An author's career is only as stable as the community behind it. It can take a village to raise a self-published author and every bit of help counts. When we first publish, we may feel initial disappointment when those we care about don't automatically rally behind us. Often you'll find the reason for that is because the non-writers closest to us don't know how to be helpful, or what kind of support we need to get started. The second problem is that we, as writers, don't know what kind of help will benefit us enough to explain it.
If you're an Indie author who has published, you probably fall somewhere in-between. Perhaps you've tried to explain to your friends and family what to do, but failed to get the point across. Perhaps you've been too shy to ask for such outward signs of promotion altogether. Either way, don't fret. In this guide we're going to explain five easy ways your family and friends can help promote your book.
Share On Social Media
The What: Ask your family and friends to share your book's sales page link on social media.
The How: Be specific and don't ask for too much. It's not realistic to ask your brother to share on every single social media site he happens to visit (though it would be very helpful if he did!). Chances are you'll have more success if you pick one social media app per person. You also want to make it as easy for your chosen helper as possible. Type up a blurb with your link included in advance, that way they only have to copy/paste to post. Ask them to put a personal message with it of their choosing, such as "Can't wait to read my friend's new mystery book" or "Nobody writes romance like your name here- buy her book now!".
Why It Works: It takes the guesswork out of it for your helper and makes them more inclined to click one button. The easier, more clearly defined the task, the more likely you'll receive follow-through.
How Your Book Sells Itself: 10 Ways Your Book is Your Ultimate Marketing Tool (Marketing for Authors)
Are you terrified of marketing your book? Do you have it ready to go (or already published), but you feel stuck because you don’t know what to do next? Book marketing can feel like you’re never doing enough. It can seem impossible. How do you know if you’re focusing on the right marketing tactics? We’re here to help! Bethany Atazadeh and Mandi Lynn have each successfully marketed multiple novels and want to help you discover the best marketing tactics for YOU—starting with the book itself.
Email The Appropriate Parties
The What: Ask your family and friends to share your book's sales page link via email.
The How: Create an email announcement for your book that can be sent to your helpers to forward to people they think will be interested. The e-mail message should describe the book, explain who will find it interesting, detail how readers will benefit from reading it, and include a link to where they can purchase it.
Why It Works: Not everyone who reads operates on social media. There are plenty of business professionals, older acquaintances, and friends who may be interested in reading your story but have no way of knowing about your posts on social media. There may be an entire readership that you're missing if you choose not to send an email.
The easier, more clearly defined the task, the more likely you'll receive follow-through.
Share A Review Online
The What: Ask your friends for a an honest review in exchange for a free copy.
The How: Give a copy of your book to friends you can count on to read it. Ask them to write an honest review on Amazon and other retail sites. Point out that they need to note in their review that they received a free copy in exchange for that honest review. We caution away from asking family members to do this, mostly because Amazon will sometimes penalize authors if they suspect there was a connection between author and reviewer.
Why It Works: A free copy to someone who already loves to read can be an effective way to motivate someone to review your novel. Reviews, as you know, will help your book's online visibility and can lead to potential sales.
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Ask For Connections And Introductions
The What: Ask your friends and family to help you make connections and introductions.
The How: Everyone knows someone who knows someone, and so on. You never know what sort of connections can help further your author career unless you put it out into the universe that you're looking to make them. It could be guest speaking at a local group chapter meeting, being asked to guest speak on a podcast, to attend a school book fair, or do a reading in a local library. These types of public exposure opportunities will only come through forging connections with others interested in the same line of work.
Why It Works: You never know who knows someone important. You'll be surprised what opportunities can come from asking your great aunt Mildred or cousin Steven who they may know.
Ask Bookstores To Stock Your Book
The What: Ask your friends and family to ask local bookstores to stock your book.
The How: There are multiple ways that your helpers can give your book a boost in-stores. By asking local bookstores and libraries to stock your book they create demand for it. By turning book covers to face outward on shelves there's a better chance that a passerby may stop to look at it. By placing a wayward copy or two on prominent displays there's a chance that a reader will pick it up and buy it.
Why It Works: Little actions here and there are stepping stones to big results. Where the number of reviews you gain can lead to a higher level of exposure on Amazon, it truly is a number's game.
Armed with these tips, you can guide your friends and family towards giving you the help you need. Selling books as an Indie author can feel like it requires an army- don't give up! Each little step leads to a golden road.
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