I am incredibly guilty of being overeager when it comes to my writing and events I am going to do months from now (an example being posting and tweeting about the Steampunk Worlds Fair I’m speaking at next May).
Once I began editing The Earl of Brass, I was dead-set on self-publishing it as soon as possible, so I read up on self-publishing, how to format books for ebook and paperback, and how to run your author page on Facebook. Somehow despite all my reading, I forgot about marketing. Of course the basics were taken care of, telling everyone I know I published and making a website, but that doesn’t bring in book sales very well. What authors need is buzz beforehand. To do this, there are several things authors should do:
1. Even when you finish your edits and formatting, do not publish it immediately. This is the time when you need to create some buzz and begin a countdown. Get readers eager to buy your book and to read it for that matter. Two to three months may seem like an agonizing amount of time to wait even though your book is ready, but it’s worth it if you want to build a following.
2. During these two to three months of free time, send your book to reviewers. I sent out dozens of query emails to various book bloggers and am still having reviews trickle in. Reviewers usually take weeks to months to get to your book depending on their load, but if you tell them it is an ARC (pre-publication but perfected), they will often try to get your review out near the time your book is to be released. Some writers get upset that they need to send free copies of their ebook to bloggers, but it’s worth it and sending an ebook doesn’t cost you anything (Smashword’s “meat grinder” feature can generate epub and mobi files for your book). Reviews expose your work to that blogger’s audience and also build buzz. If a book is on Amazon or Goodreads and it has reviews, people are more willing to give it a chance.
3. Have a cover reveal a few months ahead of the release. If you have a Facebook or a blog, make a big deal out of it. You should have a cover you are proud of and be willing to show it off. Do a countdown for the reveal. If you have a summary read to go for that book, I would suggest putting it up on Goodreads as a to-be-released book to also build some buzz.
4. Create an author page on Goodreads as well as Amazon. This way, people will run across your face on both sites and hopefully become interested in your books. On Goodreads, you have an audience of readers at the ready. Join clubs and discussion boards. Obviously, don’t just talk about your book, but if you get involved with people who have similar interests, you will become enmeshed in your target audience. If they like you and are interested in what you have to say, they will be more likely to check out your work in the future. As a side note, you may not be able to create your Amazon author page until you are ready to publish your book because you are not yet “an author” but with Goodreads, it’s much easier to join their author program.
5. A few weeks before your book is ready to be released, create event on Facebook. Invite everyone and tell them to invite everyone they know. If you know other authors on Facebook, Goodreads, writing groups, or in real life, invite them to have giveaways during your event (like paperbacks or ebooks of their novels or even random goodies if they are somehow related to your novel). Build relationships with other authors as well as your readers. During the event, give away a few ebooks and maybe a paperback or two. Have fun with it, it’s your party.
Hopefully, this is helpful. As a first time indie author, this has been a learning curve, and I would love if my mistakes actually help others. Just remember the importance of creating buzz and interest as well as making connections with other authors and your readers.