog or website or having one built for you. You need a landing page for your readers to find you. Yes, it’s good to create an author page on Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble, and other places but make sure if a reader Googles your name, they can find you.
  • Email list. You need to have an email list of your readers and potential readers so you can reach them with news. Not spam them with constant bombardment. My favorite way to accomplish this is with my email newsletter. And people love presents so be sure to include a gift for the sign-up: a recipe, chapter of a book, short story, etc.  (You can subscribe to mine here for an example plus get a gift of ten of my favorite recipes. 😊Just look for the pop-up.)
  • Social media. There are all kinds of social media you can market your book through. I’d pick two or three and build a presence. Remember to build relationships with people and your books will sell. I use Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest as my main three. Experiement and find what works for you.
  • Speaking/book signings. You’ll want to have a few events to allow the people in your area or areas you’re visiting to meet with the author. You can arrange to speak at a church, social club, library, or school. Make sure to set up a book table and sign books. Also have something set up to show people how to order the e-book if they’d rather read on the Kindle or Nook. Book stores are great places to have a book signing since your potential readers are already there.

Here’s our own Betty Thomason Owens at a book signing.

I also have four tips to speed up marketing:

    1. Be reliable and ready. Set up a pattern in the beginning and keep your name out there. You want people to know that you’re serious.
    2. Book links. Make sure you have book links on your blog/website, all social media, your signature in emails, and any guest posting you may do. If someone is curious, you want them to have a link to click on.
    3. Everyone loves a sale. I once bought a mystery e-book for 99 cents and liked it so much that I paid regular price for the next five just to see what happened. It really works.
    4. And finally, the most important tip of all: The Golden Rule. “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” (Matthew 7:12 NLT) Be good to people. Sow seeds of kindness and I believe at some point you will reap a return. Build a network with other authors and promote them the way you would like to be promoted. It will bring a positive investment before it’s all over and you’re sure to make some lifelong friends.

Start today to put some of these principles in practice. Find what works best for you, then be consistent. The readers are out there and waiting for the next author to follow.

Show them where you are.


Writing Prompt: Jillian reached into the mail box and snatched the book-shaped package, clutching it tightly as she ran toward the house. She’d finally get to see…

Click to tweet: What’s the best way for an Indie author to promote their book? You might be surprised. #marketing #IndieAuthors

Indie Publishing: My Journey

By Gail Johnson

If you google indie publishing, you’ll find umpteen dozen sites offering advice on how to publish your book. There, you’ll also find an opinion on why, where, and when to do it. Believe me!

Warning: You can spend years obtaining endless trails of information, or you can write a book and publish that puppy. One thing is certain, you’ll have to make your own decision on what is the best technique for you.

TreasuresofHopeFrontFinalIn 2017, I published my memoir, Treasures of Hope: Discovering the Beautiful Truth Beneath My Painful Past. In this article I will share a little of the process and some surprises I encountered through that experience. Note: I am not, nor do I claim to be, an expert, so I’ve added links for you to discover your own path. Let’s get started.

Write

The first step is obvious. Write your story.

Editing

The second step should be obvious. We are not perfect. We will make mistakes. The more eyes you have on your story the better to catch those mistakes. Hire an editor. Apply those edits. I hired a developmental editor and a copy editor. It was one of the best decisions I made during my journey.

Formatting

Some writers hire formatters while others do their own formatting. I did a little of both. For the print book, I used a template by Book Design Templates. For my e-book, I hired a formatter. The reason for that was I ran into problems on the e-book that neither the template techs nor Amazon techs could figure out. As weeks turned into months, I chose to hire someone to do the e-book. (I would like to add, a friend used Book Design Templates for her historical novel and had no problems.) I still recommend the templates.

Covers

You can order e-book covers any time during the writing process. But a print book cover must have several elements in place before ordering. Formatting your book will give you the needed page number to determine the width of your spine. No guessing. The page number must be exact.

By now, you should have the title and an idea what you’d like the front of your book to look like. To choose your photo you can visit the following sites. You can either choose a free photo or you can buy one. The main thing is to make sure you get the rights to the photograph. The following sites were suggested to me.

Bigstockphoto.com
Depositphotos.com
Unsplash.com
Shutterstock.com
Fotolia.com
Istockphoto.com
Dreamstime.com
Peopleimages.com

Another thing you will need for your cover is a blurb. A blurb is a description of your story printed on the back of your book. Psst. I had someone to help me write mine. You will also need an author picture and bio.

The last thing to think about for your print cover is the ISBN number. Some authors buy their own while others use a free CreateSpace ISBN. Read more here.

Now you are ready to order your cover or make your own if you so choose. I’m not that creative. I hired a cover designer.

Categories and Keywords

While you wait on the cover, think about your categories and keywords you’ll use once you’ve uploaded your manuscript. Categories describe the genre while keywords are the words you think people will use when searching for your book.

For instance, my book is a memoir, but it can be, and has been, used as a devotional and a study guide. So, three out of the seven keywords were memoir, devotional, and study guide.

Publishing

This part of the journey was a surprise to me. When my covers arrived in my inbox, the e-book was a jpeg, and the print copy was a pdf. Who knew? Next, I visited my friendly neighborhood publisher, such as KDP, CreateSpace, BN, IngramSpark. Again everyone has their opinions.

As with every new project, we may feel apprehension in the doing. I did! So, let me encourage you. It isn’t as hard as you think. Once you create your account, you’ll be taken to a dashboard that will lead you through the entire process. Just follow the direction and you’ll do fine. And if you run into any problems, contact the publisher. I had no problems getting my questions answered.

