Learn How to Sell Your First Self-Published Novel Today!
First of all, I want to congratulate you for deciding to sell your first self-published novel! It’s not always an easy choice and once you do cross that line, it’s on to the races. But if you’re reading this article, I’m going to assume you have a polished manuscript and it’s ready to be read. Now it’s time for the dreaded business side of the party. I’m here today to tell you how you can sell you first self-published novel without the hassle of getting lost in marketing.
Build your audience.
If you’re anything like me (a writer) then all you want to do in life is write and have your work read. Unfortunately it’s not that simple. What’s the point of writing one hundred blog posts, books, screenplays, poetry or any writing medium if you don’t have an audience to read it? You want to make sure you grow your audience through interactions like: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Goodreads. But one of the fastest ways to building your audience is by starting a blog and building your email list. You give away great content for free so when launch time comes for your book you can already have a group to directly market to. Make your audience feel special with exclusive and discounts. After all, they do come to you week after week to see what you have to say.
Create a marketing plan.
This is arguably the most important step when it comes to selling your first self-published novel. Your first week sells are crucial to getting your novel discovered. I really recommend that you create your marketing plan BEFORE you start writing your manuscript. Being a self-published author is hard enough because you have to do every little thing by yourself so if you can have a strategy as early as possible that can cut some stress. Start by writing a mission statement in your own words. Why are you writing this book? Next, make some realistic goals like: How many books do you want to sell? How many customer reviews do you want? Are you using this as a stepping stone to find an agent? Figuring these things early can help motivate you to pushing your book to the next level.
Also, you want to consider your budget. How much do you want to spend? Pay for professional book reviews, virtual book tours, book competitions, and advertisement is always a plus. Keep in mind that none of this is included in the real cost of what it takes to put your book together. Find a budget that’s good for you and stick with it so you won’t end up over paying. There are also free avenues you can explore, but for the most exposure, you want to set aside some money for this type of promotion.
Start the battle early.
In reference to the marketing plan, you want to start marketing as soon as possible! Which means, if you finish your manuscript in March, then you should be marketing at the very least for three months before the publish date. Now it’s never too late to market your book because it can be discovered any day and sell one million copies. However, the first week sells is the “make or break you” moment so you need to build up the moment leading to the release.
Of course, I made the mistake of announcing my first novel was published, the day it was published. I talk about it more in the article 5 Tips for Making Self-Publishing A Part of Your Passive Income, but in short, it was a huge mistake. I was able to recover later but it cost me out huge sell potential that first week.
Give the hard jobs to the professionals.
Even though self-publishing gives you multiple hats to wear throughout the process, there are some things that just need to be handed off to someone who specializes in things we can’t handle. For example, I am in no way shape or form a programmer or SEO guru. So when I was building my blog, it took a little while for me to figure the ins and outs of getting the best exposure possible.
From getting indexed in google and other search engines to the real face of this blog; my limited abilities were not enough to get the job done. We all don’t have money to buy marketing pros and web designers so what I suggest is using fiverr.com. It provides affordable services in just about anything you can imagine if you want to have a stellar presence online. I’ve had a great experience with it and a lot of the weight was lifted from my shoulders. So if you have 5-100 dollars to invest I would highly recommend signing up with Fiverr and utilizing their services.
I’m not going to sugar coat it for you; selling your first self-published novel is hard work. It’s pretty much like working a 9 to 5 and for most of us that would mean a second job. But there are ways to have fun in all of this. The most gratification I got from this experience is interacting with my readers. Whether good, bad or indifferent, I found that most people appreciate the fact that you take time to show that you’re not just a robot behind a computer. Get out there and show everyone why they should buy your book with your passion. I never met a writer who didn’t like talking about their own writing. You can run contests on social media or have virtual meet and greets. Whatever your idea of fun is, try mixing it in with your marketing strategy.
Selling your first self-published novel can be intimidating. You have to be social online and plan everything, but once you get into the swing of things you’ll become a pro. Your loyal audience will always support as long as you make them feel special. Plan marketing months out in advance and outsource all the difficult jobs to the professional. Let me know how your first week goes. Good luck on your literary journey and don’t forget to subscribe below for more great content!
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.