There’s enough great advice on the internet. Instead of rewriting the text-book on book marketing, this post is a curation of the personal experiences, successes and challenges shared by self-published authors.
- Opinion: Why I Paid for a Publicity Service: Self-published novelist Lesia Daria shares her successes and challenges in writing and marketing her debut novel Forty One. Written over a period of six years, “…Forty One is a sophisticated, multi-layered contemporary novel that invites reflection and discussion.” In summarizing her results from the book publicity campaign Leslie writes, that even instead of focusing solely on commercial success (“I have sold a couple hundred in two months”), the publicity helped her in building a brand, building awareness, reaching out to people (i.e., to magazine contacts, reviewers, bloggers and others). Leslie in her comments has graciously shared additional details, e.g, that the publicist campaign cost her
$3000 for a six week campaign leading up to the book launch.
- Cameron Publicity & Marketing: This is the publicity agency which Lesia Daria had engaged and had good experience with. Several of this agency’s other customers have shared short comments about their book publicity experiences on the agency website.
- How to Market Your Book Without Social Media: Carol Michel, writes inspiring gardening books which are full of humour which make you want to get your hands dirty right away. Instead of social media, which has a ‘shelf-life,’ Carol leverages strategies such as weekly podcasts, guest posts and her author website for outreach to her readers.
- Amanda Hocking, writer of paranormal fiction who made millions by self-publishing online: Amanda, a writer of paranormal fiction started selling her books at 99 cents apiece. Shed mentions that she relied on her blog, Twitter and Facebook, together with a creative pricing policy to promote her books. Eventually Amanda was selling 100K books per month as of 2012. She then signed a $2.1M deal with a traditional publishing house as she started getting overwhelmed by all the work of self-publishing. Her comment about the amount of hard work she puts in is very insightful: “I don’t think people really grasp how much work I do. I think there is this very big misconception that I was like, “Hey, paranormal is pretty hot right now,” and then I spent a weekend smashing out some words, threw it up online, and woke up the next day with a million dollars in my bank account.” In addition to writing a book every month, she also regularly produced very well written blog posts sharing her stories. She started with the free Google blogger (blogspot) and then moved to her own website (hockingbooks.com). Here’s an example of her blog post: http://hockingbooks.com/some-things-that-need-to-be-said/. With that kind of hard work does it surprise us that she is so successful?
- 5 Things This Self-Published Author Did to Sell Over 20,000 Books With Almost No Money: Rob Dircks explains how he leveraged five book marketing strategies to their maximum potential. Rob also tells us about the tools and useful sites which helped him promote his books and collect email addresses. Rob mentions how he worked hard to contact 75 people for reviews in advance of his book publication.
- These self-published authors are actually making a living. Here’s how.
Three writers explain how they’ve managed itL.J. Ross has publish 19+ novels sold 4.5M+ copies of novels centered around an unusual genre combining romantic suspense, and crime fiction. Ross mentions that she keeps marketing simple, with concise book definitions and has a mailing list, she only contacts subscribers to let them know of an upcoming release. Rachel Abbott wrote an unusual theme of a woman being a cold-blooded killer which gripped reader attention. She went on to sign a traditional publication deal for paperback but reserved the digital rights. She did the paperback deals to make her book more widely available in bookstores in airports and all places.Neville is an author article who actually turned from traditional to self-publishing for greater control over finances and over marketing. He found great success in producing free books & linking them to his website and newsletter which caused his mailing list to surge.
- Detailed Author Salary Report: How Much Do Authors Make?: An incredibly informative report written in 2020, with lists of successful authors who have shared their earning details. Aside from the million dollar earners, in general, full-time writers seem to have a $20,300 median take-home. If you are not afraid of doing leg-work, check out the channels and platforms of the authors mentioned in this article to explore how they promote themselves.
- Authors Guild Survey Shows Drastic 42 Percent Decline in Authors Earnings in Last Decade: This is a slightly older post written in 2018. Interestingly the “survey showed a shift in book earnings to other writing-related activities, such as speaking engagements, book reviewing or teaching.”
- The Fast-Track to Making a Million Dollars From Writing Books: Despite its click-bait title, this post does have some great common sense wisdom from Jennifer L. Armentrout the author of Half Blood such as: write what you want to write, write a lot and learn the tricks of the industry such as leveraging price-drops.
- If this is your first book, consider having it reviewed (e.g. for grammar, structure, readability etc.) before publication. You don’t necessarily need to shell out a gazillion dollars for an expensive proof-reading service. For my first book I requested a friend who is a high school English teacher to review it.
- Successful authors have their own website in their own name, instead of relying on social media (e.g., Facebook pages) or on free blogging platforms.
- Most authors focused on collecting email addresses. You don’t need millions of subscribers to sell books. Carol Michel a very successful writer of fun-filled gardening books writes that she has only 350+ email contacts who continue to buy her books.
- In addition to writing books, the successful authors published blog or vlog or podcasts very regularly to keep their readers engaged. You might consider browsing their websites to get an idea of the topics on which authors write.
- Authors who make money from books, write multiple books. You certainly get better at writing with practice. With more books in multiple formats (paperback, audio, kindle) you reach many segments of readers. Having multiple books in your portfolio gives you a chance to offer bundle discounts to readers which is a very attractive strategy.
- Producing free books does boost your book marketing, if you have a way to capitalize on the free downloads – e.g., by collecting email addresses.
We do not endorse or make money from any of the third-party agencies, services or products mentioned in this post.