Make no mistake, it’s a huge first step, but the first never the less. The real task is how to spread the word to the masses.
So what do you do?
The easiest way to sell your book is to have lots of money. Hire a marketing professional and undertake a national campaign. See, easy answer, but, for me (and I would imagine most indie authors) the national campaign slush fund is dry.
Where does that leave the average indie author?
We have to be good writers and great marketers. We also need to realize a few things.
First, no matter how good your book is, unless people read it, well, no one is reading it.
Second, there are a lot of authors out there in the same boat as you.
Next, good writers are working their tails off to sell their book. This I promise.
So, back to the initial question. What is the best way to market your book on little to no budget.
Realize there isn’t a single surefire method rather a number of different techniques that can work well together. Oh, be wary of anyone promising quick sales for a fee. Think SCAM.
Most things I talk about below are free (free from $$$ anyway, time is another thing). So try these ideas.
1. Talk about your book. Tell everyone you know, even strangers. Not only should you tell them, but ask them to tell others about your book. Ask them to buy it.
2. Set up a website. This may take a small investment, but if you want to do it for free that is certainly possible. Once the site is up, see step number 1. (Yes its redundant, but it’s okay if it sells books.)
3. Set up a Facebook “Like” page and a Twitter account.
4. Use said Facebook and Twitter accounts regularly. Don’t overload, but give good content and updates.
5. Interact with friends you meet on Twitter and Facebook. Even other writers. Not every writer will buy your book, nor will every blogger/reviewer. However writers, bloggers and reviewers have readers and they do buy books.
6. Email a lot. Perhaps the most overlooked (and least expensive) marketing idea is to include a custom signature in your emails. Link to your website and give a brief blurb about your book. I send hundreds of emails a week and I’ve been surprised at how many sales have come from this alone. I promise the return is better than from mass adverts.
If you have a good product and stay with it, I am sure you’ll be surprised at the results.
Finally, realize that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Blog about your book or experience as a writer. Offer to speak at civic groups or schools. Join writer’s sites such as Redroom or Goodreads. Check out local book clubs and ask to speak to them. Get out, spread the word. If one thing doesn’t work, try something else. Think sustained grassroots. Once you start to sell some books then you can hire you own marketing firm!
In 1994 a band from South Carolina, Hootie and the Blowfish, released an album called Cracked Rear View. It went on to sell more than 10 million copies and was the best selling album of 1995. Prior to this, Hootie, on their own, sold tens of thousands of copies of their self released EP. It got the attention of the major labels and propelled them to the top. They did all of this without Facebook, Myspace, Twitter or really any social media at all.
Think what you can do now.