Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tips for Promoting Self-Published E-Books

Authors who've self-published usually learn as they go along how to market their books effectively.  The problem with the learn as you go method is that sometimes methodology changes and there is no refresher course.  Technology for book-selling sites is often updated and e-book readers have rapidly improved so it isn't easy keeping up.  Self-published authors and Indie publishers who've learned about changes and updates are the best source for clueing in to what has changed. If you have an e-book already online and even if you haven't yet pressed that publish button, here are some recent updates for the self-published author's book marketing to-do list to help you improve your book's online visibility and its chance for success.

  • Get your Amazon.com description coded.  Not too long ago, html code was not necessary to add to your book's description area, but now it is required.  Html coding not only improves visibility, but Amazon requires that their books have the same professional product page.  You can get information about where to find this code from a book called Crush It with Kindle's Youtube.com channel, or you can learn to code it yourself.  The coded description goes on the kdp bookshelf description rather than the Author Central page.
  • Reviews and reviewers are not easy to find, but once your book has been reviewed, you can display your reviews from both Amazon.com and Goodreads.com on your author's website.  Goodreads has a widget which allows authors to embed code to add reviews to your own pages.
  • TweetYourBooks is a great resource for reviews and reaching a wider audience with book marketing efforts online.  
  • Creating a book on Createspace? Formatting pages and the cover to the 6" x 9" format automatically opens up a retail distribution channel that is blocked from other size formats.  If you already have your book out through Createspace you might want to go back and examine whether changing its format would be worth the effort.
These are things you can do about successfully marketing your e-books and print-on-demand books selling online.  What you can't do is write your own reviews.  There is a tricky spot when adding books to Goodreads.com that almost insists the author review their own books.  Do not review your own book.  You do have to click on the star bar to get to the next portion of adding your own books to your bookshelf, however, which is not in the favor of self-publishing.  Goodreads was started by librarians (the nuns of the book publishing industry).  Nothing but pure IBSN cataloguing, editions adhered to (you can not delete an edition), and traditional author-publisher relationships hailed as establishment.  It could have been assumed that the publisher would be adding the author's Goodreads bookshelf and then would add the reviews as it is one continuous step in creating the Author's Dashboard.  Among self-published authors, it is a faux pas to review your own book, but in at least this instance it is not possible to move on to Save and Publish without adding your review.  The star bar alone can keep the progression of the book you have entered until you hit Save.  Otherwise, have your mother's review handy, although its possible it would still look like your own review.  For now, this short list of do's and don'ts applies, but when Amazon buys Goodreads, it will probably change its landscape, somewhat, to reflect a book selling ownership rather than an afficianado, librarian-esque ownership.  For now, it is an amazing resource for authors and readers with impressive coding capabilities and widgets for both authors and readers who blog.


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