“If you had $100 to spend to market your new book, what would be the best way to spend it?”
This question was posed recently to ALLi members on our private Facebook forum – an invaluable resource on which to gain advice from experienced self-published authors. True to form, plenty of advice was forthcoming within minutes, from all parts of the globe – India, Canada, USA, New Zealand and Europe! Below are some of the responses. Which would you choose?
- First, get some reviews for the book, as a firm foundation on which to build any promotion.
- Set up a Goodreads giveaway. Authors who are also members of the Goodreads social network for book lovers are allowed to offer free copies of their books over a period of their choice (usually a few weeks). The author sets up the offer and interested readers sign up for the scheme. At the end of the set period, Goodreads administrators pick the winners at random and inform the author of their names and addresses. NB Only print copies qualify; there's no current mechanism to allow e-book giveaways. However, this is a very low cost way to reach a lot of readers, many of whom will add the book to their to-read list, and with any luck get round to buying and reading a copy eventually. You may offer as many or as few copies as you like for the giveaway. Just one will be fine and arguably gain you as much exposure as a dozen – although more readers may enter if they feel there's a greater chance of winning. Just bear in mind when offering Goodreads giveaways that you need to budget for the postage costs, which quickly mount up for a heavy book or for despatch to readers in other parts of the world. You can also specify which countries you'll offer your giveaway too, if you want to keep the cost down, or if your book is genuinely of limited appeal geographically.
- Invest the $100 in a blog tour. You could set one up independently, researching and contacting likely-looking book bloggers all by yourself, to reserve the $100 to cover the costs of complimentary copies or gift cards to thank participants – or you could approach a blog tour organiser and ask for $100 worth of tour stops.
- Spend the $100 in optimising your website! If your author site is a wordpress.com freebie, that $100 would buy a lot of extras to add a professional touch – a custom URL, custom design options, ad-free status. An author website is really your online shop window and calling card, so it's worth spending a little money to add appeal.
- Buy in some business cards or bookmarks that promote your book, to ensure you always have some professional-looking marketing materials to hand, to give out to anyone who expresses an interest, from friends and relations, to bookstores, to libraries, to people you get chatting to on the bus or train.
- Set up a newsletter linked in to your website (free via Mailchimp and similar services) and use the $100 to entice people to sign up for it. Then you have a captive audience to promote your book to!
- Buy 20 reviews on fivrr – or not! (Bit of an ironic suggestion there!)
- And finally… spend the money on a trip to Glastonbury or any other supposedly sacred site, collect some of its magical waters and sprinkle them liberally over your books. We ALLi authors are nothing if not creative!
How would YOU spend $100 on marketing your latest book? Do share, via the comments form!
With thanks to participating ALLi members, in no particular order: Elizabeth Loraine, Joanna Penn, Tony Hawkins, Kristen James, Angela England, Rosana Atreya, Anita Exley, Francis Guenette and Pete Morin.
PS Access to the ALLi Facebook forum is just one of many great reasons to join the Alliance of Independent Authors. If you're not already a member and would like to know more about joining, hop over to the website here: www.allianceindependentauthors.org.