Fingers crossed, because today…I’m celebrating the launch of MY first self-published book, Life as a Teenage Vampire.
Previously, I went over how I decided on becoming self-published, and the process I go through to publish my books using Createspace. But once you have everything written, edited, typeset, and ready to launch – what comes next? Sitting around and hoping that the right fans discover your book isn’t going to cut it.
One of the most important things is getting reviews right away. Which may seem like a paradox – how do I get more people to read my book by showing them how other people love it…if no one’s read it yet?!
You can contact bloggers and reviewers to read and review your book. You can pay for blog tours that will often have reviews available. You can also give away free copies of your book in exchange for honest reviews.
Notice how I say ‘honest’. Paying for a blog tour doesn’t mean the tour stops are getting paid to give you a good review. They’ll give you the review they feel you deserve, and might even request not to review to avoid having to give you a bad one, but believe me, blog tours that are worth the time, aren’t in it to give you fluff pieces. Yes, you’re paying them to help promote your book, but the site owners for different stops have the right to feel however they want about your title, and you can’t please everyone.
Giving away copies is a great way to get people to agree to read and review, but always make it clear that you’re doing so for an honest commentary on the story. If you pay people directly for a good review, or request that they give you a 5 star because you gave them a free copy, you’re not helping anyone.
For starters, those reviews tend to come off stiff and sound as fake as they are, which doesn’t convince people to want to pick it up. And it doesn’t help you grow as a writer for your next title either. Sure, you’ll get some trolls who review down the line, it’s inevitable, but you’ll also get constructive criticism that maybe you’ll nod along with even if you still disagree, or maybe it’ll make you stop and think about how to approach things differently with your next title.
Having a steady stream of thoughtful reviews the first few weeks and months that your book has released will keep the momentum going to get more people interested.
I also swear by paid blog tours because, plain and simple – they work. I always make my money back within the first month, and reach so many more people by spreading the word to different blogs, and having interviews, blog posts, and reviews to share with my followers. Plus, it helps you build up a rapport with new reviewers who next time might contact YOU about reading your stories without needing to go through a tour.
How much you want to spend is up to you. I’m in the camp of not going overboard, so I spend between $200-300 on promotion (ads, tours, etc.) right off the bat, and then not much at all, other than an occasional Facebook ad or convention to sell my books in person. For me, it keeps a steady stream coming in and allows me to build my brand slowly, learning new tricks and cues along the way.
Then it’s about sharing all of this new content as it happens. I have followers on Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr most of all, so I’ll be sharing all of my blog tour stops with them to get them interested in the new book, and to have them share the content to their followers.
Another great tactic to pull in readers is drawings. I’m giving away a few books with the tours I’m doing, encouraging people to go to each stop, and will likely also make use of KDP Select, doing a strings of free eBook days sometime in 2017 to ratchet up interest in the new year.
What’s great about having a new book out, is it also means new readers who like it will likely check out my previous titles, something that can only grow exponentially as I write and publish more books, especially if I’m reaching the right audience who continue to enjoy and review positively about my work.
There is so much for me to do in the coming weeks, but as always, I am excited to get started. Check out the book now on Amazon.com and stay tuned for news!