You’ve written a book; you’re taking your first step into self-publishing. Your book’s been edited, and someone created the cover. You’re good to go. Just hit the Publish button on Amazon, and start marketing your book.
There’s one hassle. You hate marketing.
When a writer tells me that they hate marketing, I ask them one question: “What’s your book about?”
The one essential of marketing your book: talking about it
Marketing is simply promotion, and the first step in promotion is to talk about your product. (Yep, your book’s a product.)
You’d be surprised at how often writers can’t talk about their book, even though the book’s done, and they’ve worked on it for weeks, or in some cases for years. They know what their book’s about, but their book’s description on Amazon is skimpy. You’re allowed 400 words for your book’s description on Amazon. That’s a page and a half of content — use the content area that Amazon gives you — it’s free advertising.
Worse, sometimes the book’s description sounds boring. Let’s see how we can fix that. We’ll start by considering readers.
Hundreds of thousands of books: how do readers choose what to read?
Thousands of books hit the Kindle Store each month. Hundreds of thousands of books are available in each category on Amazon’s virtual bookshelves.
Buyers browse the bookstore, usually looking for a book of a certain type. I like Westerns and mysteries. In nonfiction, I’ll read almost anything, but most often, I’ll read historical biographies. I just finished Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolution. A wonderful book; Caroline Moorehead’s writing is brilliant.
With hundreds of thousands of books to browse, readers start with the book’s category — what they’re in the mood to read. In nonfiction, it might be something they need to read; they want information.
After they’ve chosen a category, or a genre if they’re reading fiction, readers are presented with a list of books.
- Books’ titles;
- Star ratings.
A reader pauses at your book. He decides that your book looks interesting. He clicks on it. Now the reader can read your book’s description, and can sample the contents.
Your book’s description: make it exciting
You can do it. Just yesterday, an author who announced that she hates marketing was telling me about her book. It sounded wonderful. Then I read all four lines of her book’s description on Amazon.
She could tell me about her book: why couldn’t she tell readers?
I suggested that the author write down what she’d just told me, and put that on Amazon.
If you’ve published on Amazon, think about how you talk about your book to family and friends. Does your book’s description on Amazon sound like that? If it doesn’t, change it so that it does.
Presentation is everything: it’s the heart of marketing
If you’re a member of the “I hate marketing my books” crowd, think about the last time you went shopping in a large department store. These stores have wonderful displays. The products are expensive, and so’s their packaging. I love reading packaging — I’m a copywriter so I love advertising.
Think about your latest book as a product in the world’s biggest store, because that’s what it is.
How can you make your book stand out?
Only you can answer that question, and it’s a question you must answer if you want to sell more copies.
There are endless ways in which you can market your book — but it starts with the package. Your book needs to be presented well. The title, cover and description are all-important. Of them all, I think that the description’s the most important. It’s your chance to hook your reader.
When you hook more readers, you’ll sell more copies.
And if you “hate marketing”, think about marketing as talking about your book. Marketing will become easier. You might even start liking it. 😉
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