After uploading a pdf of your cover and manuscript to CreateSpace, they will review, print, and snail mail you a copy of your book. You will need to proof it. If you find a problem, correct it, and reorder. They will send you another proof. When you are satisfied with the result, you are ready to share your story with the world.

So there you have some of the interesting things I learned while publishing my book. If you’re an indie, what things would you add? If you published your book, what were the surprises in your journey to publication?

Click to Tweet: “So there you have some of the interesting things I learned on my publishing journey.” @GailJohnson87 for @InspiredPrompt #indie #author

Writing Prompt: Today, make a plan and add a date to publish your book.

Indie Publishing: Here to Stay

By Jennifer Hallmark

Wow. We’ve had so many good posts this month concerning Indie publishing that I dislike seeing it come to an end.  In case you missed any, here’s a quick review…

Betty Thomason Owens started our month on July 3rd by discussing her own road to Indie publication with her fantasy novels: A Month of Indie Publishing.

On July 7th and July 11th, Susan Neal shared not only how she Indie published her book but how she took it to a number one Amazon ranking: Make Your Dream Come True and Self Publish Your Book, and How to Obtain an Amazon Best-Selling Ranking.

July 10th rolled around and Gail Johnson pointed us to some good ideas while Trekking the Indie Route.

On July 14th, Tammy trail asked an important question, “Is There Room for Indie Publishing?

Harriet Michael “Declared Her Independence” on July 17th with her Indie publishing journey.

On July 21st, I interviewed Hallee Bridgeman, an “Indie Author Extraordinaire”, who shared how she sold over half a million books.

Sherrie Giddens wrote a guest post titled “Take the Steps to Self-Publish Your Books” on July 24th of how she Indie published her books.

And Betty Boyd ended our month with an interview with blogger, author, and life coach Nancy Colasurdo and her Indie published memoir.

As you read each of these articles, I believe you’ll understand why Indie publishing is here to stay. The reasons behind the decision may vary but each person seemed happy with the results.

Next month, we’re taking a totally different road and discussing favorite books of the Bible. Don’t miss it!

Click to tweet: Indie publishing is here to stay. #IndiePub #amwriting

Writing Prompt: Bob stood facing Lil, hands on his hips. “Why would anyone want to read your memoir? And who’ll publish it?”

Lil snorted. “Haven’t you ever heard the word Indie?”

 

 

Take the Steps to Self-publish Your Book

By Sherrie Giddens

Over the last several years, many of the walls between authors and self-publishing have come down. As a result, it is easier than ever for a determined writer to become a published author. However, knowing exactly how to go about the process of self-publishing can be an overwhelming task. I can remember the first book that I self-published. I followed the path paved by those who went before me and took some of the stress out of the process. I would like to share that path with you today.

Once you have written your manuscript, the real work begins. It is time to go back over your work and edit, edit, and edit again. Once you have completed your editing, it is important to turn the manuscript over to someone who can do a more thorough job of editing. They will look for spelling and grammar issues, sentences that do not flow easily, and holes in the plot and story line. This is an important step and should not be skipped, if you intend on having a professional piece of work to publish.

After your manuscript has been edited, you’ll need to consider where you want your work to appear. Many choose to publish their eBooks through Amazon on KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). Doing so will require preparing your document. You can find information on document preparation, by following this link to the information page. There are no fees associated with uploading your document to KDP and the process is not a difficult one, when you follow the guidelines provided.

You might also consider the publication of your document as a paperback. Amazon owns Createspace, a company that many self-publishers use to create their paperbacks. If you choose to use Createspace as your self-publishing solution you will be given a few options.

  • They will provide you with a free ISBN or you can purchase one through them.
  • If you are having difficulty with your document, you can pay for their services, which include editing and formatting.
  • You will need to download a template for your manuscript. Templates are designed to work with the various book size options. They are easy to use and make the process less time consuming
  • Createspace also offers a free cover creator.
  • Unless you choose to use their services such as editing, there are no fees for creating a paperback through Createspace.
  • You will be given the option of ordering a proof copy of your book. There is a small fee for this service, typically less than $10. I highly recommend ordering a proof copy. Once it arrives, check it over, you will be able to make any changes needed before you publish your book.

It is important for your eBook and paperback to share the same cover image. Whether you choose to have someone create your paperback book cover, or you use the free cover creator offered by Createspace, once your book is ready, Createspace will provide a cover that can be used for your eBook as well. Download the provided eBook cover and save it to your computer. Then you may upload it to the KDP edition of the book. This will provide a uniform look for both the eBook and the paperback. Here are some of my covers:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As with every program, there can be some glitches. Createspace is no exception. You will be given the option of allowing them to upload your eBook to KDP. This option can lead to issues with extra numbers and letters showing up throughout your document. I would recommend taking the time to upload the document yourself. Doing so will also give you more control over the process.

Once the eBook and the paperback have been completed and uploaded, they will automatically be listed for sale at Amazon. Amazon tries to link both editions within a week or so, but it doesn’t always happen in the way that it should. By creating your author page, through Author Central, you will be able to initiate this process on your own.

I know this information can seem a little overwhelming. I thought so until I took the plunge and began preparing my document. Step by step, while following the guidelines, the feeling of being overwhelmed was replaced with a feeling of relief and accomplishment. Take a deep breath and dive in.

There is much more to discuss when it comes to self-publishing, but with the basics that have been offered in this article, you are well on your way to living your dream. My wish is that you find self-publishing to be a fulfilling part of your writing career.


Sherrie Giddens is the author of several titles for women and their families. Her latest book is designed to help lesser known authors fill their schedules with book signings and events.

You can find Book Signings and Events for the Lesser Known Author at Amazon.