The key to the success of a self-published book lies in the promotion—and this is no easy task.
I was recently asked if I could help a mutual friend with her book. In this post I will describe how we went about it.
Setting the Scene
The book has been self-published. Our starting point is an entry on Amazon with a book description and a small graphic of the book face. We have a copy of the book and have read it. The author has spent a lot of money getting the book published so has minimal residual funds for promotion.
The book is an historical novel, so we don’t have access to photographic material. The author is elderly and not really up to making many public appearances.
We felt the best approach was to create a book website (www.thehivernante.ca) as the main promotional vehicle. Other activities will serve to drive people to the website for more information and buying instructions.
In this case we have to rely on people finding out about the book via search engines (Google/YouTube). This would require us regularly creating keyword-rich content.
- Create a website using WordPress with a basic free theme. This would include typical pages like About the Book, About the Author and a blog. Make sure to include a SEO plug-in.
- Compile an editorial calendar listing when we would publish what content where. For SEO to be effective, it is important that one has regular content. With all the other things going on, an editorial calendar keeps one on track. The idea is to create posts in the blog at least once per week, and more regular posts on Facebook and Twitter.
- Create required graphics e.g. 3D book cover, website header graphic etc. We have no other visual material, so we designed a look and feel that would permit rapid creation of images for social media.
- The editorial calendar includes the creation of video. Video has become very important and with YouTube one can make sure that the uploads are keyword-rich. As video is more time consuming, we aim for one per month. Early on in the project we created two essential videos: a book video (aka book trailer), and a recorded book excerpt (reading).
- We encouraged the author to obtain reviews/endorsements from friends/family and to use every opportunity for word-of-mouth promotion. Books are too expensive to just give away, but a “book business card” with the website address has made up for that.
- When funds/time allow, create a promotional DVD by using the videos already made to send to book stores, libraries and book reviewers.
As there is no financial incentive, we looked at what other benefits we could get from the project. Of course the experience gained in any volunteer work is always worthwhile.
And one gets indirect, personal exposure when one posts about the book on social media sites – this post is an example.
As we also create online training, we saw a real potential for turning the work into a range of online courses. For more information visit www.hmdtraining.com.
One can promote a book on a very low budget. The main cost being the webhosting and domain name and the business card printing.
It does represent a considerable time investment. This can be mitigated by repurposing content and graphic elements as much as possible for example creating a DVD from videos already made.
The book was a good read too so that is a bonus!