Debutant authors often live with the dilemma of how to market their craft and reach out to readers. Firstly, in the current scenario of the Indian publishing industry it is very hard to get published by a reputed publishing house if you are a new comer. Of course, it’s a whole new ball game if you are already popular in some other field and writing a non-fiction book based on the experience of your current profession. However, if you are a fiction writer and trying to publish your first ever novel, be ready to do the rounds of publishing houses. You should be ready to face multiple rejection or wait for long, unspecified periods in order to receive a reply.
Now, if you are lucky and your book is picked up by a publisher; be it a big house, or a medium/small house, or even a self-publishing concern, now comes the question of letting people know about your book and find prospective buyers.
Don’t live under the impression that your publisher is going to take care of everything to promote your book. Your engagement is equally and perhaps more important. You are not just promoting your book, you are promoting yourself too as an author. Your story must be gripping to catch the reader’s attention, but at the same time, you as a person, should also appear interesting to the readers.
Promotion can be both offline and online. While offline promotion is expensive, rigorous, and time taking – there are some smart, quick, and easy ways to promote your book online. Here I present to you 6 ways in which you can effectively promote your book online.
Create a page/blog/site for the book
In order to reach out to a multitude of readers and present them with regular updates about your book, you need to create an online space dedicated to this cause. The easiest way to do this is to open a Facebook page, a blog, or a website for the book. I will recommend having a Facebook page, as it will allow you maximum reach. Invite all your friends here and encourage them to spread the word. If you plan to write more books in future, you can even have an author page; where you can present the updates for your multiple books.
Your job does not end here. Keep your page active with regular posts to engage your audience. Create visual posts with limited content as they appeal more to readers. You can share quotes from your book with matching attractive graphics.
Host contests and giveaways
Your page should be interactive. It should not just be a one-way communication. One of the best ways to engage your audience is through hosting exciting contests. Also, I would encourage you to host giveaways for your book. Who does not like freebies? This will ensure increased footfall and participation on your page and create the much needed buzz around your book. It’s also your little way of giving back to society.
Not just your Facebook page, you should create a Goodreads author page too, once your book is available in the market. And then, you can schedule a Goodreads Giveaway for your book. This ensures guaranteed publicity for the book and also some genuine reviews and ratings.
Get reviews and ratings
Connect with people who regularly buy books and post book reviews. Yes, there are plenty of such individuals. Reviews and ratings on Amazon and Goodreads will definitely work wonders for your book. A lot of people can come to know about your book from these reviews only. Also, a lot of people buy books on Amazon only after checking the rating and the number of reviews a book has received. So, the more the reviews, the better for you!
Also, reviews offer you with first hand reaction of readers. Even if you receive a single line of encouragement, it will boost you up to go on as a writer. And, yes, it’s always sensible to take negative reviews constructively and learn from them.
Join groups focused on writing and books
You should join online groups on writing and books. Follow the posts there, be active, and get noticed. You can also share the posts from your own page in some of these groups. I would recommend joining groups concerning writer, authors, book lovers, and reading clubs on both Facebook and Goodreads.
Be active on other social media channels
Your online presence should be maximum on Facebook and Goodreads, but do not neglect the power and reach of other social media platforms too. Create a profile on Twitter and Instagram where you can share micro updates from your book and your life. It will definitely create a warm engagement channel with your readers.
Create mailing lists
Social media is definitely powerful these days, but who can forget the warmth of a personalized email? Create a mailing list of people in your connection who love to read books and who will encourage you in your journey as an author. Reach out to them, send them updates regarding your book, encourage them to participate in the contests you are hosting. And once your book hits the market, share the link for your book with your email contacts and humbly request them to check out your book.
Use WhatsApp for promotion
You may find it surprising, but yes, you can use WhatsApp effectively for book marketing. Think about it – the people whose contacts are saved on your phone definitely have some personal connection with you. Most of them will be happy or pleasantly surprised to know that you have written a book. You may already be in touch with some of them over WhatsApp. And even if you are messaging someone for the first time, it does not matter. You have nothing to lose anyway! If you send a person a warm, cordial, and polite personal message on WhatsApp, urging them to check out your book and pick it up, it will create a deep impression on their mind. Go for it!
Avishek Gupta is the author of the popular Kindle e-book That Stupid Bug Called Love. His new book of short stories 15/1 Story Avenue is due to release on January 2017. He works in a senior position in a leading software organization in Kolkata. Over the years, Avishek has had multiple stories, poems, and blogs published in various magazines, corporate newsletters, and websites.
His hobbies include reading, music, movies and quizzing.
You can reach him at https://www.facebook.com/avishek.gupta82.
About 15/1 Story Avenue
This book is a collection of 15 short stories in paperback format. The stories are of varying genre, such as romance, thriller, mystery and suspense, travel, and thoughts surrounding everyday lives. The book title signifies a hypothetical house of stories where you can expect an interesting tale in each nook and corner.