To Market, to Market


Use these 10 strategies to get your book sales going.

The experts at Author Solutions and Lulu.com, as well as the successful self-published authors we interviewed, have found success with the following strategies:

1 Know your audience — it’s the only way to market properly. “When I talk to an author and I say, ‘Who is the audience for your book?’ and they say, ‘Everybody,’ I know that it won’t be successful,” says Author Solutions’ Keith Ogorek.

2 Give readers a choice of book formats — offer e-books, hardcovers, and paperbacks simultaneously.

3 Set a price that allows readers to take a chance on a first-time author.

4 Go viral. Post a video book trailer on YouTube to introduce yourself and your book. But don’t make it all about you — it should provide a service (or humor) for the viewer. Ask friends and the people on your e-mail list (see number six) to pass it along.

5 Whether online or in person, interact with your target audience. Give them a chance to know and care about the person behind the book.

6 Collect names and e-mail addresses. Use the list to update your audience about new books, updated editions, and events in their area.

7 Ask your audience for help so they become invested in your success. Let them help choose the final cover art or a character’s name.

8 Contribute to the conversation. If you blog about your topic of choice, don’t just wait for people to come to you. (They won’t.) Comment on other blogs, and don’t forget to use your URL and book title in your signature.

9 Put the book in the hands of influential readers and reviewers. Consider hiring a professional publicist for a short-term stint to help you make those connections.

10 Advertise on websites and in newsletters that target your audience, or, as author Christine Marks does, on T-shirts and car wraps, everywhere you go.