The entire world experienced quite a frenzy in 2020. You know why: it was the year of the pandemic. In the publishing industry, we saw physical bookstores tank in markets such as the U.S. and China. Fortunately, digital formats like ebooks and channels like Amazon skyrocketed.
In fact, indies achieved 85% more book sales on the self-publishing platform PublishDrive. The demand for digital books has gone up, and it’s staying up. If you’re wondering about marketing your book, it’s never been a better time to reach readers online.
What to Know When Marketing Self-Published Books
When marketing self-published books online, have your plan first – like knowing your target audience and budget. Then, read up on how to use different tactics to power your promotions. I go over what successful indies are doing below.
Have a Bomb Cover Design and Metadata
Your cover design and parts of metadata are what people first see in stores. Metadata (info about your book) helps place your title accurately and higher in search results.
Pay extra attention to your:
- Book cover: For a high-quality design, invest in a professional designer. If you’re on a tight budget, see how to create a book cover for free. Research bestselling covers in your genre. What are the similarities?
- Blurb: Add the strongest hooks in the first few sentences of your book description. You want to capture (and keep) the attention of potential readers right away.
- Categories: Choose the most fitting categories and subcategories. This will help the right people find and read your book.
Other metadata includes author name, title, subtitle, series info, language, keywords, reviews, and pricing. See this guide for more tricks on improving metadata.
How PublishDrive helps: As industry experts that helped publish over 100K books since 2015, PublishDrive is a trusted entity for indies. For metadata, use their friendliest software to optimize performance. Get top categories suggested to you by an AI tool. Set different book pricing strategies for various stores and markets too.
Set Up a Pre-Order
After the nitty-gritty, set up a pre-order ASAP. Since pre-order sales get counted on the first day of your book launch, there’s a better chance to rank in bestseller lists. Use this book launch period to spread the word about your release through social media or email marketing.
How PublishDrive helps: Easily set up a pre-order for stores like Amazon for up to one year. All you need are rough placeholder files for the cover and manuscript (you don’t even need your official title!) See how to set up your book in no time.
Collect Book Reviews
After your book is up on pre-order, focus on getting book reviews. We like to hear the opinions of others before buying anything. That’s e-commerce rule #1. For a reader, reviews signal a book’s credibility. It’s key to have at least a handful of reviews to produce significant marketing results.
Carve out time to compile a list of bloggers or influencers in your genre to reach out to. Swap reviews with other authors. Consider an ARC (advance review copy) team.
Try finding contacts with these:
- Top 100 Book Review Blogs, Websites, & Influencers
- The Indie Book Reviewers List
- Book Bloggers on Instagram Master List
How PublishDrive helps: With a nifty tool, send review copies of your book to readers on Apple Books and Google Play Books. Simply insert the email addresses and deliver copies straight to your recipients’ reading devices. Files are DRM protected, which means they can’t be stolen.
Run Price Promotions
With a baseline of solid reviews, bolster marketing efforts with price promotions that work. Run campaigns where you set a book to free or discounted for a certain period of time (or holiday). These book promotions generated 10x more sales on average for indies who ran 800 campaigns in retail stores.
- Price promos increased sales by 2% for non-promoted books
- Campaigns ran for 1.5 weeks before seeing upticks
- Discounted books originally priced at $9.99 performed the best
How PublishDrive helps: With the easiest gadget, run your own book price campaigns for multiple stores. Schedule in advance, track performance, and manage everything on a single dashboard.
Get All the Book Insights That Happened in 2020
PublishDrive will you email the free report with info on book promotions and a ton more.
Use Paid Advertising
Pro tip: when running a price promotion, advertise your title in channels that feature discounted and free books. Places like Freebooksy reach hundreds of thousands of registered readers looking for bargains.
In 2020, using paid placements like BookBub, Facebook, and Amazon advertising was a top marketing strategy. And you don’t need a huge budget to start. With Facebook ads, your budget can be as low as $10 a month. On Amazon, as low as $5. See this guide for how to set up Amazon ads for books.
Get Featured for Free
Beyond paid placements, there’s a ton of free options to get into. Check this list for 50 places to advertise books for free.
How PublishDrive helps: On one page, browse through current and upcoming featuring opportunities with hundreds of PublishDrive’s store and newsletter partners. Submit your title with a simple form (PublishDrive has a 90% approval rate!) See this guide on featuring in bookstores like Amazon and Apple Books.
When Marketing a Self-Published Book, Use PublishDrive
PublishDrive helped over 18,000 indies get published in 2020 (and boost sales by 85%). As one of the leading marketing companies for self-published authors, the team knows what’s working.
When selling your book, use a suite of marketing features along with publishing, distribution, and royalty reporting. Navigate everything with a few clicks on one dashboard:
Sell and promote in over 400 stores and 240K libraries with PublishDrive.