You are on your way to fulfilling your dream as an author, and soon you will be holding your book in your hands in a few short months. In the meantime, it’s time to move to the next step – marketing.
But isn’t that what I just paid for in my publishing package? Most likely, “No,” A basic publishing package will typically include only what you need to get your book printed and in your hand—copy layout, cover design, ISBN, copyrighting, etc. Some higher priced packages may include a few marketing pieces like a news release or even book reviews. However these tools should not take the place of a well-thought out marketing plan.
In it’s simplest form, marketing is the process by which you get the word out about your book. Your audience needs to know about your book so they can buy it. If you want your audience to see your book, you have to put it in front of them.
Start with a marketing plan that includes a vision, goals, research, plan/strategy and way to evaluate your success. You’ll also want to include a timeline on when you’ll be rolling out each element. Part of the plan/strategy will include building your author platform through avenues like: social media, website development, search engine optimization, advertising, blogging, news media, submitting book awards, receiving book reviews, interviews, speaking engagements, book signing events, etc.
Essentially, as a self-published author you have started a business. Your product is your book. You pay for the publishing and marketing. Then it’s your hard work that will determine your success.
If you went the traditional route you would have a publicist that would help promote your book, though it’s very much a partnership between the publicist and the author. Ultimately, you are still responsible for how well your book does. The realty is the publicist is also representing other authors and the books that sell get most of their attention, on top of the fact that those books get most of the budget too.
Can I hire a publicist as a self-published author? Of course you can. An experienced book publicist can charge anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000 a month, and may require a monthly commitment. A less experienced publicist may be available at an hourly rate.
Let me end by reminding of all the great reasons for your choice to self-publish: you work at your own pace, you have creative control, you have your book in hand faster and the royalties are great. Congratulations, you are on your way to becoming a published author – just don’t forget to put together a marketing plan to sell your book.