October 12th is Indie Author Day! Because the market is flooded, it can be challenging for indie (and traditionally published) authors to gain publicity for their books. Your book might be phenomenal, but it won’t matter if you don’t get it into hands of readers.
Luckily, there are some easy steps that indie authors can take to gain publicity for their book. The good news is that most of these strategies are free, and although they might be time consuming, they will pay off if you stick with it. The most important part about publicizing your book to different potential audiences means diversifying your approach. Consider the following steps as a guide for getting started with publicity basics.
1. Build up your Social Media
With more than one billion people engaging with content every day, social media is an absolute necessity when it comes to publicity. The best part about social media is that it can tie into traditional promotional routes, including speaking engagements, media appearances, and contributed articles. Everything you do for your book can be easily shared on a number of different social media platforms, and it is by far the easiest way to instantly engage with large audiences. There are a myriad of different platforms, but we suggest that you stick with the top ones when you’re getting started.
Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are a must for most authors. When setting up your accounts on these platforms, make sure you post and share relevant content that will engage with specific audiences. You will want to use hashtags to your advantage, which will help you reach new audiences. Also, don’t overlook LinkedIn as a powerful social media tool. As the world’s largest professional social network, LinkedIn is the best place to engage with fellow leaders and experts in your field–especially for business authors– which will help you establish authority as an expert on your topic. Engaging on social media often will help take you from author to influencer without ever having to pay a dime.
2. Create a Newsletter
Your purpose in publicizing your book is to gain followers, so it’s important to have a system in place that regularly engages with your supporters on a personal level. Having a newsletter is a great way to continue to build excitement for your book and establish yourself as an expert. The opportunities are endless with what you could use for content in a newsletter.
Some of the basics include short articles or links to contributed articles, speaking engagement summaries, a list of upcoming events, a reminder to follow your social media accounts, or even giveaway offers. It’s also important to be sure to thank your followers. After all, they help make your book relevant.
3. Schedule Events at Local Bookstores
Another important step in book publicity is to cover all the local bases. Scheduling events at local bookstores is one of the best ways to engage with audiences in person without having to leave your town. Book readings/ signings and book launch parties are popular at bookstores, and they will help audiences put a face with your book.
Your neighbors will always be supportive, so make sure they know you have a book. Start with contacting locally owned bookstores– they love working with indie authors (here in Austin, we love Bookpeople!) Larger chain bookstores are also open to hosting events. Either way, be sure you build up anticipation well before the event on social media and use the event to your advantage by collecting contacts for your newsletter.
4. Obtain Speaking Engagements
One of the best ways to solidify your expertise as an author is to become a speaker. Some indie authors overlook becoming a speaker, but it can help propel your success as a writer to new levels. We understand that public speaking can be uncomfortable for some people, but back of the room sales are a big incentive.
As an author, you are a storyteller at your core. Telling your stories to live audiences can be one of the best ways to engage with potential audiences who haven’t read your book yet. Plus, speaking engagements lead to more opportunities, so don’t take it lightly. Your purpose in speaking is to gain followers, and a public speaking event is the perfect place to get contacts for your newsletter and to advertise your social media accounts.
Start out locally, and offer to speak on the subject of your book at events, and then build to larger audiences from there. It might even become a way to supplement income from your book once you gain traction, too.
5. Write a Compelling Blog
Long after your book is released, you will want to continue to engage with your audience using new material. Having a blog is an easy way to continue to release new material in short, easily digestible pieces. You can also tap into holidays and seasons to make your writing timely and seasonal. For example, if your book touches on the subject of human rights, then you could write a blog post in November for Human Rights Month.
There are many different blog post platforms to choose from, so do some research and pick the one that best fits your needs. Most importantly, post often and be relevant. Your readers will follow your blog because they see you as an expert in your field, so use the content to your advantage. There are many ways to publicize your book as an indie author, and these are just the basics. Remember to be proud of your work, and understand that every conversation you have is an opportunity to gain a reader.