Self-publishing is a huge craze in the literary world, and a controversial one, too. On one hand, the traditionalists believe it to be a lazy way of getting your book out there without dealing with rejection, editors and publishers who might be able to make it a better novel. On the other hand, those in favour of self-publishing believe it to be the future of publishing, and bypassing the middle men means more profit and more creative control. It’s always an interesting debate to have with writers and literary folk.
Regardless of whether or not you agree with it, self-publishing is big business, and here to stay. If you’re looking to get your self-published novel out there and give it the best possible chance of success, here are some techniques you can use to give it every opportunity to succeed.
Design an Amazing Cover
You can write the best piece of genre fiction, the best poetry collection or the best young adult novel on the market, but if it doesn’t catch the eye of the reader, it won’t connect with an audience. A great way to design a cover is to speak to an illustrator or web designer and work together on finding an image or design that sums up the book and gives it every chance to grab the attention of somebody looking for a novel to download to their Kindle or tablet.
If you have your own website or blog, keeping it updated with fresh and interesting content could be a great way to drive up sales. Your website subscribers could be the first port of call for additional sales, and if you keep updating the site with news, excerpts and details of the writing process, it can certainly help to market your novel.
It’s quite cool that a number of novels now have trailers made for them. It has worked wonders for the film industry, and for the right novel (and as long as the trailer is well made) it could work in the literary world too. The video could be anything from a basic to-camera interview with the author to a full blown movie-style trailer. There are plenty of examples of both out there for you to check out. It all depends on what you are comfortable with and the type of novel you are putting out. A horror novel would suit a dark, blood-soaked trailer. A romantic novel… not so much.
Interviews and Press Releases
Despite what some writers might say or think, newspapers, magazines and critics are extremely helpful when it comes to publicising novels. Even self-published ones. You have to understand that nobody is ever going to put as much effort into marketing your work as much as you (especially if you have no publishing house backing), so you really have to put out all the stops to try and make people care about your work. Interviews and press releases are great ways to do this. You can contact bloggers and local journalists about featuring your work online or in print. The worst they can do is say no, and you might be surprised at how many say the opposite.
Social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have millions (or over a billion, in Facebook’s case) of users, and if you can connect with just a tiny percentage of those and engage them, you could soon find your readership improve. The lesson here is to be a real person, not just some kind of sales and publicity machine that bores people to death. Social media users are fickle, and you’ll soon find yourself “unfollowed” or “un-liked” if you don’t converse with your fan base and keep them coming back to your profile. If you have a budget, sponsored posts on Facebook are a great way of improving the reach of your page, blog posts or statuses to a wider audience. With over a billion people signed up, it could be worth a shot. It’s not a guaranteed success though, of course.
The online world is fantastic, and has enabled self-published novels to thrive, but nothing quite beats the natural way of building up a readership. Live readings and festival appearances will help people put a face and a personality to the work, and if you make yourself more accessible and a regular on the live performance circuit, you will soon see your fan base – and sales – grow over time.
Featured Image: Creative Commons – Attribution by Sai89AJ