I want to thank Lex for writing this guest post for me. Read my review of Lex’s book, The Curly-tailed Cat.
Many self-published authors, especially newer authors, have noticed that getting reviews for their books is becoming increasingly difficult. Many book bloggers and Youtubers aren’t even accepting new books right now because they’re drowning in books. Free strategies are less effective. I gave away approximately 100 free e-books through KDP Select between September and October and I didn’t get a single rating nor review – anywhere.
Is the sky falling? Has the bubble popped? Yes – and it popped a few years ago, shortly after the Amanda Hocking success story. However, good books will always have homes, so I am by no means advocating doing nothing to sell your book.
#1: Be Creative and Think Big
Finding a unique way to promote and market anything is a challenge because as soon as everyone else starts doing it – it no longer works. However, a unique hook and finding a way to stand out against the competition is key to getting your book read instead of someone else’s. Consider the content of your book first and develop a unique approach around it. Do you remember the woman who handed out resumes on the street? Can you make a seemingly average photo go viral? Or perhaps you can find a celebrity interested in your niche content? With Twitter, Facebook, and other social platforms, asking and sharing has never been easier. Don’t be afraid to think big.
#2: Platforms Still Matter
Do you have an e-mail list of 1,000 or more people who are interested in your books? If not, start building a list now because these followers can help skyrocket your book to the top of Amazon’s sales charts. If you don’t have a list, it will be difficult to get large numbers of people to buy your book because you will have to find them with your marketing strategy and this is not easy. To build your follower list, choose a platform that works best for you. If you’re great on camera and are often out and about, film your daily activities and choose Youtube. If you’re always at your computer and have witty comments to share, Twitter may be a better option. Or, if you’re highly analytical and more interested in becoming a thought leader, a blog may be a better choice. Of course, if you manage to get all of these platforms to come together and work for you simultaneously, real magic can really happen for your book.
#3: Find Reviewers Who Liked Books Similar to Yours
You’re probably aware of similar titles to yours, so search for those book reviews online, e-mail the reviewers, and offer free review copies of your book. If they liked a similar title, they may be interested in yours as well. If they decline because they are busy, consider following up the following year. Hopefully, you can give away more e-book copies because they are free!
#4: Giving Away Books on Goodreads Still Works
Although results can be disappointing, getting reviews on Goodreads is still important for becoming popular on their platform and selling books. In general, about half of Goodreads users who receive a free book will rate or review it. It is possible to give ten copies away and get zero feedback, so beware. However, the more books you give away, the more reviews you’ll get. If you want to get ten reviews, it’s clearly better to give away 50 books than one book.
#5: Spend Money
Ugh … Are you an indie writer with no money? It’s not always true that you have to spend money to make money, but consider that publishers are likely outspending you by more than 100:1. This means they’re reaching the bigger press outlets along with more bloggers, vloggers, and dominating the Twitterverse. Large publishers are getting many copies of other books out there and they’re winning the war for eyeballs. But also consider that you’re serious about your career as a writer and that a few advertising dollars may separate you from the people who aren’t truly interested in the writer’s life.
About the Guest:
Lexington Alexander was born in San Luis Obispo, California in 1984. He graduated from Washington State University with a bachelor’s degree in general studies in 2010. He began a career in game development before becoming an independent author. He can be contacted through Goodreads.