Congratulations! Your ebook is finally out (or almost out). Now it’s time for a big marketing push. It should be easy compared to the odyssey of writing the book, right?
Not so fast. We’ve seen money wasted, opportunities squandered, and readers alienated because indie authors failed to do due diligence before jumping into promoting their books. To help you create effective campaigns and avoid their mistakes, here are three serious questions to ask yourself before you start marketing.
1. What are your realistic, concrete goals?
Being a bestselling author, having loads of adoring fans, and getting a movie deal are great goals. Unfortunately, they’re not realistic (and potentially unquantifiable- how do you measure adoration?). Set your sights on smaller, measurable goals. Smaller goals tend to have more straightforward paths: it’s easier and more proactive to work on getting 100 views for a blog post than to wait for a Hollywood studio to knock on your door with a movie deal.
Bite-sized goals are also achievable. And where ultimate goals are all-or-nothing (you either have a book deal or you don’t), smaller goals can be modified at any time. Those 100 views on a blog post? Maybe you thought you’d get them all within a day, but it’s just as respectable to get those views in three days. Or a week. Realistic, concrete goals related to book promotion can be things like…
- 100 ebook sales
- 100 Twitter followers
- Three genuine reviews from strangers
- Guest posting on your favorite ebook site
- Creation of a personalized media kit
- A book blogger’s acceptance of your ebook for review
2. Which personal strengths are applicable to achieving your goals?
Now it’s time to put the “self” back in “self-publishing”. What are your skills, interests, and abilities in the marketing department? Maybe you’ve never used Twitter, but you’re intrigued and willing to play around with it. Maybe you find Twitter pointless and vapid. That’s okay, too. You don’t need a Twitter account, especially if you can’t see yourself updating it.
Consider what you want to give as well as what you’re able to give. If you have tons of time and interest, it may be possible to teach yourself the basics of social media marketing. If you’ve got more money than time, you might be more interested in hiring a publicity company to do the heavy lifting for you.
Set up a long-term plan as well as a short-term one. If you’re planning a major life change, it might not be the wisest idea to set up a media blitz right before you become unreachable. Similarly, it doesn’t make sense to set up a blog tour if your own blog hasn’t been updated for the past five months. Though life always has surprises in store, try to make sure your efforts will be sustainable for the foreseeable future.
3. Is your book worthy of this attention?
We said these questions were serious. Wait a few days for your excitement to wear off and take a good look at your finished book. Is it worth spending time, money, and bandwith on promoting it? We can only offer a few questions for your consideration on this one:
- Is it your first draft of your first attempt of writing an ebook?
- Has it been professionally edited?
- Have you left it in a box for a few weeks and come back with fresh eyes?
- Are you using publicity companies to add to your strategy, or are you hoping flashy promo materials will make up for what your book lacks?
- How does the money spent on marketing compare to the money spent on the writing & editing processes?
- Are you working on a timetable which is best for the story, or are you trying to rush the process for outsisde reasons?
- Will you still be proud of this book in six months?
Beyond that, trust your intuition. If you feel you can do better, then take the time and do better! It’s far more damaging to rush out a subpar book than to take a few extra weeks to ensure an amazing product. The market will still be here. Make sure your book is ready for the market.